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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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.
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Photograph donated by Renee Ruwe
“Hi Thurman, this is Margo.”
“Hi, Thurman, this is Pieta.”.
I get these calls occasionlly…randomly. I never know when to expect them. They are always a wonderful surprise!
Margo called earlier this week with book bags for the pantry. Pieta calls with items of dignity: deodorant, women’s feminine products, bars of soap, razors.
In all cases, these gifts are distributed to people who simply do not have the funds to provide for themselves. Margo’s recent gifts of book bags came with pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, composition books.
Think back to your own childhood. How difficult was it for your family to get you ready for school? Was there money for school supplies? Did you ever begin the school year unprepared with even the basic essentials needed? Were you ever embarrassed by this situation…either for yourself or for others?
In today’s Struggling Class, there is no money left over for things like school supplies, school lunches, new school clothes.
When Margo and Pieta drop items off for our pantry, they never ask or expect gratitude or even recognition. With Pieta, I just come home and find bags of these beautiful necessities waiting for distribution.
And, I know that pantries throughout Ulster County are receiving these wonderful items. Margo casually mentioned that the Ulster County Realtors Association purchased 500 book bags this year.
On behalf of pantry shoppers everywhere, I send gratitude. There are so many people in the Struggling Class these days.
The Ulster County Realtors Association is reflective of the attitude toward generosity in Woodstock. In Woodstock, people are comfortable just dropping off things that the Iess fortunate can use. No one seeks recognition. No one wants a thank you note. They just want the things to be used by people who need them.
You may feel that I have mistakenly posted this article in the wrong blog…that this article should have been sent to http://www.hungerisnotadisease.com. But, I intentionally posted it here at http://www.goodmorningwoodstock.com because Margo and Pieta and the Realtors completely personify the Woodstock attitude toward giving. Both as individuals and as a group, Woodstockers will give their last dollar, their only coat to someone, anyone who needs it.
I offer a salute of gratitude for the generosity.
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Larger than life, the piece shows 1 eye, her nose and mouth.
Just beginning her studies at the Corcoran, Jennette wasn’t comfortable painting an entire face. A photography major, she was painting for the first time in her life.
Sometimes I sit in my chair with my 3 Chihuahuas and just look at the painting for several minutes when I come home from the pantry. So much of this painting is relevant to what I’m doing now, what the pantry shoppers are experiencing.
As people travel the path to a pantry, they lose things. One shopper recently gave me 3 paintings. He was offloading personal possessions and just didn’t want to see them go in the dumpster. I featured one of them in posts for months.
I also have paintings given to me by other shoppers. If I stay in this business long enough, I’ll end up with a whole gallery. That actually happened to Dr. Wayne Longmore, the absolute best physician in the area.
There’s a moral in this story somewhere for me. I’m just not sure what it is yet.
Dr. Longmore, an Emergency Medicine specialist, was a Woodsstock physician. He practiced by himself, without the help of a receptionist or nurse. He was favored by artists, writers, musicians as well as many other people from around the area. Artists went to him with their health issues and he treated them with dignity and respect, whether or not they had $$$. Most of them had no $$$ so, when he worked to make them well, they brought over paintings.
Dr. Longmore finally had the best local art collection in the area. The paintings and sculptures disappeared from his office after he was arrested. I never learned the real story of what happened.
The public story was that he prescribed too many painkillers…too much Oxycodone. The FBI Report referred to the product as hydrocodone. Well, the public stories in the papers aren’t always the whole story or even a piece of a story. I know that from personal experience.
Dr. Longmore and I knew a lot of the same people. He healed them. The pantry fed them. Without even trying, I knew more or less who was on what. How could I not know? I saw them every week under fairly intimate circumstances.
I only knew 2 people on Oxycodone. And, one of those 2 was trying to sell the stuff. So, they can’t blame Dr. Longmore for that.
He was sentenced to 6 months house arrest, 3 years probation, 200 hours community service and fined $200,000.00. The real punishment went to the poor in Woodstock who now have nowhere to go for a doctor. It puts a lot of pressure on the Healthcare as a Human Right group.
His office, just down from Lori’s cafe, sat empty for the longest time…the office at 104 Mill Hill Road. It was adorned with a sad “for sale” sign. I think of Dr. Longmore every time I pass by. I remember his beautiful art collection, all the down and out people he served, all the good the man did for the needy in Woodstock.
Last Winter, the For Sale sign disappeared. As spring approached, workers began to fix up the office both inside and out.
While this happened, Lori’s became Nana’s and several other stores in the little complex changed hands. EvolveD expanded and Fringe moved down one space. Venus Adorned, a corset/dress shop opened recently. Ed Dempsey Tattoos is in the upstairs space. I joke to myself about musical businesses.
The building at the other end of the complex sports several Win Morrison signs while the businesses within still have their signs. One, IDivide, raises questions about whether or not someone is trying to run a business in the midst of it all.
Only 2 spaces have appeared to stay the same: Woodstock Wooden Kazoo and Woodstock Print Express. They are the anchor stores.
Now, Dr. Longmore’s old office has a new coat of paint and other improvements. Plants in pots placed beside the door encourage a prospective new tenant. A “For Rent” sign is in one of the windows.
The whole area is being gentrified. When I look around, I see 3 banks and a theater surrounding the building and I realize that Woodstock now has an emerging financial/theater district surrounding Dr. Longmore’s old office.
So, I suppose the down-and-out patients – artists, writers – would seem out of place in the newly transitioned area.
In spite of the paint, the sign and the plants, the building sits empty, a monument commemorating those in Woodstock who unfailingly give of themselves. Frankly, I don’t care if they ever rent it.
Artwork donated by Jennette Nearhood
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The Woodstock Farm Festival is quite an event. In typical Woodstock fashion, the town wrangled over the market before it finally became a reality. Every improvement in our community seems to take ages before it happens. But, now it’s a tradition and people come from miles around on Wednesday afternoons to shop for fresh produce, baked goods, and listen to the music. They feast on the efforts of:
Black Eyed Susie’s
Clove Valley CSA
Four Winds Farm
Just Good Eats
Lenny Bee Productions
Marilyn’s Roadside Eatery
Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple
Sow Good Bakery
On Wednesday evenings, a heat hovers over the Market. Shoppers, some wearing the least amount of clothing possible in an effort to get comfortable, hurry from booth to booth finding greens, tomatoes, herbs, cheese, baked goods for tomorrow’s meals.
The first full week of August is special for the market because it’s National Farmer’s Market week. Farmers bring together communities and food to offer us all healthy, nutritious, locally grown and raised products.
Music is scheduled every market afternoon in 2 venues: on the main stage and in the market itself. Woodstockers love to shop for fruits, veggies, baked goods and cheeses accompanied by music played by local area musicians.
Just as the Good Neighbor Food Pantry closes, pantry volunteers ignoring the promise of a summer moon scurry around the Migliorelli booth with empty boxes. Quickly, to avoid being seen, they load some of the unsold Migliorelli produce into a vehicle and take it back to the pantry for distribution on Thursday.
What a gift! Migliorelli offers a real boost to the pantry shoppers in the form of delicious, nutritious food. Many of them have absolutely no $$$ at all. Migliorelli feeds the body as well as the soul. This is a real gift for people, many of whom are in the process of losing so much. This gesture means more than the people at Migliorelli Farm will ever know.
When the pantry shoppers receive this special food, they not only get the food they could never buy, they have a connection to their community – this has a spiritual, religious layer, the value of which cannot be calculated.
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Good Luck to us all.