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  • Stephen D'Agostino

RHS Annual Meeting, Supper, and Presentation This Saturday

Winter has finally shown up, and it seems people are happy about it. Last Saturday, after two days of every type of winter weather imaginable, many people I talked with shared their sense of awe. As if they'd never seen such beauty, people noted the majesty of the frosted trees atop the hills and how the big pines were seemingly bowing their long limbs under the weight of the wet snow. One visitor to the region commented on the diamond-like glimmer of the ice-crusted branches on the bare maples and oaks.

I’m going to add one more observation, and this one is a matter of coincidence and available only to those who, like me, rise before the sun—a task that is getting harder every day. On Sunday, the moon was full. As it was heading into the western sky in the pre-dawn hours, it painted long shadows across the fresh white canvas, creating beautiful replicas of the trees and shrubs. The conditions were almost perfect for me to capture some photographs of my barn cloaked in snow and moonlight. However, with temperature at five below zero, there was no way I was going outside.

The rising sun and setting moon brighten the hillside across from my home.

Thinking the view was as good as it was going to get, I went to work. Two hours later, the sun began to brighten the tops of the hills across from my house. The snow-frosted trees became visible, thanks to the early sunlight and the yellowy moon, massive in its descent, sitting right above them.

The delights of the morning moon happened halfway through a busy weekend in town. And for those events, thanks are in order. First, thanks to everyone who showed up on Saturday night for the second Reading Winter Concert. The band was Turnip Truck from the Corinth area. It was interesting to see how the band members traded off instruments and lead-singing duties throughout the show. The show was a treat. Thank you, guys! Thanks, too, to the Reading/West Windsor Food Shelf, and especially Sara Norcross, for bringing a huge spread of food. Everyone was well fed. Thanks also go to Jim and Sandy Peplau for working around issues with over-taxed outlets so that the delicious soups they brought would stay hot throughout the whole show.

Turnip Truck played the second Winter Concert at Robinson Hall on February 8.

The money collected from last Saturday's show will be pooled with the money collected from January's show and the money collected at the March and April shows. The total will be divided between the Reading/West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, the Reading Recreation Commission, and the Ottauquechee Health Foundation.

Before I move on, mark your calendars for the next concert in the Winter Concert Series. It happens on March 14. The act for that show is Blue Grasoles, which includes Reading residents John Balch and Susan Damone Balch.

Sunday night, I went out to dinner. It was nice to see all the folks who showed up for the Mama Mia Bistro. I attended with Gerry, Erika, and Zoe Marletta around 5:30. We sat with Shiri and Lily Macri, Dominic Lord, Justin Sluka, and Kate, Curt, and Brody Allen. Quite a few people were sitting around the other tables, and within a half-hour, the bistro was the hottest place in town! Chef's hats off to Barbara Lord, Wade Mullins, Janet Malcolm, Lisa Kaija, Abby Merseal, and Abby's friend Yaheva Weir who worked the kitchen and served all that delicious food.

Now, let’s look forward to this weekend! Consider this an invitation to the Reading Historical Society's Annual Meeting. It happens this Saturday at Reading Town Hall. It kicks off at 4:30pm with a short business meeting. Then at 5pm, we will have supper, but not just any supper. We are calling it a Roadkill Dinner, and you're invited to bring a dish and join the fun.

Know that you don’t need to scrape something off Route 106 and throw it on a platter. Take something that would be perfect for a potluck and give it a themed name! A chicken dish could be called “The Chicken That Didn’t Quite Cross the Road.” A soup made with black beans and navy beans could be “Skunk Stew.” You could also make something that looks like roadkill.

If you plan to come to the dinner, RSVP to Calista Brennan to let her know how many people will be attending and what you'll be bringing. You can reach her by phone at 484-0276 or by email at

You may be asking why Roadkill Dinner? That has to do with the third part of the meeting. At 6pm, we will have a talk titled "Getting There From Here: A History of Roads and Settlements in Vermont." The presenter is novelist Deborah Lee Luskin, and the presentation is co-sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council.

The VHC describes the talk this way: “The difficulties of traveling in Vermont played a significant role in the state's settlement, development, culture, and politics. But Vermonters weren't always eager to have good roads. Opposition began in 1753, when the Abenaki joined forces with the French to protest the building of a British military road along an established Abenaki trail. Resistance to new roads has continued ever since, from the Green Mountain Parkway to the building of the interstates.”

The event is free and open to everyone. In other words, you don’t have to be a member of the Reading Historical Society to attend. However, you are invited to join the society. We will have membership forms available.

I hope to see you there!

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on February 13, 2020.

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