Day 181: Happy Birthday Linda!

4 Oct

When I was growing up I lived in a neighborhood called Stapleton on Staten Island. We lived in the “Stapleton Projects” which were built around 1960. What was amazing about this place was that literally hundreds of families lived inside of two city blocks. The apartments at the ends of the buildings had the most bedrooms and so families with lots of kids lived there: the Mulvaneys, the Lufranos, the Migliores. My family had two children when we moved in and we lived in a three bedroom apartment. My friend Linda also lived in a three bedroom apartment in my building. The difference – my family lived on the second floor, while her family lived on the eighth (read top) floor.

Linda was two years ahead of me in school… and while our perspectives were different, we knew many of the same people. Unfortunately, I have not been to a single high school reunion – mainly because I have lived three thousand miles away. Linda is one of my few connections to those long ago days – and I look forward to catching up with her when I go home for a visit.

Today is Linda’s birthday. When we were kids we used to joke about this day… saying something like “10-4 Good-buddy.” It’s been a while since I’ve seen Linda but, really, she always looks the same to me. Maybe that’s the way it is with old friends. Or maybe she has a painting growing old in the attic…

In Linda’s honor, this afternoon I made a Banana Cream Pie with a graham cracker crust. I considered a number of recipients before I “knew” where this pie was going. And it turns out that it was destined for the free dinner held each week at the United Methodist Church of Ashland. It was definitely the perfect place for this pie.

At about 4:30 PM, when I delivered the pie, a man greeted me and asked what I had to offer for the dinner. When I told him it was a Banana Cream Pie, he told me, “We were light on desserts.” And then my friend, Elaine, asked, “Is this your pie of the day?” I smiled and nodded and quickly left because I was filled with conflicting emotions. On the one hand, it felt great to be in a place where I was needed, while on the other hand, I felt overwhelmed by that very same fact. Maybe that’s just part of the journey I am traveling.

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