PG Wodehouse's death anniversary is on Feb 14. Over this long weekend I decided to take a trip to Long Island where he lived for the last part of his long and illustrious life - and more importantly pay respects at his gravestone. A little research on the internet lent me the information that he is interred behind a church in Remsenburg, NY. I drove up to Long Island and reached this almost deserted town with small roads. Failing to find any church nearby, after hovering around for a while, I spotted an elderly couple taking a walk in the cold afternoon and asked them the way to the church. 'There are many churches here in this town. Do you know which one you want to go to?' 'The one where Mr. Wodehouse - the great English writer - is buried'. 'We do not know much about the history here but you can start with the closest one that is about a quarter mile down the same road'. My guarding angel suddenly woke up from her afternoon siesta and it came to pass that the said church had a nice visible signpost with Wodehouse's biography.
I stood in front of the grave with folded hands and tears of joy and gratitude in my eyes and said in sotto voce - paraphrasing the epitaph - 'Thank you for bringing joy to my life'. I opened the book that I had brought along - The Inimitable Jeeves (which by the way is my favorite Wodehouse, if there can be such a thing as a favorite Wodehouse) - stood beside the grave and read a few paragraphs. My original intention was to also leave the book respectfully at the site but I realised that the wind would have disrespectfully blown it away in no time. The graveyard was covered with snow and I saw a pair of footprints leading to the gravestone. Someone else too was recently here.
As a double-tribute (in fact technically it would qualify as a triple-tribute), on President's Day, my journey coincidentally made me pass the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge. Of course, it would be a sin to go to Long Island and return without having the famous drink that originated there - the Long Island Ice Tea. Was it potent or was it potent!
Where is it: Remsenburg, New York. If you are going to Long Island from New York - which is how you typically would go to Long Island - once you reach close to Remsenburg, when you are on NY-27A, turn right on to S Country Rd and about a mile-and-a-half down the road on the right side you would find The Remsenburg Community Church(Presbyterian).