With the upcoming 50th annual John F. Kennedy memorials, substaintial attention is being given to everyone that had any connection to the fateful day. Assumed assassin Lee Harvey Oswald may have been a loner in life, but it seemed in death he at least had Nick Beef next to him. For years visitors to Oswald's grave in Fort Worth, Texas have wondered who Beef was since a mysterious gravestone appeared next to the legendary killer's around 1997. On Friday, the The New York Times solved that mystery by tracking down Nick Beef to New York City where he is alive and well.
Beef, a 56-years-old, 'non-performing performing artist' and writer was born Patric Abedin and his father was an Air Force navigator. He and his father witnessed the landing of Air Force One at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth on November 21, 1963.
During the commotion, Beef lost track of his father and a military police officer hoisted him onto his shoulders so he could try to spot his father in the crowd. It was at this moment that the President and First Lady drove past as he had a perfect view.
The next day, Beef shared the story during school at Waverly Park Elementary School. During recess, Beef remained indoors due to his asthma and he was alone when the principal announced that the President had been shot and killed; young Beef was the one to tell the news to his teacher and classmates when they returned to class.
Beef and his mother moved to Arlington in later years but always made the weekly trip back to the air base for his asthma shot. Frequently they would stop at Rose Hill Cemetery to observe Oswald's grave.
'Never forget that you got to see Kennedy the night before he died,' his mother would say.
In 1975, when he was 18, he read in a newspaper article that the plot next to Oswald's grave had never been purchased and inquired about it at the cemetery. Beef placed a deposit of $17.50 down on the plot and made 16 monthly payments of $10 to own it.
Life choices took Beef out of state and he found his way to New York, where he performed in a sketch-comedy troupe, and did some freelance humor writing. Beef married, had two children and divorced.
When Beef returned to Fort Worth to bury his mother in 1996, he stopped by the cemetery and asked to get a gravestone put on his plot.
When asked what he wanted, he decided on Nick Beef to protect his family name.
While he is a comic, he insists that buying the plot and placing the gravestone is not some elaborate joke.
'It meant something to me in life,' he told the Associated Press.
Beef has no intention of actually using the plot, saying he would prefer to be cremated.