Last Saturday, I pulled into the lot at Town Hall about the same time Dave Richardson, the performer for the second concert of the Reading Winter Concert Series, did. He swiftly unloaded a bunch of equipment in non-descript nylon bags as I was pulling bottles of seltzer water, a jug of cider, and four dozen rosemary, lemon, and smoked salt shortbread cookies from my car.
We officially introduced each ourselves (our unofficial introduction was over the phone some weeks ago), and toted our stuff upstairs. Then we went back down grabbed what was left from our cars. All I had was a slow cooker full of shredded chicken for the make-your-own taco bar. Dave carried a green suitcase, and strapped over his shoulders like a backpack was a bag in the unmistakable shape of a guitar.
In short order, he and Recreation Commission member and all-around sound wizard Gerry Marletta had the stage ready to go—a microphone and Dave’s guitar in a guitar stand waiting to be used on the otherwise empty stage, save for the downtown-scene curtain.
Dave seems a bit shy and a bit introverted. Yet when he strums the strings and sings, all that goes away. He filled up the stage—and the entire hall—with his voice and his music.
Every song he sang, mostly his own compositions, seemed familiar, even though I knew only a handful of them. He sang about animals, people down on their luck, and love. In other words, Dave’s songs are about what things we all relate to—even an infestation of mice and how we deal with it.
Thanks to the Reading Green Spaces Committee for providing the food that night. When I go for Mexican food, I’m tempted by so many items on the menu that I usually never get to the taco section. They were tasty, and I realize, now that I don’t need a Mexican restaurant. I can have these at home! Or go to more events that have make-your-own taco bars!
Thanks, too, to everyone who showed up on Saturday. The money we raised will be pooled with the money raised last month and the money raised at the two remaining concerts and distributed to the series' four beneficiaries: the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading PTO, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, and Upper Valley WISE.
Mark your calendars for the next show, Mach 9. Be sure to check back here in the coming weeks. I’ll be providing more information about that show.
Looking forward, here are two other community events happening in town, both of them this weekend.
Tomorrow is Game Night, and this month we are doing something different. Yes, we're playing games—but one game, in particular, will headline the evening. Basketball. Given my less-than-Le-Bron-James height (okay, less-than-most-people height), I was never one for the sport. But I know that the kids in town will love it, the same way they loved kickball and wiffle ball during our summer Game Nights. I know, too, of one adult who said she would love basketball as part of Game Night. I'm not going to say who it is, but you will often see her in the company of boys named Noah, Max, and Oliver.
Of course, we are not playing basketball at the library. I don’t think Tony would appreciate that. Instead, we are moving Game Night to the school. Other than that, the details are the same. It kicks off at 6:30pm and runs until 8:30pm.
If you’re not keen on playing basketball, we’ll have some board games. Where they’re being played is where you’ll find me.
The other event is, of course, the Reading Historical Society Annual Meeting. It’s really a three-part affair, and you can come to any part or all parts.
Part one begins at 4:30pm at Reading Town Hall. The society will hold its annual meeting to go over and a bit of recent history—the year that was 2018.
Part two commences at 5pm. This will be what we are calling a “brinner” or dinner consisting of breakfast foods. There will be pancakes, quiche, sausage, bacon, muffins, fruits, and many other breakfast items. Some of these delicious foods will be flavored with or accompanied by maple (see pancakes, above) and some will not.
What’s the big deal about maple? Well, that’s part three. At 6pm, the Reading Historical Society welcomes Champlain College professor Michael Lange to give a talk called “The Many Meanings of Maple.”
Maple is enormously important to Vermont's economy, ecology, and heritage. In his presentation, Michael discusses what sugaring really means to Vermont, based on five years of research among sugar makers all over the state. Rather than discussing the practical aspects of sugaring, such as how to tap a tree or how an evaporator works, Michael’s talk focuses on how and why maple has become so important to Vermont's identity, and how and why it helps us shape who we are as Vermonters.
All three parts of the meeting are free of charge. However, if you want to attend the brinner (part two), please RSVP by Friday to Calista Brennan at 802-484-0276 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you there!
Happy birthday to Mason Tremblay (February 18), and Mason Harkins (February 19). Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy school break to all the kids!
That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!
This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on February 14, 2019.