By JAMES SHERIDAN
For The Recorder
It's a very small world.
Forty years ago, I was a chef at a ski lodge in Mount Snow, Vt. We purchased most of our products from the big "houses" like Quandt's, but there were certain items we had to purchase locally from the Grand Union, which was located in Wilmington, Vt., which was eight miles from Mount Snow.
One January day, in a howling blizzard, my boss and I drove into town to purchase several items. I was pushing my shopping cart and I noticed a man on a ladder. I had my chef's coat on and he hollered, "Hey, Cookie, what do you think of this weather?"
I said, "We have the same thing back where I come from, just a different location."
He said, "Where's that?"
I said, "New York."
His reply was, "No way. Where would you put the snow?"
I said, "Not the city -- but upstate."
He said, "Where, upstate?"
I said, "You wouldn't know."
He said, "Try me."
I said, "Amsterdam."
He fell off the ladder and landed on his knees. He wasn't hurt.
He said, "You must know Bob Masten and his brother, Fran. Are you Catholic?"
I replied that I was.
He said, "Then you must have gone to St. Mary's Institute. Does the name Sister Laura ring a bell?"
Then he proceeded to reel off the following: Bob's wife Helen -- he said that the word "lady" was designed to fit her. Norma Jasper, Margaret Genevan, Rosemary Mortise, Billy Dufresne -- then he identified himself. His name was William "Bill" Jones. He represented Nabisco and he lived in West Chesterfield, N.H.
He'd worked with Bob several years and really admired him, but he couldn't say enough good things about Bob's wife, Helen. He said that at the time Bob got married, he could have had anyone who resided in the city of Amsterdam. He chose Helen. Bob was extremely handsome, well mannered -- pressed pants, shined shoes, shirt and tie. Everyone who knew him loved him. Over the years I met Bill a few more times. We would shake hands and all he could think of to say was, "Damn. I can't believe Bob Masten."
Next Saturday, we will go back to St. Mary's Hospital, where I just had skin cancer removed by Dr. Marsh.
For the inquisitive, no, I didn't see Sarah Fiorillo or Lynn Armstrong. Yes, it hurt. But I did renew acquaintances with some very familiar people.
I heard Helen was living in California with her two boys. May God bless her.
Amsterdam resident JAMES SHERIDAN
is a frequent contributor.