Tag Archives: Atlantic County NJ

RIP Natalie Dempsey – the sound of sorrow

I live in the country. It’s very quiet here. Recently, after hearing coyotes, I’ve been listening more carefully at night, hoping to hear coyotes again, or maybe owls. The frogs and crickets are silent in winter.

A few nights ago, after friends visited, I stepped outside and heard something unfamiliar. It sounded like a train or big machinery, mixed with car alarms and sirens. The sound was low in pitch and irregular but steady, coming from the north and seeming fairly close. It was strange and disturbing.

A friend explained. This was the sound of dozens of fire engines and other emergency vehicles, escorting the body of deceased fire fighter Natalie Dempsey from her public funeral. This is how fire fighters and other emergency responders honor and memorialize their colleagues lost in the line of duty.

Natalie Dempsey, a member of the all Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company, died Christmas morning answering a fire call before dawn. She was 21 years old and had recently completed her training. Details can be found in the Press of Atlantic City.

Natalie Dempsey’s death is both a private and a public tragedy. The Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company (assisted by the Galloway Township Police and other agencies) took responsibility for the funeral held six days after her death. Fire companies from New Jersey and beyond sent members and equipment to express respect and solidarity and sorrow. I hope the dignity of the occasion gave some measure of comfort to her family and friends.

I hope I never hear such a sad sound again.


“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” – my favorite TV show!

I just love watching “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on TV, also known as Triple D! I am really hooked. Guy Fieri is so much fun. Now that three episodes have been taped here in Atlantic County (in Brigantine, Galloway and Atlantic City), my enthusiasm for Guy knows no bounds.

Shortly after Galloway’s Oyster Creek Inn was featured, we took visiting relatives there, and managed to sample both of the dishes (robust appetizers) that had been featured on DDD – Jersey Devil Shrimp and Clams Mexicali! The shrimp was spicy and delicious. The restaurant, which I first visited in 1975 (no kidding), was unchanged, despite having been flooded in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy to a depth of a foot above the floorboards.

What’s great about Triple D is that it is so GOOD NATURED! It’s not competitive. Everybody is having a good time. Chefs are featured in their own kitchens, doing things their own way.

Maybe I’m wrong in thinking of myself as a frustrated writer of book reviews. Maybe I should have been a restaurant critic. One on wheels, like Guy Fieri! I’m ready for a road trip!