Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life in a Northern Town

When Spring arrives here in New England, it does so often unannounced and in full bloom which is how I see this past weekend. Don't get me wrong, we had some nice days in April-and after some of the ones we had in February we very much deserved them but this year April was all about the promise of spring without a lot to show for it.

Like you, I had plans for the weekend and hoped for good weather and (I think you'll agree) we had terrific weather. If a little sunshine brightens everyone's day, what does a weekend's worth of blue, nearly cloudless skies do for your frame of mind. The only thing broader than the smile on my face were the smiles on the faces of others I encountered all weekend long.

I witnessed a small business grand opening , of sorts, on Saturday as another one man operation, London's Lemonade opened for the season, or maybe it was just for the day on Yantic Street heading towards the Uncas Falls. An energetic mom or dad had crafted a festive sign from colorful crayons and white poster board and, together with a couple of balloons, proudly announced London's grand opening.

The foot traffic towards the Falls and the Heritage Trail was just starting to pickup when I walked by perhaps driven in part by the viral marketing of what I can only assume was London himself shouting "Fresh Squeezed" to cars rolling past on Sachem Street.

Sunday, many of us do what we do best in small town New England, take care of one another. There were different charitable outreaches across Norwich, each separate and yet similar in intent if not the scale and scope.

There was  the 1st Annual Eastern Connecticut Walk Against Hunger centered at Chelsea Parade and involving hundreds of walkers, many local businesses and regional friends in working to rebuild supplies in food pantries at historical and perilously low levels because of the prolonged recession/depression/hard times that have hit so many families across the area.

In recent months, charities have often found themselves helping people who in years past were donating to their causes. Statistics suggest one in seven Connecticut families are at risk for hunger, meaning they don't know where their next meal is coming from and one third of all those receiving food assistance are children. When you can see the faces of your neighbors behind those numbers, it helped you walk a  little faster on Sunday to help raise money.

Up in Mohegan Park, you had an opportunity to do yourself some good and to help others do good as well. The Flying Monkeys Race Team, whom we've seen for years at the Walk for Life races sponsored by the American Cancer Society, were offering a fundraiser that took you around Spaulding Pond or, for the more adventurous (or in my case, foolish), across the park itself.

I enjoy Mohegan a great deal and Sunday was a tremendous opportunity to see up close just how many other people enjoy a taste of the forest life in the middle of our city. There picnickers, barbecuers, birthday party celebrants, fishermen and women and children of all ages, mountain bikers, and hikers, and folks just out enjoying a beautiful day.

We're in the middle of another work week with no promise that this weekend will offer the respite and relaxation of the one just past, but we are fortunate to live where we do with the resources we have to help us enjoy our lives and to build and treasure our memories of great and glorious times.
-bill kenny 

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