Thursday, March 12, 2009

Drinking with friends, a good bottle of port paired with carefully chosen cheeses and glistening black olives, or sharing a bottle of wine with The Mister is a pleasure I should not want to lose if I didn’t have to.

I jumped off the train at Bleecker Street looking forward to the meeting with the anti-death penalty people, spending a couple of hours stuffing helpful information into envelopes for incarcerated citizens and adding personal handwritten notes to some. The lure of cherry cheese knishes proved too strong and I ducked into Jonah Schimmels bakery on Houston Street on my way. Waiting my turn at the counter I overheard a delightful exchange between a man whose age and decidedly New York accent reminded me, again, of my father, and the middle-aged, round-faced Russian woman serving him.

“You want the gelt now or later?” he joked with her. “My wife likes everything hot. It’s coming back if it’s not hot.”

The Russian woman smiled wryly with thickly painted red lips, “Oh, it’s hot. It’s very hot.”

A pair of student types dickered beside me, clearly first time customers. Should she have the potato knish? “No”, he chided all lean and spikey-haired, “Yuck—get the spinach.” She protested meekly, “But I think the potato one is the original.” He prevailed and they got two spinach knishes—unheated. Normally this couple would have irritated me no end. I would have ruminated on how NYU was wrecking the heart of this city with entitled young transplants that just don’t get it. But I thought of the little bit of gold I had just been given from a man who reminded me of my father. It was all a gift.

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