"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. . . " Part III, the final piece.

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“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
Part III
        First I want to thank anyone who has read the previous two parts of this dialogue. It has has been a long road but we are at the end. I hope this will bring the whole thing together and it will all make a little more sense if you can force your way through this final installment of “The Neighborhood”.  
What I have described thus far is a neighborhood loaded with sinful history and religious influence.  Some days the streets were filled with the underbelly of society and its activities, and other days the pedestrian could witness the “Stations of the Cross” wander down the sidewalk.  The dichotomy was joyful.  Strange things in the neighborhood became such a common aspect of daily behavior that it was difficult to distinguish crazy from normal.  
      All that’s left is to give you some history about my location. The all window storefront that now exists was originally brick, with a few small windows about 6 feet high. The place was called Sultan’s Roost and was a massage parlor on the first floor, with a brothel in the basement.  I knew nothing of this history when I first rented the space, but it wouldn’t have deterred me in any way.  There was further evidence of this when we uncovered the remnants of a staircase heading to the basement as we broke down a wall for the expansion. Customers came in during the first few years and found great joy in filling us in on the history that the landlord left out. 
One spring day a very tall and weathered looking man came walking in the store with a gate of great confidence.  He was dressed like a man that had been working in the trades all his life and maybe a few others lives as well.  There was no look of strain or difficulty in his walk, and he absolutely wore time as if he owned it. 
He ordered and sat at a table in the window with his back to the street.  I saw him looking around the place as a smile creeped into that worn face. When I brought his food, he was glancing up at the tin ceiling that covered the front half of the dining area. The back half didn’t survive the years and a typical 2x4 panel drop ceiling had been installed. 
Along the windows on the tin was a row of empty sockets that once held decorative light fixtures. They were about 18 inches apart and ran the entire length of the store.  The old guy starting snickering as he told me his piece to this story.  “I worked on those lights for over a week, years ago, but couldn’t get ‘em to work. Some old crappy wiring i think. Didn’t hurt that the place was full of girls dressed like strippers.” A bigger grin came over his face.  He went on to tell me that there was a short in the line of lights and the girls were getting electric shocks when they would press there bare breasts up against the windows to lure in customers.   Something about the sweat on their body and the current going through the windows.  “Never did figure it out. Had to disconnect all those lights. Took me another week.” He told me this with the look of a man who had just relived one of his life’s little joys.  
So here I sit on a daily basis, in the remnants of an old brothel with nearly every other sin available in a one block radius. And within that same block were all the avenues of redemption needed when you finished.  The reflection of a church cross staring at me through those windows and watching over the activities as a reminder of life’s extreme choices. 
The rest of this story will be told with a bit of muddling on the specifics.  This is only to protect the individuals involved. I am not interested in focusing on any one person’s moral deviations (since we all have them), but rather on the larger picture.  As this is a three part story, I will condense the details to three people for some kind of literary consistency.
As I have mentioned, I would park on a mostly empty street first thing in the morning. My car would be parked right at the front door, leaving my path into the store short and quick.  It was the second to last - penultimate - (So few occasions to use that word that I had to take this opportunity) parking spot.  There was one spot behind, and many ahead of my usual space.  Several people used that last space on a regular basis over the years; Some customers, some staff, and some that worked in the neighborhood.  After many years, something of a pattern started to emerge and my mathematical brain was looking for a formulaic understanding. 
What began as just another oddity on the block was gaining my curiosity.  Why were so many of the people that parked in that spot regularly succumbing to a similar fate? As I ran down that famed list of seven, each one of those parkers were crossing off an entry. They were all being enveloped by one of the cardinal sins of the Christian Faith. For some reason my counter had the same impact of a local pub, with peoples troubles flowing my way just as fast as the coffee was flowing their way. The story of each of their lives had infiltrated mine, including the ongoing effects of each discretion. 
This even surprised me as I had developed a pattern of only listening for the highlights of some monologues so I could ask about the situation on their next visit. Sorry to let you in on this, but it becomes a necessity for workers in this field. I even started using a similar theory at home, until it ended up in one of the biggest fights I ever had with a woman.  She was telling me something about someone or some activity, and apparently I didn’t look as though I was listening.  When she called me out on her suspicion, I was still in work mode and answered a little too honestly: 
“Are you even listening to me?” she said.
“Of course not”, I replied.  
“What! Why not?”  she shouted at me.
“Because I know you are just going to repeat yourself anyway, so I’ll just catch it the next time.” 
Let me tell you, that was a big mistake. The scars of that error are still noticeable. 
Back to those sinful parkers. 
“Person 1” used what appeared to be just a parking paradigm, many days a week, for many hours of each day.  A seemingly decent person enjoying the prime of their life. Over time, the choices Person 1 made started to deteriorate and effect the lives of others.  Questionable financial dealings that were in part to help cover up an adulterous relationship.  Plenty of upheaval in the lives of all those involved, but honestly, rather pedestrian.  I would say that most people have experienced this with a Kevin Bacon degree of closeness.  When all the pieces were broken apart and things settled, Person 1 had moved away from the area and wasn’t to be seen again in the neighborhood.  
Nothing at this point made me suspicious, even as “Person 2” started to park there on a regular basis (not at the same time as Person 1) for work. A few years into their parking stint they found themselves in a bind with gambling losses.  By all accounts this was an intelligent and moral person, as was Person 1, who had made a few bad choices with worse outcomes.  Frankly, it was something that many people could have wandered into with a few bad decisions.  The difficulties this created for Person 2 caused yet another departure from the block and they too found themselves elsewhere in life.
“Person 3” had a longer stint at that unfortunate spot, and their time was interspersed over the years.  It might be harder to describe the details of Person 3’s fall from grace, but I will tell you that it was a combination of envy, wrath, and pride, covering the bottom three of that list of seven mortal sins. This one reminded me of the Mayor in the movie “The Nighmare Before Christmas”.  You just never knew which half of that spinning face you were working with on any given day. Kind of a crap shoot every time, except the odds of losing were about 50% with each roll of these dice.
Three different individuals parking in the same spot for long periods of time. Each succumbing to one of the cardinal sins of the Christian world. Even the store itself was once a house of sin. The reflection of that cross seemed to wait patiently as the dark side danced on our streets, taking notes and preparing to be called upon.  
The totality of this came together for me one spring morning as I stood outside enjoying the weather. I glanced down to investigate a foul odor consuming the space around me and shook my head at the storm grate on street. It was not the first time I had noticed the grate but it was at that moment that things fell into place.  I had a long history with that damn hole in the ground, and it was stinking up my sidewalk again.
My issues with that abyss began with the expansion and the new bathroom.  Someone made a mistake over the years with the plumbing and every time we had a hard rain the water would pool up on the street and cause quite a bit of standing water.  This quickly became a noticeable problem as my new bathroom would change into a bidet.  Water from the toilet would start ebbing and receding with such force that it created a Geiser coming out of the commode and soak the bathroom, and anyone in it at that time. Thankfully it was a rarity to have someone seated when this happened and we quickly learned to close the room for “repairs” when a strong rain fell.
Inquiries were made to fix this anomaly but it didn’t come to any resolve.  The landlord blamed the city, the city blamed the county, the county blamed my plumber, and my plumber blamed all of them.  The problem got so bad that the bathrooms on the second floor had the same affliction on occasion.  We all learned later that a back flow preventer might solve this issue but who would pay for this always stalled the possible solution.  Why the sewage pipes and drain pipes were connected is what troubled me, but I’m no contractor.  
So there I stood, over the hole in the ground that caused so many internal problems at the store. Staring at a parking meter that I was certain had caused external problems for the people that parked there too long or too often.  I was certain that damn meter and that hole in the ground were related. Some connection existed right where I was standing.
A good logician would question correlation vs causation here, but we all know that logicians make good actuaries but poor story tellers. And for those of you who would say the  argument I am insinuated is  “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc”, I say to you (with too much latin background)  that my conclusions came over a 15 year period and with a sample size that satisfies my own mathematical background.  So, “Plthhtthht”. Go ahead, refute that argument. 
It was at that moment that it all came together for me. My “AHA! “ moment.  What we had here was a location in the world where all the evils of pandora’s box were seeping out.  A place being watched over by the forces of good. And just like the anthropomorphic vampire unable to see it’s own reflection, these evils cannot see the reflections of forces of good watching over them. What we had here my friends was a “Portal of Evil”. That’s what was causing all this disruption in the neighborhood and to those peoples’ lives.  The reflection of that cross only provided further proof of this hypothesis, as I want to believe that evil doesn't go unnoticed. If there is any “Portal of Evil” in this world, it isn’t without the knowledge of those opposite forces.  At least not for long. 
Look, let me tell you that I am not one to whole heartily believe in any one, or all, of the structures of faith in this world, but I am also not wiling to universally dismiss them either. 
For me, this was it. Everything had come together.  This little spot on our block was the cause of all  the unexplainable issues that surrounded our neighborhood.  A “Portal of Evil”. I repeat that for effect.  Yup, I had my answers.  Temptation was oozing out from that hole in the ground and infecting the locals.  The evil below was becoming a parasite on the backs of good people. Very “Fire and Brimstone”, I know, but since brimstone in an old name for sulfur, and it was that stench that starting me thinking, I think it is all just more evidence.
Although I stood directly above this menace of the world, I was suddenly at ease. I didn’t run away but stood there pondering the power of this portal (sorry, I but I love an alliteration), and stared at the cross of the church in the windows.  
 I am aware of the fantastical nature of this tale and the conclusions I have drawn. I am aware that that many will doubt it’s authenticity and the causality of the events.  This is your right and I may have had the same opinion if I had walked away from the spot a moment earlier.  Instead I placed my hand on that meter to fully embrace the moment and see if I could sense any of the forces I was convinced were affecting my neighborhood.  As I moved my hand away with no difference in energy or awareness, I looked closely at that meter for the first time in 15 years. 

