New York Shitty Day Ender: Breaking Bread, Greenpoint Style

As I complete the preparations for my “Turkey Day” feast— chile rellenos, rice, beans and salsa— I wanted to take a moment to personally thank any and all who volunteered today at the Church of the Ascension’s Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps I even met one or two of you in passing? Who knows. In any case I hope all of you, gentle readers— be they volunteers or otherwise, have had as enjoyable evening I did— and maybe made a new friend or two? I certainly did. Which is why I am writing this post.

Since things were rather slow, I elected to bus tables. As I did I overheard two older women discussing the current music selection over their meal. More specifically: who authored the aria which they both agreed was quite beautiful. One of these music lovers I recognized immediately: she has a rather unique “look” of which I am quite fond. For starters, she sports a Mamie Eisenhower-esque hairdo (wig?) which is occasionally topped with a tiara. I suspect many of the Greenpointers reading this tome know of whom I am writing. She is often seen sleeping on our streets and bus shelters. I am not certain if she is “homeless” in the purest, traditional sense. What’s more, it doesn’t really matter. As you will see.

As I was busing her table, she and her companion thanked me for the lovely meal. I told her that I was only on hand to help clean and the real people to thank were Pastor Merz (the organizer of this event), John Ricco (whose Grandma Rose’s kitchen was pressed into service) and the many volunteers who worked day and night cooking to make it happen. She then inquired as to whether or not yours truly was going to take some turkey home to eat. I said “no” and added that after I completed my tasks I was going to go home and prepare my own meal. She was surprised by this. So I clarified:

I am a vegetarian. However, my husband is not. Since I do not permit him to cook certain types of meat (including turkey) in our apartment, I will fill a container with dark meat and drumsticks for his gustatory pleasure. I will make a “husband bag”!

She was pleased by this and offered:

My father was a vegetarian.


I, curiosity piqued, inquired.

Yes. But my mother wasn’t. Still, she married him anyway.

I found this to be very amusing and I told her so. She continued:

One time my mother cooked a whole chicken for him. He refused to eat it, so she threw it out the window.

All three of us laughed at this— and I recalled a similar such incident from my own life. In the spirit of good will and camaraderie, I decided to recount it for my new friends’ edification.

The first year my now husband and I lived together I bought a cake for his birthday. He told me I bought the “wrong” cake. He said he liked German chocolate cake.

I started.

Is he German?

She asked.


I answered— and continued my story:

That’s when I opened our living room window and held the cake outside of it. I told him one of three things could happen:

1. He could refuse to eat the cake and I’ll throw it out the window.

2. He could refuse to eat the cake and I’ll leave it on the stoop for someone else to eat.

3. He could eat the cake.

“What did he do?” she asked.

He ate the cake.

This was met with peals of laughter by my two new friends. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story. Since it is Thanksgiving, I will stick to the two most relevant ones:

  • If you are married to a vegetarian, do not cook him (or her) a chicken— or turkey.
  • Greenpointers— be we newbies or “old timers”, “housed” or otherwise— have a lot more in common than you think!

The next time I see these ladies while knocking around the Garden Spot, I am going to say “Hi” and strike up a conversation with them. They are now my friends. Thanksgiving, as I understand it, is about breaking bread and sharing with our fellow man (or in this case: women). For yours truly this indeed came to pass today— provided of course one looks at the above tale from a certain point of view: we shared stories about breaking bread (be it sweetbreads a la chicken or just plain sweet as in cake). The exchanging of anecdotes about foodstuffs being jettisoned out of windows. If this is not an honest-to-god Greenpoint Thanksgiving, I do not know what is.


4 Comments on New York Shitty Day Ender: Breaking Bread, Greenpoint Style

  1. Lisanne! on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 10:31 pm
  2. A most beautiful story, and a wonderful telling of it.

  3. missheather on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 10:39 pm
  4. The funny thing is several years ago I overheard a verbal altercation in the apartment building behind mine. I looked out the window and, lo, out came a half-cooked chicken out a window followed by 3-4 pornographic VHS tapes.

  5. SpillConspirator on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 11:09 pm
  6. Heather, you’re awesome. That’s a beautiful story. And it’s a beautiful thing you did, being there today.

  7. missheather on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 11:13 pm
  8. As far as work goes, I did very little. Maybe an hour and a half’s worth. Tops. There were a LOT of folks who manned the chafing dishes, etc. all afternoon. That said, I’ll definitely be volunteering next year!

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