A cup of coffee, a piece of pie . . .
Sometimes, a cup of coffee and a piece of pie can help to put things right. I will forever associate Election Day with pie. This dates to my childhood in Winnetoon, population 62. As a kid, I loved elections. My family life was a flurry of fascinating activity in the days leading up to a big vote. Not that my family campaigned for anybody or anything -- my dad, Roy, was the uncontested mayor of Winnetoon for several decades, mostly because nobody else wanted the job. It paid $40 a year, and the duties included serving as the village fire chief, police chief, and water and sewer commissioner. Roy also had to arbitrate disputes, catch stray dogs, and mow the cemetery. And, during election years, he was in charge of our little voting precinct

To me, that last bit was the coolest part of my dad's mayoral gig. A few nights before each election, my dad and I would walk through cold, dark, snowy streets to the old high school building, a 19th-century brick behemoth that closed in 1959 when a shiny new school opened in a bigger town six miles away. But I loved this old brick monster. As soon as Dad unlocked the door, I'd run into the foyer and suck in great gulps of musty air that smelled of old chalk dust and textbooks and lemon polish. Then we'd get busy setting up a dozen World War I-era wood and canvas voting booths, paper ballots, pencils, and ancient cylindrical metal ballot boxes.

My mum, Lois, was just as busy. Her assigned task was to organize the poll workers, which mostly consisted of her bowling teammates and her bridge club. These ladies prepared for election days by baking a great plethora of pies, and they did this with military precision and giddy enthusiasm. Each gal had her own specialty. My mum’s showstopper was her Star-Spangled Pie – a red, white, and blue mixed-berry pie with a spectacularly patriotic crust cut into the Stars and Stripes. Baking this pie was every bit as much her patriotic duty as voting, and she baked it for every Election Day, along with her apple-and-walnut, pumpkin spice, and peanut butter cream pies. 

Finally, the great day would dawn. At 5 am, Dad unlocked the high school door as poll workers emerged like valkyrie from the inky darkness in their family sedans, each car rolling very slowly to a stop so as not to disturb the precious pies inside. There was much fretting and fussing and backing-and-forthing until my mum and her crew had dozens of pies lined up on tables at the rear of the polling station, along with plates, forks, cups, and an industrial-sized percolator that burbled contentedly. Every poll worker grabbed a quick cup of coffee and one tiny slice of her preferred pie before rushing to her station, just as the doors opened to the public at 6 am sharp.

For the next 14 hours, those women led our community through positive political participation fueled by coffee and pie. They chatted with farmers and farm wives and local business people over pie. They commiserated with the old and the sick over pie. They giggled with the preacher over pie. They gave extra pie to exhausted young parents with testy toddlers. All day long and into the night, friends and neighbors filed into that old school. Many sharply and painfully disagreed on the issues and candidates, including my dad and my mum and all of those pie-making poll workers. But there was one thing we all agreed on -- our world always looked better and felt better when we could talk to each other over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.

This week, let's consider doing something good for someone we don't agree with. It might just make our world look and feel better. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.

-- MZ Smith, Community News editor

P.S. If you want to bake & share Star Spangled Pie, click on the picture for a recipe!
The economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will cause homelessness in NYC and across the U.S. to increase by 45%, according to a new study released by Columbia University. This means that over 800,000 Americans could be living on the streets in 2020-2021.

Thank you for supporting our Midnight Run outreach program. Together, we're taking food and critical supplies directly to people who are in the greatest need.
Midnight Run Reflection
by Ron Sopyla

FPCP member/elder Ron Sopyla led a Midnight Run on Oct. 31, taking food and critical supplies to people experiencing homelessness in NYC.

The Run was great last night. The most striking image was at 51st and 7th. Just as we were packing up to go, a homeless man came down the street, unaware of our presence. He was tall and elderly -- a battered, dazed face, but handsome and even noble with an elegant gray beard. He was wearing a thin jacket and a hoodie. 

Alberto, our “navigator” from the Midnight Run office, called out to him. He didn’t hear . . . so I chased after him and waved him down. We brought him food and toiletries. Alberto ran across the street to the van with our clothing stash and selected a coat for him, a beautiful thick black wool men’s overcoat, very elegant, and helped the man put it on. It fit like a dream and looked great. . .What a wonderful thing, a grace, that he walked by, that we had the coat, that Alberto was able to pluck the perfect coat from the pile, that it fit so well. . .
Join our Sunday, Nov. 8 worship service via ZOOM!

This Sunday, our worship service this Sunday will be online via Zoom. That means anyone can join us from anywhere, so let's welcome far-flung friends, too!

