Monthly Archives: December 2009

Environmental Focus on Kingston: Blue Moon New Year’s Eve

We’re in for a real trifecta of a treat – the kind that only comes along once every 19 years.   There will be a Blue Moon rising to help ring in the New Year.  Party goers in Africa, Asia and Europe will be treated to this event with a partial lunar eclipse, but it will remain unseen for those in North and South America.  (Click HERE for an animated preview)

The last New Year’s Eve Blue Moon occurred in 1990.

How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Years Eve? According to SpaceWeather.com, “A search of NASA’s Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year’s Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every 91 years).”

A Blue Moon is the name given to the second new moon to occur during the same month.  The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning gives us a full moon every 29.5 days.  Lunar cycles differ from solar cycles in that the solar calendar contains an extra 11 days (roughly).  These “extra” days accumulate so that every 2.7154 years, there is an extra full moon.

Ancient myths and folklore have entire chapters, entire books for that matter, dedicated to the effect of a full moon on human behavior.  The term lunacy and lunatic are derived from Luna, the Roman moon goddess.  The full moon has been linked to crime, suicide, mental illness, disasters, accidents, birthrates, fertility, and even werewolves.  However studies have found no direct connection, rendering it no more than an urban myth.

It seems to me that there is an exceptional amount of poetic symmetry for this rare event to occur on the eve of a new year, while acting as the usherer of a new decade. It gives me a little hope that 2010 will be a better year for all of Kingston’s citizens.

Perhaps this rare 19 year event is the year for that New Year’s resolution to stick?  That’s probably an urban legend too.  (Just in case though, try to think of a good one.)

From all of us to all of  you, best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe Blue Moon New Year!  Let the revelry and howling commence.

- Wilbur Girl

Caring For Your Community: Food Glorious Food

We lost one of our weekend soup kitchens on Pine Grove avenue located inside of the Church of the Holy Cross in Kingston.  It’s the kind of loss that will no doubt be a major hit to our growing families in need.  It was reported that they do hope to be up and running again in the future. Whatever the case, a big thank you is in order for Rev. Charles Arlin, his staff and all of the volunteers for providing food to those in need since 2002.

I want to ask our members to do one small thing right now. Take a moment to make plans to lend a hand;  or to make donation of money or food to a local soup kitchen or food pantry near you.

For Kingstonians, consider Queens Galley who are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – offering three meals each day to anyone in need. No questions asked. I expect Diane to have more mouths to feed starting immediately due to Holy Cross’s kitchen closing.  Can you help? Visit QUEENS GALLEY for more.

Other favorite and helpful locations is Chiz’s Heart Street on West Chestnut Street in Kingston. Chiz organizes a food pantry for those in need. We recently featured her on the KingstonCitizens.org blog.    Visit:  LEND A HAND TO HEART STREET

Below is a pretty comprehensive list of other soup kitchens and food pantries in the area. If there are any that you find are missing, feel free to add them in the comment section of this post.

Thanks.

– Rebecca Martin

FOOD PANTRIES AND FREE MEAL SITES IN THE KINGSTON AREA

Caring Hands Meal Site and Food Pantry
Clinton Avenue Methodist Church, 122 Clinton Avenue, Kingston NY
845-331-7188   Darleen Kelley Pastor

Lunch served Monday thru Friday about noon.  Offerings range from the epicurean (a peppered split pea soup that they ought to bottle) through the misguided (slippery slop, a lovely dish you get when you don’t drain overcooked spaghetti before adding the sauce.)  After lunch, the diners are given a choice of prepackaged goods from local supermarkets such as cookies, pies, brie cheese, salads, birthday cakes, quiches, etc..   There is also a table offering unlimited bread products and fruits and veggies in season.  On request, a bag of food to take home will be given from the food pantry.   If I manage to get it together, this will be the location for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a pet food pantry.   Ambience of a medium security prison.   Usual pronouncement, “If you don’t like eating here, go to the Blue Light Diner.”

