When Humility Pays a Call

I’m in Starbucks when the guy with no legs rolls in, in his dilapidated wheelchair.  He’s been off the street for a while, thank God, but now is back.

I think someone comes, every now and then, to clean him up, see that he’s not suffering from anything contagious, before he finds his way back to his perch in the entrance of the 86th Street subway.

I wince whenever I see him, crumpled in his chair like a folded ironing board you’d shove in the closet.  He never asks for anything, but will gladly accept anything you give him.

Alas, pride still in residence, from his thighs up.

He waits in line before buying his own coffee, and despite being limbless, looks rather clean and pressed in chinos, a hoodie and a Yankee parka.

Moments later, I look up, and he’s staring at me by the milk, that turns out, he can’t reach. Let me say, what a beautiful face he has, like a shiny, black Labrador with eyes that haunt.

So I get the milk, offering to pour it.  “No,” he says, “but thank you,” those eyes burning holes in my awakened heart.

I start to leave, then turn back and say, “Ya know, I too have a problem that isn’t as obvious as yours, but please know, you’re not alone in your suffering.”

Then another woman comes up and says, “I only see in one eye that’s only half good.  Many times I get lost because I just can’t make out the street sign.”

I watch the man without legs listen, hands in his lap, his coffee still on the counter.

I turn right, the sightless lady left, and he, with quiet dignity, rolls himself out the front door.

Humility, unlike grace who needs to be summoned, shows up unannounced, before blowing the doors off the place.


Posted in grace, humanity, nature, New York City, Starbucks, Women and men | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Officer Andy and Me

There was a half marathon in Central Park on Sunday knowing, if I wanted to run, I had to go early.  Finding yourself in the middle of a race that size is like running alongside buffalo.  One could say, it’s not exactly relaxing, especially when some idiot in Spandex yells, get the fuck outta the way you slow, skinny bitch.

That said.

I flew from my building at 5:45, waking the doorman who was sound asleep.


As I’m nearing the entrance to the park, I see groups of workers setting up water stations, cordoning off parts of the road with yellow tape like it was a crime scene, and for me it was, having to be this hysterical on the official day of rest.  It’s one of those Catholic rituals I still abide because, hey, it’s a great excuse for doing nothing.

I approach a police car parked on 90th and 5th.  “Excuse me Officer,” I say, through a closed window.

“Yeah,” he says, rolling it down eating a Danish.

“Could you tell me when the race is going to start…is it soon?”

He looks at his watch, then back at me and says,”11 a’clock, in Brooklyn.”

“Really, that late? You mean I could’a slept in?”

“So why didn’t ya go online and see what time? I mean, that would’a been a lot smat’a than gettin up so early, doncha think?”

“Yes, I see your point Officer, Andy is it?” Without my glasses that’s what it looked like on his blurry badge.

“Be safe,” he said, shaking his head before rolling up the window.

Cops, they bust you every time,  even if it’s just for random stupidity.


Posted in food, humanity, humor, internet, men, New York City, words | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Spring, She’s a Comin’.

 This morning in the park, a raccoon scurried across my path I stood watching as he gingerly climbed up a huge tree.

You can do it, you can do it, I said aloud, smiling at the sight of nature so near to me.

I look up and there’s another, a little smaller, waiting on a top branch.

When the bigger one made it up, they started kissing. Are my eyes deceiving me? No, they were smooching alright, and you never saw two tails wagging with such gusto.

Not even a Beagle who could have out-wagged these two.

I left smiling thinking, wow, spring is in the air…she’s sending out notices, finally.

Then I saw a group of squirrels gathered,   all eating, with one large one that seemed in charge. Maybe he was giving a brunch for his brethren, all staying put as I ran by unconcerned with my presence.

As I continued at my half gait, there was a hawk perched in a tree.

“Hey, remember me,” he said, “we met a few months back.”

“Of course,” I said, “how’ve ya been Mr. Hawk, it’s been a while.”

“You can call me Hawk. Well, ya know how winter is, cramps a bird’s style, but not for long cause the weather’s about to change.” 

“Yeah but remember Hawk, it’s still March.”

“And your point is?”

“March can, and has been, a tough month.”

“When will you stop underestimating Mother Nature? She really hates that ya know.”

He waved a talon as I,  rather than he, took flight and thought, okay, instead of doubt I’ll have faith.

