ON AUGUST 17, just last week, I had a big night at Colby College here in Waterville. It was an event designed by MaineToday Media, my employer. It was promoted to be “An Evening With J.P. Devine, A Conversation with the Author and Journalist Amy Calder.”

At first I was confused. My evening was preceded by two others, the first featuring Senator George Mitchell, the second with best-selling mystery author Gerry Boyle.

My evening was to be followed in September with writer Earl Smith, a best-selling author of “Head of Falls,” a story set in one of Waterville’s historic old neighborhoods.

I thought to myself, these guys are big guns, celebrities, learned men of letters. I’m just a comedy writer, a columnist who was hired to entertain, make the locals laugh, to keep their minds off the dramatic reshaping of their childhood village.

Then it dawned on me. This whole thing was a ruse. This evening was actually meant as a surprise.

I was to be given the Morning Sentinel “Employee of the Month” award. I was elated. I pictured the event. There would be dinner with surprise guests from my life here in Waterville. No, I thought, that’s not possible. All those who welcomed me here in 1984 are deceased.

But there surely would be a dinner, possibly catered by The Last Unicorn right here in Waterville, surely even with linen tablecloths and napkins, silverware and glassware, not the usual everyday stuff, but the good stuff they keep under the counter with the better liquor.

And the pièce de résistance, a PLAQUE!

Be still my beating heart. I have always fancied a plaque with my name on it, one of those shiny brass plaques glued to a piece of good wood, suitable for hanging. It would read ” J.P Devine, for 32 years of Meritorious Service to the Community.” How proud She would be of me.

Everyone would be there: George Mitchell, Gerry Boyle and Earl Smith, our renowned publisher herself, Lisa De Sisto, my editor Scott Monroe, and certainly journalist Amy Calder, crossing the stage with an armful of red roses.

And there would be the plaque. Yes, the plaque.

Alas. Most of you, my faithful readers, were there that evening, and I’m sure you felt my heartbreak, saw the thick patina of disappointment on my face, the beginning of tears at the corners of my eyes.

It turned out that the evening was as promised in the big full-page ads all month: “An Evening with J.P. Devine.”

You were all gracious and appreciative with your laughter and applause, unaware that I had managed to adopt the facade of aging standup comic, designed to mask my disappointment.

Dinner? What a cruel joke. There was to be no dinner. There was not even a small table set out with a platter of those tiny Swedish meatballs in catsup sauce — you know the kind, with toothpicks and slivers of inferior Kraft cheddar?

There would be wine, an exquisite pinot. No. There were simply free bottles of water, simple water, perhaps tap water in large bottles, not even Evian water, mind you. Would it have killed them to serve Evian or even flavored Poland Springs?

I could see the expression on my co-host Amy Calder’s face. She knew at once what I had expected: to be the first writer ever on the Sentinel to be given the Employee of the Month Award on a plaque.

I’m told that even the hardworking men of our city, who weekly pick up the trash in the recycle buckets at the bottom of our driveways, get an employee of the month award.

The faithful employees of my local Toyota service center get an employee of the month award. I don’t know if they actually get a plaque, but their pictures are handsomely mounted and placed on the wall near where customers get the air in their tires replaced. That’s something at least. Maybe they even get the tiny Swedish meat balls and slivers of Kraft cheddar. Who knows?

Well, maybe next year. Maybe next August, they’ll invite me again to Colby College for another “Evening With J.P. Devine.” But this time, I won’t be fooled. This time the stakes will be higher. This time, I’ll settle for the tiny Swedish meat balls (I love them, actually) and slivers of cheese, but this time I want a statue. That’s right. All across America, famous writers and actors are given statues honoring their service.

I would like it placed in the middle of the Waterville Concourse, where that silver homage to “Game of Thrones” stands. It’s had its day, now I want mine. And by the way, no Kraft cheese. Gruyere if you please.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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