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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
JUN
25

Blizzard Season

I grew up in a small town, and Dairy Queen was really the only food establishment we had. This explains why I continue to have more affection for Dairy Queen, even in my adult life, than the average person. Dilly Bars, dipped cones, Peanut Buster Parfaits, and, of course, Blizzards. One of my favorite lines (yes, authors have favorite lines) in my most recent book is when I say that employees will work harder if companies install a Dairy Queen Blizzard machine in the break room. I was kidding, but only kind of.

The Dairy Queen closest to me now isn't located in a place that I have much (or any) frequency to be, so Blizzards are few and far between these days. But last week I made a point to drive over and order one to kick off the summer. Aside from the fact that my go-to favorite flavor doesn't appear to be on the menu any longer (sometimes life seems like a series of things we grow attached to that we must inevitably find ways to live without when they are discontinued), it was as delicious as I remember.

Nostalgic, too. Clearly. It's worth noting that there is no longer a Dairy Queen in my hometown. After some franchise dispute about fry sauce (or so I heard), it was replaced by another establishment. I still think of it as there though, and every time I'm at home looking over at the little building hanging over the creek, literally supported by a rather precarious configuration stilts that struck me as questionable even 30 years ago, I smile. And immediately crave some ice cream. Happy summer to you all! May yours include a vacation, a couple of fabulous beach reads, and all the ice cream you can justify consuming.

JAN
26

My Morning with DOROT

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I should probably be doing more to prepare for this blizzard than listen to the 80’s Hits radio station and fold laundry. But clean underwear should be near the top of anyone’s snowed-in list. And I stand by that.

Since I will inevitably lose power in this storm, I thought I’d first say a few words about the opportunity I had this weekend to serve with the DOROT organization. A Jewish organization (the word means ‘generations’ in Hebrew), they work to serve the elderly, particularly by connecting them to younger volunteers, many of whom form lasting relationships with the elders they serve.

Yesterday DOROT delivered winter care packages to hundreds of elderly (many of them shut-ins, unable to leave their apartments) throughout NYC. The packages contained not just food, but warm hats, gloves, and other things needed in winter. (Just in time for the storm!) Of course serving others is its own reward, whether or not the experience is a particularly positive one, but I feel doubly fortunate that the woman I was assigned to visit was such a gem.

I talked with her for about an hour (socialization is another thing these elders are in need of), and in addition to her beautiful Abyssinian cat (the cat lady bond runs deep), her noteworthy career in film (she was “very fond” of Peter Falk, and Shirley MacLaine “did not suffer fools”), when she learned of my gemology studies, she had me fetch her jewelry box, and, drawer by drawer, she showed me her treasures and told the stories behind each one. None were particularly remarkable or valuable pieces, but the stories were incredible, and this amazing woman thanked me for giving her the chance to remember things she hadn’t thought of in years. (Sidenote: Yet another testament to the significance of jewelry and what it can represent to us.)

As a society, there’s so much we can do for each other. I know time is precious and not one of us has nearly enough of it. But if any of you in the NY area are looking for an opportunity to serve, I strongly recommend this organization. You don’t have to be Jewish (“Well you’re obviously not Jewish,” the woman I visited pointed out rather comically when my blond-haired, blue-eyed self showed up at her door), and I promise you you’ll not only enjoy yourself and want in on the next planned delivery day as well, but you'll also wish you had gotten involved sooner.