Long-lost Thanksgiving days with Duncan and Vince at the Wall Berlin café

Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

For many years it was a Thanksgiving tradition that me and Duncan and Vince would meet up at the Wall Berlin café around noon every Thanksgiving. Wall Berlin wasn’t a place we usually hung out it — it was mostly for the younger and hipper crowd — the tattooed, the pierced, the dreadlocked, a place to see and be seen. But for some reason Wall Berlin was the only café on the Ave that stayed open on Thanksgiving. So that’s why it became our Thanksgiving spot. Usually we were the only customers in the place. And there’d be just one woman working behind the counter. We’d get our coffee and sit at one of the outdoor tables in front of the building. The streets were usually almost completely deserted — all the students had gone home for the break, and everybody else was home with their families having their Thanksgiving dinner.

Me, Duncan and Vince really didn’t have any family. So we had become family to each other in a way. So we’d sit there and quietly drink our coffee before we went off to our Thanksgiving dinners, whatever that was each year. In my memory it was always a bright, sunny day. And the talk was dull and relaxed, in a pleasant way. Me and Duncan had worked like dogs for the previous two months to get the latest issue of the Telegraph Avenue Street Calendar together. And tomorrow was the big day where we’d unveil the issue at our vending table — Thanksgiving weekend, the first big day of the Christmas shopping season. And we’d work like dogs selling and hawking the calendar over the next two months. So Thanksgiving day was this little quiet period of calm in between the storms. So we both enjoyed sort of the nothingness of the lazy day.

I don’t remember anything about our conversations, as we sat there drinking our coffee and smoking our cigarettes. So it’s weird how much I miss and cherish those Thanksgiving days with Duncan and Vince. Even as nothing ever happened. I’d love to go back in time and experience that nothingness all over again.

Duncan and Vince are both long gone. They both died in 2009. And Wall of Berlin is long gone, too. It’s an Asian restaurant now. Even the woman who used to work behind the counter is gone. She got hit by a car. . … But I’m still here. And so’s Thanksgiving.

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