Saturday, November 22, 2008


I'm thankful to be able to supply our neighborhood with wines and spirits, to be a part of our community.

I'll never forget working with Emilia in the store Election Day evening, sharing stories about how long people stood in line to vote, how momentous it felt. Most of our regulars were hopeful and eager to celebrate but, after the previous two Presidential Elections, nervous about the outcome -- no matter what the pollsters were reporting. Nor will I ever forget my sense of sheer joy, or the spontaneous expressions of celebration all around me, when Barack Obama was declared the winner.

In NY, freezing temperatures and Thanksgiving go hand in hand. Growing up in Queens, Thanksgiving was a rare day when my father wasn't working in his grocery store. Different members of our extended family owned different holidays. While one aunt and uncle got dreary Yom Kippur, my mom had ownership of festive Thanksgiving. While mom prepared the Big Meal, dad and I would generally spend the morning together. I remember sitting on his shoulders watching the Macy's Parade. On another occasion, a few years later, bundled up beside him drinking hot chocolate on the sidelines of a Hofstra football game, a fierce wind feeling as if it was going to lift me off the ground. This year, Emilia and I will be working. Thirst will open a little early, 10am, and close early, 4pm.

My mom cooked like someone for whom cooking was a chore, tending to overcook things. There were some dishes she made that I found satisfying, like her tunafish salad, but I never saw her read a cookbook. Nonetheless she always made sure we were fed (and, especially, that I, her only son, was well fed). And food, of course, was especially abundant on T-Day when mom cooked fiendishly, stressed out and irritable, especially if my sisters weren't particularly helpful in the kitchen. Meanwhile the adults drank cocktails and joked, all of us hoping the turkey and stuffing weren't dried out. Regardless, when dinner was served, everyone ate heartily, with great relish even, adults at the main table, children at a card table nearby, and compliments were plentiful.

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