An edited version of his letter was published in To Thailand With Love, ThingsAsian Press, 2013
"The Hot Dog Man"
Monday, October 30, 2006
My Dear Fellow Gourmands and Ghouls,
“English Solutions,” my occasional school employer, sponsored their annual Halloween party on Sunday afternoon.
The owners of the school, Brian and Jason, own a large house near the school. They redecorated many of the rooms into “haunted houses” and party rooms.
About one hundred and fifty young children from six different Bangkok orphanages were invited.
Many local business supplied food and toys and books and transportation. Marriott sent over about fifty box lunches for the staff.
All of the adult staff and many friends dressed up in a variety of appropriate costumes.
Since I volunteered to cook the hot dogs, I rummaged through the costume bag and found a Chinese cap and braid, a white shirt and apron and a pair of red horns. I thought I was a Chinese cook. But as one of the adults said, “You are a Chinese Devil.”
I was a little concerned about the “dogs.” They were not Fenway Franks or Nathan’s Famous All Beef. I made sure the dogs were thoroughly boiled before I served them on buns with either mustard or ketchup!! After the hot dogs, the favorite item was ice cream – some of the really young ones were dripping everywhere.
The kids’ activities included the tour of the “haunted” rooms, face painting, musical chairs, ping-pong, movies, balloons and some general fun. I was really impressed, as I have been in the past, with the behavior of the children. There is no yelling or pushing or screaming or running amok. They are all cheerful and happy and appreciative and cooperative and self-controlled - just a joy to be with.
I even had one of my “moments.” Two, actually. The first was when I saw a large group tumble out of the back of the small transport bus. They lined up properly with their teachers. They were smiling and expectant. Some of the little ones were just wondering. I felt heartsick that there so many cute kids with no parents and no homes. I almost broke down.
My second "moment" came when a group of tiny girls arrived. I was just taken by one of the five year olds - funny ears, large eyes and a broad smile. I thought, “If only I was a little younger . . . .”
I did some investigating. This little girl is new to her school. I decided to be her sponsoring "dad." Since I already sponsor a young boy up north, I now have a “son” in Nang Rong and a "daughter" in Bangkok.
By the way, as I keep to my new regime of "vegetarianism-almost," I avoided my own hot dogs. But I did manage to chow down on a couple of Mr. Donut nutty chocolate doughnuts and a six-pack or two of Oreos.