Good People Doing Good Things — Scott Macauley

Today I am focusing solely on one good person, for his deeds deserve the spotlight.Scott MacauleyIt began 33 years ago in 1985, when Scott Macaulay’s parents divorced, and he found himself all alone for the Thanksgiving holiday.  He was divorced also, and he really didn’t want to spend the day alone watching football with a tv dinner, or grab a burger from McDonald’s for his Thanksgiving dinner, so he placed an ad in the local paper, asking 12 strangers to join him for Thanksgiving dinner.McCauley-at-storeWell, he got twelve strangers to join him that year, and he enjoyed it so much that he has continued the tradition of a free Thanksgiving feast every year since.  He has hosted widows, the homeless, and college kids who can’t go home for the holiday.  Today, he estimates that he has about 70 people each year, and sometimes as many as 100, and he has no intention of stopping.  About a week before the day, he goes grocery shopping, and while he won’t say exactly how much he spends on the food to feed the crowd, he did say that it’s over $1,000! And apart from an occasional small donation from someone who has attended one of his dinners, Macauley fully funds this all himself.  He says he begins saving for next year right after the meal is finished.

Macauley lived just north of Boston in the town of Melrose, Massachusetts. Obviously, he cannot do all that cooking, nor fit all those people, in his house, so he prepares and serves the meal at a local church that donates the space each year.  The menu includes: Four large turkeys, five kinds of pie (pumpkin, apple, mince, cherry and the ever-popular Hershey’s frozen sundae pie), sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, butternut squash, cranberries, fruit cups and rolls with butter.  I typically cook for 8-10 people on Thanksgiving, and that is exhausting!  I cannot imagine how many hours this man must spend on his feet, in the kitchen, and all to do something good for others.Macauley-fireplaceHe goes all out, too … no skimping here!  A few days before, he hauls in sofas, recliners, oriental rugs, even a couple of fake fireplaces, and decorates the church’s rec hall to resemble a cozy living room. Candlesticks and cloth napkins are placed on the tables, curtains are hung in the windows, and adjoining rooms are set up for guests to relax and get to know each other over appetizers: chips and dip in one room and cheese and crackers in the next.

“This isn’t about the food, though. It’s about having a place to go. Silence is unbearable, especially on Thanksgiving. My goal is always to replicate the feeling of having a nice dinner in somebody’s home.”

And he has memories …

“There was a guy one year who’d just lost his wife. And after dinner, he put on her old apron and helped me to do the dishes.”

One year, he said, an elderly woman paid $200 for an ambulance to drive her to the church from her nursing home. She arrived decked out in fancy clothes and told Macaulay she hadn’t been out in seven years. She cried when dinner was over.

Another year, Macaulay took a plate out to a woman who was living in her car and was too ashamed of her plight to come inside until almost everyone had gone home.

Then there was the time his parents both showed up. Macaulay’s mother was dying of breast cancer and wanted to be with family. So did his dad. “There they were, sitting on the couch together, holding each other’s hand, years after their divorce. I can still see them sitting there. That’s a happy memory.”

Macaulay also has a son, Walter, 22, who pitches in to help serve and clean up. He’s the designated turkey carver. Neither father nor son batted an eye a few years ago when Macaulay’s ex-wife strolled in with her new husband and offered to play the piano while everyone ate!

Imagine if just a few people in every city did what Scott Macauley is doing?  He is a true humanitarian, something we need many more of today.  Thank you, Scott Macauley, for your contribution to the people in your town, and for giving the rest of us just a wee bit of hope for the future of humanity.

72 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Scott Macauley

  1. Pingback: People Helping Other People #WATWB « Frank Parker's author site

  2. Jill, I am very pleased to see that you have chosen this man as your Thanksgiving Good People! Scott Macaulay is well known in Melrose and the surrounding areas of Massachusetts. Back in around 2010, my Son had need of a new vacuum cleaner as his stopped working. A co-worker sent him to Macaulay’s House of Vacuum Cleaners in Melrose. The very same Scott in your post, told my Son that he would look at the vacuum cleaner to see if it could be repaired. It could and he did, instead of just selling my Son a new vacuum cleaner and then only charged a pittance for the work done! My Son also told me about Scott and Walter’s collection of artifacts from Melrose that they call “Archives of Melrose Memories” that were kept in the store and could be viewed. Scott Macaulay is the epitome of generosity. “As we express gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy. Thank-you!