       How had I never noticed?  I had gotten tickets at this spot. It had been staring at me all these years.   The meter was numbered “666”.  The mark of the beast. “. . . And his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” - Revelaiton 13:18 (I secretly have always wanted to have one Bible quote in my arsenal). Hmmmm. . .  causation or correlation? Post hoc, ergo propter hoc? My ass! I stand by my conclusions. Maybe not one of the mythical gateways to hell, but certainly  A “Portal of Evil”, and right in front of my store.
All of what I have told you is true, and I am sorry to report that the city has removed the meters on that block in favor of the new centralized parking systems.  I will look for additional proof for potential doubters,

Person 1,2 and 3 have all gone on to live peaceful lives, that, as far as I can tell do not involve and of the original deviances mentioned above. My own fall from grace could be included, but I have another tale (in another posting) to tell about the effects of that portal on my life. 

    Believe what you will, but I’m afraid you will not convince me of anything other than that which I have concluded here in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” of the State Street historic section and the portal of evil.

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Orange Almond-Chocolate Truffles


This is another version of the chocolate truffles. The combinations are endless, as I am certain you have seen in your favorite chocolatier. If you don't have one of those, you can check out the Features section in the future, as I will be highlighting a few in the area soon.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup Semisweet chocolate
  • 3 large squares 70% (or higher) cocoa dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. Heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau 
  • One whole orange - zest and juice
  • Crushed almond pieces for rolling
Total time: Prep takes about 20 minutes.  Fridge time 2 hours. Rolling will take about 5 minutes.

Special tools: Double boiler set up - Heat resistant bowl on top of a pot with water, not touching the bottom of the bowl. I have used a clear pyrex bowl on my pot, so I can see all the wonders in the bowl and to watch the water level below.

Makes aboiut 18 truffles.



Place the bowl over medium heat.  Add both chocolates, and the Heavy cream to the bowl. I like to give it a few minutes to start melting before I add the remainder of the ingredients.



Next add the Cointreau, orange zest, juice from one orange, and lightly stir to mix. 
Let the mixture melt thoroughly, stirring lightly to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Once they are combined, take the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  I have placed the bowl in a larger bowl with ice to help the process along.






















When the mixture has firmed up enough to roll into balls, place the crushed almonds in a shallow bowl or plate.  Scoop out 2 oz (about one heaping tbsp) of the chocolate and gently roll into a ball. Move quickly as the heat from your hands will melt the chocolate.  Unless you have some gloves, prepare for messy hands.



Roll the truffles around in the nuts and move to second plate. I like to place some nuts on the second plate as well, to prevent sticking.



