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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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”.
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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.
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Woodstock, New York
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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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Today, I was at Maria’s early. We went for breakfast there because I’m convinced she’s got the best breakfast in town. So, I’m over there every chance I get. For meals other than breakfast, Maria has homemade pastas with her own special sauces. Special oriental dishes are prepared fresh daily and fresh cooked salmon is on the menu always.
But, Maria’s has more to offer than authentic Italian food and fabulous breakfasts. I saw several people seated at tables both inside the restaurant and outside on the patio under the shade of trees and umbrellas. The unspoken rule is this: When I see a small group of people at a table away from everyone else, I just pretend they aren’t there.
After all, we all need a quiet, private place to visit, work out a deal, network, try to get a vote in a local project…or whatever. Woodstock is a small town and if we don’t go to Maria’s then the only other option is someplace in Kingston like Florentina.
So, when I saw a group of three women at a table with stacks of papers sporting attached colorful tabs, I just went to the other side of the patio.
But, this was morning. Afternoons are the same at Maria’s…only different. In the afternoons, I see local residents sitting at tables just being themselves without attracting attention. Woodstock has a lot of stardust of one kind or another. And, sometimes people enjoy just not being noticed.
After all, if a person wants attention, the place to go is Bread Alone to order a coffee, and look for connection.
The bar at Landau grill offers another place for conversation and connection.
A third place is Catskill Mountain Pizza. People gather there and visit with one another over a slice of pizza, sub sandwich, salad.
A place which can be a kind of mix in the summertime is the Wednesday afternoon Farm Market festival. Locals and tourists alike wander among the stalls, focus on the food at hand and wear invisible blinders. Last Wednesday, I saw more than a few musicians, actors, artists, writers, activists simply being themselves. No one was disturbing them. I’m convinced that some of them have learned to be “invisible” to others when they want to be alone for a little while.
Everyone blended together. Some shopped alone while others enjoyed hugs, gossip. Both groups looked forward to the promise of a perfect meal made up of gorgeous food purchased here.
One person having a rough time being invisible, though, is Rick the Mushroom Hunter. He can be tracked down at every Farm Market Festival. The mushrooms he sells must be discovered in the forest. This requires a special person.
Rick is just that person. He doesn’t have a booth because he carries his prizes in a small cardboard box.
Throughout the summer, Rick may offer
hens of the woods.
These prized jewels are gifts from the wild. They have a different aroma, color, texture, energy from their domesticated cousins.
A meal including one of Rick’s discoveries is transformed into a mystical, magical creation. The dining experience becomes spiritual so the soul is fed as well as the body.
How long has it been since you prepared a dish with one of these wild, wonderful gifts of nature?
That’s tooo long!
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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.
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Photograph donated by Renee Ruwe
It seems only yesterday that we sent you an appeal for support. We were a band of 4 people who barely knew each other, embarked on an adventure, a quest. None of us mentioned it, not even to each other…but you were our only hope.
We were processing a 501(c)3 to open the Reservoir Food Pantry. And, until it came through, we needed a sponsor willing to share theirs. So, you got the letter, and invited us to lunch at Zen Mountain Monastery so we could meet and make our appeal. We joined you at your table on Sunday, October 27, 2013.
We begged, really, but you never let on. We went away that afternoon energized by your openness, professionalism, interest, concern. Eventually you did what you did and we received the support from your group.
You gave us a raft on which we floated until we got our own 501(c)3 and gained acceptance with the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
So, today, as a result of your efforts, there is now a pantry on Route 28 in the Ashokan Reservoir area of Ulster County in New York serving over area households every Monday afternoon at 2 and every Tuesday morning at 9.
The majority of these people are seniors. For the most part, they have worked and lived all their lives in this area. They paid their taxes, raised their children, and contributed to their community. And now, in the 21st century they are finding they don’t have the resources to feed themselves. They constitute the senior citizen faction of the new 21st century Struggling Class.
The pantry volunteers look forward to serving the hungry for many years to come. They’ve had the last year to become a very dedicated and close knit group. The community appears to accept the services offered by these very special people.
IN CONCLUSION: Thank you Konrad Ryushin Marchaj for all you have done for yourself and your fellow man. I saw you change the world around you for the better. That counts for a lot in my book.
I wish you well on your continued journey of spiritual growth. I am proud to have been touched by you. On behalf of all the hungry people volunteers feed weekly, I offer gratitude. It is an honor and a pleasure.
I cannot thank you enough for your trust, your support, and your confidence in our humble venture
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Please refer this article to your preferred social media network. And, please forward this article to your interested friends. More people in this world need to know about the goodness of Konrad Ryushin and the volunteers of the Reservoir Food Pantry.