Thanksgiving in Brooklyn

Rockefeller Center

Getting to NY was a challenge that I overcame with a fair amount of hysteria. I had misplaced my AMEX card in the house (its case will soon be marked with an Apple dot so I can locate it by making it issue an ear-piercing shriek, annoying but worth the trouble). I couldn’t summon Uber, or accomplish any other task in my entire life without my credit card. My AMEX had been surreptitiously attached to a myriad of functions, now blocked. I worked around it, and that was that. Ha.

“Taxiing, Ubering, or Lyfting” (whichever one can pay for from a credit card) from LaGuardia to Brooklyn can be stressful, as most drivers resent going so far, and can be a bit cross. But one, I’m paying for this, and two, the address of my destination was supplied at the outset of our trip. So there. I am no longer upset by devil-may-care driving. And I often can learn a few words in a different language. This guy spoke Bangladeshi, and nothing else. I counted a total of six service people in my first two hours in NY, none of whom had English as their native language. On my Delta flight, the attendant for my section was Asian and probably spoke Cantonese. His English was impeccable, but he made the mistake that many Americans do; when one is unsure if one can be understood, speak as loudly as possible. Whew. I was worried about being deaf by the time the plane landed.

I dropped off my bag at my apartment and set out in search of lunch. An humble delicatessen was very close. Any port in a storm. All employees were Latino, spoke Spanish. Speaking is one thing—mastering a few important phrases—but understanding is another. I ordered an omelet successfully, but getting grapefruit juice was a bit more difficult. One of these days I’m going to cave and just get orange juice. That’s never a problem, but I don’t like orange juice. Next, off to a local sundries shop (hardware and everything else). The greeter seemed to be in her late eighties and understood absolutely nothing I said. Her son, monitoring our “conversation” from the supply room, spoke perfect unaccented English, emerged to help me. He translated my requests to his mother in Arabic.

Now for some adventures! We first went to Rockefeller Center to see the tree (amazing), and ice skaters. Dryden gave us the history of the rink. When the plaza was first built, the skating area was just another layer of shops, no skating. There was a massive re-do and stores were removed, large stairways constructed, facilities for maintaining an ice-covered surface were created. Quite a feat. It’s probably unnecessary to say this, but I didn’t skate.

Now for a brief mention of one of my Thanksgiving traditions, Black Friday shopping. I had guilted my children into accompanying me (Samantha openly hates shopping, Dryden will tolerate it), both would have to tag-team me to make sure I didn’t get lost. Time was of the essence; my handlers could probably tolerate an hour of shopping at most. I put all my hope on one store and we headed to Saks. Overwhelmingly disappointing. I didn’t further my quest to look like a native New Yorker (wear only black—easy for traveling, everything matches), gave up and left.

Saturday evening our whole crew went to a light show in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. According to their publicity, the extravaganza was modeled after one in Kew Gardens, London. This Brooklyn offering, as well as a second display in Chicago, were the only light shows of this type in the US. Fine. Three of us; Samantha, Dryden, me; had attended the Atlanta Botanical Garden Holiday light show last year. With all due respect to my newly acquired Brooklyn friends, the Atlanta show was much better.

An unexpected source of entertainment came in the form of a (mostly) coon hound, rescued from Kentucky. This dear creature was about three years old, 45 pounds of pure muscle. I’ll call him Rover. Rover is not his real name, but the name has been changed to protect the innocent. Dryden and Dave were babysitting him for three days, so he went to all our social obligations. He enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast preparations. He visited a bar briefly for cocktails, but that didn’t work out. During the cocktail hour we took turns walking him briskly around the block. Rover was relatively sedate, but loved giving people hugs. Actually, he insisted upon it. His targets were people sitting or crouched down to his level. He moved chest to chest with the object of his affection, then placed his front paws on each side of his/her neck. Hug. Wonderful.

There were fabulous family meals at home. The best. Both granddaughters were there, one coming all the way from California to surprise us (that’s one reason I’ve rented an apartment in Brooklyn, to be with family). I had committed to bringing rice dressing and corn casserole to the Thanksgiving feast. I could prepare these in my apartment kitchen, but it was not yet fully equipped. I lacked a can opener. Ingredients for the corn casserole included a can of corn (with one of those pull tabs on the lid, no problem) and a can of creamed corn (lacking a tab, problem). I presented myself to a pleasant neighbor clutching a can of creamed corn (I was clutching the can, not the neighbor). As I stood in the doorway, the opened can was returned to me. The casserole was delicious.

Prayers of thanks to all those who showed kindness to others, expected or unexpected. To those who made up packages of leftover turkey and the like and handed them to homeless people sitting against walls. To those who dropped some money into the red kettles of the stalwart Salvation Army volunteers. Or just smiled at them and said you appreciated their efforts. It takes so little effort to smile, give a meaningful compliment. Keep it up! Many seasonal holidays are on the way. None prohibits kindness.


2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in Brooklyn

  1. Hi Sally, Brooklyn sounds great, even without the coveted AMEX card. I love your photo of the tree at Rockefeller plaza. Have you been to Lodi? It is a really fine restaurant in within eyesight of where you took your photo.

    Also, I met the woman (and saw her 4 or 5 children) who bought Andrea’s house. She is from LA and is giving a christmas party on the 18th. I imagine she dropped an invitation in your mailbox. She seemed very nice.

    Have a Merry Christmas, Maria >

    Like

  2. Thanks for the entertaining holiday report. For dinner I also brought corn casserole, rice and dressing. Our family includes New Englanders and food that doesn’t say “Thanksgiving” to me, so we have many dishes.

    Like

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