2005 Bayram Dinner Reports
ARKANSAS BAYRAM CELEBRATION
It wasn't exactly the banks of the Bosphorus or even
Washington D.C. but St. Paul, Arkansas did just fine as the site of a
Cumhurriyet Bayram celebration on Oct. 23.
The basic elements were there: friends, fun, food,
cigarettes, Turkish coffee and rakı, lots of rakı.
It was Nina Selz's idea. Turkey 1 volunteers, a small but faithful group,
have maintained friendships and get together at the drop of a hat. Usually
they descend en masse to Washington D.C. for the annual celebration and so
intended this year until plans got fouled by the date change from the real
Independence Day to a week earlier. What to do?
Nina had a better plan. Terry Nichols (T-1) and his wife,
Linda, have a hard time getting away from their Arkansas life to attend
bayram reunions, so "lets bring the bayram to them." Joan Grant traveled
from Maine via bus then plane, Ken Dabbs made it in from San Diego. And
the mini-bayram was on.
Probably more T-1s would have joined us, but the four of
us, Linda and the Nichols son Tanon (plus two frisbee-loving dogs) seemed
the right number to fill the riverside historic home with the good cheer
that goes with köfte, eggplant, hummus, lentil
soup and all the rest. The rest being lots of photo sharing, story
swapping, memories revisited and updates on current lives, families,
ailments etc. etc. That the Nichols homestead is heated by a big pot-belly
wood stove added to the warm atmosphere.
Not that we just sat around all day and talked. The Ozark
Mountains National Forrest was spitting distance away and hiking to grand
vista-viewing spots was in order. Then too, the bargain fiends in the
group had to check out the lawn sales, flea markets and farmers market.
All in all, Turkish independence was barely mentioned.
Let's face it, as much as we all love our second country, celebrating
bayrams is just a damn good excuse to celebrate long-standing friendships.
Mini-bayram at the home of Terry and Linda Nichols in St. Paul, Arkansas.
Ken Dabbs (T-1), Tannon Nichols (Terry and Linda's son), Nina Selz (T-1),
Joan Grant (T-1), and Terry Nichols (T-1)
Photo by LINDA NICHOLS