Catholic Charities (two food pantry locations)
Patricia LaRue, director   Mary Francis, Manager.
St. Joseph’s Mission Church Connifer Lane,
Hurley, NY
845-338-7121

Extensive food pantry (and even more extensive free clothing distribution!!)  Open to the public Monday and Tuesday, 10-2 and Wednesday, 10-noon.  Free clothing store only on Mondays.  Consumers cn get two bags of food once a month (or sometimes more if they have a good enough story.)   Offerings include peanut butter, frozen chopped meat, canned stew, canned fruits and veggies, and occasionally yogurt, cottage cheese, bread, or other items depending on availability.  Also soap, toothpaste, and personal care items such as diapers, sanitary pads, mouthwash. Fresh fruit and veggies always welcome.  Free clothing and food outreach on variousWednesdays at 1pm at the Everette Hodge MidTown Neighborhood Center on Prospect Street.

Special Needs Food Pantry
59 Pearl Street, Kingston, NY
845-340-9170

Doctor’s note required.  Food pantry for diabetics, hypertension, obestiy, or other conditions requiring a special diet.  Open Tuesday from 11 am to 3 p.m.

Animal Hospice of NY
PO Box 1463, Kingston, NY 12402
845-382-2435
Bruce Van Bramer, Director

This not-for-profit distributes food donated by area supermarkets.  It primarily distributes the food to OTHER not-for-profits, such as Family of Woodstock.  However, sometimes distributions on a limited basis of human and animal food can be arranged through the director, depending on his supply, which fluctuates.   Because this location does active composting and feeding of farm animals such as pigs and goats, it welcomes donations of produce that is not quite ready for prime time.

The Queen’s Galley
254 Washington Avenue, Kingston, NY
845-338-3468
Diane Reeder, director

Meal site only.   Serves three meals a day, 365 days a year. Including a mind-blowing thanksgiving banquet.  China dishes, fabric tablecloths, real silverware, nutrition lessons.  Meals served at 8a.m., 12 noon, and 5p.m..  Atmosphere of a rather hectic restaurant.

Pointe of Praise Family Life Center
243 Hurley Avenue, Kingston, NY
845-339-4615
Sandra Giles, Pantry Director

Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 3 p.m. Superb access for persons with mobility challenges, but its out of town a bit.

Salvation Army of Ulster County
35 Cedar Street, Kingston, NY
845-331-1803

Open 9a.m. to noon daily

Peoples’ Place
Corner Broadway and St. James’s Street
Kingston, NY
845-338-4030
Peter Quinlan, Director

Food pantry open Mon. through Friday, 10a.m to 1 p.m. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.  It’s like applying for welfare.   Also produce and bread occasionally available in the thrift shop that offers used clothing for sale.   Wheelchair accessible.

St. James’s  United Methodist Church
Corner Fair Street and Pearl
Kingston, NY
845-331-3030

The “new kid on the block” food pantry, available Sundays from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kingston Seventh Day Adventist Church
24 West Union Street
Kingston, NY
845/339-4983

“Soup and Bread” meal site, Sunday’s at 11am – 2pm.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Family
32  John Street, Kingston, NY
845-338-2370
Michael Berg, Director

Does not have food distribution in Kingston, but does have it in Woodstock, New Patlz, Ellenville, and other locations.   In Kingston will give a ticket good for some groceries at Hannaford.   In Woodstock, every time you stop in there is coffee and pie or cake and free sandwiches available and a warm welcome, and FREE CLOTHING, tons of it.

Community Action
70 Lindsley Street, Kingston, NY
845-338-8750,

Provides services to the underprivileged including locating food sources.

Environmental Focus on Kingston: Thor’s Hammer

I know what Thor got for Christmas.

On December 26th at 10:05 P.M. there was a flashing burst of white atomic lightning.  Nearly 20 seconds later it was followed by a deafening clap of nuclear holocaust, world ending thunder.  And that’s exactly what I thought had happened.