They will be a little soft, and you can keep them in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  If you like your truffles a little firmer, place them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


These little things are very rich and just delicious. You generally do not have to worry about how to keep the leftovers, as there are rarely any left. 

Greenwood Books

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Another one of my long time friends in the business world.  Franlee, owner of Greenwood Books,
 has a wide selection of great books, and a supporter of small business in the city.

Located in the heart of the East End, it is the type of business that helps create the atmosphere of culture that others can only proclaim to offer. 

They offer used books in a "large general selection with emphasis on the humanities. Fiction, Poetry, Philosophy, Religion, History and Politics".  from Rochester Wiki.


Greenwood Books
123 East Avenue
Rochester NY
585.325.2050

Stop in and see Franlee, browse the shelves, and be sure to tell her you read about her place on this site.



If you are interested in becoming a partner and offering your product to us to be featured in our recipes, please visit the Contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!

My Tribute to friends

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“When I die, all my memories will die too”

This was a statement from a long time friend recently, with no lead in or context.  He is extremely intelligent, and generally only speaks once he has given a great deal of thought to what he wants to say, and to whom he says it. Although I can’t say for certain what timeline of thought brought him to this statement or to direct at me, I am sure it wasn’t random.

His words came to me today, when I heard the news of another friends passing. It was sudden, although his health had been a trouble issue for him the last few years. Steve was one of the neighborhood guys that I have written about in many posts. “Bearded Steve”, for his ZZ Top facial hair, “Motorcycle Steve”, for the 1980 Fat Boy Harley he bought new and still rode. “Smoke Shop Steve”, “Gun Shop Steve”, because he worked on the block at those places. His friends over the years knew him for his many other ventures and kindness. “Mac and Murph” for long running DJ business; The many electrical jobs and projects he worked on over the years; HIs behind the counter attitude at any of the pizza shops opened by his friends Joe and Jim - Pizza Stop and Joe’s Brooklyn locations. 

 I had coffee with Steve many days a week through my 20 years.  On many of those days he could be found hanging out in my kitchen as we caught up on recent events if it was too busy to sit.  When he married Joanne he solicited my help to ask a judge friend to perform the ceremony. He obliged and we met one afternoon in the judges chambers.  He asked me to be a witnesses and I had to do so in my stinky work clothes that day, due to my own oversight.   

The link for one of the stories I have written about Steve MacNeal are here. He features prominently in many of my tales because Steve fit the mold for what makes life interesting and unique. He was a true outlier, like so many of my other friends.  That seems to be a commonality among the people in my life. 

The end of Steve’s life was quick, and I will try to find some solace in that fact. He fainted behind the counter at the pizza shop where he was helping out a few hours a week. His wife came and took him to the hospital where his heart stopped. He was revived, but fell into a coma. He lasted about a day, and said his final goodbyes. Quickly, quietly, and to the point. That was quite indicative of Steve’s personality. The same way he would leave my store most days. He was just gone. 

 Steve died on My 14, 2015. He was 66 years old.

Steve’s passing has brought back the memories of all the other friends and customers that have gone over the years.  I have to say goodbye to friends far too often, in my 50 years. I know loss is not only a part of life, but one of the only guarantees we are given. Whether at the end of a long, well lived life, or suddenly, in the middle of something unfinished.  Most of have had some experience with loss, or will have some in the future.

I would like to say my goodbyes here for a few of them, if you’ll indulge me.  There is a two part past post on this site about a man I call “Van”. If you read the posts, you know the story. One of the things Van and I talked about often was the difference between the aging process on the body and on the mind. More specifically, given the choice (which we aren’t), what would be your preference.  Would you rather have your mind go first, so that all of the other physical problems you encounter are less impactful on your mind. Or would you rather have your mental faculties stay acute as your body refuses to cooperate. The slow deterioration of the body with full awareness and inability to fix the issues.   

When the mind goes first, we depend on others for what used to be our daily mental tasks.  When the body goes first, we often depend on others to assist in our daily physical tasks.  Not sure which is easier on ourselves or on others. I don’t think either of us ever came to a conclusion on this subject matter. In the end, Van fell down a flight of stairs because of his physical limitations, which drove him nuts, and never recovered.  

Van died on November 20th, 2004. He was 89 years old.

Jim Rizzo was a lawyer on our State Street block. He worked alone, probably for his sake and for the sake of others.  He was a kind man through every action and through every part of his body. He laughed at the end of most of his statements, mainly because I think he found life entertaining, and people interesting. Some may have found him a little socially awkward, which made others think he was odd. He fit right in with me.  Jim’s commentary on life was often a reach for others to comprehend, but if you could find the connection, he always made sense, and it ended up to be funny.  He had this hobby of flying small planes and was the president of the Finger Lakes Soaring club. He  often took the trip over the finger lakes to enjoy the glorious views. Something happened one day as he took to the skies and that was how Jim’s life ended. Obagelo’s had closed for good when Jim’s plane had crashed, and I never had the opportunity to memorialize his life, in my small way. He went fast, doing something he loved. 

Jim Rizzo died on August 25, 2012. He was 66 years old.

“Lenny” was another local attorney, and by and large he was considered an asshole, and he liked that people thought that of him. He was brash an crass, for no other reason than to make it known that he was brash and crass. Other customers not only avoided him, but the tables around him also. He enjoyed getting a reaction from anyone he encountered. In his later years he was short and round and the unverifiable stories he told with that arrogant and overly confident style of speech either made you run fast or cringe.  There were a few of us who barked back, and that usually gained you some respect, but it often led to full on arguments. Lenny and I had many of these over the years, and he stopped coming in as a protest, on and off over the years.. When he returned, it was in true Lenny style with a lecture on the things that were wrong with me, and my impending failure on those accounts. I served him with a smile, asked to keep quiet, and try to not to be the cause of this doom by talking to other customers.

Leonard Relin had a heart attack while out of town and spent a long time in a hospital in North Carolina where he succumbed to his ailment.  He had to know it was coming as he lie in the bed, and the few friends he retained over the years probably didn’t visit much.  I liked Lenny somedays, and on other days, he ventured to the top the of the list of difficult customers.   

Lenny Relin died on May 6th, 2010. He was 73 years old.

