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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On behalf of Chip, Lulu, Sport, Bubba, and the many dogs shopping at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market every week, thank you for generously sharing your tennis balls with the Woodstock Dog Park.
With your continued generosity, we can give them out every weekend and Wednesday the flea market is open!
We give them out on flea market day to all the four footers shopping. They Love Them! We can’t thank you enough for your generosity.
In addition to making the dogs visiting the flea market happy, this distribution introduces the Woodstock Dog Park to many families who had no idea there is a dog park on Dixon Avenue.
Your generosity is appreciated by all the people with booths in the flea market. We all love seeing the dogs carrying tennis balls.
The Mower’s Meadow Flea Market will be closed after Thanksgiving weekend until the Spring. IF you continue sharing the tennis balls with us, I’ll hold them until the market opens in the Spring because I’ve reserved a space for the next season..
The bottom line is that, as long as you share the tennis balls, dogs all over Woodstock will enjoy chasing tennis balls! It’s a favorite sport of many local pets!
Woodstock Dog Park
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Sometimes I’m just grateful for kind words and surprises. I don’t ask why I got selected. I just enjoy. And, that includes ice cream!
I feel that way about Nancy’s Ice Cream Parlor in the brick building across the street from the library. I don’t know why she chose to bring her fabulous ice cream to Woodstock instead of a hundred other adorable communities in our area. And, frankly, I don’t care. I’m not even bothering to ask her.
I just show up and order the ice cream, eat the treat, get blissed out and return home smiling.
Nancy uses only the purest ingredients to make the many flavors of ice cream on the premises. They are sourced locally. Her chocolate, for example, comes from Fruition. The result is a product which, when eaten, has the potential to be a spiritual experience. What more can I ask for?,
Specials, that’s what. Just the other day it was blueberry pie a la mode.
Nancy’s Ice Cream was open over the winter, too. For some strange reason, I just never noticed it until this July. Well, now that I know about Nancy, I’m hoping she’ll stay open over the winter this year.
If you haven’t tried Nancy’s Ice Cream, go on over and enjoy the best milk shake you’ve ever had…or the best sundae you’ve ever had…or the best…….you name it.
And, spread the good news. Nancy’s come to town!
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Your support is crucial to the Woodstock Dog Park. Local Dog Park volunteers are committed to providing an excellent play space for the many pets and their owners who live near it. Volunteers know of the connection and kinship experienced between dogs and their owners.
Volunteers maintain the grounds. They set up the agility play equipment in the spring and maintain it throughout the year. The Woodstock Dog Park is visited throughout the year by local dogs and their humans. Recently, I visited the park on a day when the temperature was freezing and snow was on the way. There were eleven cars there that morning. So…my car made an even dozen!
Winter weather has left its mark on the dog park. And, some fencing needs repair. Other fencing needs replacing. This is going to cost some money and sweat labor as well.
When you support your local Woodstock Dog Park, you strengthen your community, offer peace and harmony and offer support to the volunteeers. This helps support them as they work to keep the park in good repair.
In short, when you support the Dog Park you help the volunteers in their work. Our Woodstock Dog Park cannot succeed without you!
SEND THE DOG PARK A FINANCIAL GIFT.
Our Woodstock Dog Park volunteers work hard to keep the space in excellent condition. This takes some money.
CONSIDER A PERIODIC DONATION
It’s easy to set up a quarterly or monthly donation in whatever amount you choose. If you prefer to send a check, let the park treasurer know so you can get some self addressed envelopes to make the job easier. Regular donations offer a financial flow coming to the dog park. This is the easiest way to offer your support.
PAY A SPECIFIC BILL
Speak with the committee chairwoman or with the treasurer to select which bill you prefer to pay regularly. The volunteers will appreciate your generosity.
GIVE A DONATION TO HONOR A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER.
When you give a contribution as a gift to a friend or loved one, the Dog Park volunteer will send a personalized card to the recipient acknowledging your gift. Include the name and address of the honoree, along with your donation so the volunteer can do this.
SHARE THIS BLOG POST WITH EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LIST.
Spread the word. It helps. Really.
PRAYERS, LOVING SUPPORT, AND KIND THOUGHTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.
Thank you for supporting the Woodstock Dog Park. You are important. I send blessings your way. Volunteers do not work in a vacuum. They simply cannot succeed without your help.
