Vic Chote on the bar

Thanksgiving morning in San Angelo, Texas: Vic Choate welcomes guests
All Photos: Bill Bishop

Vic Choate and family of San Angelo, Texas, wind down 2008 with a toast. It’s a family tradition to invite their many friends, old and new, to the former Coney Island Cafe on Chadbourne Street at 11 a.m. sharp Thanksgiving morning. Everybody’s here just long enough for a handshake and the chance to hear Vic’s assessment of last twelve months, sliced with rhyme and spiced with commentary.

This was our second trip to Choates bar, and what a difference a year makes. With an interfaith marriage in the family and a Democrat headed for the White House, there’s change in the air. Some things are reliable, though: the caribou on the wall, twinkling shot-glasses and the hospitality.

The turkey’s in the oven. Turn the beans down low, and get over to Choates bar before they pass the limes and pour the tequila shots.

Vic Choate reading

Welcome, friends, near and far
And turkey loyal-“istas.”
Suffer anew as we dare to review
This year’s historical revistas.

We’re so glad to see your families
And the wonderful lives they are living.
Your gift to us is to share this time
On this most wonderful Thanksgiving.

But what a year that’s just gone by
All across the range.
There’s just one thing that is certain now:
By God, there has been change!

choate flower

Beth Coffey has earned a masters degree
And, yes, she has the answer.
She’ll use it to earn a fantastic living
By being a zydeco dancer.

Our bachelor son has a bachelor’s degree
And you know what’s really funny”¦
He luckily just completed his work
As he unluckily ran out of money!

choate limes

Now Courtney and Eric got married this fall.
We rejoiced in their taking their vows.
It was a success; in Biblical terms,
I believe that it cost forty cows.

Judge Robert Junell married the two
As we laughed and all had a ball.
On crushing the glass some cried, “mazal tov”
While the Texans all yelled, “yee haw!”

Anne Marie and Michael Choate
Are both now Texas Techies
But they won’t be going to the Rose Bowl this year
As their team had a little big wreckie.

And speaking of little wreckies,
There is something I want to say”¦
What in the hell just happened
To what’s left of our 401 K’s?

Wall Street, we all so depended on you
But lately you’ve been so rude.
We can’t help but feel you don’t love us no more
Even though we’ve all just been screwed!

But now we have a spring in our step
Though funds are getting tighter.
Not because we feel so good
But because our wallets are lighter.

The elections are now behind us.
And this you all must know”¦
Though the Democrats are eating fried chicken tonight
The Republicans are now eating crow!

So let’s all support our new president
And quit all the bitchin’ and moanin’.
Let’s get our country back moving again
And forget all this griping and groaning.

We are still the greatest country around
And there is no secret to it.
We will be back on top in no time at all
If we get off our butts and just do it!

choates bar

So now, good friends, the time has come
To toast to this good living
And start this holiday season
With a salute to this Thanksgiving.

A salute to the men and women
Who serve both you and me,
Who have given their time, their efforts, their lives,
So that we have the right to be free.

Mazal tov and Bottoms up,
Salud and Prost to you.
Alas, alas, let’s raise our glass
And give the turkey his due.

Vic Choate, November 27, 2008

Vic Choate toast

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