North Creek Packed around a gigantic television screen at Basil & Wick’s restaurant, Sarah Williams, her family and friends heard the words they’ve been waiting to hear for nine months.
It was 7:30 in the evening, Thursday, Oct. 25, and that familiar theme music from the TV trivia game show “Jeopardy” swirled into everyone’s ears as announcer Johnny Gilbert began his introduction.
“This ... is ... Jeopardy! Today’s contestants are ... a bakery owner and caterer from North Creek, N.Y., Sarah Hayden Williams; a medical magazine editor, from Somerset, N.J., Erik Greb; and our returning champion, a research chemist originally from Charlotte, N.C., Keith Whitener, whose one-day cash winnings total 25,000 dollars.”
The television audience clapped enthusiastically. The restaurant was dead silent; people wanted to hear the show.
“And now, here is the host of ‘Jeopardy,’ Alex Trebek!”
Sarah — the owner of Cafe Sarah on Main Street — watched herself on the TV screen.
“It was really weird,” Sarah said about her night of fame at Basil & Wick’s. “As soon as the ‘Jeopardy’ music cued on, I started to getting fluttery, like, ‘Ahhh, here it comes.’”
Sarah knew what was about to happen, but she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone the results until the show aired. Everyone else in the Adirondacks had to watch — and play along — in order to find out whether she’d come home with a mountain of money.
“Actually, I told a lot of people I didn’t win,” Sarah said. “That’s the first question they wanted to know when I got back in August. Plenty of people knew I wasn’t going to win it, but I really couldn’t talk about it much.”
Yet, to most, the show was a big surprise as it unfolded. Even to Sarah.
“It was a big blur in my mind,” she said. “It happened so fast when I was there, and I didn’t remember the ones I got right. That was surprising to me. I remembered the ones I got wrong.”