Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chapter Two - Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Ok, back to the worst week ever...
Aside from the pneumonia thing our week continued... Sara stayed home from work last Monday because she was under the weather, which was fine with me since it let me stay at work a little longer without having to worry about the kids. When I got home I was starting to feel it too though, as if the air in our house was a blanket of germs that enveloped everyone who entered. By Tuesday afternoon I was feverish even with the Advil schedule I was on, and all I could think about was a full week of work ahead. Wednesday the fun started, and I was full into the swing of things... 293 lunches in the morning, off to Valley Forge to set up for Thursday's Walmart exec. dinner party, then back into the kitchen.... and Thursday the countdown began, out of the house by 7:30, cooking until set-up at 3:30 (I wanted to get there by 3:15, but I had to pull over in the park for a minute - afraid that I was going to throw up in the car) and home in bed by midnight.... up again by 6:30, yadda, yadda, home at 1:15AM... and in between all of that, a surprise inspection from the Health Department, my bartender went into the hospital for a check-up and stayed for heart surgery, and Kate's mother fell down the attic steps and layed on the floor for three hours. Good times.

Ok, I started writing this post three days ago, and just came back to it right now... and things have changed a bit. My idea from the get-go was pulled from 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek'... if you've ever read it, there is an amazing description in there of someone watching a frog at the edge of a pond being sucked dry by a giant water bug - innards liquefied by something that snuck up under water, and drained the inside of the frog out leaving just the hollow skin behind. Tragic, terrifying and beautiful all at the same time... that was the point of my post in a nutshell, to say how sucked dry I was, but since its been a few days, I have to change focus. Anyway, my bartender, Dwight, who went into the hospital on Friday was picked up from the hospital by Kate on Sunday... and he was on top of the world. They gave him the all-clear, and she took him out for a beer to celebrate. Dwight, for everyone who hasn't met him, is a mountain of a man. Six foot ten-ish, 300 pounds if he's an ounce, and I once saw him pick up a couch as if it were a Twix bar, and carry it about a block into Kate's apartment. In the past six months or so, Dwight has changed from an occasional hire to our go-to guy. Always available on a moments notice, and works harder than anyone else around. He's been in the business for a while, knows what to do, and just dives in. Outside of work, he's a trip... back to the seventies that is... from talking to him you wouldn't guess, but he actually has a custom van with a carpet in the back, and a front license plate that says "Dr. Love". Hysterical. The last few times I saw him I couldn't help but call him Dr. Love when he showed up - and luckily since he has a sense of humor, but could eat me in one bite if he really wanted to - simply responded by cutting my apron strings, and used the pieces to fashion an apron that would actually fit around him.
Anyway, I got a call this morning that Dwight died last night from an aneurysm... out of the blue, like someone just snuffed out a candle. I've often heard people say someone was 'a good man' after they've died, but Dwight really was one. He was someone I didn't know nearly as well as Kate, but someone I actually trusted, someone I could count on. Since I lead a double life - family, regular job, kids and dogs during the day... chaotic, obsessive, occasionally perfectionist caterer at night - Sara never really knew him, or even heard most of the ridiculous Dwight stories that Kate and I retold each other all day today... but he was a good man, a good father to his 11 year old son, and a good friend.

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