Please join me for a book signing
at 6:30 pm
at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore located at 66 Partition Street in
on Saturday, March 30th.
I’ll be reading from I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore.
This memoir features wonderful, true stories about hunger in America, related by those around us who live it. This book reveals the food pantry where I worked as a place where miracles are real and hearts are healed.
The stories I’ll read at this book signing promise to open your eyes and your heart as I share moving experiences and miracles in the pantry.
Coming from the heart, the stories offer inspiration and comfort.
I look forward to seeing you there!
If you haven’t been to the Inquiring Minds Bookstore before – or in awhile -please join us! If you visit Inquiring Minds everyday, it’s okay. Please join us. It’s one of my favorite places. Actually, I’m not alonewith that opinion. All of us who shop there feel comfortable in the atmosphere and, of course, we all love the books!
Writers and poets know the most about what makes a book store wonderful. After all, we know a lot about words. The BEST words are found at Inquiring Minds.
I love attending the monthly readings at Inquiring Minds. Everyone is so friendly. The poems and stories read on the last Saturday of the month at the readings are never disappointing.
Hope to see you on the 30th!
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So many, many people love Tom and Annie Pacheco. He has spent his lifetime career bringing joy and happiness to fans, friends, and loved ones throughout the world. Tom is always helping countless people and causes.
Woodstock is no exception to this generosity. Through the years, Tom gave concerts to help many of us locally. He gave two concerts to help the Good Neighbor Food Pantry here in Woodstock as volunteers worked to fight hunger locally.
These last few years are challenging him. Health issues curtailed gigs, writing, and recording. These things devastate him in many ways.
On January 21st, a huge tree toppled over in their yard ruining his absolutely necessary car and creating thousands of dollars in damages to his property.
Please join not only me but fans, friends, and loved ones throughout the globe as we donate money in love and solidarity. Please donate through the GOFUNDME account today.
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
PS – Tom has a chapter in my memoir. If you purchase this book in the next 30 days, I’ll donate the proceeds of sales to Tom and Annie. You can get this book at Thurmangreco.com
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I walked over to the CVS today and got the latest copy of the “Woodstock Times”. It’s a sellout publication in Woodstock. How could it not be? It’s got the latest obituaries,
stories about community events (more fun than a soap opera)
a full color picture on page 1 (always)
and, a Letters to the Editor section.
I mean, what more can we all ask for? An edition once offered a full color photo of a statue of Buddha perched atop a bright blue sign saying:
WELCOME TO WOODSTOCK
We are all here because we are not all there.
I mean, how can I not buy a copy of the Woodstock Times this every week? It’s better than any tabloid anywhere. Donald Trump doesn’t even have a chance with this one.
If you live in Woodstock or visit Woodstock, you can buy a souvenir bumper sticker at Houst with the Buddha post on it. Buddha won’t be on the bumper sticker. But, that’s not the important part of the message anyway.
Then, when you return home to wherever in the world that may be, you can display this wonderful sign which reads: We are all Here Because We are Not all There. Personally, I can’t think of a better souvenir of Woodstock than that.
But, back to the Woodstock Times:
Because of the propensity of cotton tops in the area, obituaries are always popular. A couple of winters ago we were dropping at the rate of 1 per week. Every week Stuart Klein and I visited in Bread Alone for a few minutes and chatted about who died the week before.
Both Stuart and I were grateful to see spring arrive that year. First, we were grateful to see a few forsythia blooms just to see something besides winter. And, second, we were grateful to be alive and mentally together enough to know we were looking at forsythia blooms.
The weekly Letters section usually begins about page 14 or so with a letter from Howard Harris. Howie has been sending letters to the editor for years, decades maybe. For years, he wrote them in haiku.
Howie’s letter is traditionally the first one to go on the page. Howie taught me many years ago (when I first began writing letters about the pantry) that the letters are more or less sorted by when they come in. “Email your letter over on Friday, Thurman. That way you’ll have a good chance of reading it in the Woodstock Times.” Howie’s advice worked every week for years.
