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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Community Sing-Along and Stitching Circle Return to the Library This Weekend

I want to start off by saying thank you to Linda Radtke and Arthur Zorn. They presented “Vermont History Through Song” at the Reading Historical Society Museum on June 1. I didn’t know what to expect, even after reading the description the Vermont Humanities Council, the co-sponsor, prepared. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Linda is a charming and outgoing person. She is also devoted to making this presentation meaningful and relevant to her audience. After warm hellos and handshakes, she was eager to learn about the history of the Reading Christian Union building. She then declared that the temperance songs she was going to perform would fit nicely into the setting. She also pulled out a heavily annotated book by Howard Coffin regarding Vermont’s involvement in the Civil War, flipped to the Reading page, and handed it to me. I didn't have much chance to read it though. In her lively conversation regarding her plans for the evening, she more than summarized what was on the pages in front of me.

During the program of 17 songs, she sang several that were related to the Civil War. She dedicated many to Reading soldiers by name who died during that four-year struggle, mentioning the battles in which they fought. She had even developed stories about their time at war or about a girl back home whom the soldier loved. What remarkable preparation!

Perhaps what I found most wonderful is that Linda and Arthur weren’t in the museum for 10 minutes when they found sheet music in the society’s collection that had been printed in Reading. Before the performance began, they practiced it and later performed the song “The Old Turnpike” as an encore.

“Vermont History Through Song” was the first presentation at the Reading Historical Society Museum and the first of a two-part speaker series the society will be hosting. The second talk “400 Miles Down the Connecticut River” takes place on Friday, August 3 at 7pm. Linda and Arthur set the bar high for Michael Tougis, the presenter of that talk, but I’m sure that presentation will be just as enjoyable.

And so began June, 30-days of hopefully warm weather, late sunsets, early sunrises, and a month-long countdown to Old Home Day and the 12th Annual Ducky Derby. Tickets are available from any one of the commissioners. They are Joe Braun, (, Stephen D’Agostino (, Lisa Kaija (, Gerry Marletta (, and Lisa Morrison ( You can also get them at the Reading Greenhouse. For more information on prizes and where to purchase tickets, visit the Rec Commission’s Facebook page (

Old Home Day and the Ducky Derby are a month away. There’s still a lot of June to live and love. Part of that love, for me at least, is yard work. Over the weekend, I put together my composter, which I bought in March, thinking foolishly at the time that the snow would be gone soon and I could start making lovely, rich, dark compost for my garden. It sits empty now because I need to collect the proper materials to fill it. What are those materials? To the best of my knowledge, they are things such as grass (“greens”), newspaper (“browns”), microbe-rich dirt, and vegetable scraps.

If “greens” and “browns” make no sense to you, I could try to explain but why not leave it to the pros? Attend the free backyard composting workshop at Reading Town Hall on June 14 from 6-7:30pm. The workshop will be led by Vermont Master Composter Cat Buxton and sponsored by the South Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste Management District.

Cat will gladly answer any questions. Workshop attendees may purchase a “Soil Saver” composter (one per household) for the heavily discounted price of $35 (suggested retail is $120) and a “Sure-Close” kitchen pail for $5. Please call or email to sign up for the workshop and composter/pail. Contacts for this great event are Mary O’Brien (802-674-9235, and Ham Gillett (802-674-447,

I am pretty sure I’m busy that night. I’d love to “get the dirt” on the event from someone who attends.

Don’t forget that tomorrow night, June 8, the library hosts a Community Sing-Along. The music-filled event happens at 6:30pm. Then on Saturday, June 9, again at the library, is the Stitching Circle. It’s not just for knitting, but any other handiwork you have—crochet, sewing, origami, scrapbooking, even mending. This one’s on my calendar. With all the yard work I’ve been doing (and loving), I’ve hardly had time to work on my sweater. I’m happy about the prospect of time devoted to just knitting and purling. This event starts at 10.30am.

Another reminder. Next Friday, June 15, is the second outdoor game night at Bartley Field. The fun starts at 6:30pm. On that date, if not sooner, we, as a town, need to start fielding a couple of horseshoe teams. We are scheduled to pitch off (as in tee off. Is that a term?) on July 20 against Weathersfield. If you're interested in joining our team, next Friday, at Game Night, would be an excellent time to announce your interest. Of course, you can let one of the Rec Commissioners know before then. Scan up a few paragraphs for their contact info.

And a final note on the way out. Congratulations to Top of the World 4-H crew who attended the Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro last weekend. They are Caleb Palazzo (with heifer Primrose), Dominic Palazzo (Jalapeño), Joey Palazzo (Iceland), Riley Cross (Huckleberry), Josie Cross (Burlington), JD Cross (Jypsy), Mackenzie Bushey (Pilot), Hailey Dow (Jennifer), Brooke Rowlee (Jolly), and Sadie Rowlee. Sadie didn’t lead a heifer but carried the banner, a very important task indeed!

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

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