Saturday, November 27, 2010

That Same Small Town in Each of Us

Sigrid, Michelle and I hiked down to City Hall last night in downtown Norwich, CT, for the annual lighting of City Hall which marks the official unofficial start of the holiday season. We passed a few more 'for sale' signs on houses along the way than we did last year when we walked down Union Street which serves as more confirmation of what we all know about slow times. This year's event at City Hall was slightly different in that the lighting only happened because the city employees came together to make it happen.

I'm not sure what the costs are, which makes me an almost ideal person to work for the government where value is never an issue and price never a concern, but there's certainly money involved in getting all the public safety, the lights and sound equipment, the various performers (to include Santa, you have to book him months in advance), and all the other support for the ninety-or-so minute ceremony all assembled. Times are tough all over and the city coffers just didn't have the money, so thanks to the city's employees there was a lovely event attended by a couple of hundred youngsters as well as those of us young at heart.

Some years it's snowed, others have had a storm force eight gale wind while others have been so cold you can't feel your feet-but this year it was close to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (1/10 of the temperature at which a book burns) and quite pleasant for all. My thanks to the church across the street from City Hall on Broadway, for collecting donations for the food pantry and my especial gratitude to those who also donated. By the time troubled economic waters have risen so high that most of us notice, some have already drowned.

Between Black Friday and lighting of our City Hall, the holidays are off to a good start. For the next month or so, we'll meet and hold the gaze of people we encounter on the streets or in the shops for just a moment longer and, perhaps, with more kindness. There'll be a little more 'after you' at the entrances and exits to stores and more time spent chatting up neighbors we meet in the aisles of the local grocery. "Who knows how long this will last, now we've come so far, so fast. Offer up your best defense, but this is the end, this is the end of the innocence."
-bill kenny

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