Column: Kevin de León is on an apology tour. When will he realize it’s a farewell tour?
Sunday was Kevin de León‘s last night on Earth, and I was there to see him and to record all of it for a book I’m writing about him, “The Good Life,” which will be published this fall by St. Martin’s Press.
It was my first visit to the former star and sometime ally of the L.A. Kings, whose presence in my life ended this spring. A few months prior to my visit, I had asked my longtime friend, my ex-boss, Kevin de León, to give me a tour of the city he called home. He was in his late 50s when I met him; he was a big, burly, burly man who spoke with an accent I couldn’t place, who was friendly but gruff and gruff again when he wanted to be. He told me he worked for the city and that the only thing I needed to know was that I had nothing to fear. He said, “I’m retired, and I’m so happy to know that. Don’t worry; I’m just a retired guy with a lot of opinions and a lot of anger.”
I didn’t worry. He was so kind to me that afternoon that I thought about going over to his trailer and taking him on a tour of the city. Then he would tell me to get out. I was surprised when he invited me to dinner that night. I couldn’t believe he was inviting me to dinner. He had seen me at my best, and I had seen him at his best. Why would he invite me to dinner? And then I realized that, in his view, I was his last night on Earth. For a moment I thought he was going to offer me an apology and then leave without saying a word to me. Instead he said, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I’ll let you record my last night on Earth with me. Then I’ll say, ‘You know