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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Rescheduled Green Up Day is Saturday

“May, I forgive you.”

I’m not going to scan my archive of past columns, but I think I’ve used this line before. It says a lot about me, a lot about spring in Vermont, and a lot about what I love about living in Reading.

What a glorious stretch of weather! I continue my daily ritual of walking my flower beds, a routine I started as part of my mental health plan during the mid-stretch of quarantine. At the beginning of the month, my hope was to see that something had popped out of the ground. For a day or so, the focus shifted to checking to see what had survived the snow (all but one lily, it appears), then what survived sub-freezing temperatures (everything). Now, when I tour the beds, I note how much things have grown or changed since the day before. It may sound like hyperbole, but I can see the change in a day. I suppose in this climate, plants need to move in double time.

One Iceland Poppy had bloomed by mid-May, and then four the next day. My irises seem to add half an inch a day. The leaves on my maple were still buds last time I wrote a column. Now, they provide enough coverage that I can sit on my lawn chair in the late afternoon, facing west, and read.

Maybe I’ll learn the lesson of patience. If I do, then next mid-May, when I walk the flower beds and start seeing signs of spring, will I be as thrilled? Probably. May in Reading is never boring.

As the region and the state start slowly and (I hope) safely emerging from quarantine, things seem almost as strange as they did a month ago but for different reasons. Last Friday, I drove through Woodstock, and it felt like a typical day before a long weekend. I had to stop several times to let people cross. Most every parking spot on the street was taken, and people were having socially distant interactions. Most everyone was wearing a mask. Then, when I drove through again, maybe three hours later, the town was eerily quiet.

We took a drive on Saturday, going farther afield, and again, eerie quiet. We noticed some yard sales and some small groups sitting in yards or on decks, but the spaces in between these sightings seemed vast. The temptation to gather is great, especially with the weather being so glorious, but please keep in mind that the pandemic is not over. Be safe. Be considerate. Stay healthy.

As a reminder for those people whose livelihood has been affected by the pandemic, help is available from several sources.

The Woodstock Area Relief Fund, or WARF, provides financial assistance to individuals and families of the greater Woodstock area who are unable to meet their basic household needs due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

The assistance WARF offers is beyond what other local, state, and federal relief programs will provide. Assistance packages of up to $1,000 are available immediately.

If you need assistance, you can visit to apply for help. The usual channels for finding information are available. You can call or email Sally Miller (802-281-9902/ You can also check out the WARF Facebook page (

If you are looking for ways to help during the pandemic, consider donating to WARF. Visit the website to make a tax-deductible donation. You can also mail checks made out to Woodstock Area Relief Fund to PO Box 802, Woodstock, VT 05091. Printable check submittal forms are available at

Apart from WARF, other local organizations are offering help. If you or someone you know from Reading or West Windsor needs the services of the aptly named Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf during these trying times, it is located at 3456 Tyson Road and is open on Mondays from 2pm to 4pm and on Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm. Food basics are boxed up and ready for curbside pickup.

If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, you can make out a check to "The Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf" and mail it to PO Box 384, Brownsville, VT 05037.

Finally, with people perhaps having an increased need for medical services at this time or losing their health insurance along with their jobs, the Ottauquechee Health Foundation can help. If you or someone you know needs their services, or if you want to donate, visit the website (, call 802-457-4188, or email

And for the sake of clarity, the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf and the Ottauquechee Health Foundation are always here and will continue to be here, even after the pandemic is over.

Don’t forget that this Saturday is Green Up Day. I’m not going to go over the logistics again, except to say be safe from the invisible bug and the almost-invisible bugs when you green up. Keep your eyes peeled for garbage that needs to be collected. Garbage that looks dangerous, such as needles, should be left as is and its location reported. Also, look for tickets for prizes—definitely not garbage—that you can redeem at Town Hall from 12pm to 1pm. There will be live music from Kerry Rosenthal, sponsored by the Reading Recreation Commission, and snacks as well.

If you have any questions about Green Up Day, contact Readings Green Up Coordinator Marie Anderson at 484-3218.

If you have questions about Green Up Day, please call Marie Anderson, at 484-3218.

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on May 28, 2020.

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