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Point of View: In Absentia on Thanksgiving

Wed, 12/06/2023 - 16:40

I had a photo of myself smiling and holding a can of Spam at an otherwise unoccupied candlelit dining table sent to our eldest daughter’s house in Perrysburg, Ohio, where most everyone in our family had gathered for Thanksgiving.

Mary and I would have made the trip out there too had it not been for a medical mystery. 

Thanks to cellphones — which I’ve wrongly labeled as a worldwide pestilence in the past — we kept in touch. All four of our children and all nine of our grandchildren were in Ohio, and even though we were several hundred miles removed, we felt as if we were almost there.

Family is everything, Mary said. A refuge, I took her to say, in an uncertain world. I would agree, except I would rate her as the most equal among equals.

Interesting that when somewhat at loose ends, as she was during the holiday, she’s inclined to neaten things up, while I’m inclined to make a mess.

Not just any mess, mind you, but a creative one generated from making dinners, and not just avocado sandwiches, which are fine in their place, but something savory accompanied by a piquant sauce, something intended to delight her, and to lift our spirits.

Last night’s offering — this is beginning to sound more like a mass than a mess — required that I use the food processor, a state-of-the-art machine whose two-pronged scimitar blade has put me off for a long while. “I have nothing to fear but the food processor itself,” I said as she affixed and clicked everything into place. And there I was, thanks to her intercession and thus finally having risen to the occasion, pulsing with confidence. Szhzhzhzhzh, szhzhzhzhzh, szhzhzhzhzh.

Yes, it would have been nice to have been embedded with our family in Ohio at Thanksgiving. Family is, after all, everything. Yet she, I find, is something.

The East Hampton Press said not long ago that Bacchus was “the Greek god of wine” when, in fact, it was Dionysus, a mere cavil, I admit, but one that serves to bring me to my point, to wit, that I think the black-and-gold front of Rowdy Hall in Amagansett is smashing.

A Pittsburgh Steeler and Bridgehampton Killer Bee fan for much of my life, I cannot think of more appealing colors. And if they are deemed offensive by some — maybe the golden head of Bacchus should also be expunged, for it was he who oversaw the maenads’ frenzied bacchanals — the restaurant’s colors are far less off-putting than the mustard stucco buildings that flanked the restaurant in its former incarnation off East Hampton Village’s Main Street.

If it’s tradition that’s being appealed to by the architectural review board, what about Rowdy Hall’s traditional black and gold? Are we to become like Switzerland where tidiness is ordained? Name it Dowdy Hall then. Bonac was never thus. To the contrary, individuality here, quirkiness, the off-beat, has always been celebrated. That’s been our tradition.

“Defiant transgressor,” the popular restaurant’s been called, which gave me an idea for a summer dessert, “TransgresSorbet.”

And if we’re really talking of the greater good, those cheering on the A.R.B. and the town board’s shelving of community preservation funds that the town’s Natural Resources Department had wanted to be applied toward the cost of an up-to-date septic system at Rowdy Hall’s new location sound all the more punitive to me. Downright pewnitive, Bub. 

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