Expressing my view!

Sharing with whoever would read my thoughts

Thanksgiving night, Dinner and Subway ride home thoughts

(New York, NY) My sister, who was visiting from Maryland, and my nephew, who lives in New York City, had invited me to accompany them to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Hall, on the eve of Thanksgiving and after to his house in Rockaway Park, Queens, to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

Though hastily contrived, sometime betwixt the hours of late Thanksgiving eve’s mad and panicked dash to the supermarket, and early the next morning, my sister-in-law, my brother, my younger nephew and his most recent girlfriend, my sister and my older nephew came together to cook for a Thanksgiving dinner far exceeded any of our expectations. From the turkey, which was baked to a golden brown color, stuffing that was so rich my sister complained it was had a trifle too much salt and was too peppery, to the collard greens with ham hocks, candied yams, carrot and ginger soup, good ole Uncle Ben’s wild rice and my nephew’s indomitable mashed Idaho potatoes, the boiled corn, the warm spiced clove and cinnamon stick apple cider, and the apple pie with sugarless, but Splenda sweetened ice cream, all washed down with glasses of red or white, heavy in sulphites, Napa Valley wines, lots of conversation and a television stuck on CNN International where there were constant flashes and reminders of the carnage in Mumbai, a world away, all juxtaposed against a backdrop of reggae music, pulsating through speakers at my older nephew’s house.

At the end of this gastronomic gourmandizing, more food than any of us had had occasion to be near in the most recent past, we departed for our respective houses: my brother, sister-in-law, younger nephew and most recent girlfriend to their apartment, my sister staying with my older nephew to head to her house the next morning, my older nephew remaining in his house and retiring to bed, to sleep off the turkey, and I to my apartment.

I was dropped off at the subway station and after a short, but seemingly interminable wait on the platform, which was surprisingly populated, I boarded a local train to make a connection to an express train at the juncture of Utica and Fulton Streets in Brooklyn. When the A train arrived, Manhattan bound, odd assortments of people embarked and disembarked as the train made its express stops through neighborhoods, yet any given time, there were no more than 16 people sharing the car I occupied.

While sitting on one of the side facing seats, two young men came into the train, one at one of the lower stops in Brooklyn, just before heading through the tunnel under the East River to Manhattan, and the other at another station, also in the riverain bordering stations. Trying to read the latest issue of the New Yorker, I glanced up took notice of them both. One sat opposite me and the other, in one of the forward facing seats across from me. As the train barreled along its tracks the young man sitting facing me reached across to ask a question of the one in the forward facing seat. Not understanding what he was saying, the forward facing passenger looked in my direction and seeing that I was interrupted from my reading by this sudden and unusual activity: speaking to a stranger on the subway, he asked me in Spanish if I understood and spoke the language and to translate what the other young man was saying. Turning to him, I asked him of his problem and he explained that he had just been evicted from the apartment where he was staying and was asking the other young man if he could spare him a dollar to help him get to someplace. Translating the request, the Spanish-only speaking young man replied that he was “broke” and didn’t have money, the begging young man looking crestfallen and disappointed, leaned his head against the glass panel separating him from the doorway and closed his eyes.

Immediately, the thought occurred to me: I’ve written recently about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) homeless youth, and shelters like the Ali Forney Center and the planned True Colors Residence to provide permanent housing, but what to tell a homeless LGBT young person if one encounters one who is in need of shelter. Conscious of the falling temperature outside, the coldness in the air, the realization that this was Thanksgiving night, I was stumped. I racked my mind for what and where to tell this young man of a place he could go that would at least provide him with shelter, perhaps a warm place, if only for the night.

The Spanish-only speaking young man asked me where he could get a connection to the Bronx, and as I told him where he could get trains, the D or No. 4, the other young man expressed that he too was heading to the Bronx. He said that he had just moved from Philadelphia to the city to take a job which didn’t work out, his girlfriend had just thrown him out of the apartment, and he was heading to the Bronx, to a family member, with whom he hoped he could stay, at least, for the night.

My mind racing while he told his tale, I could only come up with a suggestion that if his family were unable to accommodate him, he could try calling the city’s help line, 311, and to ask about temporary shelter. The question, however, haunted me: where and what does someone who is either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender do or go if they suddenly found themselves without a place to live?

At Broadway/Nassau Street station, both young men disembarked the train and headed for the No. 4 train. Yet, throughout these dramas, I still was able to read my magazine, until the train arrived at my station stop much further uptown.

When I arrived home, I immediately called my older nephew and my brother, answered by my sister-in-law, to tell them I had arrived safely home. Briefly, with each, we marveled at how we were able to put together a full three-course Thanksgiving meal in a less then 24 hours, reminisced and acknowledged the feeling of family we experienced and shared, how special and reinforcing it was to all of us. As a true journalist, I found the hint of a story and plan on following it, not only to see where it leads, but to provide information for the wider community.


November 29, 2008 - Posted by | African-American News, Blogroll | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. sounds like you had fuN!

    Comment by goodbadandugly2 | November 29, 2008 | Reply

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