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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Reading Historical Society to Host Talk “400 Miles Down the Connecticut River”

One of the oddities of writing this column is that I usually have to think ahead a couple of weeks so I can write about upcoming events. In early March, for example, I may be writing about late-March or even early April. That’s not a big deal usually but last month was different. In mid-July, I was writing about August. That made me a little sad that summer was almost over.

It wasn’t of course. It’s still not, even though we’re now into the eighth month. Since moving to Vermont, I’ve become more committed to gardening than ever before. As a result, I’ve developed a new appreciation for August. It really is the month when all the hard work we’ve all put into our tomatoes, peppers, beans, squashes, potatoes, and whatever else are our favorite crops pays off.

Right now, I'm between crops. The peas are just about done, and the tomatoes are still green. However, if you have something ripe and ready and overabundant, consider bringing it with you tonight for the first ever Puddledock Park Party.

OK, so why would you bring produce to a party? Simple. If you recall, last year the Reading Recreation Commission hosted the Produce Swap in the green space beside the library. Then, the space had no name, and the Rec Commission and Reading Green Spaces Committee were trying to show that the park could be a valuable Felchville asset.

Now, one year later, the park has a name, it has been used for events several times, including last December’s first-ever tree lighting. The Recreation Commission changed the focus of the weekly events to a party. The Puddledock Park Party happens every Thursday from 5pm to dusk. Every week, the party will have a theme. The Recreation Commission is going to hold off on announcing what the next week’s theme is until the Puddledock Park Party the week before.

Since there was no party last week, I’ll share the theme here. It’s Lawn Games. (Okay, I spilled the beans last week, I know, but there was no official title for the event). We’ll have lawn bowling and cornhole. There may even be a few non-lawn games happening.

There are picnic tables at the park, but bring your own chair if you want, as well as drinks and snacks. Also, if your garden is further along than mine, bring your extra produce and swap it with someone else. You can also sell it and donate all, some, or none of the proceeds to the Reading Recreation Commission.

The logistics all in one place: the Puddledock Park Party happens on Thursdays in August and September from 5pm to dusk at Puddledock Park.

Last week, in addition to mentioning the Puddledock Park Party, I also said I want to give you some more information about Michael Tougias, who will be speaking at the Reading Historical Society Museum tomorrow night, August 3, at 7pm.

Michael is a prolific writer. He has authored or co-authored 29 books, which can be broken down into several categories: true survival stories, history, humor and the outdoors, inspiration, and young adult/middle-aged readers.

His book The Finest Hours, which recounts the rescue of the crew of the tanker Pendleton during a nor’easter in 1952, was made into a 2016 movie. His latest book Above and Beyond deals with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Further scanning his list of books, you see that New England is often a backdrop for his writing. This holds true of the talk he is giving at the Reading Historical Society Museum, which is titled “400 Miles Down the Connecticut River.”

I’m looking forward to hearing Michael speak. If I have the opportunity, I’d like to ask him how he does his research and how he finds the time to be so prolific. Of course, I’ll have a question or two about the river.

If you haven’t had a chance to stop by the museum, now would be a good time to do so. As I said, the talk starts at 7pm on August 3, but the Reading Historical Society Museum will be open at 4pm for visitors to drop by and see the exhibits currently on display.

The talk at the museum is just one thing going on in town tomorrow night. Don’t forget first Friday at the Hall Art Foundation, and the Random Art Show at Puddledock Park. What’s the Random Art Show, you ask? Here’s a refresher.

The show is community-powered and curated by the people who donated a piece of art to the show. The art on loan for the day is not something the contributor painted, sketched, or sculpted, though it could be. Instead, random art is a painting inexplicably held on to. It’s something that caught the eye of the owner at the dump. It's a work picked up for cheap at a yard sale. It’s something found in the attic, left behind by the former owner. How the art was acquired is the story. Be sure to stop by Puddedock Park and see his unique show. It'll be on display from 5pm to 7pm. If it rains, the show will be inside the library.

One more early August note. The Vermont state primary is August 14. Polls at Town Hall are open from 7am to 7pm. In the primary election, you can only vote for candidates of the party to which you are registered (Democrat, Republican, or Progressive). If you cannot vote on August 14, absentee ballots are available at Town Hall until August 13.

Happy birthday to Kitai Jenne (August 4), Karen Provost (August 5), Joan Allen (August 8), and Jim Bennett (August 8).

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

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