By Audrey W.
November 27th, 1975
“You got the corn on the cob?” John Gage asked his partner Roy DeSoto.
“Yeah. Did you remember the potatoes?”
“Sure did. They’re over by the couch in a bag. Sure hope we get enough time ta fix all this stuff.”
“Even if we have to eat Thanksgiving dinner at midnight, we’ll still find a way to have it,” Captain Stanley assured as he came into the dayroom to join the others. Of course, he hoped it wouldn’t come to that. He’d be thankful for a night of sleep after a big meal. . .that was eaten during the late afternoon.
It was the beginning of their shift and the crew was pulling duty on Thanksgiving Day. Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez were seated at the table, Chet Kelly had yet to arrive.
“At least you get Christmas off,” Tom Dwyer reminded them from where he sat on the couch. He and his fellow crewmates on C-Shift would be pulling that duty.
“Well, I brought two pumpkin pies,” Marco stated. “Momma got carried away baking, so we had plenty.”
Mike pointed to the can of cranberry sauce on the counter when questioning eyes fell on him.
“Great,” Johnny said as he rubbed his hands together. “Alls we’re missin’ is Chet with the rolls.”
“Aren’t you guys missing something else?” Dwyer wondered.
Hank shook his head. “My wife’s bringing it by later. Fully cooked. We figured we wouldn’t have time to mess with that.”
“Time to mess with what?” Chet said as he joined the others.
Six sets of eyes focused in his direction.
He was holding a cardboard box, just large enough to require he use both hands to carry it.
“The turkey,” the captain said. “Don’t tell me that box is for the rolls.”
Johnny stepped over to Chet before the curly-haired fireman could get far from the doorway and peered into the box.
“It’s not just for the rolls, it is the rolls! Chet! There must be at least three dozen in there!”
“Four. It was buy three, get one free at ‘Stock Up’. You know, that new store that opened last month.”
“Well, why in the world would you buy so many when all we needed was six?”
“I hate to be the one to inform you, John, but six is more than four.” Chet looked at the others and grinned.
“I mean six rolls, not six dozen.”
“I knew that.”
Hank had made his way over to the two and was eyeing the piles rolls secured in plastic bags within the box.
“Just what’re we gonna do with four dozen rolls?”
“For dinner. . . and breakfast,” Roy suggested before taking a sip of coffee.
“And lunch,” Marco continued.
Mike shook his head. “We won’t be here for lunch tomorrow.”
“No, but I’m sure some of Chet’s rolls will still be here by the time we come back after a couple of days.”
Johnny snorted a laugh. “Marco’s right. It’s not like B-shift and C-shift’ll eat thirty-some rolls!”
“If we keep them around long enough, maybe we can pull the trucks into the driveway and play a game of hockey in the bay with ‘um. You know, like pucks.”
All but Chet chuckled at Mike’s comment. He mimicked a grin, but more so as a ‘ha, ha, very funny’ type gesture.
“Why did you go to ‘Stock Up’ when you could’ve just gotten a half dozen or so for less at a regular grocery store?” Roy wondered.
But before Chet could explain, Johnny jumped in to answer.
“Oh, you guys haven’t seen the half of it. Since that place opened, he’s stocked up on everything, haven’t ya, Chet? If ya ever need a bar of soap or a tube a’ toothpaste, he’s the guy to see. Trust me.”
“Well, when you break it down, the stuff there is dirt cheap compared to anywhere else,” Chet defended. “And it’s not like I buy everything they sell.” He gave Johnny a brief annoyed glare.
“Well, what do ya do if it’s stuff that only stays good for a short period of time? I mean, you’re a bachelor, pal,” Hank reminded him. “Surely you can’t eat that much on your own.”
He looked the fireman up and down, certain he didn’t see any sign of weight gain.
“I don’t buy much of the food, Cap. Well, other than canned stuff--”
“Alls he needs is a bunker,” Johnny interrupted with a nod.
The men smirked at the idea.
“Don’t get any ideas,” the captain jokingly stated to the mustached fireman. “I don’t think your landlord at the apartments’ll go for that in the court yard.”
That comment drew snickers from the men, and a shake of the head from Chet.
Roy set his coffee cup on the counter behind him. “How about we donate three dozen rolls to that homeless shelter on Orange Avenue? They could probably use the extra for their Thanksgiving dinner.”
“That’s a great idea!” Hank agreed.
“I can swing by and drop ‘em off if you want,” Dwyer offered.
“Are ya sure?” The captain wondered.
“Anything to avoid eating those rolls for every meal next time we’re on duty.”
Hank clapped his hands together. “Okay, then. Let’s get a dozen out and send the rest in the box on with Dwyer.”
“Uh, Cap. . .I don’t mind, but--”
“Don’t worry, Kelly. We’ll each chip in to pay you back some of your money.”
Chet grinned. That’s all he wanted.
The day proved to be a fairly quiet one, with just two runs before dark. One for a motor vehicle accident, another for a man nearly choking on a clump of turkey dressing stuck in his throat.
Thus the men of A-shift were able to fix and enjoy the Thanksgiving dinner they’d planned. Knowing that they’d also helped to complete someone else’s holiday meal made it all the more satisfying. Small as it was, with the free three dozen dinner rolls, the shelter had gotten a bargain, too.
My husband and his SAMS Club deals inspired this. :o)
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