Spring, she’s a comin’, hopefully along with my sanity.  🙂   


Posted in animals, grace, humor, Love, nature, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Best Line of the Week

As I’m attempting to exit Starbucks via their backdoor, a cup of coffee in each hand, using my rear to push it open, I can’t.

The hinges have been recently changed, so as I’m pushing, the door just won’t budge.

I look at Michelle, the beautiful, black barista who’s watching and say, “The problem is, I need a bigger butt.’

And she says, “I wish I could give you some’a mine.”

Me too Michelle, me too.



Posted in humor, New York City, Starbucks, women | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

The Tortoise and the Hair

Now I’ve seen everything.

It’s not unusual nowadays to see those asking for money with pets at their side. Dogs, cats…and they get me every time. I see those big eyes  of a Pitt or a kitten curled up, and just empty out my pockets since I think, as low as they’ve sunk they haven’t abandoned their animals who always look cared for and happy. They don’t know they’re on the street and things could be better. They’re fed and loved, all that matters to them.  It moves me more than I can say.

That said.

As I’m tooling down 86th Street with its stream of…can you help mes...I see what looks like a ravishing redhead sitting cross-legged in front of Barnes & Noble. As I get closer, she is a he with hair like Little Richard, high and glossed combed just so.  But what truly stops me in my tracks is his companion perched beside him. A turtle the size of a frisbee, in a sweater no less, with a capital P on the back. I stop. “So, what’s the P for?” I ask, fascinated.

“Pal,” he said, “and I knitted it myself.”

“Wow, it’s pretty nifty,” I say. And it was, had a college football game look to it, like he went to Syracuse University. All he needed were pompoms.

Having no cash to give them, I did offer the bagel fermenting in my purse.

“No, no more bagels,” he said. “I won’t be able to get in my pants, and Pal, who likes the butter, won’t either.”

Pal has pants? I didn’t ask. People do like to give food rather than money figuring they’ll just drink or drug it away.  As for me, I can only give what I have at the moment so he did accept my half tube of L’Occintane Shea Butter.

As I was leaving, a woman who also slowed up to get a look said, “I just hope he don’t trade him in for turtle soup.”

“Did you have to say that?” She shrugged.

Some things are just better left unsaid.


Posted in alcohol, animals, food, friendship, humanity, humor, New York City | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Adding Ginger

It was the day after the alleged Nor’easter that had everybody scared to death.  Turned out to be, just a normal snow mixed with rainstorm, at least in New York City, the Goliath of the Tri-State area.

You have to wonder why the media has to panic us the way they do.  So we’re prepared for the worst? Couldn’t they take it down a notch so we wouldn’t be buying canned goods as if it were the Cuban Missile Crisis?

But that’s another essay.

I was happily strolling through the park after running, grateful to be able to, the road being cleared of any ice. There was even a bike race in progress.

As I’m tooling west to east, pretty much alone, there’s a woman walking her Golden Retriever a little ways ahead of me.

“Hi,” I say, as I’m about to pass.  She’s middle-aged from what I can see beneath her knitted hat and scarf hiding half her face, with a back ramrod straight. “Isn’t the weather great?”

“Not as great as it could be,” she says, sneering a bit.

Pollyanna says, “Oh come on, we were supposed to be buried if we actually survived, according to the news. Look at us out here?”

She smiles and says,”You’re right, I’m just anxious for spring.”

“What’s your dog’s name?”

“Keeper,” she said. “He’s 13.”

He turns to acknowledge us as off he knows we were talking about him.

“He’s so lean and trim, and spunky for 13.”

“Guess how old I am?”

I never answer that question. Last time I did, the person started to cry.

Luckily she didn’t wait for one. “80. I just turned 80.”

I would have said, 60 thinking I’d insult her. “Wow, I’m stunned. I’m 63.”

“You’re a baby,” she says, pleasing me to no end despite suddenly seeing myself in a crib teething on my up and coming Medicare Card.

What do you attribute your youthfulness to. I mean, I’d never guess you were that.”

“This,” she says, sweeping the air with a flourish. “I walk every morning, me and Keeper, rain, snow or sleet. We end up at The Boat House for coffee.”

“What does Keeper have?”

“A croissant, what else?” She had me there.

“It’s amazing he’s still so fit.”

“Well ya know why, don’t you?”

Again, she answers before I can respond. “This..exercise, moving,..using what the good Lord gave you.”

I decided I really like her, even though she’s having a conversation all by herself.

“Well, I turn here,” I say. “I’m Susannah.”


“Nice to meet you Ginger, and Keeper, and I hope we all meet again.



