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RDJ-- Chicketti, 01-29-00  Recipe du Jour
 Jan 29, 2000 05:25 PST 

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Volume 3      Number 25
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RECIPE DU JOUR
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CHICKETTI

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained, reserving liquid
4 tbs butter or margarine
4 tbs flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 (16 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded sharp cheese
1 tbs salt
3 quarts boiling water
8 oz spaghetti
1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs

Sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms in butter until soft; blend in flour,
1-1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Add broth and reserved mushroom liquid; cook,
stirring constantly, until thickened. Mix in chicken, tomatoes, and cheese.
Meanwhile add 1 tbs salt to rapidly boiling water. (One tbs oil may also be
added.) Gradually add spaghetti so that water continues to boil. Cook
uncovered, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes. Drain in colander. Combine
spaghetti and chicken mixture in 2-1/2-quart baking dish; top with buttered
breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 degrees F. about 25 minutes or until nicely
browned. Yield: 6 servings.


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AT THE MIDDLE PASSAGE

By Walter Mills


Homeless in America


The first homeless person I ever met was a 17-year-old boy who worked at a
moving company with me the summer I got out of high school.

I guess in those days I thought it was cool that a boy my own age was living
in his car, washing up in a gas station rest room and eating all his meals
at fast food restaurants. For his part, he didn't exactly hide his
homelessness, but neither did he make a big deal of it. He had made an
arrangement with the gas station owner to let him park in their lot at night
and use their facilities in exchange for a few dollars a week.

We would show up for work at the dispatching office of the van lines and
wait to be picked to go out and load trucks. There was always a group of us,
some kids like me, as well as older men with problems holding or getting a
job. Some of them were probably homeless as well, but I never got to know
them. We would wait an hour or two sitting on hard wooden benches, and if we
weren't chosen we went away with nothing.

He was a good worker and he soon had work every day. By the time summer was
over he was driving one of the trucks and picking out his own crews. I went
home to a bedroom in my parents' house and ate good meals with my family,
took a shower every day and wore clean clothes my mother washed. He went
home to the back seat of his car and ate his meals by himself, and there was
no light to read by except the street light. He and I were both 17 and it
has been a long time since I thought being homeless was cool.

I don't even think homeless was in our vocabulary in those long ago days. We
might see people living on patches of sidewalk in news photos of Calcutta or
the Philippines, but not in America. We were aware of bums in the Bowery,
but we thought they had brought that on themselves, and probably didn't
mind. In fact, in some way I think we still believe that if you are homeless
it is something you deserve.

Then in 1975 I moved to San Francisco and began to see the homeless
everywhere; homeless families, homeless Vietnam vets, schizophrenics turned
out of the mental hospitals and wandering downtown talking back to the
voices in their heads, shaking their fist at the cars as they passed.

My first week in the city I was downtown walking the streets and looking for
a job. I sat down on a bench in Union Square which is at the heart of the
city. A young woman in her 20s was sitting nearby on a bench with bags
around her, plastic bags with clothes tumbling out. She looked vague and
helpless, with terrified eyes. I tried to talk to her, to find out where she
needed to go, to offer a hand if I could.

Finally I learned she had been put on a bus at one of the mental hospitals
north of the city with a ticket to San Francisco. She had enough money to
find a room for a few weeks, but I don't think she knew how to find a room,
and I don't know what became of her.

"Pitiful Mary" was a middle-aged woman who begged on the streets and
sometimes came in to the hotel where I worked with enough money for a room
for the night. Nobody liked to deal with her crumbled dollar bills and coins
clutched in her unwashed hands as she counted out enough for the barest of
rooms. I used to try to convince her to take a room at one of the cheap,
pay-by-the-week hotels where her money would last much longer. But she
wanted some cleanliness, and a place without bugs once in awhile, even if
tomorrow she would be back on the street. She wanted to remember what it was
like to wake up in her childhood bedroom with yellow curtains in a house of
warmth and light.



(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright © 2000 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To contact
Walt, address your emails to wmi-@vicon.net)

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Do you remember?


Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
words by Edgar "Yip" Harburg, music by Jay Gorney
Edgar "Yip" Harburg (1898-1981) was a former electrician made bankrupt
during the Depression.
Jay Gorney (1896-1990) was a Russian-born American composer, author
and Hollywood film-producer.


They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always their right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that Yankee-Doodly-dum
Half a million boots went sloggin' through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don't you remember, they called me "Al"
It was "Al" all the time
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, ah gee we looked swell
Full of that Yankee-Doodly-dum
Half a million boots went sloggin' through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Oh, say, don't you remember, they called me "Al"
It was "Al" all the time
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

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