• Stephen D'Agostino

April (Snow) Showers Will Still Bring May Flowers

If you’ve read my column for the past couple of weeks, you’ve come across a name you may not know: Lanie Wadelton. She’s not a resident of Reading but of Bellows Falls. Her connection to our town is that she works at Spring Brook Farm. If you’ve stopped by their office, like I did last Friday (it was a beehive of activity, to say the least), then you know who she is. She sits a couple of rows behind Tatiana Werner-McCarthy and is the bookkeeper. If you’ve had even one conversation with Lanie, she will remember who you are. I can vouch for that through personal experience.

Lanie, as mentioned in past columns, is the coordinator of Reading’s Blood Drive, which will be happening on Friday, April 27, from noon to 5pm at the Reading Fire and Rescue building.

When we chatted, I asked her why do a blood drive here instead of in Bellows Falls. She said the reason was selfish. She wanted to donate at a drive that she could get to without missing a lot of work. If having one in Reading also meant coordinating it, then so be it.

Lanie is very committed to giving blood. In fact, she has driven as many as 75 miles to donate. That’s a lot of commitment, and she told me why. Her first husband had a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome. It’s a disease in which red blood cells are destroyed by the body. These ruined blood cells can clog the kidneys and lead to their failure. She told me that her husband received blood on a regular basis and as a result, he lived an additional three-and-a-half years with the condition.

The first blood drive in Reading, last December, resulted in 16 units of blood, which is good. However for this drive, Lanie would love to see every slot filled. That would yield 30 units. As an incentive, and with the help of the Reading Fire Department Auxiliary, she is striving to make this blood drive a little different than then “give blood get crackers” experience you may be familiar with.

The Auxiliary will be preparing nutritious food for the donors. When speaking with Lanie, I had mistakenly referred to this as lunch because my appointment to donate is at 1pm. The food will be available throughout the five hours of the drive.

Lanie tells me that nine of the 30 slots have been taken and that she’s had verbal commitment from many more folks. However, to help her reach her goal and to help the volunteers plan, you can make an appointment to give blood by visiting www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood. See you on April 27!

I won’t see you at the Stitching Circle at the Reading Public Library, though I wish I could be there. The Stitching Circle takes place on April 24 at 10:30am. Come with whatever handwork you’re in the middle of—knitting, crochet, origami, quilting, or whatever you’re doing to keep your hands from becoming, proverbially speaking, the devil’s workshop.

Tony Pikramenos, our librarian, also wants me to remind you of another event happening at the library. In an email to me, Tony wrote, “The Reading Review (Note: not this Reading Review, but its inspiration) was a local paper Sherm Howe put together and sent out to folks every two weeks in the 1950s. He lived in the stone house next to what is now Keepers Cafe. In the May 15, 1953, edition, there is this line: ‘Some of the children in Hammondsville have a very nice custom of leaving May baskets of wildflowers hanging on the door on May Day.’ In that spirit, the folks at the library decided to offer up a free program on Saturday, April 28, at 10:30am. Children will make paper flowers and create a little flower pot to put them in. The library will provide tea and sweets, and Tony will read a couple of stories. The kids are encouraged to give their flowers to a parent, another family member, or neighbor on May Day.”

Tony sent me this email on April 7. On that date, I was thinking how nice it will be to be living in the springlike world of blooming wildflowers that Sherm had noted some 65 years ago. Now, as I listen to ice tapping against the window, I am thinking, it’s a good thing Tony chose to make paper flowers instead of relying on the real thing!

Incidentally, if you want to learn more about the original Reading Review, see the April Informer.

Also taking place in the happeningest place in town (the library) is the quarterly meeting of the Reading-West Windsor Aging in Place committee. That occurs on Monday, April 23, at 4pm.

As a reminder, here’s what I wrote about his initiative on March 9, 2017. “Aging in Place is a concept promoted by the National Aging In Place Council. Its mission is to be a resource to help people stay in good health and be active as they get older. It sounds like a great idea and a worthy cause, especially for older folks who may not have close family nearby to lend a hand.”

Don’t forget that you can still buy tickets for the Reading PTO’s CSA share raffle. Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25. That’s not a lot of lettuce for the chance to win a lot of lettuce. And other delicious vegetables. Plus, the proceeds benefit the PTO and Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf. With school vacation just about wrapping up, you can buy a ticket or six from RES students and brighten their day as they count down the hours until the return to class.

Happy birthday to Jackie von Unwerth (April 20), Kristen Ameele (April 20), Cody Bartlett (April 21), Kaitlyn Hall (April 22), and happy birthday to Robert and Esther Allen (April 23).

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on April 19, 2018.

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