“The other Ned” was a regular lunchtime customer during the week, and on Saturday’s he would bring his two young kids for fresh bread. The kids loved to munch on our fresh rolls and it was a regular outing with dad. Ned worked at what was left of Kodak. In the store he was a great optimist, and I can’t recall a time he didn’t have a smile on face.  Based on the references of his humor (the ones I could follow), he was smart enough to be a character on “The Bing Bang Theory”. Ned Wolf had an inspiring personality. No matter how obnoxious I was, he was still smiling.  Ned had some form of bile duct cancer, and tried his best to manage through chemotherapy, knowing that the survival rate for stage IV cancer of this type was 2%. He was a strong, intelligent, and positive man. One I am happy to had the pleasure of serving over the years.  

Ned Wolf died April 10th, 2011. He was 37 years old. You can read his blog at nedstatus.wordpress.com to get a better picture of the man I knew. 

When I first moved back to the city, I rented a loft on St. Paul Street from one of the meanest people I have ever met.  This little old lady that ran Harry Forman’s Clothing store was the epitome of a time long since past, in a city that doesn’t exist any longer.  There was one other loft in the building and Alan Farkas, and his wife Wendi lived there.  Alan was a commercial photographer that worked for Kodak, and on his own over the years.  Proximity and commonalities in life drew the four of together, in a very nice neighborly way.  I still have fond memories of their wedding on Block Island in Rhode Island. Alan had caner when he was younger and was a survivor.  He and his wife supported my business when I first opened and throughout his time with us. 

They had a daughter and a few years after that the cancer came back. This time the caner won. 

Alan Farkas died on October 3rd, 2008. He was in his forties.

“Bobby Shaps” was another lawyer in town that became a regular and part of our Saturday crew.  Bobby was a big man. A really big man. I think he enjoyed the Saturday thing because it was easier for him to park and get into the store. It took him a little time to negotiate that whole process. Even though his weight was an issue for as long as I knew him, he always looked good. Good looking suit and even better glasses.  His father was an optometrist in the city and Bobby had the eyeglass bug.  The other regulars and I looked forward to seeing him sometimes just for the fashion statement of his eyewear and clothes. Your first impression of Bobby might be his size but after a couple of interactions with him that took a back seat to easy going and witty personality. 

Like Norm on cheers, a few of the other crew members would announce his arrival almost every Saturday and would then enter in a dialogue about nearly any subject matter. He was good like that. A memorable smile and a unique voice that was as soft spoken as his charm.

Robert Shapiro died suddenly on August 15th, 2010. He was 67 years old.


Chris was a U.S. attorney and worked across the street in the federal building. Convenience brought him into the store, and the banter kept him coming back (I think). Chris had a confident aura about him that could be mistaken for arrogance, but only for a moment or so. His down to earth mentality quickly appeared and his humor was based on that image of arrogance.  He could take crap from me like a pro, and bounce back with a confident smile and and witty retort. Probably part of his legal skills. Chris was married to another friend of mine’s sister. Something I didn’t learn about until he passed away. Chris left behind 2 younger children, and many friends.  

Chris Taffe died on July 7th, 2009. He was 52 years old.
One of the first customers to pass away worked as a public defender in town. “Hippie Jeff” was deadhead at heart and his easy going personality seemed to represent the positive aspects of that categorization. He had hair that was somewhere between wavy and curly and he let in grow long where it was still available.  This created a unique look of large long hair on this sides of head. He knew how it looked, and just didn't care what others thought about it.
He came from the Boston area, and still had hints of an accent left in his speech, but not very often. Several years after his passing the public defenders office created an award in his honor. 

A family man, a great defender of the poor, and an ideal public defender as the purpose of the office mimicked his personal belief system.

Jeff had brain caner, and survived eight months after diagnosis.

Jeff  Jacobs died on November 4th, 2006. He was 50 years old.

I met Jim while I was still in the planning stages of o’Bagelo’s, sometime in 1989-1991, Our “wive’s to be” worked together, and they brought us together.  Jim and I stayed friends until his death, long after both of us were divorced.  He continued to come into the store, and we became close. Like Steve that started this post, he was another nonaffiliated Harley guy, and many in the place knew him as motorcycle Jim.  He had been painting cars and bikes most of his life, and even had his own shop on Lake Avenue for many years. He had a great talent for painting motorcycles and his work was shown from Rochester to Vegas in many competitions. Jim always smelled like Patchouli, probably to cover up the strong odors of paint fumes that didn’t wash off. It was very noticeable on his rough hands, and probably all those years working with that toxic substance contributed to his illness.  

Jim’s health problems escalated over the final years of his life, including liver damage and heart problems.  He needed a new liver, but his heart issues took him off most donor lists.  Those that knew him were well aware off the level of generosity that resided in that ailing heart. A very literal “Shirt off his back” guy. I spent many hours listening to him tell me about the things he was going through, and it always worried me.  He was an absolute fighter, and gave those health issues a good run for it. Jim and I  talked about everything in life, and I felt as thought I knew him pretty well.  Close to the end of his life, Jim was paring down his possessions. He said it was because he moved to a smaller place and didn’t have room.  I think he was preparing for he knew to be his future. He gave me two large paintings he had bought from my ex-wife in those early years, and they still hang in my home as a reminder. Just another testament to his generous nature.

Jim Czerkas died in June, 2012. he was in his early 60’s.

This hasn’t been as easy project for me, writing about the friends I have lost..  I have left out my family and those I knew outside of work, not because they are less important, but because this was going to be about people form the store. This next one is especially hard, because like Steve that started this post, Billy was like a family member to me.

I can still recall the first days that Billy came into the store. He used to show up just as we opened each day, right after leaving the YMCA.  He always wanted his bagel toasted and I would argue with him about the merits off bagels fresh from the oven. He got things his way, and i eventually left that discussion to an occasional antidote and joke.  Over the years, Billy became one of my greatest assistants.  He would help (or force, as I liked to say) me with the flowers inside and outside the store.  He would lend a hand every time I needed something, and somehow could befriend any person he ever met. If you were in my shop during the years he was alive and coming in, you knew his face, and probably his personality. 

Billy worked at Kodak in the secret division that was recently outed accidentally by a former employee (not Billy).  He would only tell us the location of where he worked but never anything about what was going on there. He never told anyone what he did either. Turns out the secret was a nuclear research reactor with 3.5 lbs of highly enriched uranium.  Yup, right in the middle of the city, and no one knew about for all those years. 

