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  • Stephen D'Agostino

This Week’s Puddledock Park Party Theme: Ice Cream!

Last Friday night, while returning home after the talk at the Reading Historical Society (more on that later), I marveled at how quiet my car sounded on the brand new asphalt on the northbound side of Route 106. Listening to it, dare I say enjoying it, I found myself going seven miles under the speed limit. Maybe savoring the smooth ride is what I was doing.

The enjoyment ended at the northern edge of the work completed so far. The road noise increased, and my car, which isn’t the best-handling vehicle on wet, uneven pavement, slipped a few times. If I couldn’t have new pavement, I was happy to make my turn on to good old dirt roads, where my car is more sure-footed.

Three years ago, I was disappointed and somewhat miffed that the Route 106 paving project stopped, basically, at Reading’s door on the north side of town. I know nothing about how such projects are funded or prioritized, but, happily, the powers-that-be have decided the wait is over. I tried to find some specifics of the project—how many miles of road are being paved (11 is the likely answer, according to the orange warning sign at the South Woodstock/Reading border), how long it will take, if there are specific days or stretches of road in which the delays will be the longest. I have not found anything yet, but I’ll keep trying. For the time being, let’s deal with the delays and just savor our new road.

Now, back to the talk at the Reading Historical Society Museum. Thanks to Michael Tougias who took us “400 Miles Down the Connecticut River” safely and drily inside the museum while there was plenty of water falling from the sky and plenty of water on the photos he showed as part of his presentation.

His journey down the river, documented in his talk, took place over the course of years. Over the course of one hour, we toured the river from its source, a beaver pond way up in New Hampshire, to its mouth at Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

By experience, I only know the river in bits and pieces. By the end of the talk, I felt like I had a good understanding of nature's influence on the river, our influence on the river, and the river’s role in New England history.

Thank you to all who showed up for the presentation. Esther Allen, the president of the society, and I were pleased with the crowd. While we were cleaning up, Esther said to me, with a big smile on her face, "we should do two more next summer." I agree, and I'm looking forward to digging in to the different talks that the Vermont Humanities Council offers and finding two great presentations to share next year.

More kudos for “attendees.” Thank you to everyone who came out to the first Puddledock Park Party last Thursday. The theme was "Lawn Games." Tony Pikramenos, our librarian, his son Ryder, Heather Evans, Lisa Kaija, and Calvin Seman enjoyed a game of bocce after Calvin, Ryder, Aubrey Seman, and Lily Macri enjoyed bean bag toss. As parties do, it became an excellent opportunity to socialize. I enjoyed chatting with Libbet Downs, Jess Seman, Gerry and Erika Marletta, and Jackie LeDonne. Thanks to everyone who brought snacks to share. Eating, as we all know, is a big part of social gatherings.

The good news on that front is this week's Puddledock Park Party theme deals with eating. Specifically, ice cream and toppings. Even more specifically, Villagers ice cream and toppings. The eatery at Downer’s Corners has generously donated everything the Reading Recreation Commission needs to host the “Make-A-Sundae” event at Puddledock Park. The event starts at 5pm tonight (August 9) at Puddledock Park. I’m sure the lawn games will come out again, so you can always play a set of lawn bowling after you’ve made and devoured your ice cream masterpiece. Don’t forget to bring drinks, snacks (if ice cream isn’t your thing), and chairs. If you have produce you want to swap, please bring that too!

Sticking with Rec Commission news, Joe Braun, who was the first person to sign on to the Rec Commission reboot back in 2016 has moved to Kentucky so his wife, Amber, could pursue a different job. Still working with horses, Kentucky would be the next best place, I guess. Good luck Joe and Amber!

That leaves an opening on the Recreation Commission. Would you like to be part of this fun, fun-loving, hard-working, creative, community-minded group? The commission meets once a month for an hour or so and coordinates such events as the Bunny Hop, the Duck Derby, Puddledock Park Party, Game Night, Fright Night, the Reading Tree Lighting, and the New Year's Eve party.

As a commissioner, you will split the work with the other four dedicated folks. All that to say, it is work, yes, but you won't be working alone. Plus, you will get that amazing sense of satisfaction when you see your friends and neighbors enjoying themselves at the events you helped coordinate. If you want more information or want to be a part of this group, feel free to contact the commissioners. They are Stephen D'Agostino (, Lisa Kaija (, Gerry Marletta (, and Lisa Morrison (

Don’t forget that next Tuesday, August 14, is the Vermont primary. Polls are open at Town Hall from 7am to 7pm. Remember that you can only vote for candidates from the party to which you are registered.

And finally, don’t forget the last outdoor Game Night is next Friday, August 17 at 6:30pm at Bartley Field. We'll be doing a barbecue potluck again, so don't forget to bring some food for yourself and your family and some to share! The Rec Commission will supply the charcoal and get the coals good and hot!

Happy birthday to Daniel Singleton (August 11).

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

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