As a former NYS Assembly staffer, I am dismayed that two recent governors have left office/are leaving office for easily preventable scandals. While I now live in the Beehive State, the Empire State is my home. It’s where I grew up. Shame on you, Spitzer and Paterson, for putting yourselves before your State and your people.
I won’t even tell you the kind of stuff this sweet, sheltered kid encountered in her early 20′s in New York’s capital. Let’s just say that there were probably a lot of drugs but I didn’t know about them, there was enough sex and rock and roll to shock me. The Bear Mountain Pact, which essentially means anything that happens in Albany stays in Albany.
But I was busy learning about the laws of the Empire State and becoming a maven on many subject matters from insurance to cable television franchising (now I’m really dating myself) to fire codes, Native American land claims, veterans, crime victims, human and civil rights (equal rights regardless of sexual orientation), privacy and many others. Oh, the others were politically hot (reapportionment, land sales), and cold (legislative ethics).
But I digress. Always having an interest in food, I experimented a lot with yuppie pizzas, chili, and many other dishes. I also came to a full appreciation of Jewish food, having been introduced to Montreal smoked meat on rye at a tender age at family reunions. So I knew the bagel. Perhaps not as I do today, because I’m a purist yet can make a meal of a bagel and fixings, including Nova, and a bottle of Snapple CranApple juice.
So I was tasked by the Speaker’s office to serve a committee, which had meetings each month at 9:00 a.m. I had to tackle 750 bills each session, each had to be voted up or down, and pass it by my bosses and the lawyers (who did nothing but made 4X more than me just for showing up). On Committee days I was up at five, at work by six so at nine thought it appropriate for my first Diet Coke of the day. The Committee members laughed at me so I put it in a coffee mug from then on.
The Committee was a “grab bag” of issues but a magnet for those who wanted to change crime victims’ rights and the rights of gays and lesbians (no LGBT back then) for housing and workplace equity, so there were liberals from NYC, mainly Jewish.
Now, I said I knew my bagels. I knew they were “water bagels” that were boiled before baking, and even that salt bagels can’t have salt added until the last five minutes of cooking or the kosher salt will turn grey. Enter Mary, the lovely and capable Admin who ordered Committee fixings, usually coffee and Danish. Some committees were known for their food, and Mary wanted to be known for hers.
One day, Mary showed up with rolls with a hole in the middle. She said the Committee members could stop complaining about all the goyish food because she brought bagels! I looked at them, picked one up and it was light as a feather. I told Mary these weren’t bagels, they’re rolls. She got cream cheese and even… a bagel slicer! And I asked her not to serve them but she was so proud of herself she had to do it.
The rest is history. The bagel slicer was a giveaway to the pale rolls and poor, sweet Mary, was never forgotten for her “bagels.” Hey, this is some 25 years later and I remember! The good thing is that a couple of my favorites are still around, not necessarily in the Assembly, and still working for good causes. Thanks, Mary, for trying to put your stamp on Committee breakfast. Cheers, wherever you are! Dee