Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 2.320: A major operation

No - not any medical treatment. We decided that this year we should, since we are strangers to this particular holiday, take the opportunity to offer something to our neighbours without any great sacrifice on our part. In the end, we settled on delivering some of the 8500 meals to people in need in the area with the Equinox organisation. We did not really know what to expect, but armed with some good advice and some contingency plans this is how the day went.

At 5.20 am, I got up and headed over to the Empire State Plaza with the kids' red wagon, some breakfast, a book and an iPod.

At 6.00 am, the State Trooper at the parking lot checked my photo ID carefully - as usual, then thanked me for coming out. This was no normal day at the Plaza.

At 6.05 am or so, I arrived in the concourse and found my way to the back of the line. There were well over a hundred people ahead of me - I later found out I was the 74th driver in line.

At 7.00 am, I walked to the back of the line to see how long it was - this was still an hour before anyone was going to move from the front of the line. I estimate that there were probably between 400 and 500 drivers at this stage.

At 8.20 am, we still had not moved (except several line-compression operations). Just then the Governor of New York came down the line greeting the volunteers.

That was as far as he got. The guy behind me in line quipped that he you had to be in the first 70 to meet him. He also told me that his friend who was second in line had arrived at 4.15 am!

The line started moving soon after that, and I took my turn to collect a set of names and addresses with details of how many meals they needed.

Because I had arrived early, I managed to get a set near to our home - which made the next major stage of the operation significantly simpler.

This was the view looking back from about where I started my walk in the time-lapse above. That's quite a line - and no complaining (as far as I heard anyway).

I picked up the food (a total of nine meals to be delivered to five different addresses) from an amazing assembly line in the food court where we had sat on a previous visit - near the sign commemorating a previous mass-feeding event.

At around 9 am, I packed the food into the car and drove home to pick up the rest of the family - other plans had included meeting up in various large parking lots around the outskirts of the city if I ended up with a round in another area.

One of the recipients of the meals was an 89-year-old veteran of the Battle of Guam. He told us a couple of stories while E5N1 played on his mobility aid. We had a great time, only making one mistake - turning up a elderly care-home instead of the assisted living apartments next door - with some resulting confusion.

We were home before 11 am - fairly early, if quite a long time after the day had started. Exile #2 cooked us our own Thanksgiving dinner - not turkey, but we did have sweet potato!

Afterwards, to fight off the desire to collapse and fall asleep, we went to Five Rivers and saw this very relieved-looking turkey wandering around. We also had a nice walk and bumped into Albaniana and family there.

All in all we had a very good day indeed.

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