Posted in animals, Beauty, grace, humanity, humor, media, nature, New York City | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Best Story of the Week

 Who said New York’s humanity is down a quart?

OOPS, it was me.

Well, I was humbled when a little old lady was sitting on the step inside the subway rummaging through her purse. I didn’t think much of it at first, but after refilling my MTA Card proceeding to leave, it was then it hit me something wasn’t quite right.

She was a pretty lady in her late 70s, dressed in cords and a nice sweater beneath a lavender peacoat with a peacock pin on it’s collar. She looked like Spring.

“Ma’am, are you okay?” I gently asked her, noticing how her hands shook. “Did you lose your card?”

She was so discombobulated she couldn’t even answer, so I offered to put her through the turnstile. She dug out a Visa Card and said, “No, no, I’ll just buy a fare from the man in the window.”

“You can only use a credit card in the machine,” I told her. “Have you used the machine before?”

She shook her head no. “Okay, I’ll help you, but I really don’t mind treating you to a ride. God knows, people have done it for me. I’ll bet you left your card at home. I’ll just bet.”

So she finally says okay, when a well dressed man already waiting for the train hollers, “Come on, I’ll treat her.”

Then another man comes up behind us and says, “Oh no, let me.”

I looked at this woman who had the face of a saint and said, “Wow, must be that lavender coat you’re wearing, you have all these knights in shining armor, with Metrocards.”

Then a preppie looking high school boy came bounding down the steps and yelled, “Gram, so glad you’re still here…you forgot your card on the kitchen table.”

You never saw anyone smile so big and sigh so loudly.

The first man said, “Don’t worry, we would have seen her home if you hadn’t come.”

The kid, his hair all mussed scratched his head before kissing his Gramma, who happily ran to make the train.

I was so impressed with humanity at that point, I feel as though I owe it an apology.


Posted in Family, grace, humanity, humor, kids, money, New York City, travel, women | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Be Who You Are

Life is too short not to be who you are.  It’s a pity many of us don’t learn that till we’re older.

I have two acquaintances, both gay who won’t come out of the closet.  One, in his 60s can’t because of his parents, living a life of such misery trying to be someone he’s not, while they still think there’s hope for grandchildren.

The other guy has no one to be nervous about, but sadly, can’t look at himself in the mirror, so we all collude pretending along with him.

I’ve grown fond of a friend’s mother tooling through her 80s who suffers from mascular degeneration, limiting her actions not being able to see, but that didn’t stop her from buying a new bed, getting her hair done every week and dressing up like a movie star, to celebrate with her family. I so wish I knew her when she was younger because, what a force of nature, always being exactly who she is not allowing age to change her in any way.

Then there’s me, an adult child of alcoholics emotionally scarred, but with the balls of a gladiator. I often think I could have done more in my life if I wasn’t so busy just surviving, but it’s who I am, for better or worse…kind, generous, overly sensitive, forgetting where I put my glasses, but determined to do my best despite all obstacles.

You know why?

Because life is just too short not to be who you are.


Posted in alcohol, Connecticut, Faith, Family, grace, humanity, Women and men, words | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Those Wacky Presidents

After a friend read, I can name all the U.S. Presidents, he demanded to know how, so I told him.

Boy, was he sorry.

Washington, the first, is a no-brainer. John Adams the 2nd, Thomas Jefferson, author of The Declaration of Independence, 3rd, referring to them as the Big Three.

If you link lore with even just a few, then you’ll remember who they are and when they served.  It’s word association.  You want to recall someone’s name…like Susannah, think of the song, Oh Susanna, and you’ll never forget it.

But I’m digressing.

After Jefferson you had two James…Madison, then Monroe, followed by John Adam’s eldest boy, John Quincy.

The first 6 should roll right off your tongue.

Andrew Jackson, who massacred the Indians, is 7, Martin Van Buren, nicknamed the Sly Fox, 8, while William Henry Harrison at 9, was the first to ever die in office, of pneumonia, only serving thirty-two days.

John Tyler, number 10, stepping up as the first Vice President to take office, defying Congress, wanting him to be merely, acting Vice President, till they voted in someone new, said, NOPE…I’M THE PRESIDENT, AND THAT’S THAT, siring the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

11) James Knox Polk…his daughter, Varina, married Jefferson Davis, President of The Southern Confederacy.

12) Zachery Taylor, Mexican War hero, died in office after eating too many cherries on a very hot day.