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    • I wondered if you might know of him. He’s one of those genuinely good people who doesn’t go about tooting his own good, doesn’t feel a need to shout to the world about his good deeds, but just quietly goes about his business. I thought his was the perfect story for today. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, my friend! Give Benjamin this for me, please … 🍩

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  3. With all the back stabbing, shooting and ugliness that we see in our country right now it is heartwarming to see that there are good people who do good. Happy Thanksgiving my friend.

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  4. In my lifetime I have known people who put on holiday meals for friends and strangers, and even a couple restaurants where you could eat for free, or whatever you could donate. These people are out there, quietly helping others have places to go for food and companionship. Without them I would never have celebrated holidays, but it was nice to do so occasionally. I have never been a holiday person–my belief is we should be at our holiday best every day of the year!

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    • You are so right … we SHOULD be at our holiday best every day of the year, but rarely are we. Frankly, I’m probably better during the rest of the year than at the holidays, for I end up doing too much, getting tired & stressed, and then I get cranky. Yes, I know it’s almost impossible for you to believe that I would ever be cranky, but … sigh … it does happen on rare occasions! 😉

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      • Okay. Reading your response literally–word by word–you too need to give up celebrating holidays. Then mybe Miss Cranky Panties might never show up again.
        And reading between the lines–stop reading everything Dictating Tweeter writes, that would make anyone cranky.

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        • Oooohhhh … you are such an astute man! Frankly, if I lived alone, I suspect any holiday celebrations at this point would be very minimalist. However, my girls literally delight in the holidays, and I would do anything for them, so I do what I can. The last two years, though, it exhausts me to the point that I really don’t enjoy it much. Part of the problem is that I still think I can go, go, go like I could 30 years ago, and I can’t. And you are right … this year especially, Trump & Co. have made it difficult to enjoy much of anything.

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          • I realize your daughter holds down a stressful full time job, but there comes a time when she has to take over a lot of the preparations, which requires gramma to give up those responsibilities. Think about it, Jill. You are no longer superwoman, you need to become superwoman’s mother. You will still be loved as much as ever, but you may have more energy to enjoy that love.

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            • Actually, I wouldn’t argue it, for I know you are right. But … I am a stubborn wench who needs to at least try to do as much as I can, to be all that I can, and so I still do the laundry, house chores and cooking. It’s just how I am … I feel like to do otherwise would be giving up, and once I give up, I might as well be dead. Anyway, neither of the girls fold towels the right way! (Just kidding … they don’t, but it’s because I haven’t taught them. And in the grand scheme of things, how a towel is folded may not be all that important.)

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              • Towel folding 101– Do you end up with towels folded in quarters or thirds? Pop’s quiz.
                I should have known you would be a control freak. Okay, I knew, ever since I met you. But I hoped…
                All well and good, but who is folding towels after you are dead and gone? Do they know the number for a reliable food delivery service? How about a trustworthy maid service? Who is going to brush Miss Goose’s hair 100 strokes a day? And put it into braids? Come on, grandma! You’re an old biddy now. Or is it a “babushka”?

                Sing along with me, in the form of a three-part round:

                I’m an old fogey now
                Never thought I’d get here no how
                S’posed to die by thirty, now I’m 6? (I’m 69, so guessing you’re 67)
                Groovy! Wow!

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                • Well, it depends on which bathroom the towel goes in, of course! Most bathtowels get folded first into quarters, then thirds, so they end up folded into twelfths … I could send you a video! 😉 I’m halfway joking about all this, and I have been teaching Miss Goose to cook, which is interesting, for I view cooking as an art rather than a science. So, I say, oh, a palmful of this, or just a smidge of that. Enough onions to give it flavour without overpowering. And she wants precise measurements. But, she is coming along nicely and will be able to prepare meals. She already brushes her own hair, silly … she is almost 24, y’know 😉 And to an extent, I’m exaggerating, but I am OCD about things, a perfectionist, and I don’t easily relinquish things. Remember before my eye surgery when I finally had to admit that I couldn’t see well enough to drive? That nearly did me in! I felt … useless, dependent … and if that had been a permanent situation, I likely would have preferred death to losing that much of my autonomy. Yes, 67 … some days I think, WOW, quite an achievement, while other days I wonder how on earth I got to be so old.

