Friday, November 27, 2009

An Annual Heartwarming,yet Pathetic Thanksgiving Tale

This isn’t a Thanksgiving recipe. It’s more a series of events that became a recipe for disaster.

You see, my wife and I like to spend weekends on Eastern Long Island. It’s nice to get away from the concrete jungle of NYC for peaceful time at the beach. Nothing beats salt air and the squawk of the sea gulls, especially when the beach is empty.

Out east, our place is tiny. It’s about as big as the bathroom in Dale Jr.’s motor coach. Our kitchen is tiny, and we no family in the Hamptons. So one particular Thanksgiving, for turkey dinner, we headed to a mom-and-pop diner we’d patronized before near Riverhead Raceway. Viviane likes the diner’s rustic feel, and I prefer the small-town prices compared to Southampton’s shi-shi designer joints with small portions on the plates and large portions of jewelry on the patrons.

That particular Thanksgiving, as my wife and daughter and I settle into our booth, things feel disjointed. The restaurant seems...different. Two cheery squeaky clean peach-cheeked clear-eyed buxom-blonde teenage Christian girls immediately slap down with sympathetic smiles plates of steaming turkey, spilling over with rich gravy and fluffy trimmings. No menu, they just bring piles of food.

Looking around, the other patrons quietly enjoying their dinners are a bit, well...different. Disenfranchised, could you say? Now, my family isn’t dressed for the Prom; Riverhead is still largely a blue-collar town, and yours truly has on old sweats that have been near the tide but not the Tide, if you know what I mean. I’m in dire need of a haircut, presently resembling Boris Said with Bed Head.

But even I look more formal and generally presentable than the others. The men wear greasy caps and scraggly growth on sad faces. The women appear as if they’ve been around the block several times at a high rate of speed. We are in Kansas no more.

Indeed, as our wide eyes scan the room, it soon becomes very clear the Giangolas are enjoying a soup kitchen Thanksgiving dinner with the homeless.
Andrew Giangola's book, "THE WEEKEND STARTS ON WEDNESDAY: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans" is available for pre-order on the and the NASCAR.COM SuperStore