We welcome the Rev. Joe Gilmore to our virtual pulpit this Sunday. Tom McCoy, our Director of Music, will be at the piano. Use the links at the right, and join us!

For general info about online services, including a link to download Zoom, click here.
To receive a link & materials for our online service this Sunday: Email us at: 1presbyterian@gmail.com.

To get weekly info all activities & programs: Fill out the contact form at: www.presbychurchcoldspring.org.
Weekly Morning Meditation

Our Contemplative Prayer Group now meets online, via Zoom, from 7 - 8 am every Wednesday. We practice meditation, and share prayers, readings, and discussion.

The renowned Mayo Clinic affirms the health benefits of meditation. Click the picture to learn more.
This group is open to everyone. It is a peaceful, warm, and welcoming experience. If you would like additional information, including a Zoom link for our next morning meditation, please email us at 1presbyterian@gmail.com.
Tips from our Green Team: Help make the birds feel at home this winter!

Many of us are enjoying backyard birdwatching while we spend more time at home, to keep everyone safe and healthy. Attracting birds in winter can be easier than in any other season if you give birds what they need to survive the coldest months. Cold temperatures, storms, and scarcer food supplies make winter the harshest season for wild birds. Backyard birders who meet birds' needs this winter are helping to sustain and rebuild our diminishing bird populations. And you will be rewarded with fascinating and educational experiences as you learn more about wild birds!

Here are some tips provided by the The Spruce, an online magazine with practical and green home, yard, and garden info, serving 44 million readers worldwide:

Food. Add the best winter bird foods to your feeders when the temperatures drop to give birds enough energy to survive even our worst weather. Foods high in oil and fat, like suet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds, are the most popular choices, but it is important to tailor your backyard buffet to the exact needs of your winter flock.

Water. Snow and ice are frozen water and birds can melt it to drink, but fresh, liquid water is so much easier, and will attract many backyard birds in the winter. Some folks rig up a heated bird bath but you can break the ice or add warm water the old-fashioned way. You'll be surprised how many birds will enjoy this liquid treat!

Shelter. A cozy place to roost keeps backyard birds secure and comfortable. Bird roost boxes, nesting pockets and other winter bird shelters are essential to protect small birds from frigid breezes and dropping temperatures. Protect winter shelters from northern winds and heavy snowfall, and offer birds a source of winter nesting material to use as insulation. For more natural shelter, build a brush pile or plant evergreen trees and shrubs that will offer protection to birds throughout the winter.

Healthy & Safety. Like birds, bird predators like feral cats and hawks can also be more desperate during the lean months of winter. Illnesses can devastate roosting flocks, and a sudden cold snap can freeze small birds. Keep birds healthy and safe:

  • Clean feeders and bird baths regularly to prevent mold or bacteria that could spread disease.
  • Position bird feeders to protect backyard birds from hawks, and be sure small birds have nearby plants or a brush pile for quick shelter if needed.
  • Keep cats indoors and take steps to protect backyard birds from stray or feral cats. You can watch for paw prints in the snow to learn if cats or other predators are visiting your yard and threatening your bird feeders.
  • Use window clings or other easy methods to prevent bird window collisions so your backyard birds can flee from predators without risking other injuries.
Our Bulletin Board
Join FPCP's fun and fabulous Book Club! Our Book Club is reading the novel Forever by Pete Hamill. This bestseller is an epic and magical tale about a man who arrives in New York in 1740 and remains ... forever. Cormac O'Connor will be immortal as long as he never leaves Manhattan. Through his eyes, we watch New York City grow from a tiny settlement in the wilderness to today's thriving metropolis. We'll discuss Forever on Tuesday, Nov. 17. For more info, email Bev Taylor here.
Kids: Explore big ideas! Sunday School takes place at home each week. Carolyn, our Youth Ed leader, sends families a weekly email with stories, activities, and ideas. Last week, we learned about Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes -- also known as the Be-Attitudes, because they remind us how to Be and what Attitude to have! And we made a cool BEE-Attitude craft project, which was really all about BEE-ing kind to each other (see above). Join our e-list! Email Carolyn here.
Please help if you can. During this health and economic crisis, we are grateful that we can serve neighbors in need through our critical mission programs like the Food Pantry and Midnight Run. If you feel called to support this outreach, we warmly welcome any and all contributions. If you are a member of our church family and can maintain your giving at this time, we humbly thank you.
To make an online donation, click the image at the left, or right here. Bless you!
Telephone: (845)-265-3220 / Email: 1presbyterian@gmail.com www.presbychurchcoldspring.org