After I dislodged the pieces of my heart from my throat and stomach, I looked outside expecting to see the world had been obliterated, my home the only survivor.  When I saw the planet was still spinning gently on its axis, I imagined my beloved, primordial maple tree had grown legs and ripped itself from the earth rather like one of Tolkien’s Ents.  However, it was still intact.  Perhaps the train trestle had collapsed?  But that too was still standing.

Winter lightning and thunder is said to be a rare event.  Lightning is born of out intensive atmospheric energy.  Cold air is less energetic and holds less moisture, making winter thunder unusual.  But it seems to me that I can recall several instances of it over the past decade or so and it seems to be increasing with frequency.  I wonder if it’s related to an el Nino weather event or the much debated global warming?

I paid enough attention in school to know that a thunderstorm occurs on the leading edge of either a cold or warm front as the two air masses collide.  Thunder is the manifestation of the super heated air (15,000-60,000 degrees Fahrenheit) created by lightning.  It causes the air around the lightning to rapidly expand and creates shock waves that rumble through the atmosphere.

I couldn’t even tell you what the weather was like that day or night.  The boisterous clap seems to have erased all memory of it away.  My research didn’t turn up any super cool nuggets of information on the subject either.  Perhaps someone out there has an interpretation of the cause of that pulverizing blow from Thor’s Hammer that they can share with us.

I did come across these brief interesting tidbits which I’ll share with you on the way out of this post.

Old Wives Tales:

  • If during the winter you have a thunderstorm, within 10 days you’ll have snow.
  • If there’s thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.

Cool New Word:

  • Astraphobia: The irrational fear of thunder and lightning.  (As in, Wilbur Girl’s cats suffer from extreme astraphobia.)

- Wilbur Girl

Catskill Mountain Railroad Last Day Of The Season Tomorrow: Sunday, December 27th

Today we took our little boy to ‘catch the train’ at the Kingston Plaza.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad will have it’s last day of the season tomorrow (Sunday), December 27th. Running hourly, the fun begins at 1:00pm. Last train at 6:00pm. Their Caboose has a woodstove – so you can choose to be out in the elements, or warm and cozy by the fire. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children. Children four and under are free.

If you are looking for something to do tomorrow, give it a try.

Visit their SITE for more details.

– Rebecca Martin

Looking Back On Kingston In 2009

Shortly, we will have traveled through the first decade of the 21st century. Huh? How’d that happen? If you are like me, then you are a bit bewildered that the year 2000 is now ten years ago. Granted, it’s been a jammed packed decade. But still, time flies as they say. Does it ever.

Looking back on Kingston in 2009, I’d like to mark the top 10 memorable land marks from all of us here at the KingstonCitizens.org’s blog.

1. The Kingston Digital Corridor – Here’s a concept that is as timely as it is brilliant. Local resident and tech geek #1 Mark Green created a way for Kingston to capitalize on it’s digital community and it’s proximity to New York City. Working with KJ McIntyre of Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty, they communicated to our local real estate community, banks and government how an independent contractor ticks, making it easier and attractive to those who work in the ‘tech’ world inside and out of the local area.  Mark’s solid team included Arthur Zaczkiewicz, Paul Rakov, Sharron Bower, Mark Marshall and Nancy Tierney who helped to bring it. Kudos. Perhaps one of the biggest advancements to Kingston this year.

2. The Main Street Manager Program It was with great pleasure (and to some degree of surprise) that the city of Kingston hired local artist Nancy Donskoy as Main Street Manager in Kingston this year. Her part time position is helping to bring together all three business districts and to create a BID which is so badly needed. I know first hand that Nancy works 60+ hours per week in helping to keep our small business community together while marketing the city of Kingston to the outside world.  There are many people who were involved in making this position so. Patrice Courtney Strong, Larry Zalinsky and Alderman Tom Hoffay to only name a few. I hope that 2010 brings more citizen support for this important role. I’m equally hopeful that perhaps some uniform signage in all the right spots will finally be put in place. Boy, do we need it.