Brian quit printing my letters years ago but Howie still plugs along with his weekly letter. A couple of years ago or so, he dropped the haiku and now uses a straight 2-4 paragraph letter denouncing any local activities involving the local Zoning Board of Appeals and whatever else he’s thinking about. His letters have great interest and are probably read by 95% of the people buying the Woodstock Times weekly. Personally, I miss the haiku.
Standard letters written by Woodstockers include:
comments on the Arab Israeli conflict,
opinion pieces on all sides of whatever local fight is in progress,
thank you letters offering recognition about a job well or poorly done.
During election season, the Letter section is filled to capacity with letters for and against the various candidates and the issues they represent.
But, no matter what’s happening, I look forward to Sparrow’s message.
One thing the Woodstock Times does not have is a list of breakins, brawls, speeding tickets. If we want to read about that stuff, we have to buy the Daily Freeman. While it’s nice that the Woodstock Times doesn’t waste space on sleaze, it gives the reader the feeling that nothing ever goes wrong around here. This is definitely not the case. We have as many vandals around here as any other town but we just don’t mention them.
An important part of the paper is the weekly listing of meetings which usually appears at the top of page 3. These meetings are important. Whenever a decision is brewing, interested parties and protestors need to know exactly where and when the meeting will be held. It will never do to show up at the wrong time or place (which I did once).
Town Board Meetings are big sellers with a list of commenters who sign up a few minutes before the meeting so they can have a 2-minute “say” about anything they want in the “Public be Heard” segment of the meeting. Always popular in this segment is comment about any project that is just beginning, is ongoing, or is finished.
The Woodstock Times is delivered to Woodstock stores every Thursday afternoon after 2:00. Apart from the first section featuring news, letters, meetings, obituaries, the second section is a real seller. That’s the Almanac. Everything that’s happening around here, both large and small, appears in the Almanac.
My favorite section in the whole Woodstock Times is the cartoon by Swami Salami. Swami Salami’s cartoon is displayed, usually, in the upper left hand corner of page 15. My week is just not complete without seeing Michael Esposito’s message.
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Woodstock, New York
It’s OUT! It’s in print! The story has been told! And you can get a copy of the book. Today! Right now! Simply go to thurmangreco.com and order it on paypal.
Or, you can get it at a book signing. I’m reading my book in libraries and church halls and in independent book stores. Check my website to find a time and place convenient for you.
What began as a project, guaranteed to take no more than two hours a month, is a calling. Proceeds of the sale of this book (and the t-shirt) are going to feed the hungry.
The Book and the T-Shirt:
The book and the t-shirts took more than five years of work. I went through reams and reams of paper. Two computers blew up and one copier died of exhaustion.
Get the book, read it, and let me know how you feel about what you read.
And, please share this unbelievably exciting news!
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No blog about Woodstock will be complete or even acceptable without a post honoring the brightest star of of all the stars in Woodstock: Abbe Graber, otherwise known as Miss G. Abbe is big, beautiful, talented, and a light in the darkness for all of us in Woodstock.
I hadn’t been living in Woodstock long before I discovered the local flea market. It seemed she had a booth at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market every weekend that summer. What a way to spend the summer!
Abbe’s booth was generally along the back perimeter and she smiled this gorgeous smile at everyone who visited her table. Throughout the day, if a lull occurred, Abbe belted out a jazzy song that could be heard all over town. What a voice!
When I was a little girl of 7 or 8 years, if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…I always replied “singer”. Nobody quite got it. After all, I couldn’t even carry a tune. But, I promise you, to know what I wanted to be when I grew up…all you have to do is listen to Abbe Graber belt out a song.
I’m not a jealous person. I didn’t want to be Abbe. But, when I was 8, I wanted to grow up and have a voice just exactly like her’s. And, of course, the truth here is that there is only one voice like Abbe’s and she’s got it.
For starters, I still can’t carry a tune.
So, I happily live with my talents and thoroughly enjoy her voice when I get a chance to hear it.
