• Stephen D'Agostino

Reading, Vermont. Small Town. Big Heart.

While I was on the West Coast, time went by at a normal pace. One day equaled 24 hours. Here, though, time was different. It had to have been. One day had to equal 48 hours or more. How else to explain the Vermont-style jungle that greeted me on my return? The trees are completely leafed out, all the seeds I planted have sprouted, and the peonies have promising pink buds atop tall stalks. Even the tree in my yard that I had given up for dead the day before I left looks quite healthy now. I bypassed the day-to-day progress, but I’m thrilled to be home for this magical time of year.


While I was away, I missed the publication of Reading’s ad in the Destinations insert to the Vermont Standard. Did you see it? If you wanted to have a staycation at home this summer, whether home is here or Woodstock or Weathersfield or any other nearby town, there are plenty of things to do in Reading. I’m not going to go through the list, but here are four ways for you to review all the happenings in town. First, you could dig through your recycling (if it’s not too late) and find the insert from last week’s paper.


Second, you can check out the posters around town. You can find them at Town Hall, the Reading Greenhouse, the Reading Public Library, and Watroba’s. Third, you can email me for a copy of the flyer. Fourth, you can visit the town’s Facebook page.


Yes, you read that correctly. Reading now has a Facebook page! You can find it at Facebook.com/ReadingVT. On that page, you will see the calendar of events. While you’re there, be sure to like the page so you’ll get reminders in your news feed.


The theme of Reading’s ad is “Small Town. Big Heart.” Here are some examples of how that is not just a tagline, but very true.


It takes a small town with a big heart to come together to care for one of its most beautiful structures. You know from reading this column that my favorite building in Reading is the Old Stone Church. The style of the building, known as snecked ashlar, was not one I was familiar with before I moved to this area. Perhaps that is why it rises to the top of my list, but more likely, it is because it is so beautiful. If you’ve ever been inside, you know it is practically pristine. To keep it that way, the roof needs to be maintained to avoid leaks. That is why Hazel King, with help from Esther Allen, has launched a Go Fund Me campaign to repair the roof.


If you’ve had roof work done, you know it’s a big project. The campaign seeks to raise $50,000. When I visited the church’s page on the site, it noted one donation of $50, or 0.1% of goal. Would you consider a donation to help repair the roof and thus preserve this building? You can donate in two ways. The new-fashioned way is to go to the campaign’s page (gofundme.com/south-reading-vt-old-stone-church) and click on the “Donate Now” button. The old-fashioned way is to write out a check to Old Stone Church Building Fund and send it to Old Stone Church, P.O. Box 96, Reading, VT 05062.


It takes a small town with a big heart to have a Community Sing-Along. On Friday, June 8, at 6:30pm, Reading Public Library will hold its second such event. The library has the songbook Rise Up Singing on hand, but if you own a copy, bring it. You can also bring an instrument to accompany the singing (chords for each song are listed in the songbook, but not specific changes). Folks will take turns choosing songs for the group. We'll sing some and visit some. Everyone's welcome, even those who prefer just to listen. The library will provide refreshments and childcare. Call 484-5588 for more information.


A follow up note on this. Before attending the first Community Sing-Along, I had not heard of the Rise Up Singing songbook. Flipping through the pages, I was amazed at the sheer number of songs and the breadth of musical genres. From songs about Jesus to songs by Jerry Garcia and John Denver, they’re all in there!

It takes a small town with a big heart to hold a free Stitching Circle. (If you’re new at knitting or handwork, you know where the big heart comes in). This event, too, will be held at The Reading Public Library and occur on Saturday, June 9, at 10:30am. Bring your handiwork: knitting, crocheting, mending, quilting, etc. Enjoy conversation in good company while you work. If you'd like more information, call Libbet Downs at 484-0027 or the library at 484-5588.


I hope these things become Reading traditions. Except, of course, for the roof repairs on the Old Stone Church. Nobody wants to make building repairs a thing of tradition.


One thing that is a tradition is the Reading Ducky Derby! Tickets go on sale on Friday, June 1. You can get them from any Rec Commissioner. They are Joe Braun, (josephbrauniii@gmail.com), Stephen D’Agostino (stephen.d.dagostino@gmail.com), Lisa Kaija (lqkaija@gmail.com), Gerry Marletta (gmarlettaiii@gmail.com), and Lisa Morrison (morrlisa@gmail.com). You can find information on prizes and where to purchase tickets on the Rec Commission’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/readingparks).


Happy birthday to Sharon Harkins (June 1).


I hope to see you tonight at one of the four first Friday events happening in our small town with a big heart!


That’s the news from Reading (and Yosemite)! See you next week!

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