Walking around Greenpoint, it’s hard to miss the stone importers – with giant slabs of marble and granite lining their lots. You can usually just walk in the lots or around their showrooms, especially if you’re in need of fancy countertops. SMC Stone (640 Morgan Ave.) on Nassau and Morgan has some pretty cool Chinese guardian lions, which are called Shi in China and Foo Dogs in the West. Mr. Pi, the old Chinese man on my block growing up still has them in front of his house. Before he retired he owned a candy store called Pipe and Papers on Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village and on Halloween he would bring us brown paper goodie bags of strange Chinese candies.

He also fed our dog Mookie Wilson raw meat as a “treat” and Mookie always pulled to the house with the giant lions in front. Our new dog Charlie is sadly afraid of Mr. Pi, who wants to have the same friendship he had with Mookie. Charlie is not scared enough not to accept the raw meat, though. Charlie isn’t stupid.

Over dinner the other night my Mom told us that Mr. Pi tried to convince my Dad to go to China with him to photograph “naked ladies,” assuring my Mom that my Mom wouldn’t “touch” them, but my Dad didn’t think that was a good deal.

“How can I not touch?” my dad said.

Mr. Pi had treats for everyone.


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