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Project Resilience: Thanksgiving, Community And Angie's

The Herald Journal, Jennifer Meyers

When Saboor Sahely came to Utah State University from Afghanistan, he was befriended by a fellow student who invited him to his home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Saboor remembered this act of kindness when he opened his restaurant Angie’s in Logan. Every Thanksgiving he invited the entire community to a free turkey dinner. Last year he served close to 3,000 meals.

This was also Saboor's way of bringing a little of the joy of growing up in a village in Afghanistan to Logan. In a StoryCorps interview in 2016, Saboor talked about the constant sharing in his village. "If you didn't like what was for dinner at your house, you went to your neighbor's house. … If there was a wedding, the entire village would show up."

For many people in Logan, Angies became their "village."

Randy Williams told us about her elderly neighbor, Herman Thompson, who would go to Angies every morning for breakfast. He sat at the bar with the old timers. The staff at Angie’s treated him like family.  He would put candy in his shirt pocket for the staff to come and take.

My neighbor told me how her father, Merv Willie, loved to go to Angie’s to drink coffee and read the newspaper. When he was hospitalized after a stroke, he asked the nurse to please help him find his shoes. If he could only get to Angie’s, he would be all right.

Then COVID struck.

Angie’s has stayed open, but throwing the doors open for a big crowd won't be possible this year. Angie’s will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Years ago my husband and I were speeding across Nevada trying to make it to a traditional family gathering. Something went terribly wrong with the car engine and we found ourselves sitting disconsolately in a run down motel room. Then came a knock on the door. 

The owner of a bar a few blocks away was serving a free Thanksgiving dinner. We hurried over and found a cheerful group of locals eating, drinking, and dancing! That will always be one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories, mostly because it was an unexpected gift.

So now we can take a minute to look on the bright side. For the first time in 30 years, the people who work at Angie’s will be able to spend Thanksgiving at home. And we still have time to make this coming holiday unique—and safe—and the most memorable

Mary got hooked on oral histories while visiting Ellis Island and hearing the recorded voices of immigrants that had passed through. StoryCorps drew her to UPR. After she retired from teaching at Preston High, she walked into the station and said she wanted to help. Kerry put her to work taking the best 3 minutes out of the 30 minute interviews recorded in Vernal. Passion kicked in. Mary went on to collect more and more stories and return them to the community on UPR's radio waves. Major credits to date: Utah Works, One Small Step, and the award winning documentary Ride the Rails.