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Spirit of Oklahoma - A Gardener's Thanksgiving Update from New York

  • Subject: [cg] Spirit of Oklahoma - A Gardener's Thanksgiving Update from New York
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com
  • Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 15:35:20 -0500

Walking uptown on 9th Avenue from the Clinton Community Garden, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I noticed that many of the American flags raised or hung from the red brick tenements that line the avenue were still there - some alas, in rough shape, flag etiquette being what it is. A cold day, the smell of wood smoke was in the air - some folks still have working fireplaces. I had arugula, and the last of my peppers in my basket (this semi-vegetarian eats salad and spaghetti on the day after Thanksgiving).
My heart started beating fast when I saw the Fire Rescue Truck and firemen on West 55th Street & 9th avenue - my corner! But a few seconds later, I saw that the Rescue 1 firemen were entering the recently demolished A&P site across the street from my home. However, something was off kilter here... The Rescue 1 firemen had carefully removed the plywood fence rather than knocking it down to get to the fire, the rectangular "Rescue" truck was brand new and a fire officer was reviewing  technique with a piece of rescue equipment while standing on a precariously balanced, multi-ton pile of demolition wreckage.  
While the Rescue 1 firemen were from one of the 3 local houses that lost 38 firemen on 9/11 ( these men had to have been among the replacements for this decimated house) the truck was a gift from the people of Oklahoma, "The Spirit of Oklahoma". Attached to the NYFD "Fire Command", this truck was being used to train Rescue 1 firemen for a day that we hope never comes. The regular Rescue 1 truck was on duty elsewhere, in case it did. 
Coming out from the site, one of the firemen good naturedly asked what I had in the basket - I told him, "the last of my hot peppers from the garden on 48th Street, you cooking tonight?" Part of our community ( this house has a key to our garden that their families sometimes use when they're in the neighborhood) he cherry picked a few - the man was nobody's fool - and threw them into one of his coat's many pockets. "Should liven up the chili, thanks buddy." As one of his comrades put the fence up better than it had been originally erected, he explained that they keep training and training, "in case a big one happens again".
The "Spirit of Oklahoma" was one of the many fire trucks that were donated by communities all over the country to replace those crushed on 9/11.  I just wanted to tell you, that this Rescue Truck, paid for by the contributions of the good people of Oklahoma, was put to good use on my street - in case a big one happens again.
Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer, Clinton Community Garden

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