It was the day before Thanksgiving, and Roderick and I had been packing in our apartment, then scraping and sweeping in the new old house on Millard until we decided we needed a break.
We began walking down Jefferson toward Genesee talking of this and that toward Dawn’s to grab a sandwich when it occurred to me we had not been to the Savoy in a long while so we turned down Federal and then Franklin past empty buildings and emptier lots until we came to the restaurant.
The board outside said the day’s special was Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, but no price on the board. We walked in and paused: two-thirds of the tables were filled – which was odd in itself – but the crowd seemed somehow off, as well:
There were construction workers next to a retired couple, a young Mexican couple who looked around nervously with every bite they took, and I’m certain I recognized the random vagrant who haunts the parking lot of the library asking for quarters sitting off to one corner chatting to no one in particular.
The waitress – warm smile, very tall and very slim with tidy dark hair – told us to sit anywhere, followed us to our table and set points of pumpkin pie in front of us and walked away without asking what we wanted…
When she came back I asked about the price of the special and she said the meal that day was on the house: The meal was free. The waitress told us tips were welcome to help with expenses, but not at all expected.
One of the owners said they served over 325 last year. Our waitress said it was the Savoy’s way of showing thanksgiving to others before celebrating the day with family.
Our food came out before our shock cleared and we watched as extra (volunteer) staffers cleared plates as folks ate, grinned and left.
So we ate our turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls and pie chatting with friends, neighbors and acquaintances who had all stopped in to support the second year of a very special contribution to the neighborhood we had just found out about.
It seemed lately that there have been so many national concerns over everything from the presidential election to whether Brad and Angelina hate Jennifer Aniston, that it was so *amazingly* refreshing to see a couple of small business owners supported by a hand full of friends and neighbors making a difference in the neighborhood in which they lived.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”