Billy probably got the job because of his military career. He was part of many secret missions during his time in the service.  He was pretty good about keeping those secrets as well, but he would let some slip as he neared the end of his life. He referenced being in a plane while the government was testing nuclear bombs with animals in the plane.  He talked about being a payload specialist on trips to the Congo dropping off large unidentified crates, probably full of weapons.  Billy would tell me the pilots would land on a dirt strip in the middle of nowhere and wait for a group of people to come out of the jungle to meet them. He would unload the crates and they would fly away. He told me that the pilots teased him about getting the proper signatures from the guerrilla fighters coming to get the freight, and they couldn't leave without it. How he was supposed to get armed men appearing from the depths of jungle to sign something take was his problem, not theirs.

Billy retired as soon as he could and spent his remaining years enjoying life. Six months in San Francisco and six months here in Rochester.  When he was diagnosed with a tumor on his liver, he stopped going to San Francisco except to visit.  He had the tumor removed and went for the recommended treatment for many months to keep it away.  It was tough on him physically and mentally. A few years later the doctors told him the tumor was back, and he started treatment again.  I don’t think he had an operation that time, but they seemed to think they had it under control.  But it was obvious that this was taking a even greater toll on him and part of his liveliness has been depleted. 
The third time it came back, Billy decided he had had enough, and refused  treatment. It was a conscious decision and one that I can hardly fathom making.  He had a large variety of friends and family who helped him out in the last year of his life, but probably not as much as he helped others in his life.  It would take an army of people working several years for that score to come close to being even. 

I spent a lot of time with Billy in the hospital and at his home, helping him and bringing him food when he was too weak to leave his condo.   One of the last times I saw him, he had called because he was having problems with new T.V. he had just purchased.  I was sitting in a pub with two close friends, who had also succumbed to Billy’s enduring personality. One was an expert in the subject he needed help with and both knew of his choices. All three of us went to see him immediatly to help out.  It was a rough day as he wasn’t looking good and we all knew that end was near.  

It was a testament to how he affected people that my two friends, who only kew Billy through the store and my introductions, were willing to go to his home and help out.   He was that kind of guy. 

My friend Billy Hobbins died on March 24th, 2009. He was 69 years old.

I am certain I have forgotten a few people in this tribute of mine, and for that I apologize. 

The experiences and stories all these friends told have stuck with me to some degree. This leads me to think that others have a hold on some of their memories also. So I think I can go back to my friend and refute his hypothesis that when you die, all your memories die with you. I guess that is why I felt I had to write this, to share some of those memories. To keep the ones that were passed on to me alive. 

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Journal Entry: May 6, 2015

I have decided to make a small addition to the Features section of this site and will begin to highlight other small businesses that I have frequented over the years.  It will feature both food related and non- food businesses, and will include the services provided and the people involved. I have found myself attracted to many of these places for the value and quality of the products as much for the people that own and operate them.

In addition, the section will feature some of the business concepts and theories I have developed over the years through many successes and many failures. I plan to have the links for the businesses and my input on the subject matter listed on the features page with the most current on top and the older features listed on the bottom for continued reference.  

This is going to be less of a product review and more of business and people review, but if I choose to feature them, you can be certain that it is a place I like.   They will probably not fit the profile of success that has been over used in most crowded suburban areas, but the small, and sometimes older joints that make it work despite the current trends.   

You can absolutely imply that my choice is a recommendation, but please understand that taste is subjective and one of the many rules I have espoused for many years is applicable here, and serves as an example of the type of business input I like to promote. 
To paraphrase John Lydgate: 

“You cannot please all the people, all of the time” 

Now add to that the “Pareto Principle”, made famous by the Italian economist (not an oxymoron, by the way) Vilfredo Pareto, commonly known as the 80/20 rule, since most of us do not speak Italian:

“You will spend 80% of your time on 20% of your customers”

     My corollary after applying the syllogistic laws is as follows: “You are going to lose some customers, no matter how hard you try. So why shouldn’t I (the business owner) be the one who decides. Don’t be concerned that some will not like what you provide, and ABSOLUTELY do not be afraid to ask someone to leave.“ By eliminating some of those 20%’ers, you can free up more time and be less concerned with some of your detractors.

      Let me clarify. I am NOT promoting the ridiculous business behavior currently being bounced around in certain midwest states.  Discrimination against any legally protected group is an absolute atrocity. In addition, acting like an ass in public, and then blaming any retaliation on that status is very unfortunate. I acknowledge that both of these things happen too often in this country, and the former seems to be getting worse, leading the complaints of the latter to be a bit more realistic. Very sad.

  This is not the kind of business advice you will find in many M.B.A. courses, and there is a overlying corollary to almost all of my theories.  This type of behavior should only be in the hands of large stakeholders in the business.  It’s O.K. not to empower your employees to utilize these principles.  I firmly despise the whole L.C.D. process of management. That is designing rules for the “Lowest Common Denominator” of employee. But that is for another post.

I hope that this new addition will be of interest to the site visitors, and please feel free to send me your feedback.

Thanks for your time


John. 

Pastina & Broccoli

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Broccoli and Pastina

Photos by Jon Feldman

A very simple side dish that is a go to recipe in my kitchen.  Wonderful flavor and a simple process.


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Pastina noodles 
  • 1 lb of Broccoli - florets
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Total time: 20 minutes



Start by bringing 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add pasta to to water and add salt to water.  Microwave the butter to soften but not completely melt.  After about 4 minutes, add the broccoli to the pasta and let cook together until both are al dente. 




Drain your pasta and broccoli mixture.  Add butter to a bowl large enough to mix all ingredients without to much spilling.  Add pepper flakes, parsley and pasta & broccoli mixture.  Mix thoroughly and add Parmesan last, mix again.  Serve warm.



"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. . . " Part II

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  “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
                      
 PART II

There was a unique building directly across the street from o’Bagelo’s with an interesting history and an odd appearance.  It was a stand alone building that had three streets and an entrance ramp to the inner loop as its borders. One of those, Front Street, is a street of old legends for the Rochester area. It had a flea market aura by day and was full of debauchery by sunset. A place you told your kids to stay away from at all hours of the day, your husbands too, but neither listened. 

