I didn't mean to startle the young person Saturday afternoon working the window at the newly-opened Friendly's Scoop Shack just a few steps away from the starting bricks of the Heritage Trail at Howard T. Brown Park. I just wanted to say hello and welcome to Norwich.
There's a lot of that hello and welcome going around here it seems to me in recent weeks and months despite that well-worn whine #1 about "Nothing ever happens in Norwich," usually coupled with #2 "back in my day, on Thursday nights you had to walk in the downtown streets because sidewalks were so crowded."
It's not that folks aren't still saying it-as a matter of fact I heard it more than a few times last week as a reaction from folks after they read about Tim Owens and his purchase of the Bulletin Building on Franklin Street and the reports of his hopes for what's next in the heart of downtown Norwich.
There's something a little too New Englandish about that portion of so many souls who cannot be happy for somebody else's success, because they feel somehow it diminishes their own chances of success. Here's the key to being successful (remember, you read it here first): first, you have to do something and then you have to keep doing it. And when you win, we all win. Crazy innit?
We have scores of small businesses, very different from the ones that populated Chelseas in the 50's and 60's and 70's (I assume. My alibis range from a childhood elsewhere to a life on another continent and I have the birth certificate and passport to prove it). They are small businesses with unique and in some cases amazing, goods and services that might be hard to find in places you might normally look, but you'll find them around a nearby corner right here.
On the same Saturday I startled the scooper, I walked past the Caribbean Market on McKinley. Quite frankly, there, I did have to go out in the street to get past because of the throng of shoppers, some of whom (judging from their shopping bags) had also stopped in at Melisa's Market just up the block on Franklin.
We all shook our heads when Chacers' closed because well, see WW#1 and despite those who want to mourn the closing of Pink-it didn't close; it relocated to North Main Street.
To misappropriate the wisdom, wit and words of Mark Twain the reports of the demise of the city of Norwich have been greatly exaggerated. Not that we don't and won't keep telling one another bad news for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom.
These Guys Brewing Co, LLC, intends to open on Franklin Street in less than a month's time and its Facebook page has close to 1,500 hits and they haven't even opened the doors.
On the ground floor of the Wauregan, go back a decade and who thought that rehab project was a good idea?, there's The Rose Pizzeria and Deli and the next block over practically neighbors with Tim Owns is the Panda Market.
On Main Street maybe a dozen steps from LaStella is a quiet treasure trove, literally and figuratively, Encore Justified which is antiques and vintage (I love to visit there because I'm the youngest item in the store) and when you choose to be literally as pretty as you feel, on Water Street, there's Doll Me Up by BKS. They're decades too late to do me any good, but there's always you.
As a past resident of the Wauregan Hotel Abraham Lincoln once said, "We can complain that rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." We are what we decide to be so let's decide to be shiny and happy for a change.