And So It Goes!

Written By: Thomas J  Kowalski

That August 22 was their eighteenth wedding anniversary.  They had a lot to celebrate. It was their third wedding anniversary in their Sag Harbor home; and their tenth as Hamptons residents, having moved to East Quogue when their first-born, a son, was in his first year of life.  Their son was now ten.  But now not the only child.  At age six their son became a “big brother”; to a “kid sister”.  The East Quogue two bedroom house seemed to have grown too small for the four of them.  Thus, a few years earlier than that August 22 they moved house from East Quogue to Sag Harbor.

That August 22, their daughter was four, turning five in the upcoming November.  November was a special month.  Not only because it was the birth month of their daughter, but they too each were born in a November; the same November, a week apart, in hospitals within miles of each other.  They had each grown up Long Islanders.  He, a Massapequa boy; she a Roslyn girl.

That August 22 was twenty-four years from when the met at a Long Island Beefsteak Charlies.  Each an employee, age twenty-one, and old enough to serve alcoholic beverages in an establishment that had as its slogan, “All the beer wine and sangria you can drink!”  An establishment that perhaps due to such a slogan seemed long unknown by that August 22.

That August 22 was far in the future from those days of needing to work at that Beefsteak Charlies, as each pursued studies.  They each needed the work; the wages; the tips.  Their parents were first generation Americans.  Fathers who had served in World War II.  Parents who moved from Brooklyn to Long Island after the War.  Through hard work in their studies, careers and parenting, that August 22 they were Hamptons residents and Long Islanders, but no one famous; never featured on Page 6 of the New York Post or in Dan’s Papers.

That August 22 was a day of record heat; temperature over 90° F.  He wanted to impress her.  He ensured he had a dinner reservation, secured timely in advance, at one of the finest restaurants in town—the American Hotel.  He had been sure to select a time for dinner that allowed for coming home from a day at Scott Cameron beach, cleaning up, and settling the children in with a sitter.  He selected suitable, dressy Summer-lightweight slacks, shirt, and even a sport jacket.  He had it in his mind that despite the heat he would be dressed in a sport jacket for dining at the American Hotel of Sag Harbor with his wife on their wedding Anniversary.

That August 22 it all seemed to come together. She dressed in a wonderful Summer dress.  He in those suitable slacks and shirt.  Driving north on Main Street in Sag Harbor, the sport jacket on the back seat, awaiting alighting from the car to be donned.  There was plenty of time ahead of the appointed time of the reservation.  And there was a spot to park in, near the Sag Harbor Fire Department, not a far walk at all to the American Hotel.  Something they were thankful for given the heat that August 22.

That August 22, as they approached the outdoor sidewalk seating of the American Hotel, a voice amongst the crowd called out to them.  “I see a gentleman.  A man wearing a jacket for dinner.  On this hot night.”  The voice was not familiar to either of them.  But the face was indeed familiar.  More than familiar.  The man calling out was famous; a famous author; a famous Sag Harbor resident.  They responded to that fellow gentleman; saying hello, complimenting him on his sport jacket, and thanking him for his inspirational work; his semi-autobiographical novel involving the bombing of Dresden.  But their praise was quickly set aside.  Replaced again with that famous man’s praise for the wearing of a sport jacket for dinner at the American Hotel, with note that it seemed only the two of them were wearing sport jackets; an inquiry as to the occasion for so wearing that sport jacket, and well wishes for a Happy Wedding Anniversary.

That August 22 was indeed made a Happy Wedding Anniversary by that famous man’s public praise on a detail of wearing a sport jacket for dinner at the American Hotel.  A detail to which he attended, with hopes of impressing her, over dinner at the American Hotel; and it did.  That sport jacket led to the chance meeting with a fellow Sag Harbor resident.  A meeting with a fellow Sag Harbor resident they have not forgotten each Anniversary since.

That August 22 it all did come together.  And each August 22 since is a day for the toast, “And So It Goes!”