Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Beyond Grover's Corners

Everyone is from somewhere, that's about as close to scientific fact as I'm allowed to get without a safety harness. But whether you were born in Norwich or moved to Norwich, we are all here now. I make very little effort to hide my enjoyment of life here in the Rose of New England even if more people see me as a thorn than a blossom, because well, why not?

At the moment I have a sad heart and a red behind because I fell across an online article like this one, "10 Connecticut Communities to avoid in 2017,"  that has Norwich coming in at #10 (on a list of the 24 of Connecticut's worst). I'm not sure I understand what an "infotainment website" is exactly (or approximately) though I'm sure the fine folks at Roadsnacks are world-beaters at being one. And my competitive juices are not what's keeping from telling you the nine cities 'worse than' us, it's that whole cliché about changes in latitudes and attitudes and what happens when you do it.  

We've all encountered someone, somewhere, from a Rock the Docks Wednesday to a neighborhood cookout over the weekend who has a bone to pick about something. Many of us at times are that same someone (guilty as charged) but I'm discovering in my dotage that rolling up my sleeves (we have a Second Amendment right to bare our arms, just sayin') and working with other folks equally concerned about something can actually improve things, one sleeve roll at a time.

As someone who's chosen Norwich, I believe very much in that rule we had growing up in Jersey that 'no one makes fun of my old man but me,' so thanks, Roadsnacks, but we're a work in progress so feel free to keep on counting and stop by later and take another look.

But I'm awfully tired of fellow residents ("citizens" I heard us called one night at a City Council meeting) who define themselves by what other people think of them and who wait to weigh in or help, or push, or pull, or prod, on anything new or different, be it a traffic pattern to a new downtown shop, until whatever it is either succeeds or (too often) falters without their involvement or engagement. Then they shake their heads slowly from side to side, and offer, "I could've told you...

"But listen, it's not finished: the United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere;
the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God--that's what it said on the envelope."
On behalf of all of us who live here, have or had kids in school here, go to the Downtown Norwich Farmers' Market, have an Otis Library card, attended a birthday party at the RoseGarden Ice Arena, rooted for the CT Tigers at Dodd Stadium, been stunned at the beauty of the Uncas Leap Heritage Leap or eaten at the literally dozens of great places for food and drink scattered in every corner of this city, keep selling ourselves short and talking ourselves down. That way they'll be even more for the rest of us.

Eventually I'll walk all the neighborhoods in Norwich and I look forward to getting a better feel for all the great stuff in Thamesville, Occum, and Bean Hill while also revisiting other places I've not yet invested the same amount of time in as those who live there and who've have built homes for themselves and their families. I look forward to our meeting, and maybe walking and then working together for our town.
-bill kenny         

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