By JAMES SHERIDAN
For The Recorder
Many years ago I signed a two-year contract to run the kitchen of a large hotel in York Beach, Maine, just up the road from President Bush's estate. It was an antiquated facility which no longer exists, but is now an area of condominiums.
One day I took a break and went to sit on the front porch of the hotel, where I could view the Atlantic Ocean. There were four or five young ladies sitting next to me. One of them told me a joke. I forgot the joke, but I remembered the punch line: "It's a long, long, way to Tipperary." The following floored me. The young lady was Mary Ann Thackrah who was a good friend of my daughter. Her mother worked with my wife in the Head Start/Early Start programs. This was 200 miles away. Mary Ann is now the wife of attorney Robert Going.
Speaking of Robert Going, last week I got a phone call from my sister, Pat, who is 82 years old and lives in Elgin, Texas. She keeps up with The Recorder on the Internet. She came down on me like ugly on an ape. First off, she said, if you wish to gain any recognition in the field of journalism, you need to print facts instead of supposition. Case in point; Yes, we had a sister named Betty. Yes, she was married to Lou Hildebrandt. Yes, she taught ballroom dancing with a girl named Margaret. No, Margaret's last name was not Donlon. It was Dolan. If you had taken the time to check with Bob Going, or Bob Cudmore, you would have found out that all the Donlon children were male. "I know they cut you a lot of slack because of your age, but, don't try to trade on that. Pay attention to detail." So, I stand corrected.
My sister is an RN and she's quite pretty, but don't cross her or you will really know you've been some place.
Relative to my various employers, the best job that I had in the past 87 years was as a night watchman at Ward Products. It was there that I met Tom Elwood who was a true friend and where I fell in love with Marion Orleanski. But we kept it so quiet that she didn't even know about it. A one-sided admiration society.
The best employer I ever had was Ed Schuyler. I worked for him for 11 years. When he interviewed me for the job at the orchard, I could see he was a perfectionist. He said, "I'll pay you $6 an hour." I said, "No, you will pay me $5 an hour, but you will stay off my back." I managed to get fired at least four times each year, always while making cider. He stood at the top of the cider press and I fed the apples on to a conveyor belt. Should a bad apple reach where he stood I got a dirty look. Should another bad apple get by he would question my birthright. Should the third bad apple reach where he was standing I became unemployed. I would call someone from my family to pick me up. However, the following morning at about 7:30, there would be a horn blowing in the driveway. It would be Ed in a truck full of empty boxes. I'd ask "what do you want?" His reply was: "Pack your lunch. We have to go to Rexford to pick up some Cortlands." This also happened at least four times a year. I loved this guy from the start. I'm too crippled up now to be of any service to him. What most people don't know is that the orchard and the greenhouse are not his strongest suit. If you drove your car into his driveway, he could lift the hood, and in 10 minutes could tell you what was wrong with your car and how to fix it. He has a mind like a steel trap.
I'll see you guys next Saturday, Lord willing.
JAMES SHERIDAN is an Amsterdam resident
and frequent contributor.