Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food and Friends

Jud and me with Bob and Joanne.  And below, Ukrainian best borsch (yahoo photo).

My friend Jud Dolphin, a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) whom I met in Ukraine when we were in training in Chernigov, is a great cook, and he loves sharing this skill, actually all of his skills, like watercolor painting, with his many friends.

He cooked a fantastic Ukrainian meal of Russian bread, borsch and varenyky for our RPCV friend Elizabeth, now a graduate student at Loyola (see 11/11/11 blog).  He made lemon chicken with summer squash and apples for a delicious and delightful meal with his friends Bob and Joanne, whom he has known since his seminary days more than 30 years ago.

Bob is an assistant pastor at the historic 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, founded by a former slave, John F. Cook, in 1841, the first black Presbyterian minister in DC.  Joanne is a substitute teacher, Cape Cod lover, and enthusiastic Baptist, which added spice to our wide-ranging conversation. 

As a former DC resident and historian I was especially mindful of the 15th Street Presbyterian's illustrious history.  The Rev. John Cook was an early freedom fighter who never gave up.  His aunt, Althea Browning Turner, purchased his freedom from the proceeds of the sale of her vegetables at Lafayette Square.  Imagine! A fascinating story, one of many that define Washington's African-American history.  And the 15th Street Presbyterian has witnessed it all, from slavery and the Civil War to the long struggle for freedom and Civil Rights.  The church has moved around a bit--it's now on 15th and R, NW--but it's still there, carrying on the legacy of the Cook family, Rev. Henry Garnet, and the renowned Francis Grimke, a Civil Rights pioneer.   

Friends and food, history and stories.  What could be better?   It made my recent Washington, DC visit a trip down memory lane and an adventure in friendship.  Jud even encouraged me to try my hand at watercolor. He's a good teacher and he has a special talent for making and keeping friends. I'm glad to be one of them!  

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