NORMAN — I remember the first time I met Jerry Laizure. He was strolling through the newsroom one afternoon, took one look at me and said, “Who are you?”
I was the newest employee and hadn’t quite gotten around to all of the introductions. I told him my name and what I was hired to do. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away. That was Jerry.
Another freshman encounter with Jerry was when I asked him why my computer was working on a different operating system than it should. I’d thought maybe he’d been tinkering around on it.
Instead, he said that he had no clue and probably no one else in the office knew how to switch from one operating system to another. When I replied that I knew how and that I had already fixed the problem, he gave me that half smile, another shrug and walked away. But this shrug was different, for some reason. Even though I didn’t really know Jerry that well yet, I knew, at that very moment, that Jerry Laizure thought I was OK. I had earned his respect.
He was hard to get to know, but when you did, you were a friend for life. I remember one Christmas coming to work, only to find a gift on my desk. I wasn’t expecting anything from coworkers, so you can imagine I was pretty excited to see what was inside the colorfully wrapped package.
To my surprise, it was a child’s princess crown and magic wand toy. I laughed at the odd gift and fashioned it around the office for a day. Jerry seemed thrilled that I adored the gift so much. Later, I questioned the meaning of that gift. Did Jerry think I was a diva princess or did he just simply think I was a girl who liked something bilgy? I think I asked him that question once and, in true Jerry style, he shrugged his shoulders and walked away.