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It's one of those talky moments. We're all waiting to register with Mike for the lunch tomorrow.

"Hey, it's 11-22," says someone.

"Yeah, I'm old enough to remember, too," this lady named Wendy next to me is saying. "I was a kid, walking about that day in the Bronx. I could feel something was wrong. People were kinda in huddles. Then somebody said 'Mr. Kennedy. They killed Mr. Kennedy.' Can't believe it. That was, what? Gosh, 48 years ago. What does that make me?"

This is at St. Vincent de Paul's (1501 Imperial Avenue, 619-233-8500).


St Vincent de Paul's

Turns out tomorrow, not Thursday, is the big day for free Thanksgiving dinner.

Mike, the guy behind the desk, says you have to register, have your photo taken, and promise you're not a sex offender or an arsonist. Otherwise anyone can come.

"It's a beautiful day," Mike says. "Most people who come spend their lives picking up after other people, working for the man, whole families living out, trying to survive. Tomorrow, people will serve them. Ask what they can do for them. There's a lot of tears."

The dining hall takes about 180, then they'll have tables outside in the courtyard.


The courtyard

Gal working with Mike says there'll be turkey, cranberry, green-bean casserole and mash and she doesn't know what-all else.

But everybody here who was here last year says it's great and there's plenty, and you can go around for seconds, no questions asked.

"I'd get here about eleven," Wendy says. "That line can get way long."

Outside, in the courtyard, Kenny and Kathy check the yard where the feast will take place.


Kenny and Kathy

"Oh yes. We'll be there," says Kathy.

"Father Joe has been a blessing for us, that's for sure," says Kenny.

Only trouble? Kenny has bloody gauze in his mouth. St. Vincent doctors have just hauled out a couple of his teeth.


Medical building where Kenny had his tooth surgery

"How will you be able to eat the Thanksgiving turkey with that?" I ask.

He shrugs his shoulders and smiles. "I'll eat anyway," he says.

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