Hundreds celebrate Denny Hennen
I believe most of us would say our lives had been meaningful if we had influenced or impacted someone else’s life in a positive way. Helping even one person in a big way would constitute a life well-lived in many people’s eyes.
Whether through a seemingly simple encouraging word at the right time or with a bigger gesture, like being there with bail money or a couch to sleep on when things get tough, most of us would like to know we’ve made a difference. The thing is, we don’t always know, and really, the people who do things for others don’t ever expect to be told they helped, much less thanked.
So, I can’t imagine how Denny Hennen felt after several hundred people gathered at Revelry Room two weeks ago to say “Thanks.” And, to say goodbye. Denny is ill, and this event was put together and attended by people who love him.
At the funeral for Denny’s brother, Johnny, last year, someone suggested to me that I do a story on all of the people the Hennens have put through college over the years. Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked at Yesterday’s, Hennen’s, Big River or Bones Smokehouse, or if you’ve ever worked in a bar or restaurant that bought beer from Denny through Beasley Distributing. It’s a pretty staggering number, and that was reflected by the number of people inside the event at Revelry, as well as the number of folks on the waiting list outside hoping to get in.
Anyone who was there, and really anyone who knows Denny or brother Tim, or who knew Johnny, knows that the Hennens have their own way of showing affection. So
I can’t print much of what was really said during the evening in a family newspaper, but it was said with a great deal of love, respect and caring.
I called Johnny’s house once and when he answered I said, “Johnny, it’s Barry.” His response: “So.”
That’s when I knew he liked me.
Dr. Keith Helton, who is married to Mary Hennen, offered a guide to interpreting “Dennyisms” during the event. His list was funny, and also accurate and not fully quotable here. If he ever said, “Hey, Buddy” or “Hey, pretty lady,” for example, it meant Denny had no idea who you were.
Also, if Denny ever told you to go pound salt, or it’s more vulgar equivalent, while being not even physically possible, it meant that he truly cared for you … or, that he actually wanted you to go pound salt.
Now, anyone who knows Denny knows that this was not supposed to be a mushy event. Not his style. It was, however, a chance for so many people who have been touched in some way or another to say thank you for being a friend, a mentor, a boss or a person to share a laugh.