13) Millard Filmore, stepping up for Zach…think of The Filmore East.  Hey, whatever it takes Kemosabe.

14) Franklin Pierce whose best friend was writer, Nathanial Hawthorne.

15) James Buchanan, with red hair and possibly gay, leaving Lincoln, a helluva mess.

Four presidents were assassinated.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th, replaced with Andrew Johnson (17).  William McKinley (25), succeeded by Teddy (26) who despite the circumstances, couldn’t wait to be president. John Garfield (20), bringing up Chester Arthur (21), who may have looked great in a suit, but was sadly unsuited for office.

Cut to, JFK (35), and Lyndon Johnson (36), in that iconic photo on Air Force One being sworn in next to Jackie in her bloody, pink suit.

Okay, I’m jumping around, but watershed moments, such as these help, like Richard Nixon (37), the only president to ever resign, relieved by Gerald Ford (38) who, aganst everyone’s better judgment, pardoned him.

Rutherford B. Hayes’s wife (19), was called Lemonade Lucy because she wouldn’t allow liquor in the White House.

Grover Cleveland (22 & 24), the only one to ever serve two non-consecutive terms (and the cheapest), with Benjamin Harrison (23), William Henry’s grandson, in-between.

William Howard Taft (27), the fattest, threw out the first baseball.

FDR (32), the only president elected four times, died with his boots on, or possibly off, in the presence of his mistress while Harry S. Truman (33), climbed onboard to drop the atom bomb.

Jimmy Carter (39), wanting so much to be perceived as a regular guy, carried his own garment bag when traveling.

Here’s an added bonus.

John Garfield, gunned down at Washington’s old train station in front of Robert Lincoln, Abe’s eldest who ironically, after being at his dying Dad’s bedside, was also there when McKinley got it in Buffalo, New York, in a receiving line.

Calvin Coolidge, called Silent Cal since he never said much, at the 30 mark with The Gipper, Ronald Reagan, reigning in at 40.

Now we’re in the home stretch.

Papa Bush (41), Bill Clinton, the blowjob heard around the world (42), George W. Bush the younger (43), our first African American Pres, Barack Obama (44), yielding to, yes, that King of Tweet, Donald J. Trump at 45.

Doesn’t it feel like you just had sex?

Excuse me, while I light up a smoke.  🙂


Posted in Books, History, humanity, humor, internet, Politics, travel, violence, war, words, writing | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

Best Story Of The Week

When I run on the Central Park track, I’m always in the company of squirrels starting their day.  I usually walk a bit, just to observe their busyness.  They also remind me to stay present since they never seem worried about anything but what’s in front of them.

I’ve started carrying nuts in my pocket to be more polite.  I am in their backyard after all, plus hailing from Connecticut you always bring a little something when you come a’ callin.

This morning, a family of tourists who spoke no English,  watched me feed one.  I’m careful to hold the nut at the very edge so not to get accidentally nipped.

They were so charmed by this, parents with a boy and girl I’ll say, 10 and 12.  The father with his super-duper camera motioned for me to do it again, so we had, take 2 of me feeding the same squirrel.  The first time he buried it, second, snacked.  When I gave him a third he seemed to play catch.  If I didn’t know better I would have thought he was a professional athlete.

I gave the boy a peanut to show how to hold it after a few more squirrels arrived until we had quite a team.  I had visions of my guy yelling, hey, breakfast is being served, come and get it.

Now the daughter looked scared as hell hiding behind her mom, and in what sounded Swedish, her brother clearly teasing her over it.  I know what it’s like to be afraid of something no one else seems afraid of.  I remember being terrified to dive into the Easton pool alongside my show-off cousins, even though the water wasn’t even over my head.  The humiliation as they laughed at me is still somewhere in the back of my closet.

I knew a quart of confidence was needed here in a really big way.

I approached the girl smiling, offering her a nut.  I demonstrated again how easy it would be, crouching behind her like a catcher for the Mets.  Suddenly nature pulled one of her famous pranks, when a baby raccoon appeared like a special guest as the squirrels gathered around as if they all went to the same school.

He boldly came right up to where we were, and before she knew what happened, gently took the nut right from her hand. 

She was over the moon, as was I because now she had one over her big brother, plus Dad had it all on film.

Let’s hear it for Mother Nature who knew better than anyone, this young lady needed a home run, as we watched her doff her cap as she ran around the bases.


Posted in animals, Family, food, friendship, grace, Home, humanity, humor, kids, nature, New York City, parents | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments