Good Deeds #3

CPark1

New Yorkers live in a unique environment.  It is a sports capital, a cultural hub, and a media center.  It has its difficulties, too, but to those who love it, they will live only there.  Even if it’s a high-priced, small studio apartment.  For me, if I could afford an apartment overlooking Central Park (see above), I’d live there, too.   (See my article, “The Park”, August 30, 2016)

I wrote 2 articles entitled “Good Deeds, Parts 1 + 2” on July 8thand 14th, 2017. As I mentioned then, present and former New Yorkers use the “Metropolitan Diary” portion of the New York Times as a place to share some of their important moments with the newspaper and its readers.  Here are 3 more letters that have been published there.

 

Beneath a Baby Grand by Stacey Lender

I was strolling through Washington Square Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and I stopped to join a crowd of people listening to a man who plays classical music there on his baby grand piano.

At the end of the piece, he asked if anyone would like to lie underneath the piano for his next song. No one stepped up, so I figured, why not?

I rested my head near his feet and stretched my legs out toward the long end of the piano, staring up at the  instrument’s wooden underbelly.  For the next five minutes, I closed my eyes and let the sounds of “Clair de Lune” envelop me.

“How was it?” he asked when I stood up.

“It was like the greatest M. R. I. I’ve ever had,” I replied.

 

Soft Landing byConstance Vidor

After I learned about the terrible ways that plastic bags can affect the environment, I began to carry three sturdy, reusable plastic bags for shopping in my backpack everywhere I went.

One day when I was out, a bicycle rider knocked me over on the sidewalk.  Time stopped as I watched my feet fly up over my head.  I had visions of walkers, pain pills, crutches, a wheelchair.

Then, poof, I landed on my plastic-bag-filled backpack.  No broken hip, no fractured spine.

Do your bit for the environment, and the world will love you back.

 

On Broadway, Near LaSalleby James White

It happened on a Sunday evening.  My girlfriend and I were heading up Broadway near LaSalle Street when we noticed a delivery man with a scooter standing near the curb and looking down into a storm drain.

His mouth was open as if in disbelief or perhaps worry that his deliveries were late and getting cold.

I approached him, and found out that his key ring had fallen down the drain.  Despite a language barrier –I learned later that he was from Burkina Faso—we were on the same page.  We shined the flashlights on our cellphones through the grate and spotted the keys near the rim of a pipe.

I headed for my apartment, which wasn’t far away, to get a wire hanger.  My girlfriend stayed behind.

A lot went on while I was away.  One man stopped and spoke to the delivery man in French before positioning his car to keep other drivers away.  A second man arrived on a bike and took out a high-powered flashlight.  Then another delivery man pulled up on a scooter. Finally, a cab stopped and a woman got out.  She asked in Spanish what was happening.  She also wanted to help.

When I returned, we all crouched down around the drain  under the high-powered light.

I bent the hanger into a more helpful length and lowered it through the grate.  Carefully, I hooked the key ring.

By this point, a small crowd had gathered on the sidewalk.  When the brassy shine of the key ring emerged from the grate, cheers echoed across the block.

Then we all said our goodbyes.  It was getting late, and we had somewhere to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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