I learned my best lesson in reporting in silence. That's the the way it was delivered: Chicago Dan never said a word. He just stood and listened. I read Chicago Dan's column on my friend Gene's memorial service. Chicago Dan nailed it. Ever since, I've tried to keep my mouth shut and my ears and eyes open.
Saturday night at Crown Bar, I thought of Chicago Dan. I'd gone to the men's room to wash my hands. Inside, I overheard a conversation taking place outside the door, in the back of the dining room. I listened. I heard "Gary" and "Big Bubba's" and "purchased."
Crown Bar being the former Gary's Steak Out, I figured the couple was talking about Gary Lawrence. On Monday, I called Lawrence, telling him I was on a fishing expedition and begging his pardon if I was casting my line up the wrong tree. I wasn't.
"I bought it last month," Lawrence said of Big Bubba's Burgers in Allyn. "I've been keeping it quiet."
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Well, not so quiet that I couldn't hear it through the men's room door.
Thanks for the tip, people.
I'm listening. Thanks to Chicago Dan.