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!
Add a comment!
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
Add a comment!
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.
Thank you for reading this blog post. Please forward it to your preferred social media network.
Woodstock, New York
In the spirit of the holiday season, I thank each of you for supporting my work and following the story of hungry people in America. This has been a busy year for me. Without your support, none of it would be possible. However you discovered this blog and whatever keeps you returning, I thank you.
Each new reader who learns something new from the story of hungry people in America and each new reader who finds information about the situation inspires me to continue working . Thank you.
Each person who buys a copy of “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” validates the story. Each person who finds the booth at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market strengthens ripples of abundance and knowledge which are created there. Thank you.
Each person who puts a dime or a dollar or many dollars in the donation jar at the booth supports the effort to feed the hungry in our great nation. Each person’s generosity increases the awareness of the situation. Thank you.
Please continue reading the articles. Your readership allows me to share the awareness, strengthening ripples of abundance even more. Thank you.
The Mower’s Meadow Flea Market closes over the winter and does not open again until May. I seek an indoor market to winter over where I can continue to tell the story of the hungry in America.
Please drop by my booth wherever I am. In the Spring, I hope to offer Reiki sessions, copies of the second edition of “A Healer’s Handbook”, and unique bracelets designed by Michele Garner, the artist who designed the cover of “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore”.
Add a comment!
It snowed a little bit last Saturday when I was at Mower’s Meadow and more is expected this week. The books and clothing all got a mini dusting of the first snow of the season.
Whenever that happens (the first snow of the season) I always remember one of the first things I learned about the Woodstock community and its residents when I moved here: Labor Day means we pack away our dreams of a summer moon and drag out the brand new boots we were waiting to put on.
And, further into the memory is the afternoons in the pantry when the cold was so cold and Bob Otto and Tony Cannistra about froze to death in the barn. They distributed frozen food to the shoppers from that dirt floored room in the unpainted, uninsulated, unheated building behind the church parking lot.
Even though the pantry couldn’t open until 3:00, Bob and Tony unlocked the barn and got to work at 2:30. “Come on over!” they called to the crowd gathered in the parking lot. “We’ve got chopped meats, cutlets, steaks, roasts, mac and cheese packages, frozen juices.”
2:30 in the parking lot was described by some of the volunteers as a circus. I lovingly thought of it as a bus station in a third world country. And, actually, I thought of it as more than that.
I once spent a couple of hours in an out-of-the-way airport in Venezuela that was overcrowded with hundreds of gold miners who themselves waited for planes. They either waited for planes to get further into the interior of the country to hunt for gold or they waited for planes to return to civilization to sell what they found. Whatever their destination, the place was packed.
But, whether we were all coming or going at the pantry, we were in a hurry, too.
In the pantry, we were always in a hurry. The crowd was always larger than the hallway, the parking lot, and the barn entrance. And, they wanted to get the long wait behind them so they could have a two or three minute shopping spree in the tiny room.
And, after the shopping, they were always in a hurry to get their new found food home because the event had taken all afternoon. For some, it took more than just all afternoon because they got to the pantry late morning. Hitch hikers started out early and, if they got a ride quickly, they were in the parking lot before noon.
My memory always includes a vision of Bob and Tony taking turns to come into the hallway to warm up, whatever that meant. Even though the hallway was crowded, there was just not quite enough body heat generated to call the place cozy…or even cool. The place was cold.
I never said a word about the temperature because I was afraid that if I did the volunteers would walk off. I just went about my business pretending that I wasn’t wearing two sweaters under my coat. Volunteers made statements about the temperature of the hallway as they wore two hats.
“My hands are frozen!” Bob always remarked as he briskly rubbed them together, hoping the friction would get the heat going. Just outside the door to the building, Bob stomped his feet, trying to get some feeling into his cold toes.
Tony was less vocal but just as cold when he got his short break. I always suspected that he had a small hidden flask to help warm himself up. How else could he be so calm about fingers one degree away from frost bite? I never saw any evidence but it was the only excuse I could find for a person in such cold weather conditions.
Because, not only were the two men standing in the cold, they were handling frozen meats, vegetables, fruits, juices. All of it came rock solid frozen from the food bank.
Before the pantry opened, Tony also doubled as the parking lot manager which put him in the middle of the confusion. Just the parking lot was a fulltime toughie job. But, somehow, Tony made the parking lot and the barn distribution look easy.
But, no one complained. Ever. They had gotten a three-day-supply of food a week ago and it was all gone now. They were hungry. They were the struggling poor.
Thank you for reading this article. Please share it with your favorite social media network.
Woodstock, New York
Add a comment!
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!
Please share this article with your preferred social media network.
Add a comment!
On weekends, Woodstock is one crowded place. This famous little town has much to offer:
Mowers Meadow Flea Market
Woodstock Artists’ Association Museum
The Woodstock Drum Circle
Assorted festivals, and other weekend events throughout the year help boost the crowd.
Once you hit town, it helps to know where the restrooms are…especially because there aren’t that many and they aren’t that well advertised. And, if it’s a gender neutral restroom you’re looking for, you may be disappointed.
The Sunflower has a restroom located behind the produce department. It’s used by employees, grocery shoppers, residents, and tourists alike. This is one busy place.
There is a public restroom in a cinder block building next to the Chamber of Commerce information stand. This building is located right at the beginning of Rock City Road. On busy days, you may miss it because this is where the famous tie dyed Woodstock T-shirts are sold. The T-shirt display is actually in front of the entrance to the women’s room.
If you’re looking for a restroom during the winter…forget this one. It closes every year after November 30th and doesn’t open again until April 15th.
The Town Hall has a restroom although the location in the building is not that easy to find. It’s there, though.
The Woodstock Free Library has a restroom located just past the children’s area. This is actually a nice one but the library isn’t open everyday.
And, that’s about it. The whole thing can be a bit discouraging if you have bought into the attitude Woodstockers seem to have about being on the cutting edge of every trend and attitude.
Of course, if you are eating at Landau, or Oriole 9, you don’t have to worry. They have facilities for their customers.
But that’s a bit of a challenge for the rest of us. A good thing to do is to buy a cup of coffee and a pastry at Maria’s and use the restroom there. While you’re shopping for your coffee and pastry, you just might catch sight of a local celebrity which will make for a good story when you return home.
Another option is to ask to use the restroom at the CVS. It’s not a public restroom but the employees are sympathetic to your cause and, if the cash register lines aren’t too long, they’ll unlock the private restroom.
Please note: Try to leave it as clean as you found it. If it gets dirty too many times, they may suspend this service.
I’m really hopeful for our future here. Trends in the area are toward gender neutral bathrooms and this is just the kind of thing Woodstockers can understand. Gender neutral bathrooms are turning up in some neat places.The new Honest Weight Food Coop in Albany has a spiffy gender neutral restroom. The Whitney Museum in New York City has a gender neutral restroom also.
Hope springs eternal here. And, actually, we’ve got a better chance at a gender neutral restroom than we have at additional sidewalks.
Thanks for reading this blog post. The story is true and the people are real.
Please share this article on your favorite social media network and with anyone else you think might be interested.
Don’t forget to join the email list.
Photograph donated by Renee Ruwe