A Bagel and Irish Lasses

I learned a good bagel in my 20’s as it wasn’t available in the small village in which I was raised. Yet I learned the most from a NY Congressman who was anti-carb but loved bagels so carved a tunnel and filled it with cream cheese. I wonder what his suit size is now…..

Then I worked for the head boss as an analyst and my committee chair (RIP) had an assistant who aimed to please, another Irish lass. Most of our Committee were from NYC, and Jewish.

I had already learned that when I got to work for a 9:00 Committee meeting at six, I didn’t drink coffee and they didn’t know I was up for hours preparing everything for them so I had Diet Coke. I went out and bought a mug, kept it in the Chairman’s office and it looked like coffee. Most stopped razzing me.

Mary wanted to something really nice so went out and bought them “bagels” one morning, and a bagel slicer. Bad choice. Their wives bought or made the bagels and sliced them by hand. They laughed at the slicer.

I asked Mary not to serve the “bagels.” She did, anyway. I said “Mary, these aren’t bagels, they’re rolls with a hole in the middle. This won’t make it in the NYC Jewish community.” She served them anyway as I drank my Diet Coke from a coffee cup.

They were impressed with her enthusiasm and care for them, because no-one ever paid for this extra effort and none of us were paid well. It is just cultural differences I’ve tried to learn for decades and Mary only knew American-Irish. She was a sweet girl.

Before sexual harassment training elected officials would proposition me in the elevators. Not when my friend Tony was around, who operated a manual elevator up to my office and always called me “bella ragazza,” beautiful girl. He was probably Italian special forces and would kill anyone who was rude to me on his elevator. They replaced the mechanical elevators and Tony moved to Security. Hint?

One day I got them back. I was the only single person on my team so Boss would send everyone home. Dee can stay ’til 4:00 a.m., she’s single and has nothing to do and will call you if your bill comes up. Those were not computer days, it was a squawk box and when raises came up they’d say, well E and T each have three kids and a home. You have nothing. We’ll give you an extra hundred a year. Yeah, like that would pay the rent.

The other party had been driving us nuts. It was one of those long, lonely weeks at my desk listening to the awful box. Negotiations on niggly matters (my bailiwick) commenced at the end when everyone agreed, to disagree. I had a land sale by a “marginal,” meaning someone who got in, elected by the shave of his tail and no-one from the other party wanted him to win, anything.

It was a simple land sale of a small property on a river that was agreed to by both parties and the Governor’s Office and OGM, Office of Government Management. When I got a land sale I called OGM’s lawyer (speed dial) and asked if the specs were correct and if the State wanted to sell it. If he said OK I put it on my list.

The other party mounted an obstruction to this bill even though it was on the Speakers end-of-session to-do list agreed to by everyone. They asked my Chairman how large was the State-owned property the State wished to sell. It was four pages of gobbledygook from surveyors. My Chairman did not know what to do. I touched his hand and said “I know what to do. Let me.”

I took the Chairman’s bill, looked at it for a moment, and asked how large is the property? Was that your question? Four pages. They all laughed, voted against and we had more people so we won that day and at least had a shorter meeting. Heaven bless Diet Coke and a coffee mug for getting me through that. And Mary, she was a sweetheart. Dee


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