Sunday, September 05, 2010
New York Trip- Time to stomp with some Grace!
Wow ... Finally have some sit down time to ponder my NYC trip.
Far too long since i was able to wander around old stomping grounds and it was really good for my soul to feel the strength of the North East.
I was staying with Anthony and Michele out in Hempstead, Long Island. (about a 20 min. train ride to NYC- and one of the oldest English settlements in Nassau County)-
To it’s credit also has a English/American Pub, “CROXLEY ALES”, to which i frequented for some MUCH needed decompressing!
Thank you Anthony for that gem, and i’m still gonna expand your beer palate. I really liked the English/American combo aspects of it... complete with servings in a real PINT and a side of “wings”. It also had proper fish and chips as well as shepherds pie; none of which i fancied at the time, as i was getting my fill of amazing Greek/Italian at their house.
(Michele you are an amazing cook and i love your kitchen!)
HA! i guess one of the things i was craving, besides the cooler weather and nostalgic moments, was the food! (oh and a lil POOL!)
Bagels....... I mean the way only New York can make ‘em, filled with the pride of generations!
Pizza...... with the “spirit of competition”! That meaning, family’s that have been perfecting their craft to be the “best in the area”; with the feeling of a truly “family business”, complete with the strong voice, bickering and shall we say “attitude”.
I cannot fail to mention the Greek food in Astoria, which is Michele’s stomping ground. Really nice lil cafe there, though the food, according to Michele was not up to Greek perfection standard, had amazing coffee frappe; which was perfect for the rainy Sunday jaunt.
The thing is about Cities for me... is more the relationships there. Don’t get me wrong, i’d jump at the chance to go to Paris or Belgium in a heart beat, just that, what gets my heart beating faster is the love in fellowship/friendship.
So it was lovely to “touch in” with Anthony and the family and hanging out with my 9 year old niece Christianna. It had been 5 years since we hugged and my skin didn’t know how much it was missing those deep embraces till i actually got there!
Christianna had not been to the top of the Empire State Building, so one of her requests was to have that “experience” with me. Yes, i’m quoting, a 9 year old .... “Aunt Cat’rin this is special cuz we’re gonna have an “experience” togeddah!” Yes, she cracks me up as she is 9 with a 15 year old vocabulary, complete with a very thick New York accent. Anthony and i kept shooting each other “looks” as we stood in the endless queuing, looking at rows and rows of KITCH CHACHKA!!!! Yes, if you are NOT familiar with that wording..... go google.
It was a nice venture out, that was fully completed by Anthony’s erratic driving skills extraordinaire. We made an illegal U-turn that turned into a K-turn, ‘bout to go into the tunnel out of NYC, and he scared the living shit out of a bus driver as well as the peeps in it, as he came with in inches of T-boning the bus. Talk about alphabet soup driving.... U turns K turns T! Christianna was yelling in the back seat... “Dad, waddu’ah do’in, we’re gawna die!”
Then there was the Gerbil escapade! They had gotten 4 lil fella’s for Christianna to have as pets. A dog was an option, but that’s not until they get rid of the grandmother. (long story- trust me)
The endless parental warnings as to what NOT to do to the poor critters led to no avail, when one of ‘em, after some rough and tumble, was on the floor bleeding from the mouth and trying to crawl with half it’s body functioning. (did i mention it was the grandmother’s ... the one that she wanted) Ummmm, long to short, well sorta...
Christianna was in pieces thinking she had just killed the poor guy, while Anthony and Michele were reeling in the throws of how to make this "OK," while sharing the non-verbal communication of.... “we KNEW this was gonna happen”.
I am making light of it now, but during it was not pretty.
So Michele went on to brain storm as to how to get another critter that “looked the same” to replace the battle fallen rodent.
In the mean time, Christianna was praying to Jesus to save it’s life so that her grandmother wouldn’t hate her for the rest of her life. While Anthony was giving psychological counseling in Rambo style... “yer gawna have to give gram’ma one of yer other ones, you took a life, now yer gawna have to give one.”
Needless to say, we were ALL praying! Anthony then picked up the lil guy, and i said, “dude it’s in misery, either pray for healing, or ... you know.”
I guess the prayer took, cuz while he was about to gently cease it’s breathing, it started to move, and when put on the ground, started running about.
We were all a bit wide eyed and just at that time, Michele came home with the “twin”.
Suffice to say, there are now 5 ‘lil critters and a happy child and i was wondering about Anthony’s “Wigglesworth” skills.
That was the first of the little drama’s that cluttered my trip.
I had a grand time hanging with Becky Garrison jaunting around “Battery Park”, looking at such obscure lil niche spots as a memorial to the “irish potato famine” and a tucked away Jewish Labyrinth! All the while dialoguing on what’s “emerging” in Christendom, with some serious cheeky banter.
Plus having a freebee “Staten Island Ferry” ride, just ‘fer good measure and catching some off shore breezes.
I had to ponder at the 9/11 Twin Towers hole in the ground. All the barricades STILL present. Made me wonder about how long it takes for ground to heal and people to rebuild. It’s not like the obvious HOLE isn’t somewhat representative of many things still not restored. I have to say, i was a bit sickened by the stuff they were selling at St. Paul’s Chapel; making money off of other’s scars. I understand, that it’s “The little chapel that stood” admits the violent storm that happened that day and stands in a place of memorial, however, i can’t get past that “children’s story book” about the account that is selling in the store. end kvetch.
On my return trip back to Anthony & Michele’s i had my bag lost... i’ll say that cuz i’m not sure if i left it or it was nicked, as there was a dodgy fella next to me, and my radar to surroundings is more than high generally. After canceling all my credit cards and now facing being 2 more days in New York with no cash and no credit------- thankfully it was found, and i had to travel out to Brooklyn to get it. (lacking my cash, but still the rest of the contents in place, that was nothing short of a miracle!)
After that lil jaunt... got to spend the afternoon with my oldest and dearest friend, Billy Francis, aka Captain Francis of the Salvation Army in Times Square.
Dang that’s got some history to it.... (a tad too personal to share here, and that’s say’in something; suffice to say we were childhood sweethearts in a very tenuous time in our lives)
47th & 8th- wow, that brings back so many memories! OMG!
Last time i was there it was a dump! Now it’s a vibrant worship center with the sound of multicultural lil feet dancing and singing. Billy, you and i both know that it was and is a portent of what God can do with things when we give HIM permission in our hearts and lives!!!! God’s an expert in transformational work eh??????
Spending time with Billy and his amazingly beautiful wife Annalise touched a space in my soul that i didn’t know needed touching. It was the place of old and new with the consistency of Grace that is soooo lacking in this world. (esp. in Christendom)
It was also the same with Anthony and Michele... rich & deep, sharing life across kitchen tables. Being able to touch in and travel and still find “home” there. I’m gobsmacked and astounded at how deep it goes. (even in the drama’s of everyday life)
I’m truly grateful for those spaces ... thin places of being, where friendship and grace melt like fragrant oil and hot wax, filling the room with an intoxicating flame.
Spending time with friends that have walked with me in some very troublesome and yet GLORIOUS spot.
I guess that pretty much sums up my trip.
Grace that covers time and space.
Thank you so much Anthony and Michele for grace that covers on that trip. You guys are such a deep part of my spiritual family. i love you.
oh... and kinda liked this oxymoron:
'sum classic Jewish cheek!- ONLY IN NYC!