I keep staring at the calendar and mentally adding "only" to the date. After all, today is "only" August 10th, but three weeks from today is the first day of school for children in Norwich Public Schools, who will be joined by Norwich Free Academy's 9th graders. By Friday, September 2nd, everyone's back in school just in time to be off on Monday for Labor Day where we more or less draw a line under the summer of 2016.
Not that I wanted to harsh your buzz or discourage anyone from turning out tonight at six, weather permitting, at Norwich Harbor's Howard T. Brown Park for Meleana and the last concert of 2016's Rock the Docks series. Talk about time flying, eh?
I had someone tell me a couple of weeks back, and they meant it as a compliment I know, that the concerts are 'something Norwich does really well.' Except, like so much in Norwich (and everywhere else for that matter), many of the community outreaches and celebrations we all enjoy are organized and staffed (meaning all the heavy lifting and long hours) by a very small number of volunteers who don't do it for the 'thank-you's' which are few and far between but because they enjoy helping their neighbors and their neighborhoods.
It's as true for those who created the Taftville Block Party as it is for the return of the Greeneville Fire Hydrant Painting contest and the Spirit of Greeneville Day Celebration 2016, the Norwich Winter Festival Parade, and various ceremonies and observances year-round that honor local veterans and hometown members of the armed forces.
There's a rule of volunteering and not just the well-known 80/20 one about all the work and who does it, that says the more willing you are to do a hard job well the more willing people are to watch you do it and to point out the parts you didn't do to their satisfaction.
Here's my point (I took my hat off so you can see it better): we have remarkable community activities, driven by energetic community activists, that can and will only get better when and if you become part of that effort.
There's not a single event, from Walktober through Wreaths Across America to the Saint Patrick's Day Parade that wouldn't welcome helping hands and yours might be the perfect size to make a difference.
And if you'd like to stay closer to home, look no further than your nearest Norwich Public School. It seems the only time we pay attention to our schools is in the spring during City Council budget hearings. And while the children in my house who attended Norwich Public Schools, perhaps like yours, are grown and gone, their graduations shouldn't mean the end of our interest and engagement.
If all you can do is find the time to attend a Board of Education meeting, start there (rumor has it they have terrific coffee and wonderful cookies) and see where it takes you. Is this part of some kind of an 'it takes a village to raise a child' speech?
That depends. If it gets you involved, then yeah, and welcome to a bigger village.