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  • Stephen D'Agostino

A Skating Party Provides Welcome Relief to Cabin Fever

Updated: Aug 10, 2018

The first winter Bill and I lived in Vermont, the season felt like we imagined it would. Days and days of sub-zero temperatures were the norm for a couple of weeks, then typically cold weather for the rest of the season. When we arrived on December 29, 2014, the yard was already blanketed in snow, and it remained that way into April, when we had a proper mud season.

The second winter was warm, and in sharp contrast with our limited experience and our expectations, we could see grass poking up through the snow pretty much all season. Last year seemed mild and not too snowy, but I spent a good deal of January and most of February indoors being extra-protective of my new hip. I feel like I kind of missed the last winter.

There’s no way to miss this one, however. Winter 2017-2018 to me has been beyond expectations. It's been cold-and-snowy, soup-and-sweater kind of weather. I’ve heard many reports of pipes freezing. I learned that it’s not just water pipes that can ice up, but also the pipes for radiators. We had to have ours thawed and the anti-freeze coursing through them replenished. Luckily, none burst.

I hope everyone is coping. The forecast for Friday says the expected high will be near 50…above zero! I welcome a January thaw right about now.

Before it slips my mind, I'd like to thank everyone who came to the Reading New Year's Eve Dance. It was tough to keep Robinson Hall warm, but that didn’t cool people’s enthusiasm. The dance floor was full the whole night, and it was nice to see so many people out. I’m guessing the scene will repeat itself on New Year’s Eve 2019, hopefully with temperatures on the right side of zero.

It seems like that night was so long ago, and it’s been a bit rough getting back into the swing of things. Perhaps it’s because people are hanging out at home, dealing with the problems brought on by this weather, or are becoming best friends with their wool blankets, I've also been struggling to find story ideas. Not having content for my column always makes me a little panicky. Is there anything going on in Reading?

Of course there is! Tatiana Werner-McCarthy, on behalf of the PTO, requests you save Sunday, February 11, for Mama Mia’s Pasta Bistro. Tatiana and other PTO members are planning away for this annual Italian feast. They’re also gathering items for the baskets for the raffle. I’m looking forward to it! They’ll be more information here as the event gets closer.

Sue Mulder may have sensed my panic a couple of miles up the road from her. She sent a tweet-sized email alerting me that the frozen mill pond in Felchville had been cleared of snow and there would be skating or even a hockey game the next day, Sunday. The work, Sue told me later, had been done by Garrett Mulder and Mason Harkins.

A break from cabin fever, an impromptu skating party commenced in Felchville.

I’d heard that people had skated on that pod in the pasyt, though I’m not sure how far in the past. I had no plans on skating (remember: I’m protective of my new hip, which turns one on Saturday), but it was something I wanted to see.

When I arrived at the pond, which is smaller in size than my garden plot, there were six people on the ice. Garrett, Mason, and Josh Coyle were on skates, and Cyrus Harkins, Sue Mulder and Josh’s son, Noah,, were wearing boots. After a while, Noah disappeared and returned with his sled, turning the path downhill to the ice into a makeshift sledding slope. After a while, he got bored with that and found ways to entertain himself with a hockey stick and the snow.

Though Garrett said it first, everyone agreed either in words or actions that it was a good thing to do after being cooped up for the past few days. Josh noted how nice it was to have this secluded yet accessible outdoor recreation opportunity right in town. The drivers of the cars that passed by (three, which surprised me), all slowed and watched, realizing perhaps, as I had, that this—after so many days of cold—was rather special.

The sun was losing its battle with the clouds as Mason glided around the ice, Sue blocked his shots on net, aided by Cyrus, and in between scrimmaging with Garrett, Josh spun Noah on his sled around the ice. Soon, the beautiful blue sky was gone, and the temperature began to drop from its lofty ten-degree high. Maybe if I’d been on the ice, I would have been warmer, but I decided it was time to feel my toes again. I headed home, happy, not only to have something to write about but also pleased to see that these Readingites had a chance to spend an enjoyable afternoon together, doing something that is so very Vermont.

Thanks to Kate Allen, who hand-delivered a copy of the calendar, I have birthday announcements. Well, just one. Happy birthday to Jennifer Nunan (January 15).

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

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