3. Community Gardens Let’s face it. It’s been the year of gardens in the city of Kingston. In a years time now almost all of our schools have one. So does Kingston’s City Hall, who showcased a small ‘victory garden’ in their side yard for all to see.

4.  Julie and Steve Noble I don’t mean to harp on the subject as I have many times before, but I’ve got to publicly hand it to these two. Our Kingston raised environmental eductators could have settled down anywhere in the US with their expertise. But they came back home here to make the community a more forward and healthy one.  This dynamic duo continue to provide outdoor programs for Kingston’s elderly and our youth population and are experts on many subjects ranging from garbage to our sewer system to storm clouds. They are making a tremendous contribution to our community in more ways than I think most even realize. This year, they introduced the sadly misunderstood ‘Pay As You Throw‘ program. It’s a proven concept that could save the city residents a bundle in tax dollars over time while making our waste stream better managed. I’m certain it will come up again in the next few months which is a good thing. Do a little homework on the topic before pouncing on negative sound bites so to come to a reasonable conclusion.

5. The Kingston Land Trust Finally!  A trust for properties in the city of Kingston. You’d think that being an official ‘tree city’ Kingston would have had a trust a long time ago. The brainchild of Arthur Zaczkiewicz, this is an organization ready to collaborate with future developers and residents who wish to ‘trust’ their open space to their home town of Kingston (a tip of the hat must be given to Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein. The two are behind the scenes in every good way imaginable, and The Land Trust probably wouldn’t have continued to exist as it does without their expertise and support).

6. The Queens Galley Hooray for Diane Reeder! In the worst economic downturn since the great depression, she continues to provide three meals a day to our families in need – no questions asked. But that’s only the beginning of what Diane does. This year, she started the ‘Operation Frontline‘ program in Kingston and acquired land on South Pine Street with Farmer Frank Navarro to start a one acre community garden that will provide local fresh produce to her kitchen. One acre makes a whole lot of food. To me, Diane is the Queen of Kingston.

7.  New Blood on Kingston’s Common Council I’m particularly pleased to have some new people to politics elected to the common council in 2010. I think it’s safe to say, it’s a little unprecedented. For our slow changing City of Kingston, that’s a good thing. Ward 1 Alderman Andi Turco-Levin, Ward 5 Alderman Jen Fuentes and Ward 9 Hayes Clement will no doubt be a breath of fresh air in helping our alumni work through all that ails us at this time in the city of Kingston. I think we quickly forget how much effort goes into running for office – and that our council members are ‘common’ men and women wishing to serve their community. Let’s complain less and help them out this season by taking part in more of their monthly meetings at City Hall. It’s the people’s city afterall – but not so much if you don’t come forward.

8. KPATV Back On Air It’s grand to have our programs up and running again on Kingston’s Public Access TV. Whether you are a fan or not of PA, I think we can all agree that it’s important that it exists. Many citizens worked tirelessly to make it so in the last 12 monhts. A big thanks to them and to 721 Media who has provided a new space to broadcast. 721 is most certainly one of our city’s gems.

9. Kingston Natural Foods What once was a simple and small effort to help provide locals with affordable organic foods has now turned into a tsunami. Local resident Jennifer McKinley-Rakov started an organic buying club that is now one of the top ten buyers in the nation and landed her a storefront in the rondout section of Kingston (33 Broadway). 2010 looks bright for us all in finally having an organic foods market in the city of Kingston thanks to her. Look for her winter Wednesday ‘Farmer’s Market’ where she has organized local farms who are still growing or making their hearty, healthy local foods for our citizens here and in the Hudson Valley. Bravo!

10. Kingston Local Business Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats In The National Press Have you all been following Fleisher’s Grass Fed Meat’s recent press? Joshua and Jessica Applestone have given Kingston an enormous amount of national attention and stature as our local butcher in the Hudson Valley. The New York Times, Saveur and, GQ Magazine just to name a few. Josh was recently a guest on the hit Food Network series ‘IRON CHEF’. Thank you for landing – and staying in the city of Kingston you two! Mucho Brava.

and there is more. Way more. With all the unruly and sometimes downright negative news here and beyond, take a moment to change your perspective and love the city you live in. There are so many people working hard to make Kingston great. It’s all perspective – and I hope that this post has softened yours.