          The building has four floors with an open parking lot underneath.  Commonly known as the building on stilts, the parking lot was recessed and extended well on to the edges of the property. There is a walking bridge from State Street that crosses the lot giving it the appearance of a moat.  Certainly a urban planners nightmare in today’s pedestrian friendly city models.  Originally built and owned by IBM, the design was a replica of their Boca Raton, Florida, headquarters.  The CEO at the time had ordered the copy built (on a smaller scale) for the Rochester office.  Not a genius move for the weather in this region, as the open base of the building caused the first two floors to ice over during the first winters.  This type of executive decision certainly does not bode well for the current Wall Street practice of paying CEO’s ungodly amounts of money to “stay competitive”.  

Not without merit, the building was covered in reflective glass and often gave those on the sidewalk a nice view of the surrounding cityscape.  The reflection from my storefront included the floors above my building and a cross on the church steeple behind our row of buildings.  The apex of the cross was high enough to clear the four stories of our building and seemed to hover in those windows most every day. 

The church was The Downtown United Presbyterian Church - or DUPC-, and had it’s own wonderful ongoing history during my years.  It was the center of a lawsuit and constant argument within the church concerning open and gay ministers, and gay marriage.  Dr. Reverend Jane Spahr (Janie, as she liked to be called) was on the forefront of all that is current on that issue for the church and she was a frequent visitor to o’Bagelo’s (Chicken Salad, always).  Based in California, she is a charismatic leader and a strong woman, worth googling, if you haven’t already. It was a pleasure to have her visit and and to hear the updates from her and the others at the church.  

The Presbyterian Church as a whole was not on board with Reverend Spahr and the local congregation at DUPC. The regional organization voted against their position, as you might expect suburban churches to do.  The California based Redwoods Presbytery brought a legal action against “Janie” in the late 2000’s and it continued into 2012.  All this was over gay marriage.  And our little downtown ministry was behind her all the way, flying in the face of the bigger organization.

The minister of record for DUPC was Gail Ricuitti. She was responsible for bringing The Dr. into the store and we had become friends over the years.  This might be a good time to quickly summarize my own religious beliefs as a reference point. I was raised Roman Catholic. I do not practice any particular faith, but I enjoy studying all the religions.  It is of particular interest to me how each was conceived and developed throughout history and all that has been done in the names of their deities (both positive and negative).

Gail and the church represent a few happy moments over the years for me.  One of which was the wedding she performed in the store for one of my employees.  But before I tell that wonderful story (in another post) there is a different story I would like to offer.  It was late one Saturday afternoon, and Gail came in for a quick something before we closed.  The place was empty except for the two of us and I was getting the place ready for lockdown.  For about 7 years I kept the place open 7 days a week, and this was during that time.  Gail and I had a habit of entering into deeper conversations than I think she anticipated when she first wandered into the bagel shop, and when time allowed, she was always happy to oblige me.  

On this Saturday, she was working on a sermon, a little late for her as I had come to learn. Her face had the look of someone crossed with uncertainty, a hurdle, and time constraints.  She gave me a quick overview of the issue and the topic at hand while I made her usual and continued cleaning.  I can’t recall what crazy crap was coming out of my mouth that day, but I do remember the topic; Predestination vs. Freewill.  I had done some reading on the topic years ago in a philosophy class and it remained with me, as I found it engaging in it’s religious context. 

So Gail and I were chatting. She was eating, I was cleaning, and it just seemed like another day at o’Bagelo’s.  That was until the next morning. Sunday’s at the store were full of church customers, both before services and after.  DUPC leased out their space to an organization called Spiritus Christi for the early morning service.  A little history of Spiritus Christi first.

Spiritus was an offshoot of Corpus Christi, a Roman Catholic church that decided to challenge the rules of accepting members of the LGBT community, blessing their unions, and allowing a female lay pastor, Mary Ramerman (also a frequent customer), to stand next to the priest on the alter during services.   All of this caused a ruckus in the local diocese and they began a systematic process of dismantling the organization of Corpus Christi. 

What the Catholic church refused to acknowledge was the large numbers of young people attending services and the growing enjoyment they were experiencing of returning to a church that was more in line with their community beliefs. This was all in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and as is often the case, there were going to be some sacrificial lambs when old incumbent hierarchies get challenged. I see large movements of younger people, with or without their families, moving to churches that are providing more modern parameters to live by, and less antiquated experiences in the Sunday service.

The priest, Jim Callan, was removed from Corpus Christi and sent to Elmira. One of the outer limits of the region.  Other members were replaced or fired, and the congregation was not happy.  This spurned the creation of Spiritus Christi, and frankly a stronger conversation in the Catholic church about old vs. new values.  Jim joined the new congregation at a service and was then was excommunicated from the Catholic church (a real excommunication).  He was then asked to join Spiritus, and they are still active in our community to this day.    

It seems pretty obvious that these two organizations would find each other and become allies in their prospective challenges of man-made authority. Interestingly, Corpus was located a few blocks away from DUPC, and o’Bagelo’s stood between them. 
       Back to that Sunday morning.  Spiritus Christi had their Sunday service early at DUPC, and Gail and her presbyterian  congregation had services later in the morning.  After the first rush of customers, we had a little break before the next penitents.  Right before the second wave, a woman rushed into the store, someone that looked familiar but not from o’Bagelo’s.  She identified herself as a teacher from my high school.  I was an easy student to remember as my father was the principal there for many years, including the years I attended.  She was all smiles and told me that she had just come from the DUPC service. The look on her face was one of “I know something you don’t, and I want to tell you.” So she did.  She told me that Gail had just given a sermon that described the conversation we had on the previous Saturday.  I was mentioned by name and that it was a very positive reference.  I asked because frankly, I was very concerned.  As I have stated, even I can’t believe what comes out my own mouth at times.

I was quite surprised to hear all of this and now there were other customers coming in from the service who were verifying her report and it certainly piqued my interest.  I have included a copy of the sermon below as Gail was happy to email it to me (I once had an audio copy on cassette that I have since lost, and wouldn’t know what to do with if I hadn’t).

