Gold Beach Thanksgiving (Part 8)

Dave made a nice morning of it touring Gold Beach. The town had a history museum, tennis courts, two grocery stores, two food carts, a fudge shop, an animal rescue center, the Rogue River, a jetty, beaches galore, an incredible library, and a couple of dive bars, one of which advertised a Thanksgiving potluck.

Just before noon, Dave entered one of the grocery stores. What does one bring to a Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless encampment? How the hell would Dave know? He’d just have to wing it. Thirty minutes later he left the store after spending $35. His items:

Two jugs of Carlo Rossi rotgut red

A tub of potato salad

A jar of pickled sausages

Two boxes of Ding Dongs

A can of creamed corn

Jello parfait salad

Pocahontas and the Pilgrims wept.

Dave returned to the motel and took a nap. He woke up to the smell of barbecuing turkey. Max was right about its olfactory properties. He checked the time and it was now after 3:00. He was starving and hadn’t eaten anything but a maple bar all day.

Time for a new kind of Thanksgiving dinner. Dave carried his groceries out of the motel and down to the forts on the beach. A couple of campfires were already blazing and Dave estimated a gathering of 15 people and three pitbulls. As he came closer, he heard the sound of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” He saw two portable speakers plugged into a phone resting on a log and blasting the rock anthem into the air. It sounded mighty incongruous juxtaposed against the steady antediluvian ocean roar, but Dave dug it. If he’d been eating with Kari and her friends in a fancy restaurant, he’d be listening to some computerized soft jazz while people talked about the latest hot streaming shows.

Max noticed Dave’s approach, called out, and waved him over. Dave headed that direction and soon found himself standing around the barbecuing turkey with other men all roughly Max’s age and several younger women whose faces were scarred by meth. Malt liquor was the preferred drink of choice but Dave noticed a couple half pints of Fireball. A few of the assembled vaped weed and smoked cigarettes as they drank. One man just vaped. The dogs were utterly stoic.

Max introduced Dave as the Reverend and said, “He just got divorced and ended up in Gold Beach. Just like us.”

There were profane hosannas all around.

Dave asked Max where he should set the boxes down. Max wanted them over by the music. That’s where they would stage the feast.

Dave extricated each item from the box and held them up for inspection. The crowd reaction went like this:

Two jugs of Carlo Rossi rotgut red (HELL YES! CRACK ONE OPEN!)

A tub of potato salad (Right on! Right on! Right on!)

A jar of pickled sausages (I saw a man choke to death on one of those in a bar one night.)

Two boxes of Ding Dongs (Toss me one Dave!)

A can of creamed corn (BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Throw that shit in the fire!)

Jello parfait salad (Just like grandma used to make it!)

Dave put the items back in the box (except for the wine) and carried the box to the log. He returned to the barbecue pit and someone handed him a glass of the rotgut red. More Aerosmith played.