Hunger Is Not a Disease

Treasured Belongings in the Food Pantry

IT HANGS ON A WALL IN MY LIVING ROOM, MY DAUGHTER’S SELF PORTRAIT.  .
Larger than life, the piece shows one eye, her nose and mouth.
Just beginning her studies at the Corcoran, Jennette wasn’t comfortable painting an entire face.
A photography major, she was painting for the first time in her life.
Sometimes I sit in my chair with my three Chihuahuas and just look at the painting for several minutes when I come home from the pantry. So much of this painting is relevant to what I’m doing now, what the pantry shoppers are experiencing.

As people travel the path to a pantry, they lose things. One shopper recently gave me three paintings. He was offloading personal possessions and just didn’t want to see them go to the dumpster.
I ALSO HAVE PAINTINGS GIVEN TO ME BY OTHER SHOPPERS.   If I stay in this business long enough, I’ll end up with a whole gallery. That actually  happened to Dr. Wayne Longmore, the absolute best physician in the area.

THERE’S A MORAL IN THIS STORY SOMEWHERE FOR ME.   I’m just not sure what it is yet.
Dr. Longmore, an Emergency Medicine specialist, was a Woodstock physician. He practiced by himself, without the help of a receptionist or nurse. He was favored by artists, writers, musicians as well as many other people from around here. Many felt he was the best physician in the area. The artists went to him with their health issues and he treated them with dignity and respect, whether or not they had money. Most of them had no money so, when he worked to make them well, they brought over paintings.

DR. LONGMORE FINALLY HAD THE BEST LOCAL ART COLLECTION IN THE AREA.  Then, the paintings and sculptures, given to him over the years by artist patients with no money, disappeared from his office after he was arrested. I never learned the real story of what happened.

The public story was that he prescribed too many painkillers…too much Oxycodone. The FBI Report referred to the product as hydrocodone. Well, the public stories in the  papers aren’t always the whole story or even a piece of a story.  I know that from personal experience.

DR. LONGMORE AND I KNEW A LOT OF THE SAME PEOPLE.  He healed them. The pantry fed them. Without even trying, I knew more or less who was on what. How could I not know? I saw them every week under fairly intimate circumstances.

I ONLY KNEW TWO PEOPLE ON OXYCODONE.   And, one of those two was trying to sell the stuff. So, they can’t blame Dr. Longmore for that.
He was sentenced to six months house arrest, three years probation, two hundred hours community service, and fined $200,000.00. The real punishment went to the poor in Woodstock who now have nowhere to go for a doctor. It puts a lot of pressure on the Healthcare as a Human Right group.

HIS OFFICE, JUST DOWN FROM LORI’S CAFE, SITS EMPTY…the office at 104 Mill Hill Road. I think of Dr. Longmore every time I pass by. I remember his beautiful art collection, all the down and out people he served, all the good the man did for Woodstock.

The place has a for sale sign,  a monument commemorating those in Woodstock who unfailingly give of themselves. Frankly, I don’t care if they ever sell it.
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Thurman Greco

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