I will not go into detail of the sermon as you can read it for yourself. A few things did go through my head after hearing her voice on that cassette.  First, I was concerned that I should be more careful about the things I spout out during my time behind the counter, even though It probably didn’t happen.  Second, having a group of people listen to the line “And the bagel-man said to me. . . “ in a church, had me worried about old testament backlash from any one (or several) of the deities that may have been listening in that day. 
I have titled this part “The Good” but my church customers were not all “Wine and Wafers”. I had plenty of run-ins with a few of them.  After about 7 years of pushing my limits of work and customers pushing my limits of patience, I decided to close the store on Sundays.  This was not an easy decision as any business owner will tell you.  I had spent quite a bit of time developing the Sunday traffic, but it was still the day generating the least amount of revenue. I needed a break, and it was time. 
     
There was also an incident that was the tipping point for this decision. In an effort to boost business, I used to buy the Sunday New York Times to add to the local Sunday paper for customers to read.  I had always bought papers for customer use and the protocol was fairly well understood. The papers were mine, and I shared. Don’t take it with you; try to violate it, and if you had any decent upbringing, return the paper to the pile for others. And most importantly; Never, Ever, Ever mess with my crossword puzzle, unless you have been invited to do so. 
      
       One Sunday, I noticed the NY Times was missing. No where to be found on the premises.  Believe me, I searched. I was the only one working that day, and I knew who had been in the store that morning.  I was not happy. And my discontent lasted for three weeks.  I stopped buying the New York Times for my customers and posted a sign stating my concerns and the expected resolve.  Return the paper, or fess up, and all will be forgiven. Like a good christian on Sunday. 
Well, it didn’t happen.  And on the fourth week I added a sign explaining that I would be closing the store on Sundays, as I could no longer look at all these good people knowing one of them was a chicken shit thief. Or something like that.  I had a pretty good idea who the paper poacher was, but I had no proof.  And that was my last Sunday open to the public.  And I still know who you are! And I have a good memory. And I’m patient. 
 These two organizations coming helping each other out with their shared beliefs concerning the LGBT community was part of the "Good" I am referring to.  All this in my neighborhood.  Presbyterians challenging long held tenants of their church; Catholics revolting over the removal of those acting on the wishes of the congregation; creating a new church to welcome all those previously being shunned; national and local lawsuits trying to stop the blessings of weddings among same sex couples.  I half expected to see a man nailing his theses on the door of the Catholic or Presbyterian church somewhere close. And maybe they did.  

At the time all of this religious upheaval was happening in our little neighborhood it never really occurred to me that it was all that big of a deal.  Writing about it years later has given me a different perspective. The importance of the actions of those in our neighborhood was going to be a part of large needed change in this country. Small important battles that will ripple through society.  Isn’t that what Thoreau was talking about (see a previous post).  It’s no wonder I liked these people (well, most of them).

Looking at the cross in the reflection of that building on stilts made me feel good about where I was and the decisions I had made.  Inexplicably,  the image put me more at ease than if it were the cross itself I was eyeing. In the midst of the all the vice, it was reminder of life’s unavoidable dualities. Not too bad for an old 19th century set of masonry buildings holding onto to life in a iron and steel world.   That cross was a  calming force in my world and I felt that it’s importance to our block could not be minimized. That force is the basis for the final part of this three part dialogue.  

“The ugly. . . “ next post on Foodnstories.com








Taking a Chance on God: A Life Without Coincidence
Sermon by Gail Ricuitti, DUPC.

