DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

November 21, 2006

                                                           

                                      

“Someone to Watch Over Me”

 

There really is a Thanksgiving story in here, but for some reason it begins with Frank Sinatra and my childhood. I listen to Frank a lot these days. I tell myself that it’s because my Dad used to listen to him when I was growing up. I have purchased many of Franks CD’s which have been re-issued; I guess they have never really gone out of style. I was talking to my Mom about all the Big Band/Swing era vinyl records that I inherited from Dad.  I wondered if my sister Anita got all the Sinatra albums since there were none in the collection. (Siblings always blame one another when some family-heirloom or treasured object from a deceased relative fails to show up…blame the brother or sister…they must have taken it!) But Mom said, “Your Dad never really listened to Sinatra a lot and didn’t buy many of his albums”

 

Hmmmm.

 

Here I was thinking that I inherited the Sinatra-gene from Dad even if I didn’t inherit the Sinatra albums. Turns out, I didn’t inherit either from him. But he did like Sinatra, even if he didn’t spend much money on his albums. I do have a distinct memory of listening to a 45 of Sinatra that Dad purchased back in the 1950’s. On one side was Sinatra’s sublime rendition of “Witchcraft”.  It’s been my favorite for 50 years (Tell your Baptist friends that your minister’s favorite record is “Witchcraft” and watch them nod knowingly and roll their eyes!)  Loved it as a kid. Love it even more now that I really understand the lyrics. (Don’t tell your Baptist friends that!)

 

There’s a homemade ice cream parlor over in Millersport on the shore of Buckeye Lake.  For a quarter you can play three records on the old juke box. I always play “Witchcraft”. (You’ll have to ask me personally for the other two selections that I always pick.)

 

But recently I was listening to Sinatra on my computer media player. I guess I had loaded some of Sinatra’s CD’s into the computer. The interesting thing is that the computer “reads” all sorts of digital writings and it says that the rendition of “Witchcraft” that I have been listening to all these years is the 14th take.

 

That piece of vocal brilliance took 14 takes for even Sinatra to do.

 

As for my Thanksgiving story? It’s coming. And I witnessed it a couple years ago all because my mother-in-law doesn’t drink coffee.

 

It happened in Lima up in the North end of town. We were visiting for Thanksgiving a few years ago and like nearly every morning I go out jogging. There’s nothing better than a crisp November morning. I ran and when I finished I returned to my mother-in-laws house. I looked for some coffee there but she never has been a coffee drinker so I went over to the nearby gas station where there might be coffee. But I noticed across the street…on Thanksgiving morning…the modest diner was open for business.

 

I think the restaurant advertised great banana splits, but I hoped for just a cup of coffee. Sure enough, they had coffee, breakfast and since it was Thanksgiving they had a full Thanksgiving Dinner menu! “Who would order Thanksgiving Dinner here at 8:00 in the morning?” I wondered to myself. But the place was empty. The coffee smelled good. I bought a paper and ordered a cup of coffee.

 

 

 

Within two minutes every deer-hunter in Northwest Ohio descended on the diner…came in…and lit up cigarettes as they ordered breakfast.  I have been in third world bus depots that had fresher air. But by this time, I was committed.  My coffee and sweet roll came. I read the sports page and kept my eye drops at my right hand. When the smoke occasionally cleared I would look at the football standings.

 

The waitresses were dedicated and kept everyone’s coffee cup filled and bantered with the hunter’s, enquiring about the deer they did or almost did get on their expeditions. Over near the window were two older gentlemen. They certainly had not been hunting and it was clear from their clothing that they did not drive fancy cars or own a $30,000 pick-up like many of the hunters. The waitress seemed to be extra attentive to these old gents.

 

I soon found out why. From the back of the restaurant (the diner was previously a gas station) the waitress carried out two plates piled high with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans. Dessert was on the side. She set the two plates in front of the men.

 

“Happy Thanksgiving, Gentlemen!” she said with a sincere voice.

 

Those two men were having their one and only Thanksgiving dinner there at 8 in the morning. There were no wives and kids and grandkids for them. Their Aunt Gladys and Uncle Brownie would not be eating with them today. It was just them in the old gas station diner and a dozen hunters and one gray haired preacher.

 

They dug in. They ate with hearty appetites and the waitress kept the strong black coffee coming. It was their Thanksgiving dinner.

 

I smiled at the grace of the waitress who welcomed these two men with all the love and affection of a grandmother welcoming family into her home on that holiday.

 

The waitress had style. And she got it right the first time.

 

It took Sinatra 14 takes.

 

 

Peace,                      

Rev. Robert Tussing