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                  • No need for a video, that is how I fold towels. They sit in linen closets better that way, I think. But I do all bathrooms the same… Aw, I really thought you would still be brushing MG’s hair as an act of love. Smidgens and pinches are how an artist cooks, but I’m a cook, not an artiste. Spices have to be measured, lol. My father-in-law, back when I was married, died two days after his licence was taken away from him. He loved driving that much. But he had become dangerous on the roads, driving so cautiously he interrupted the flow of traffic. But who knew a person could die from losing their licence? There wss nothing else wrong with him, just a broken heart. I still drive when I have to, but Gail does 98% of the driving now. It’s like I have a chauffeur.
                    As for age, I get all kinds of looks when I ask for the senior’s discount. If only they could see the way I feel…

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                    • Exactly … I have no linen closet, but shelves in each bathroom, and they stack neater, take up less space, on the shelves if properly folded! Somehow I thought your cooking would be more along the lines of artistry … decide what else might go nicely in a dish and just toss a handful of it in! 😉 I don’t particularly love driving any more, though I used to. For me, it is the autonomy … I hate having to ask somebody to take me somewhere and I feel like it’s a loss of independence. Yeah, I told you … a stubborn ol’ wench I am! Speaking of looking old, or not … the other day I decided to buy a pack of cigarettes … I typically roll my own, but that day I was exhausted and not feeling well, so on the way home from doing some shopping, I stopped at the local convenience store to buy a pack. Would you believe … they asked me for ID? Having left it in the car, and being sure he was joking, I smiled and said my ID was right there on my face, but he apparently wasn’t joking, for he wouldn’t sell me the smokes until I went back to the car for my ID. I know there is no way in heck I could be mistaken for being under 21!!!

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                    • Were you out and about in a miniskirt and bikini top? Gail says you should feel honoured.
                      Throwing in handfuls of things is how I create the stock, but when it comes to herbs and spices I have no idea what I am doing. I burned my flavour buds off as a smoker, and I cannot taste half the things that go in my mouth. So I had to learn what people like, and how much.

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                    • Heck no! I had on jeans & a sweatshirt, no makeup, and hair pulled back in a rubber band! I’m sure I looked every one of my 67 years! I might have been honoured, but I really felt that it was far beyond ridiculous. I remember the first time I wasn’t carded when ordering a beer, and I said to the waiter, “don’t you need to see my ID?” He patted my hand and said, “No, honey … I can tell you’re over 21.” I was crushed … I think I was around 30 at the time. 😉 I have that problem with salt … it takes a lot of salt before I can taste it, so I keep adding more and Miss Goose informs me if something is too salty. Lately, I let her be my taste tester, and then just add extra salt to my own plate/bowl.

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                    • I turned 21 the day the drinking age was lowered to 18 in Manitoba. I went to my usual bar I had been going to for a couple years, and my regular waiter carded me. I had no ID on me, I had never needed it before. He kicked me out. If I had looked 21 for two years already, surely I looked at least 18 that day, but c’est la vie!

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  5. Jill, this is what Thanksgiving is all about. My friend invites friends and acquaintances over that are not traveling. I think they are up to 45 or so. To me, it is all about fellowship. Well done. I love that even his ex-wife is welcome. Keith

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! We all need more stories like this … in fact, we all need to be more like Mr. Macauley, don’t we? Maybe one of these days we’ll learn. I’m not sure if you are in the U.S. or not, but if you are, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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  6. Dear Jill,

    Scott Macauley has a generous heart. Who would want to divorce him? I love the way he welcomed his family who had wondered off. Imagine an elderly person not leaving her nursing home for 7 yrs.
    This story is a perfect selection for the holidays.

    Hugs, Gronda
    I

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Gronda! I’m glad you liked it … and I wondered the same … why would anybody in their right mind divorce such a man? And the woman from the nursing home … that one brought a tear … how sad. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Gronda, and I hope you are feeling well enough to enjoy it! Hugs!!!

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  7. The fascinating thing about this true story is the reaction of his family , how in time they came back to recognise the humanity in each other.
    My immediate thought was the character Fezziwig in Dickens Christmas Carol.

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  8. Another good person. Just as a footnote: a young man working at a department store in Sioux Falls, S.D. where we bought a few items for the holidays caught me as I was leaving the store and handed me my wallet which I had left on the counter. He was a store employee and after his good deed he wished me a good day! I had already had a good day and I give thanks that there are still good people around to remind us what this holiday is all about!

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