Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving Day in New York

Looking across the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir towards the Upper West Side. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, November 24, 2017. A sunny, quite chilly Thanksgiving Day yesterday in New York. On the East Side of town, the streets were very quiet, almost to the point where guests from out of town wondered what had happened. Two things. New Yorkers  were either at table somewhere or out of town.

I had two Thanksgiving dinners. The first being with my friend Joy Ingham along with her two daughters, her son, a son-in-law, daughter-in-law and ten grandchildren — eight of whom are boys — ranging from ages 5 through 20. I recount those details to give you an idea of the energy in the room.
The table.
Our hostess loves to go all-out with her special dinners and Thanks is a kind of lollapalooza because there are favors for us (being mainly the younger to youngest), and the table settings are there to appeal to any kid’s concept of fun and plenty, no matter the age.

Guests were called for one p.m. The boys (all ages) wore jackets (some ties) except for the older school and college boys who were colleagiately casual. The girls were festively casual.  There were eighteen of us — 12 at table and 6 at the “children’s table,” which was presided over by our hostess and her son-in-law. It was not a quiet dinner. It was not a loud dinner, but it was an active dinner. All those favors, unravelings and fascination with the jest therein, kept the majority of us preoccupied while eating our turkey, stuffing and veggies — all very good.
The centerpiece.
My place setting.
The host's place.
I was seated across from the prettiest girl in the room who looks like she’s going to grow up to be a movie star. Now, at four and a half she was engrossed in her delicate unraveling of a ball. Unlike the boys who just tore into it, she did it slowly but steadily while paying attention to everything around her.

Dessert was ice cream and whipped cream served on a waffle. It looked devour-able but it was time for me to move on and the activity of the younger guests had begun also to move from table. I had a second Thanksgiving date at 3:30 at the Carlyle.
After the unraveling.
Blair Sabol and her mother Audrey and a family friend had come from Scottsdale to New York as guests of Jeanne and Herb Siegel. Audrey Sabol is Herb’s older sister and they rarely see each other but try to spend Thanksgivings together.

The elegant Carlyle restaurant was filled with large tables of families and friends. The bill of fare offered the traditional Thanksgiving items as well as alternatives. Our table took the traditional items which also included pumpkin pie which I cannot resist. I ate two.

Jeremy Nicolas Hutchinson, pictured soon after being called to the Bar in 1939.
6:30. Madison Avenue outside the Carlyle was  so quiet there were moments when there were no cars even sight. Riding home across East 79th Street was the same. Like a Sunday night in New York. Glad to be home after a good day in wonderful company, all a great gift.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to an obituary in the Guardian. Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, a man I’d never heard of, a barrister described as “one of the finest silks to practice at the criminal bar.” British, of course.

I was unaware of the term “silks,” and at first sight I wasn’t sure a story about a British barrister would be interesting to me. Courtroom activities are not of as great an interest to me, as they are to so many of us. However my friend who sent this link knows me well enough to think I might find Lord Hutchinson interesting.

How right she was. Lord Hutchinson, Jeremy Hutchinson, is one of those characters in life who alter your view of humanity in good  way, but also because you can’t resist not only the man, but his story.

This obituary is like watching (reading) a movie. Yes, a courtroom show. Shakespeare living in the 20th-21st century couldn’t have resisted the character. It’s long as obituaries go, but like a good movie, it moves quickly and more curiously as you read along. This was a great man for all of us.

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