The Story of How I Recovered Ruby – plus a Turkey Day leftovers recipe

by Jen Wanous

There is nothing like pumpkin pie that gets you thinking about all the things you are grateful for.

This year, one thing I am thankful for is a stolen item being returned to me. You see, this past summer, my 1980’s red bike, Ruby, was stolen from her U-locked spot on a busy Brooklyn street. I was so bummed; my gem of a bike was gone. Walking was way overrated and slow. Since the theft happened two weeks before my birthday, I had a: “Get Jen a New Bike for Her Birthday” fundraiser. The outpouring of support from friends and family heartened me. With over a dozen supporters backing me, I found Dusty Rose my new pink rider, the exact same make and model as her darker hued predecessor, Ruby. With summer in full effect, I was back on two wheels, cycling through the city.

I would sometimes think of Ruby and wonder where she was. My eye would catch on red bikes, and I even perused Craig’s List thinking someday I would find her. Well, that day came when one night I was walking on Flatbush Ave., one block from where she was last parked. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her. She mustered out a wink from the grime-covered stars on her handlebars. I stopped dead in my tracks, hardly believing my eyes. Much more dirty and now with a thick link chain wrapped around her, there was no doubt about it, that was my Ruby!

Overjoyed, I thought through the options that were before me. I could either a) get the cops involved and get her back, b) stake out the location and confront the thief, or c) let it go, and avoid any potential drama. I posted these options on Facebook and had an overwhelming response for option A. With friends and family urging me along, I marched into the local precinct, proclaiming that I had recovered stolen property! The uniformed woman at the desk hardly looked up, scoffing in that beastly bureaucratic way, where you know the odds are against you. She didn’t want to hear about how the bell is the same silver one or see the picture of my dog in the basket. She said that I had to have a receipt with a serial number to prove ownership. Since that didn’t exist, I decided to take the law into my own hands.

With the best lock money can buy, I went over to Ruby and reclaimed her as mine, locking her frame to a pole. I left a note that read: “Hi-this is my bike that was stolen. I want to avoid getting the cops involved. Remove your lock if you want to save it.” Low and behold, the next day, I went back and the bulky chain of conquest had been removed. Ruby was mine again!

Reconciling loss is no easy task. Even with replacements, you still miss the original that your heart fell for. With a deep tenacity of spirit and the support of loved ones, it is possible to discover hope in new openings of opportunity. And when the rare opportunity presents itself to take back what is yours, you fight for it. I have learned many lessons about loss in my life and I am so thankful to have this experience of recovery as part of my story.

Pumpkin Curry with Turkey

Here is an answer for what to do with some of your leftover turkey. This Asian-inspired dish gives a spicy American nod to the festive season. You can use any left over vegetables to add in. You can also easily use baked tofu for a veggie alternative.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

16 oz coconut milk

16 oz pumpkin puree

½ cup broth or water

2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 hearty pinch ground nutmeg

1 hearty pinch cayenne (could be more, up to you:)

ground pepper to taste

juice of one lemon

1 cup cooked, pulled turkey

1 cup kale (or other green vegetable)

cilantro for garnish


1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until glassy, to really release the flavor. Add coconut milk, pumpkin, and broth until combine. Add seasonings: curry paste, salt, soy sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, pepper and lemon. Then add the turkey and kale. Bring to a boil, simmer for five minutes.

2. Serve with brown rice or soba noodles. Garnish with cilantro.

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