Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Best Times Are Timeless

I had the luxury of time this Memorial Day weekend to reflect on a lot of things to include this place I, and about forty thousand or so, others call home, Norwich, Connecticut. 

By necessity, we tend to think about Norwich in statistics when we measure the miles of paved roads, inventory classrooms in schools, survey the in-service police cruisers and fire-fighting apparatus and monitor the total value of the grand list (which directly and indirectly drives nearly all the other things we count).

But if you've driven anywhere in the city, have a child in one of our schools or have ever needed public safety assistance, I know while you, too realize how important each of those separate numbers are, you also know that even when they are added together, they don't come close to truly reflecting Norwich. 

I mention that, in more than passing, because I had experiences this weekend that don't show up in any of those categories but are more real for many than the number of square feet of available rental office space (which is an actual statistic). 

The Rotary didn't have the greatest weather (again) for this year's carnival at Howard Brown Park but you'd never have known that from the enthusiasm of the youngsters who enjoyed every minute of it.

I wandered the fairgrounds Saturday evening admiring the smiles of the tall and small and drawing energy from the gleam in the eyes of children (of all ages) while the foot traffic across downtown never ceased as families descended on Brown Park and both the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Ferris Wheel did steady business.

Earlier on Saturday, I had met up with a large contingent of neighborhood volunteers who gave Lake Street a spring cleaning I think bordered on transformative but for them was just another day in the neighborhood. I'm a sporadic (at best) helper, as the St. Vincent De Paul Place along with Reliance House and the Last Green Valley, organize an outreach the last Saturday of every month from the spring into the fall and people from across Norwich, and beyond, roll up their sleeves and lend a hand (and trash bag). 

And then on Monday, to help me focus on the memory part of Memorial Day, I enjoyed an indoor ceremony of remembrance at Taftville's Knights of Columbus Hall marking the sacrifice of twenty-three Taftville residents who died in service to our nation. 

At noon I joined with friends and neighbors in a short parade from the Cathedral of Saint Patrick to Chelsea Parade for another annual remembrance of those who gave their lives so that we might all have the freedom of choice in our own lives we so often take for granted. 

Very little if any of what so many of us shared this past holiday shows up anywhere in a 'bottom line' when we speak of Norwich and yet in far more ways than I can count, all of it helps us every day as we strive to become the city we hope to be.
-bill kenny

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