Feeding on Tradition: Thanksgiving Eve at the Reading Terminal Market

story by Michael Holahan | illustration by Andy Hood

As a shopkeeper in the Reading Terminal Market, any busy day is a good day. But after 25 years at the Pennsylvania General Store, my favorite is the day before Thanksgiving. The energy inside this more-than-a-century-old public market is unlike any other time of year. Thanksgiving is about bringing together the people we love, to share a meal and to give thanks; as a merchant, it’s a privilege to be even a small part of this occasion.

That Wednesday morning, customers wait outside for the Market to open, making shopping strategies while sipping coffee provided by Market management. While it’s a busy day for us at the General Store, there’s a lot more pressure on the big three: the butcher, baker and greengrocer. Inside the market, the greengrocers hurriedly stack towering mounds of collard greens, the butchers ice down freshly-killed turkeys and the Pennsylvania Dutch bakers try to find room to display all their pies.

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The River Wild

Bernard Brown

I waded in from a rocky bank in the mountains of Schuylkill County and quickly forgot what I was looking for. My plan on that hot afternoon had been to snorkel for turtles, a pursuit that involves actively investigating underwater boulders and snags. Instead, I watched the fish and rocks on the bottom scroll by like some angelic dream of flying, the sounds of the world cozily muffled by cool water.

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Dispatch: Battle of the Bulb

essay and illustration by Jacob Lambert

Environmentally speaking, there are a few things i’d like to experience before I die. Hopefully, the coming decades will bring a collective snubbing of our oil-centric exurban lifestyle. A move towards energy creation that doesn’t involve strip mines and cluster bombs would be also encouraging, as would genuine mainstream interest in nature.
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Dispatch: Greatest Hits

Some people geek out over wine. Others, old vinyl. For me, it’s cheese. The stinky stuff. Stilton. Fontina. Époisses. When I meet a strong cheese, it stops me cold, the way hearing a new song on the radio can make you pull over the car, motivated by a desire to really listen. You don’t forget those moments: the first time you heard Led Zeppelin or the night a neighbor let you borrow the Kinks.
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Dispatch: Growing Pains

My neighbor is standing at my back fence, looking at my ripening tomatoes. “I wanted to ask you something,” he says. “Every year, you work so hard to grow them. So why don’t you ever pick them?”

Hmmm… I was hoping nobody had noticed. 

I could tell him I’d been too busy. I could tell him it’s my way of tithing. I could tell him I believe in leaving something for the squirrels and birds. 

But the truth is, I just don’t like to harvest.


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Back Page: New School of Thought

NESTS could become the education model of the future
by Paul Glover

Despite dedicated teachers, many Philadelphia public schools are so irrelevant to students’ lives that most enrollees (up to 88 percent) drop out. State curricula and testing serve bureaucracy only. To fix this mess, a green school system that relies on neighbors to teach and the larger community to donate resources is now beginning.

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Back Page: Envelopes & Noodles

What we can take from those who make do
by Dee Dee Risher

I leave my friend by the library copy machine while I track down a book. I come back to find her carefully stuffing an inch-thick wad of white bond paper into her tiny bag. She turns to me incredulously. “Some­one threw this away.”
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