TO DONATE YOUR TIME AND/OR MONEY IN SUPPORT OF THE WOODSTOCK DOG PARK, PLEASE CONTACT ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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My latest book “A Healer’s Handbook” is now available on Amazon as well as on my website: http://www.thurmangreco.com.
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Everyone’s getting excited because, well, it’s Christmas. And, we pretty much all get excited around here for the holidays.
Tinker Street and Mill Hill Road are busy this year with tourists, relatives of tourists, friends of tourists, neighbors of tourists, enemies of tourists. They’re walking around with colorful shopping bags in their hands.
Upscale shoppers and shopping abound.
While people shop and visit, I look to see if there are lots of shopping bags, or even some shopping bags, or even a few shopping bags.
When there are no shopping bags, I know we’ll have an empty store or three over the winter. And, this is important. Our business district has been expanding this year. We’ve got growth on Mill Hill Road down by the intersection of 375.
Dr. Longmore’s old place has been transformed into a tap room. A new tattoo artist has moved in next door. Abbe is back behind EvolveD. This part of town is looking safe.
At the other end of town, there’s expansion toward the post office. A new deli, a new tattoo parlor. The turquoise shop is now down by the new hotel. Gossip has it that it’s called the White Dove Hotel. But, further gossip has it that it’s sold and is now called something else. Who knows?
The big event in Woodstock this year isn’t downtown. This year, the big event is out off of 212 at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation which is celebrating Christmas Eve with Chinese food, latkes and a reading of “Oy!” by Rich Orloff.
This event, which is totally free and open to all, is the place to be on Christmas Eve this year!
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Blog posts have been kind of empty these past few months because I’ve been working on “A Healer’s Handbook”. That project is now completed so I’ve got more time for other things. “A Healer’s Handbook” is available on Kindle and Nook and will soon be available in the paper version. Hope you enjoy reading it.
Artwork is by Jennette Nearhood.
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When the forsythia blooms, I always rejoice. I’ve survived another Woodstock winter. It’s not that winter here is bad…it’s just that we always lose some plants and some businesses.
We lose people, too. One winter my peers were dying at the rate of about one a week. It made for some depressing chats at Bread Alone, for sure.
So…when the forsythia blooms I walk around the town and see what plants and what businesses have survived. To put it another way, I’m looking for the casualties. This winter has been very mild and the casualties have been few overall. Woodstock is ready for its annual rebirth. As are the residents.
Provisions is still open. Hurrah!
The T-shirt parlor is actually sporting a Help Wanted sign in the window. We don’t see many of those in Woodstock, so it’s a welcome diversion. Hopefully this will be the start of a new fad and we’ll see more Help Wanted signs around town as business picks up.
There are some empty buildings, though. Down in the financial district, Dr. Longmore’s office is still vacant. Some neighboring store fronts surrounding his old office are also vacant.
On Rock City Road, there are a couple of empty buildings. One shop was open for years and years. Our community will miss this store.
The space behind the Bank of America is still available.
Several months ago Not Fade Away moved into the old Mid Hudson Valley location so the old Not Fade Away store is available now.
The Turquoise Lady has moved into Christine Varga’s old place. So, that means the old Turquoise Lady storefront is vacant.
And, over on Tannery Brook across from the world famous Wooden Kazoo store, there is a new concept being born. The old sign is gone, as is the row boat which, I think, is being replaced by a bathtub. There is a large white flag flying outside.
As I walk around, I see that Fiona is open and filled with wonderful things we can all bring home. I’m suspecting people will be coming from all over the globe to spend a few minutes getting a reading at Fiona’s. It’s certainly worth the trip. After all, when you’re good, you’re good. And Suzan Saxman is good.
And…Pegasus has sandals in the window! Now, that’s a step in the right direction! Sandals mean the summer is going to be here any day now. We can all enjoy life a little more with sandals.
Storefronts tell an economic story about Woodstock and are important to us all here. But, sandals cut right to the soul as they prepare us to play in the stream, shop at the flea market on Saturdays and pick up a bangle at Gwen’s Gems.
Last summer’s dreams have long since been forgotten so the need to fill the gap in our hearts is strong about now. This is the spiritual awakening we all look forward to experiencing.
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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