The Schmaltzy End-of-the-Year Column
As many Letters readers know, I usually stay far, far away from sentimental feel-good topics in my columns. I don’t like OMG cute cat videos, and Nicholas Sparks is not a writer I admire. But as I pondered what to pen for this year’s final column and with the bitter mid-term election looming, I thought perhaps this might be the right time to offer up a message of thanks and gratitude. This column, therefore, will be one in which I share some random thoughts about what I am thankful for this year.
I’m thankful for the rear camera on my new car so I don’t hit a jogger or bicyclist when I back out of the Bin 66 wine store and make a break for it when I see an opening in the Route One traffic.
And speaking of Bin 66, I’m thankful they carry a full selection of rosé wine year round so I don’t feel like a freak drinking it in the winter. Of course, I use a larger wine glass to release more aroma and flavor, which is what you want in a wine during the cooler seasons.
I’m also thankful for Royal Farms fried chicken. I pray to Jesus every day the Farms store at the Rehoboth traffic circle stays open because the next closest place for fried chicken besides Royal Farms is the Chick-fil-a.
I’m thankful too, that I have the opportunity to eat pizza in the same parlor as George Costanza’s mother. Yes, actress Estelle Harris’s photo graces the wall of Nicola Pizza. And, of course, I believe she came in, sat down, and ate a couple of slices. Don’t you?
I’m thankful Rehoboth permits shirtless waiters and bartenders. It wasn’t always that way. Until July of 1980 an ordinance was on the books making it illegal for men to appear bare chested west of the Boardwalk. I like a little sweat in my gin.
I’m thankful to all the good-looking fellas who wear a Speedo on Poodle Beach because sometimes one needs a diversion from those long New Yorker articles.
I’m thankful bread is making a comeback, and I don’t mean the band. No more smirks when I pick up a baguette at the market or butter up a roll at a restaurant table. Baby I’m a want you, baby I’m a eat you….
I’m thankful rye whiskey and independent bookstores are making a comeback too.
I’m thankful to Eugene Beals that I don’t have to eat tough, dried out turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. Beals was the genius who invented the plastic pop up turkey timer. Unfortunately, his timer popped back in 2005, but his legacy lives on.
Nobody knows who invented the gravy boat, but I’m thankful to have one for my Thanksgiving table because there’s nothing sadder than cold mashed potatoes.
I’m thankful the green bean casserole has achieved camp status.
I’m thankful the Claxton fruitcake company is still in business.
I’m thankful the Georgia Bulldogs have a hot quarterback. Go Dawgs! And that they play in the SEC East.
I’m grateful to have a partner who will still accompany me to the Pond to watch the UVA-Virginia Tech football game even though the men in the orange and blue haven’t won since 2004. He says he goes for the Manhattans and chicken wings, but I know better. Will this be the year?
I’m thankful for a real working fireplace and the opportunity to split my own wood.
I’m thankful for distilled white vinegar. It’s the only way I can control the mold and mildew in this maritime climate.
I’m thankful for all the pinecones that litter my back yard. The fact they cost $5 per bag in some fancy stores makes me laugh.
I’m thankful for good friends who make me laugh.
I’m thankful for James Brown Christmas songs because they make me laugh.
I’m thankful I’ve never voted Republican. Will someone remind me to put that on my gravestone?
And, last but not least, I’m grateful to the good folks at Letters from CAMP Rehoboth who have provided me the opportunity to write my columns and entertain readers for the past thirteen years. It’s been fun, and I’m looking forward to 2019. ▼
Rich Barnett is the author of The Discreet Charms of a Bourgeois Beach Town, and Fun with Dick and James.