Problem solved. I found a place on Jamaica Avenue that was still open, and I stopped in to pick up a few side dishes. I was in and out in just a few moments, the kind of quick purchase we make all the time, except this one left me with something to think about.
The woman behind the counter looked exhausted. I asked her how late they were open and she said 11 p.m., but by the time she finished cleaning up it would be after midnight. She smiled wearily as she listed her own long list of things to do when she got home, the gifts she needed to wrap and the decorations she needed to put up.
The holidays can always get a bit hectic, and we might not always recognize all the people that work extra hours to make sure that our holidays are all they can be.
That includes all of the police officers and paramedics and members of the FDNY who work long, cold hours to make sure we can rest easily in our beds at night.
It includes all of the people who run stores or restaurants or taverns to make sure we have places to shop for last-minute gifts and to stop and eat, if only so we don’t have to eat alone.
That includes all of the people who work in the corner bodegas who were open bright and early on New Year’s Day, when the rest of Jamaica Avenue was still sleeping.
That includes all of the bus drivers and train conductors and token booth clerks who work long hours to make sure we can get where we are going safely.
And it includes all of the men and women of the postal service and UPS and FedEx, who make sure we get all of the packages we ordered and that all of our holiday cards get to our friends and relatives on time.
All of these people make our lives better and our holidays a little more special. and I’d like to start the new year by thanking them for all that they do.
Woodhaven’s Maureen Biglin contacted me last week to tell me about her mailman, Sam, who retired at the end of 2017 after 30 years delivering mail, over 20 of them right here in Woodhaven.
“He’s the best mailman we ever had,” Biglin said. “He’s taken mail from me, saving me trips to the mailbox. He’s bought stamps for me when it’s been hard to get to the post office.”
Though she wishes him the very best in retirement, and they’ve vowed to keep in touch, she says that she will miss seeing him on her doorstep every day.
“He always has a smile for everyone,” she says. “And I’m really going to miss all the chats we’ve had over the years.”
We all have people like that in our lives. The guy we buy our newspapers from, the lady at the fruit stand, the girl who gets our coffee and bagels, the boy who delivers our groceries.
Sometimes we’re in such a rush (and to be fair, a bit stressed and tired from our own jobs), that we don’t always recognize the people all around us working hard to make our lives a bit easier.
And so, I’d like to start 2018 by thanking them all, and wishing them the very best in the New Year. And a special thank you to Sam the Mailman, for all his years of service to the residents of Woodhaven. May you have the very best of retirements, you’ve earned it.
And I’d like to wish a very Happy New Year to all the readers of this newspaper, now entering its 109th year of covering Woodhaven and the surrounding neighborhoods. May 2018 be a year full of good health and happiness for all of you.