Monday, April 5, 2010

New England Escape

I remember once thinking to myself, "Will I make it to Christmas?" Well, it's now past Easter.

Saturday morning I went down to the Village to Birdbath, the Neighborhood Green Bakery. I picked up some vegan cakes and cookies which were amazing, and then hopped a train to CT, outside Hartford to spend Easter with my cousins, and Goddaughter.

On the train I grabbed one of Amtrak's famous salads from the bar car – it was hermetically sealed, and tasteless. Oh, well, the nutrients were still there.

My cousin has problems with dairy, that plus her solidarity with my endeavor had her eating on my side of the table. Her husband grilled cheese burgers, vegan burgers, and some VBites sausage. I also brought some VBites cheese which my 14 year old Goddaughter said, “Wasn’t bad.” Had I not said it was vegan cheese I am sure her taste buds would have been more welcoming.

My cousin’s shopping list in anticipation of my visit was taken straight from my blog – raisins, humus, and seltzer waters. It was great, but the bowl of jellybeans hanging around did pull my hand in there a couple of times. I’ll say I had ten all told. Saturday night was a bonfire party at a neighbor’s house where even in suburbia, as it has been done for thousands of years, the men sat around the fire, with each man throwing more wood on as the fire dimed below roof peak level, and the women sat inside and chatted about who knows what. I sat there as our various war stories about childhood shenanigans, or sporting exploits were too often eclipsed by discussions about mortgages, effective weed killers, and the sheer daily exhilaration and Heavenly joy of marriage. And three things constantly rolled through my thoughts -- how different my life was compared to these guys; how desperately I wanted a beer while sitting with my fellow man around this bonfire; and why the hell was no one eating my homemade guacamole?

Earlier that evening I slaved over making the perfect bowl of guacamole, and it just sat there on an iron picnic table in the dark. Do these guys know how much work I put into this dip, and now the only people enjoying it are the mosquitoes? OK, sorry for the digression, where do I queue up to hand in my man card?

Easter Sunday, after fulfilling my Godfatherly duty with my cousin, we drove out to their camp – a great, warm wood, rustic cabin on a beautiful, but terribly named lake (Leadmine Pond? Really?) in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. On a gorgeous day lake side I forgot everything I love about New York City…except for the Yankees, and my $5 bet with these misguided Boston fans.

I brought along a VBites Beef Roast – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, am I starting a tradition? The pasta dish, fruit salad, and vegetables were plentiful, and the beef roast rounded it out. One of the older guys there (read: resistant to change), and a dictionary entry for a meat and potatoes guy, was undoubtedly unaware what it was and helped himself, “pretty good.” And the vegan cake and cookies from Birdbath got rave reviews!

After a 2 hour and 50 minute bus ride home (Amtrak cancelled, or delayed a number of trains because of the previous weeks flooding still creating havoc in New England), I was exhausted, but instead of heading home, I headed for temptation island. Some pals were at the sports bar Blondies to eat chicken wings, drink beer and watch the first game of the Major League Baseball season – the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox. It was just days into this vegan quest that I saw the Yankees end the baseball season with a World Series Championship – now, five months later watching baseball again in a sports bar I have changed. Back then I was solemn and defensive in that crowd, questioning my sanity, and counting the days until I could eat “normal” again, but now I was happy, quietly confident and looking forward to reaching my goal.

A couple guys I just met who were with my friends really thought I was joking when I ordered the vegetable platter, and water. Even after I started munching on the carrots and broccoli they were waiting for the gag to be over and for me to fill up my plastic cup of beer, and paint my cheeks with hot sauce as I nibbled a chicken wing. But to their credit, the conversation went essentially like this: “Dude, you’re joking. Dude, you can’t be serious. No way, seriously, are kidding? Dude, you’re joking. Wow, you are serious, that’s pretty cool.”

After five innings, and with the Yankees up 5-1 I headed home, and tucked into bed listened to the game on the radio as the hated Red Sox kept scoring runs, and my $5 slowly slipped out the window and into an envelope bound for Massachusetts.


Vegan Epicurean said...

Good for you eating a veggie platter and drinking water while everyone else had beer and wings!

I think I take for granted that being vegan is more accepted when you are female. Thanks for helping me to see that my hubby has it harder than I do. I need to give him more props for being healthy when he is out with clients.

have a great evening,

Terrence said...

Much, much, much harder!

It really is a red flag on manhood with many guys. If you are secure in your manhood, like me, it is tolerable -- but it is grating at times.

Vegan Epicurean said...

I had not thought about it until I read your post. Then the light bulb went off. Not being a guy I don't see the problem but I can imagine the comments you and my husband get. Sorry so many men can be so ridiculous and narrow minded! =(