Good Deeds #4



(The first 2 paragraphs of this article are the same as the first two paragraphs of Good Deeds #3) 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; an older couple goes for a walk in Central Park), 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.


Somebody to Lean On by Lila Bader

I was at the intersection of 88thStreet and Madison Avenue one evening in May.  I had the light and was starting to cross when a cab came around the corner and hit me.

I was lying in the street, in significant pain and unable to get up.  Everyone in the small crowd gathered around me appeared to be calling 911.

The ambulance took longer than expected to arrive.  A woman crouched down near me.

“I’d like to sit cross-legged behind you and have you put your head on my lap,” she said quietly.

And then she did just that. I rested on her lap until the ambulance finally got there.  I asked her name.

“Laura,” she said.

Laura, I’ve thought of you many times since that night.  Know that my displaced, fractured hip was more tolerable because of your kindness, and I’ll never forget it.


My Mother-in-Law’s Mink by Mikki Shaw

I had spent a cold, gray Friday afternoon helping to sort and pack up my mother-in law’s clothes.  She had two fur coats, and I took them because I didn’t know what else to do.

 On the way home, we stopped for a hot dog at Nathan’s.  (It’s my fast food weakness.)

“Is it cold out?”  the young woman at the register asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“I have to take a bus when I get out at 11,” she said, “and all I brought was a sweater.”

I went out to the car, got one of the minks, came back inside and gave it to her.


Parking Lesson by Ray Furlong

 I pulled onto West 130thStreet between Lenox and Fifth Avenues looking for a parking spot. I noticed one between two cars.  I knew there wasn’t a fire hydrant there.

Getting into the spot would have been a tight squeeze, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  Luckily, though, I saw that there was a man sitting in the Jeep parked in front of the empty space.  He had easily half a car’s length ahead of him that he could move up into. I figured I would ask if he would mind making my job easier.

Pulling alongside the Jeep, I saw that the man was leaning back in his seat.  His window was already down.  I rolled down my front passenger side window.

“Hi, excuse me.”  I said, “Would you mind puling up a bit so I could squeeze in behind you?”

No response.

“Excuse me, sir?”

This time, he answered.

“Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I just wanted to ask if you could move up a tad, maybe three feet.”

“I heard what you said,” he said.  “I’ll move up two feet, and learn how to park.”

Now I was annoyed.

He pulled the Jeep up, and I backed into the empty spot easily.  Turning off the ignition, I decided to ask the man if he would evaluate my parking job.  After all, he had said I needed to learn.

As I approached the Jeep, the man was reaching out the window with his hand open.  Almost magnetically, my hand was drawn into his.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m on the phone with the funeral home. My Father just passed.  Please, go easy on me.”

It doesn’t take much to set us off  when we’re surrounded by millions of people, especially in the heat.  So go easy on each other.

















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'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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