May 15, 1994 Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26
Text: ". . . one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection." . . . and the lot fell on Matthias . . .
I stopped in for a very late lunch yesterday just before mid-afternoon closing time, and mentioned over the counter that I had 36 more hours to get a sermon on paper. John the Bagel Man asked me what I was preaching about. Well, I said, my main thesis is that in this life there are no accidents. Nothing is really coincidence. I told him about the story in Acts of finding a replacement for Judas [so that one would "become a witness" to the resurrection], and how I'd been thinking about this and working on this all week but as yet didn't have anything written. The ensuing conversation was lively and fascinating, and made me wish profoundly that I could just haul the Bagel Man into church this morning to have another go at it with me. That was the real sermon, 2:30 yesterday afternoon, but you had to be there.
He told me how an accident that wasn't really coincidence happened to him once, while he struggled to put together a bagel business while finishing up his MBA. Nothing was working out. Finally in desperation he applied for a short-term job he didn't want, as a courrier delivering computer equipment to local corporations for IBM. The day after he was hired on, he broke his thumb--the only bone he had ever broken--in the last soccer game of the league season. Since the insurance company wouldn't allow him to carry heavy items for six weeks, IBM said they couldn't give him the job after all. Shortly thereafter, everything suddenly fell into place, opening the way [freeing him] to open the bagel shop of his dreams after all.
As he talked, I thought how every one of us has a story like that: those insight-yielding experiences in life that appear to be accidental. One of mine concerns the date and time of my birth. Seven hours later, and I would have been the oldest child in my class instead of the youngest when I entered school. Anthony would have graduated and left Princeton seminary three months before I entered . . . and I would never have ended up, with him, first in Ohio and then in western New York; would never have heard of the Downtown Church; and so on and so on and so on. The coincidence of just seven hours would have made my life significantly, if not entirely, different. But is there any coincidence?
Perhaps Matthias asked himself that same question; he certainly had occasion to! "Lord, you know everyone's heart," the believers prayed. "Show us which one . . . you have chosen to take the share in this ministry. . . " and they cast lots-- showing either a profound desperation or a profound trust in God's intention and attention. The Hebrew word for "lot", goral, has the additional meaning of "destiny" in many texts (and in the Dead Sea scrolls, came to mean "fate.") "And so they cast fate . . ."
There is a curious contrast between the disciples' need to control by making the standards
Acts 1:22, 26
2
rigorous; and their leaving it to God in the drawing of lots . . ."Leadership in this new community is based both on qualification (vv. 21-22), and on divine choice (v. 24)."1
Since there exists no description in biblical texts of the actual procedures involved or the nature of the instrument(s) used, it has been an easy matter for moderns to rationalize the act, as does Johannes Munck in The Anchor Bible Commentary:
The expression in vs. 26 . . . can be understood as voting by ballot so that it need not be a question of the drawing of lots.2
Father John McNeill, the gay Jesuit priest who spoke at the Downtown Church three or four years ago, believes that the statements "Taking a Chance on Love" and :"Taking a Chance on God" "are at some deep level identical . . ." and so he entitled one of his books after a lovely ballad from the musical Cabin in the Sky:
I thought love's game was over, lady luck had gone away.
I laid my cards on the table, unable to play.
Then I heard good fortune say,
"They’re dealing you a new hand today!"
Oh, here I go again,
I hear those trumpets blow again, all aglow again,
taking a chance on love. . .
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1 William H. Willimon, Acts. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988, p. 24.
2 Anchor Bible, page 10.
3
What sounds to some of us like some New Age fantasy at best, or some superstitious divination at worst, is not only deeply authentic to biblical faith but an honored way of life among peoples often labelled "primitive" but who are much more spiritually developed than the analytic mind of the western world.
The American physician Marlo Morgan, a woman well equipped with honors and degrees, writes in her startling and fascinating book Mutant Message, of the most valuable education she ever received: it took place during an unexpected four-month walkabout, barefoot, in the blazing desert of Australia where she had been summoned and was taught by a nomad tribe of Aborigines called the Real People. The story of the spiritual depths of a people who still inhabit this planet, who communicate among themselves primarily by mental telepathy, is such a remarkable one that you should read it for yourself. But one of the understandings of these aboriginal peoples came to mind again and again as I contemplated the biblical account of the early Jesus community's selection of Matthias to complete the number of the Twelve.
The aborigines pray each morning, "If it is in my highest good and the highest good for all of life everywhere, let me learn."
"These people believe everything exists on the planet for a reason. Everything has a purpose. There are no freaks, misfits, or accidents. There are only misunderstandings and mysteries not yet revealed to mortal [people]."3
"This says to me that nothing in life is coincidental," I said to the Bagel Man. "So what you're talking about goes back to predestination," he said. "Well, basically. But the longer I've thought about it, the more questions it opens up-- questions that don't fit, questions that can't be minimized or ignored. They're the `Sara Anne Wood questions':
Sara Anne Wood, and mass killers like hers Holocaust
why evil operates
why innocence suffers and dies before its time
I can't say that these things aren't accidental, that somehow they're part of God's purpose for a life."
Bagel Man: "Can't say it to the folks you're preaching to, or can't say it yourself?"
Me: "Can't say it because I don't believe it! So I'm thinking about something I'm calling `In the breach' theology:
3 Marlo Morgan, Mutant Message. Lees Summit, Missouri: MM Company, 1991. p. 54.
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4
With insight always come unanswered questions. The breaches or mysteries opened up thereby, that have no logical or systematic answers, have to be filled by foundational truths instead: all we can say is that "God is love" - and for the rest, there is not a construct to fill the breach.
"The problem is that the human mind and thought process expects a systematic theology (we even study this in seminary, whole courses devoted to `systematics'): perhaps there is nothing more ludicrous that we could expect in the field of spiritual understanding than `systematics.' We need to shake loose our either-or/ dualistic thinking: so maybe it takes a different kind of thinking: a certain predestination, yes, but at the same time an affirmation of our freedom."
I thought then about Roger von Oech's "Creative Whacks," drawn from his book A Whack on the Side of the Head:
It's not the ideas we don't have that prevent us from being creative, but rather the ideas we do have that imprison our thinking. . .
Two men went to court to settle a dispute. After the plaintiff made her case, the judge said, "You're right." Then the defendant made his case and again the judge said, "You're right." At this, the clerk of court said, "They both can't be right!" The judge replied, "You're right." 4
But the Bagel Man shot back, "You're refuting your own point, if you say that predestination and free will are both true...People go to church to get some solid answers, not to be told there aren't any answers-- only questions!"
I thought about that a lot in the 36 hours I had left to get the thoughts from brain-wave to word. I went back to Donald McKim's Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith, and Jack Rogers' Presbyterian Creeds (darn that Bagel Man and his MBA! I went in for lunch, and came out with extra assignments!)
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4 from Creative Whacks: 50 Ways to enhance your Creative Abilities. ©1989.
5
Predestination (or doctrine of election) refers to our salvation in Christ, not to every incident that happens to us in life. At best, predestination is simply another way of saying "grace alone"-- that God has done what we cannot do, and what God has done in mercy we cannot undo.5 It is not that we have chosen God, but that God has chosen us and has sent us into the world...
But I am not addressing predestination here. If you want a taste of why, and of how complex the arguments over the ages, you too can look it all up: supralapsarianism, infralapsarianism, double decreee, voluntary necessity, double predestination, reprobation. (About now, I hope you're feeling very grateful to me for not going into it all!)
Any teaching of predestination as sole, absolute truth is a false doctrine.6 You see, we neglect to see the holiness of life when we write off so much as coincidence that has led ultimately to our good... Our mistake is trying to force spiritual understandings into "a neat, humanly logical package."7
At the Ontario Science Museum in Toronto some years ago, Anthony and I witnessed an exhibition of a most amazing art: Chinese silk embroidery. One artisan, a woman, was embroidering a delicate village scene in the mountains. Mirrors were positioned in such a way that only the onlookers could also see the design taking form on the underside of the fabric--a beautifully detailed, prowling tiger . . . done simultaneously by the same needle, with the same stitching, on a single piece of silk.
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5 with gratitude for simplifying this understanding, to Jack Rogers in Presbyterian Creeds: A Guide to the Book of Confessions. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1985.
6 "We are independent, morally responsible persons. We are free.
"Reformed theology means to say the same thing about God's fore-choice
and our free moral responsibility. It is not a case of either/or but of both/and. . . If we trust and believe, God will always receive us. That is a genuinely biblical promise. And when we know ourselves to be so received, then we realize it was because of God's grace, not because of our own virtue or action. That is equally true.
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7 Ibid., p. 89.
Rogers, p. 91.
6
In the same way, neither is God's work in our lives accidental. But from our side of the tapestry, what looks like a game of chance is actually the revealing of a purpose deftly designed on the other side.
My salt bagel with veggie cream cheese was history by now, busily replacing the calories my brain was busy using up; and the coffee I'd been toping was only a lukewarm quarter-inch left in the bottom of the mug. "You may show up in this sermon tomorrow morning," I threatened.
"Glad if we could be of assistance," he said.
Then, as I walked towards the door I asked over my shoulder, "Well, do you think I can get it written? I've been thinking about this all week, but there's nothing on paper."


And the Bagel Man replied, "If you don't, I guess it won't be an accident, will it?!"