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   Greeks and Roman Catholics
Saturday, November 20 2004
Gretchen did a little research for things to do tonight and came up with two activities. Our first destination was a "Greek Festival" at the Greek Orthodox Church in Kingston. Perhaps we came at a bad time, but it wasn't being much of a festival when we arrived. Mostly it was just a cafeteria full of people eating Greek food and drinking American beer. In the back of the room there were some things for sale, but only a few of things were anything more unique what you'd find at a typical rummage sale. The RIAA probably would have taken a dim view of the hand made, hand-lettered cassette recordings of early-90s pop albums (for example, the Spin Doctors, a band I was happy to have completely forgotten about). I had that unusual experience I get sometimes when I'm surrounded by people of certain ethnic groups, the one of being the tallest person in the room. We each ordered a spanikopita appetizer and, far from the narrow wedge I expected, each serving was half the size of a good-sized baking tin. The red wine was terrible. When Gretchen remarked on the similarity between the table bread and challah and this led into a conversation about Greece's longstanding relationship (and geographic promixity to) the homeland of the Jews. Gretchen always seems tempted to adopt other Mediterranean cultures as her own until she remembers their uniform fondness for turning large animals on spits.
There was a bit of wisdom written in Greek on one of the doors and I knew enough about the Greek alphabet to tease the pronunciation (and thus the meaning) out of one of the words: anthropon, which obviously means man.
When we were done with the Greek Festival, we headed north up the Thruway to Saugerties to see about a "casino night" being held by a Roman Catholic Church. Supposedly this would feature free food and "games of chance." But looking at the number of yellow and/or red white and blue "Support the Troops" ribbons on the vehicles parked out front, I started getting cold feet. Then we peered in through the doors and saw a bunch of scary guys standing around and laughing like lumberjacks blowing their money in town for the weekend. So I told Gretchen I didn't want to go in, that I was afraid I might end up in a fight. So we walked in the graveyard instead, eventually wandering into the Cathlolic Church, which was open but unstaffed. We lit some candles and didn't pay the requested $2.50/each (I can't believe they have the gall to ask for the same amount as Notre Dame). We looked at a closet full of priestly vestments and noted that a few looked an awful lot like Ku Klux Klan outfits. In the room where confessions are made, we were delighted to discover a painting of a timeless white Jesus with his arms around the shoulders of possibly-deviant teenagers sporting decidedly non-timeless early-80s haircuts.
Gretchen maintained a reasonably generous attitude toward this church and its works until she stumbled upon an anti-abortion petition, which threw her into a rage. Gretchen does have something in common with anti-abortionists (particularly the most extreme of them) in that she would like to be able to dictate fertility issues to others. In her case, though, she'd demand that most every pregnant woman got an abortion.

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