Turkey Day... an anniversary

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Turkey Day... an anniversary

Happy Thanksgiving

Here it is, an "early" Thanks­giving week... as early as it can ever be... and what to do now that the Elections are over?

Well, I wasn't just named MVP of the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals or the World Serious, so Disney World is out.

But Turkey Day is in the offing, so unless there's some unforeseen event intervening, I'll do what I've done for 16 of the past 18 years, and that is head to East Quogue to offer my services as a volunteer at the New Moon Café when the Campsey family again throws open their doors to serve the lame, the halt, the aged, the infirm, the less-fortunate and the jus' plain alone.

(It also is a time for me to intermittently watch on the restaurant's TVs, and to listen to on the car radio, the once mighty team that's been trying to break my spirit for the past half-century. Go Lions! Beat Green Bay like the Boys of Autumn did in '62 when the Vince Lom­bardi-coached and un­defeated Packers would have been a three touchdown favorite over Red China!)

Some, like my wife-in-waiting, perform the kitchen work with Shana and Ron, preparing the food and make up the meals to be wheeled out to the shut-ins and others similarly im­mobilized... and that's where I and some of the other guys come in, not only delivering com­plete turkey-with-all-the-trimmin's and pump­kin pie dinners, but ferrying in dozens of sen­iors who prefer to put on their informal finery and have their Thanksgiving in the company of others within the warm and woody confines of the restaurant. Over the past several decades, I've delivered meals as far away as Center Moriches, Calverton and the Sag Harbor Turn­pike, and acted as livery to ladies from Manor­ville and the trailer park by Mercy High School.

If anyone ever questions why I do this, other than the obvious opportunity to be able to "feel good" about one's self, I usually respond that it is my personal hedge against a here­after, that if there is any sort of Higher Power reckoning, I can point to those Thanksgivings at New Moon Café on the plus side of the ledger, and trust that those will be taken into account.

But then, on Thanksgiving 2001 in the dark aftermath of the 11 September attacks, after returning my last vehicle-full of Seniors to their housing behind Saint Rosalie's in Hamp­ton Bays, I returned to the rest­au­rant to have my own later afternoon turkey dinner with others of the volunteer staff. When I walked into the kitchen there was my life-mate busy at the steam table, big sweatballs rolling down her nose and her hair done up in a "doo-rag" bandanna... and everything changed.

Truth be known, although we'd "met cute" back in '78 and hit it off nicely, it was at a time when she was unavailable and had re­mained encumbered for the next 23 years until that Fall when, having gotten the last one out of the nest and into college, she picked up her dog and her silverware, put them in her Land Cruiser and struck out on her own.

No, the Earth didn't move, but it was a classic "recog­nition scene," the type of moment rarely seen today other than on Turner Classic Movies (Channel 97 on the local cable system).

But following a brief and reasonably conven­tional pas de deux with an eye to propriety, we've been together ever since, and if we can get the planets and Town Clerk Sundy Scher­meyer in proper alignment, one of these days I plan on making an honest woman of her.

So Thanksgiving at New Moon Café is more than a selfish "feel good" time for me, it's a joyous obser­vance for both of us, and we al­ready started by dropping a turkey off at the kitchen door on Saturday.


1. Fed Up said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Dean. Thank you for providing a forum where we can try to "Keep'em Honest."

2. Clamqueen said...

Oh Dean, you cute sap. Hope you and Jeanne have a most wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm thankful to call you both my friends!

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