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  • Stephen D'Agostino

A Morning With Reading’s Awesome Artists

Last week, I mentioned four things that mid-October means. One thing that mid-October should not mean is a delay in the release of the flu vaccine. As I noted, VNH was to have hosted the flu clinic in Reading this past Monday. However, Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) stated on its website that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had delayed the release of this year's vaccine.

Curious, I did a quick internet search and found that one of the reasons the vaccine wasn't available could be that the flu virus can change quickly. I guess that means what was deemed effective months ago is no longer considered beneficial now.

The banner on the VNH website encourages people to get their shots from another source, if possible. These include your doctor or local pharmacies that offer the shot. I'm not sure how doctors have the right vaccine, but VNH does not. Regardless, consider getting a flu shot this season.

Would better preparation, either by the VNH or FDA, have prevented this? I don’t know. I do know that preparation from the group I have dubbed Reading’s Awesome Artists will ensure they are all set to sell their handmade rustic crafts at the Fourth Annual Reading Holiday Craft Fair.

This group, consisting of Diane and Jim Bennett, their daughter Laurie Bordanaro, Esther Allen, Sue Allen, Charline Hagar, and Mary Hartnett, met at the Bennett’s house last week. Diane gave me a quick tour of what they’ve been working on, starting with garden angels, and then put me to work.

Diane brought me outside and presented several pieces of old barnboard that she scored from a Front Porch Forum user. These were earmarked for signs, which were a big hit last year. The letters for these signs were cut from corrugated tin that was once the roof of a sawmill from the Hunt’s lumbering operation. Diane and I rummaged through the letters and pulled out the words "peace," "home," and three of the letter “h.” Using nails also reclaimed from the Hunt’s sawmills, I affixed the letters to the boards, leaving spaces after each “h” so Diane could add an “o” shaped from a twig wreath.

While Diane and I were working on this, Jim was floating around the craft area, bringing in more wood for us to make signs, adding his humorous commentary as only he can, and teaching Sue Allen how to use a saw to cut blocks of woods into whimsical shapes. The rest of the crafters were sitting around the table, screwing brightly painted spigot handles onto equally brightly painted boards. Perfect for hanging coats, scarves, and dog leashes, these would be an ideal addition for a mudroom or entryway. Also, they're a great gift for people who thrive on organization.

I had to take my leave before lunch was served to get back to work, but I was impressed with how many wonderful rustic items they’d made and how much more they planned to do. Reading's Awesome Artists do this work for free, and all the money raised from the sale of these items goes directly to the Reading Historical Society. They keep none of it. That is a huge help to the RHS.

Of course, I am getting way ahead of myself. The Reading Holiday Craft Fair is still (or just) six weeks away, and there will be much more information about it here over the coming weeks. I’m going to switch gears to something happening much sooner. Next week, in fact. Halloween!

The town is celebrating in the usual Reading style. The ultimate October event starts with pizza at Town Hall at 4:30pm. After the kids have had their fill, they can trick or treat around the village and trunk or treat in the parking lot from 5pm to 6pm. As folks pass by the library, they can stop and vote for their favorite carved pumpkin. The winners of this contest, as well as the winners of the scarecrow contest, will be announced at this time.

The number of scarecrows around Felchville has increased over the past week. In fact, there are now over 20 options to choose from. You can vote for your favorite at the library on Halloween.

I've taken a detour from the Fright Night activities, so let me get back there now. After the winners have been announced, the celebration heads back to Town Hall for Fright Night fun in Robinson Hall. There will be games, the haunted graveyard, a fortune teller, and more. It's always a crazy fun time, and I am looking forward to it! I hope you are, too!

Happy birthday to Charlotte Nunan (October 25), David Taft (October 27), and Darren Allen October 29).

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on October 24, 2019

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