But, Abbe’s more than just a gorgeous, show stopping voice. She’s got a smile that lights up the whole town. And, if that’s not enough, she’s got a kazoo company. Abbe makes the world famous Woodstock Wooden Kazoos.
These handsome, individually made musical instruments come in different sizes and are made of several different woods. They come in walnut, maple, oak, cherry, mahogany, and cedar.
And, they are not just pretty little toys. Abbe’s Woodstock Wooden Kazoos have a crisp, yet mellow sound. They are easy to play. And, they are owned by many professional musicians the world over.
And, as if Abbe’s star isn’t bright enough, she makes beautiful ironwork sculptures. Abbe’s actually bilocating these days. She’s got her plant on Mill Hill right behind EvolveD and then, at the other end of town, she’s right around the corner from Joshua’s Restaurant at Woodstock Earth located at 5 Tannery Brook.
Drop by her Tannery Brook location to visit for a minute, bask in the sunshine in her smile. The new location boasts many creations made by local artists in addition to her Woodstock Wooden Kazoos.
Thanks for reading this blog post. The story is true. The people are real.
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Photo donated by Jennette Nearhood
I just found it! The invitation came through on Facebook. Tom Pacheco’s annual Memorial Day Concert is Saturday, May 23rd at the Colony Cafe on Rock City Road.
Bruce Milner and Brian Hollander will be joining him.
Tom is a very special person in Woodstock. Legendary even in a town filled with very special people, he’s a friend to us all…especially the hungry.
He was a friend to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry when he gave us a concert of our very own! We didn’t even ask him. We just wanted him to sing a song at our pantry music festival.
We stalked him for 5 whole days, Harriet Kazansky and I, in the weeks before the festival. We went over to Maria’s at different times during the day because we knew he hung out there when in town. And, every time we went we heard pretty much the same thing: “He didn’t come in yet today. Try back around 5:00.”
Or, we’d hear: “You just missed him. He left a little while ago”.
Maria always greeted us with the most comforting smile. I felt like some teenager chasing a movie star. Tom Pacheco is a world class musician and we were really hoping against hope.
When we finally tracked him down one afternoon about 4:00, he was wonderful. He turned us down on the music festival but he offered us one better. “I’ll give you a concert. Here’s my phone number. Call me in the fall and we’ll schedule something in February. I want to give this concert for you. I’m writing a song about hunger.”
I shyly thanked him, got back in Harriet’s car and we drove away. Our hearts were singing!
And, give a concert he did! He gathered some of his friends: Brian Hollander, the Cupcakes, (Lyn Hardy, Elly Wininger, and Janice Hardgrove), Dave Kearney, Dan Wininger, and Norm Wennert.
Lucy Swensen designed the posters advertising the evening and we put them up all over town.
On a cold Friday evening in February we all gathered at the Community Center at 7:00 p.m. This was, of course, a really early time for Tom and the musicians but pantry people have their own time clock and this was the hour they chose.
Volunteers made cookies. Someone brought a coffee pot. Somebody else brought a tea pot. Coffee was made. Tea was brewed. The energy built.
People arrived. The event charge was all by donation. Some people dropped coins in the jar. Others brought bags of food for the pantry. Yet others wrote generous checks.
The event managed itself. It was an evening right out of an old “Union Hall” event. Different performers got up, played their music, and then turned the mike over to the next person on the list.
Someone suggested that I get up and be the M.C. I didn’t dare. I knew if I did, I would begin to talk about hunger and ruin everyone’s fun time. Tom Pacheco knew exactly what to do. And, it was a perfect evening. Tom is the consummate professional.
When Tom played his song about hunger, I cried.
Tom asked his friends to join him on the stage that night. At one point, he had the local newspaperman, Brian Hollander, play with him. Tom would be playing and singing along and then tap his foot loudly and say “Hit it Brian!”
And Brian would play his heart out.
Every person in that room had a wonderful evening. Tom did that for the pantry. We are eternally grateful for his generosity, his talent, his love of fellow man.
I looking forward to seeing you at the Colony Cafe on Saturday, May 23rd!
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