Tim was already in Howard T. Brown Park when I hiked down Saturday to be one of the Fishermen's Friends clean-up team at another of the popular fishing sites in Norwich. If you didn't know it, and the Harbor Management commission would be sad because they've spoken about it at length, and frequently, Norwich has tremendous opportunities for recreational fishing.
Tim had brought a couple of buckets, a shovel, work gloves and some trash bags, all stored in the bed of his truck. He also had a fishing pole, not so much because when you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime but because he and his brother, Mike, who arrived moments later with hot coffee and wisecracks for all within earshot, enjoy fishing the way you or I enjoy breathing.
As they waited to travel to the Greeneville Dam, they each used the pause to get a couple of practice casts in and compare notes with other anglers who were sneaking some reel fun in on a weekend morning where the temperatures were in the low thirties with every intention of staying there.
Tim weighed a quick trip home to get a heavier jacket but Mike assured him that once they got going on the clean-up, they'd be warm. Practice casting done and some phone calls to other fishermen to alert them to the cleanup location accomplished, the pair headed over in their trucks to one of their favorite spots in Norwich, the Greeneville Dam. They were joined by Jerry Martin of the Harbor Management Commission and his mom (!) who are practiced in the art of clean-up.
I don't fish, not so much out of respect for Nemo or Ariel, but because I never learned how and the few times I went as a child, I didn't catch anything except either wicked sunburn from sitting in an aluminum boat with the sun reflecting off the water or a summer cold that didn't quit until it was time for school to start up again.
As an adult, or as adult as I'm likely to ever get, I've learned helping friends I've never met before on a Saturday not only allows me to feel better about being a city resident but also provides an opportunity to meet neighbors like Tim and Mike, with whom my path would not otherwise cross.
The Greeneville Dam is a recreational area that's a terrific place for many different reasons and every kind of people. It's great for a family picnic,to take your pet for a walk, or to fish and clam (though maybe NOT at the same time). Our trash bags quickly filled with fast-food containers, plastic in all shapes, colors and sizes as well as cans and bottles (some requiring assembly) not to mention a pair of automobile seats and what seemed like miles of tangled fishing line.
All of these discarded items are just the stuff you don't want a family member or a guest encountering when they accept your invite to spend an afternoon at one of the many recreation areas found all across the city. The investment of a couple of hours will benefit visitors to the Greeneville Dam and set a good example for the other areas we'll visit in the weeks and months ahead..
Norwich has many activities and attractions that need some helping hands to offer so much for so many. We have a chance this Saturday morning starting at ten on Main Street as volunteers hope to help empty Harry Lawson’s H & L Shop and clean it up for prospective new owners and tenants. Yeah, I know it’s not your job, and it’s not mine either; but here we are, you and me, with that familiar ‘somebody should be doing something’ and if not us, then who? And if not now then when?