Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Turkey day, here is a Lewis Grizzard classic about how he spent one particular Thanksgiving:

Thanks For The Memory by Lewis Grizzard

It was three years ago, or maybe it was two. Thanksgivings come and Thanksgivings go. I overslept and missed the family gathering at my uncle's house out in the country. Country folks like to eat early, and like I said, I overslept.

B.A. called about 1 in the afternoon. He was down in Savannah, alone.
"Had lunch yet?" I asked him.
"I was just going to pick up a hamburger," he answered.
"No Thanksgiving feast?"
"No. I had some work to catch up on and couldn't get to Montgomery to my mother's. What are you doing?"
"No plans," I said.
"Catch a plane," B.A. said. "The Hyatt bar is open even if nothing else is."

I was at the Savannah airport three hours later. We never made it to the Hyatt bar. We stopped instead at a little beer joint just outside the airport. Silent men playing pool. There were a couple of pool tables inside and young men wearing hats with the names of various heavy equipment companies sewn on them were playing. Cigarettes dangled from their mouths. They were silent and expressionless. One got the idea heavy stakes were involved.

A few old men sat around the bar drinking beer. A man and a woman worked behind the bar. There was a jukebox playing country music. "Keep your mouth shut," B.A. said, "and we'll probably be OK."

Probably. We had a few beers and played a few tunes of our own. Nobody had spoken to us until a graybeard sitting a few stools down looked up from his can of Budweiser and asked, "Y'all ain't from around here, are you?" We said we weren't.
"Y'all going to stay for supper?" the man went on.
"Stay for what?" I asked.
"Supper," he said. "We have it here every year on Thanksgiving. It's mostly for the regulars who don't have nowhere else to go, but I'm sure nobody would mi nd if y'all stayed." We didn't say yes. But we didn't say no, either. Lining up for the feast

A half hour later, the door to the joint opened and in walked five or six ladies bearing plates of food. Lots of food. They set up a table near the jukebox. Turkey and dressing. A ham. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Green beans. Butterbeans. Creamed corn. Homemade rolls. There were also cakes and pies. The customers put down their beers and cuesticks. They lined up, plates in hand, for the feast in front of them.

"Y'all more than welcome to eat," said the woman behind the bar. We got in line. The food was wonderful. We went back twice.
"You do this every year, huh?" I asked one of the ladies that brought the food.
"They's lots of people don't have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving," she said. "Some of 'em come in here to drink 'cause it ain't as lonely as staying home. We all live in the neighborhood, and we just try to share what we got with others."

We stayed until 9 or 10. We tried to pay extra for the food, but nobody would take our money. Thanksgivings come and Thanksgivings go and, occasionally, one comes along that is very special.

*** Check out this and other Lewis Grizzard stories at

No comments: