If you’ve ever been to Lawrence, Kansas, there’s a chance you’ll recognize today’s recipient. He’s a familiar face on the main road that runs through the heart of this college town. His name is Dennis, but I’ve always referred to him as “Downtown Dennis.”
He’s a bit of a celebrity in Douglas County. And he’s equally popular online. In fact he has a Facebook following: Friends of Dennis which has almost 6,000 followers. He’s usually smiling and somehow always makes your day better when you see him.
The first time I saw Dennis was on Halloween in 2008. I was in a funky little coffee shop called The Mirth, which has since closed, when he came in dressed as a cat. He asked the staff if he could have the computer that was there for surfing the web. “I’ve already got the mouse,” he said with a long grin. Unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed to take the computer.
Anyway, today’s letter is for Dennis – a man I’ve never met, but who brings so much happiness to the Lawrence community I thought he deserved to know that people far and wide think so fondly of him. I don’t have an address for Dennis, but I’ve heard that he often eats lunch at Quinton’s Bar and Deli so I’m sending it there hoping that the good people of Quinton’s will make sure that Dennis receives this.
I live in Washington, D.C., but I’ve been to Lawrence a handful of times. I have seen you every time I’ve been in town, unfortunately I’ve never had the chance to meet you.
Back here in D.C. when I meet someone familiar with Lawrence and want to prove my street cred, I mention “Downtown Dennis.” Inevitably everyone always says, “I love that guy!” or “He’s a legend in Lawrence.” I just thought you’d like to know that people all around the country remember and think highly of you.
Keep doing what you’re doing – creating smiles along Mass Ave.
See you next time I’m in Lawrence,
P.S. I know you like the ham sandwich at Quinton’s, but I hear they make a tasty Turkey, Avocado and Cream Cheese (TAC) sandwich…I’m not a fan of cream cheese, but maybe you’ll like it.