Potato Making

22 11 2009

Last night I made mashed potatoes for the Church. Peeling those bad boys made me think about my first day in New York.

I had met two nice gentlemen at the Center. They were both retired, white guys living comfortably in Upper Manhattan. Sadly, I can’t recall their names.

Nevertheless, when one of the gents learned of my Irish descent, he proceeded to tell me about the “great potato famine.”

“That’s what brought the Irish here,” he said.

Potatoes in High Demand

Fast forward some 150 years and Panama City had not run out of potatoes, but I was in New York, strolling the streets with two old fogies and sharing stories.

We went to the Barnes & Noble store in Lincoln Center to hear a panel discussion on famous Broadway composers, presented by famous Broadway composers.

Famous, that is, if you follow Broadway composers. These guys did and when a score was played they hummed and rocked in their chairs.

The music, for the most part, went over my head, but I sat and listened and hoped to hear a familiar tune. I felt very uncultured.

After the panel was over we decided to have dinner at a nearby diner. Another fellow joined us, making our party a foursome.

It was a civil dinner. The gentlemen all seemed intrigued about my arrival in the City, but it was a story they had read, heard and witnessed many, many times before.

“It’s really hard for a writer to find work right now, you know,” one of the men told me.

I acknowledged this and assured him that I was up for the challenge. He seemed skeptical.

The four of us split the bill evenly that night and the three wise men went off to their comfy condos in the sky as I headed to meet Barry in Union Square.

Last night, as I peeled potatoes in the sink, thoughts about that night resurfaced.  I remember getting the phone number for the fellow who told me about the “great potato famine” and how I tried to call him a few weeks after our initial visit, only to receive a gruff response.

Why did he even give me his phone number in the first place?, I thought. New York is such a strange place.

Meanwhile, back in Panama City, the mashed potatoes went over big at Church this morning. Food for thought.

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