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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Spencer Lewis is at Town Hall This Saturday

More than one person commented to me how surprised they were at the number of people—close to 90—who attended Town Meeting last Saturday. The folks present witnessed the retirement of Jon Springer as moderator, a post he has held for 30 years. It also saw Peter Vollers take the gavel. It might take him some time to hone his wit to Jon’s sharp edge, but he seemed to fall into his new role quickly.

There was a lively discussion, as should be the case at such a meeting, about the article to appropriate funds for the town to erect welcome signs. In the end, the article passed. Reading will no longer be the only town in the region that does not have welcome signs.

During the discussion and later, Bob Allen made a point about the importance of community involvement. In a town this size, we need people to pull together to vote at Town Meeting, to help our friends and neighbors, to put on events, and to show the pride we have in the place we call home.

The biggest event in Reading’s year is Old Home Day, which is scheduled for June 30. With the parade, the chicken barbecue, the village-wide yard sale, the Ducky Derby, the Ox Pull, and Cow Flop Bingo, it really is small-town living at its best.

Think about all that goes into the parts of the day that Reading Fire and Rescue is responsible for—that is the promotion, the parade, the parking, and all the associated logistics. And of course, there’s the chicken barbecue, which requires a cadre of volunteers to erect the tents, set up the tables and chairs, fire up the grill, cook the chicken, sell the tickets, and serve the meal.

Old Home Day, as you know, is a fundraiser for Reading Fire and Rescue. The small number of people who help keep us safe can’t put on this celebration on their own. They’re looking for folks to help. Before Old Home Day you can lend your talent and skill to make signs and posters. On Old Home Day, you can help with parking, sell tickets to the barbecue, prepare and serve food, and clean up. If the parade is more your passion, you can help line up the participants or clean up at the end of the day.

You don’t need the strength of an ox or the perseverance of a rubber ducky floating its way to the finish line to help out. You just need to give a (cow) flop and a little time so that you, your family, friends, and neighbors can enjoy Reading's big day. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll help the Reading Fire Department raise the funds needed to help keep us all safe.

To volunteer, send an email to or call Molly Brockman at 740-513-9631. Just do so by April 1, so we can keep this wonderful tradition going!

I’ve spent a lot of letters talking about something happening in June. Now I want to squeeze in a few words about things happening this month.

On March 30, the Reading Green Spaces Committee is celebrating sugaring season by hosting a Maple Cook-Off to benefit its efforts to beautify Puddledock Park. The cost of admission is $8, and for that meager amount, you’ll be able to put together a delicious dinner of maple-themed appetizers, entrees, salads and veggies, and dessert. For this to succeed, the Green Spaces Committee needs—wait for it—competitors. (Admit it: you thought I was going to say volunteers). Specifically, they need people to cook food in one of the four categories above. People who come to the event will vote on their favorite maple creation, and the winning vote getter will win a prize. If you think for even a second, you might be able to guess what it is. To compete in the cook-off, contact Jane Philipin at

Finally, two things for this weekend. Don't forget that Spencer Lewis will be performing his rocking, reflective brand of folk as this month's show in the Reading Recreation Commission's Winter Concert Series. The show is at Reading Town Hall on March 9 from 7pm to 9pm. Food this month will be provided by the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf. Admission for the show and dinner is just $10 for adults. For children under 15, admission is free. All proceeds will be divided between the concert series’ beneficiaries: the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading PTO, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, and Upper Valley WISE. Also, don’t forget to bring non-perishable foods. They will be donated to the Food Shelf immediately.

And finally, don’t forget to spring forward on Sunday morning. I know it means losing an hour of sleep, but it also means that on Sunday, the sun sets at 6:50PM. Can warm weather be far behind? Well, yes…

Happy birthday to Mary Vittum (March 10), Chance Smith (March 11), Bailey Howard (March 11), and Sissy Picz (March 11).

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on March 7, 2019.

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