Warm Humor, Frozen Shoes
Edward Day did not just extinguish fires. He extinguished grouchiness.
At Engine Company 28 and Ladder 11 on the Lower East Side, where Mr. Day, 45, was a firefighter, he kept a sharp eye out for grumpy colleagues. They got the Day treatment: smiley face stickers slapped on their helmets.
Whenever he stayed at his mother's house in Newport, R.I., he would make the bed when he was ready to leave and then drop a dollar on it with a note, "For the maid." His mother liked to give what she called the last Christmas party of the year, held well into January. Mr. Day had a ritual at the parties: he collected all the bottle caps from exhausted beer bottles and deposited them throughout the house in her plants.
His wife, Bridgitte, was a fervent Clint Eastwood fan, so he would sign his cards to her, "Clint Eastwood."
"He was always ready to make you laugh," said Tim Day, his brother, "whether he knew you for 20 years or 20 minutes."
The first time Eddy Day met Tim's wife, Essie, he asked if she wanted a glass of wine. Sure, she said. He brought it out and handed it to her. "Excuse me," he said, and bent over and slipped off her shoes. As she watched, mystified, he marched into the kitchen and put them in the freezer.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 13, 2001.