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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Indoor Volleyball Starts on January 2

The lull in the action after Christmas becomes more precious as I grow older. Unlike parents, who, I imagine, are looking forward to going back to work or, more likely, their kids going back to school, I relish these days to enjoy the tree and the Christmas decorations around the house without the anticipation or preparation of Christmas.

Last week, I mentioned my Christmas baking tradition. I do love it, and I can't imagine Christmas without it. Now, with the rush over, I can bake things that have a more leisurely schedule. I won't be jumping up every six or seven minutes to switch the placement of the cookie sheets in the oven or remove them to cool. Instead, I can peer into a bowl of rising bread dough as I happen to be passing through the kitchen, or I can bake items that don't require regular attention once they are in the oven.

I will also read. I doubt anything I read will be as good as my favorite reads of 2019. Allow me to recommend two. The first is Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic tale that revolves around the struggles of the few survivors of a performance of King Lear at a Toronto theater on the eve of a devastating flu outbreak. The way the pieces of the story fall together is genius. Second, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, a tale John Irving would be proud of, about a man who is forced to come to terms with what others and society view as his failings. He perseveres to find the love of family, friends, and an unwitting mentor whose life is intertwined with his in ways they are unaware. It's long (a la Irving), but rewarding.

The freedom to read and bake as well as watch movies and fret over all the eating I did during the holidays will come to an end—especially, I hope, the fretting—once the new year starts. In fact, almost immediately. On January 2, the Reading Recreation Commission is bringing back volleyball! For now, it is scheduled every Thursday evening in January and February from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Reading Elementary School. We’ll play some matches with adults and kids and some with just adults. We trust the kids will find ways to occupy themselves. As for me, maybe the exercise will quell the above-mentioned fretting.

Then, on January 11, just over two weeks from the time the paper holding this column hits the newsstands, the first show in the Winter Concert Series takes place. The band performing that night is the Old Boys. The quintet includes Reading resident Niles Franc, who is working with the Reading Recreation Commission to put these shows on. Niles plays the upright bass and sings. He is joined by Kevin Wright from Cavendish (slide guitar, vocals) Eric Wright from Toronto, ON (cello, tenor banjo, vocals) Julia Wright from Cavendish (fiddle, vocals), and Justin Park from Barnard (mandolin, guitar, vocals). If you attended Spencer Lewis's show last year, you might recall that Kevin and Niles joined Spencer on stage for a great second set of music. And dancing.

The Winter Concert Series is a benefit for local organizations. They are the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, the Reading Recreation Commission, and the Ottauquechee Health Foundation. The OHF, as I like to abbreviate it, is providing dinner food for the first concert. So for $10, you get a night of great music, meal, a sense of camaraderie, and warmth provided not just by the furnace in the Town Hall, but by the fact that you are doing something to help out small non-profits in our area. Also, please bring non-perishable food items that we will donate to the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf immediately. Please be sure they are not beyond their expiration date.

The first show in the Winter Concert Series happens on January 11, at Reading Town Hall. The doors open at 6:30pm, and the show starts at 7pm.

I'm looking forward to the new year. I know for sure there will be a lot of great events happening in town.

You know I'm going to write about them here. If you are hosting or know of a local event that can use some free press, send me the details. My information is below.

Happy birthday to Isabella Veri (December 30), Hazel King (December 31), Noah Malcolm (January 2), and Ellen Lucier (January 2).

Happy New Year!

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on December 27, 2019.

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