We want to learn of your favorite city achievement this year. What have we missed? Please, do tell.

Happy Holidays to all of our readers.

– Rebecca Martin

Environmental Focus on Kingston: O’ Christmas Tree

It’s here, again.  Looking at the calendar I can’t deny it anymore.  The holidays are coming even if I’m not ready.

Once this indulgent time of year has passed, what’s left behind will be evident in what’s put out curbside.  Plaintiffs’ exhibit one being the Christmas tree.

I suppose there’s an ongoing debate over artificial versus real trees.  I fall on the side of bah-humbug with regard to all things Christmas.  But if it became compulsory to display a Christmas tree and I had to make a choice between a real tree or its artificial counterpart, I would choose real any year.

Last year 28 million real Christmas trees were sold in the US.  They are grown in each of the fifty states and Canada.  With nearly 21,000 tree growing farms, the industry employs more than 100,000 full or part time annually.

Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource.  For every tree harvested, up to 3 seedlings are planted.  An acre of tree farm can provide enough oxygen for 18 people, while also providing a natural habitat to a variety of animals.

Once the glamour, glitz and glory of the holiday fade, all those trees begin their journey to their final resting place.  In Kingston we have two organized options available to local residents.

Bring your family and your tree to the annual Winterfest event held at Hasbrouck Park on January 16th between 10:00 – 2:00.  Your tree will be mulched for free!  You can take your mulch home with you or leave it to be distributed and used in Kingston’s extensive park system.

This growing and popular event is sponsored by the Kingston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Forsyth Nature Center.  Other planned activities include snowshoeing lessons, snow animal building contest and children’s crafts.  The latter will be held inside of the heated and historic Hasbrouck Park Stone Building.  For directions to the event, click here.

If you are unable to make it to Winterfest, you may place your defrocked tree curbside for pickup through Jan 31st according to the city code.  Please note that if you get your tree out before January 16th the DPW will transport them to event site for chipping.  Any trees hauled away after that date will go to our local brush dump.

Still want more green tips for Christmas?  Check out these ideas.

Did You Know: 85% of artificial Christmas trees are manufactured in China and are made with non bio-degradable plastics?

–          Wilbur Girl

Help To Secure The Future Of The Rosendale Theatre

After 60 years, the family owned and operated “The Rosendale Theatre” is looking to sell the space. Last night, I received this information from the remarkable Amy Poux who is working with her collective to help raise the necessary funds to secure the space and keep it in operation as we all know and love it. An informative meeting will take place on Thursday, December 10th at 7:00pm at the Rosendale Recreation Center. The Rosendale Theatre Collective will explain what they are doing and talk about their plans for the future. All questions, ideas and expertise welcome.

She writes:

“The Rosendale Theatre is one of the few family-owned, single screen movie theatres still operating in the United States. In Particular, this theatre has a rich history of supporting independent filmmakers, artists and civil and human rights organizations worldwide. In addition to providing high quality art films, the theatre has been a community space used by organizations to fundraise, meet, inform, inspire and educate.

The sole responsibility for this gift to the community has rested on the Cacchio family for 60 years. They have now decided to sell the theatre.

A recently formed community group, currently called the Rosendale Theatre Collective, is negotiating with the Cacchio family to purchase the theatre. The Cacchio’s asked to receive a binder in the amount of $20,000 by December 1st. They have now generously extended us another two weeks. So far, we’ve raised $10,000. Please consider making a donation and help us reach this goal! No amount is too small – or too large. Currently, the Rosendale Theatre Collective is fundraising under the fiscal umbrella of The Children’s Media Project and donate through their site, indicating Rosendale Theatre Collective in your donation instructions. Or, make out a check to Children’s Media Project. Please be sure to write “Rosendale Theatre Collective” in the memo space on your check.

Checks to:   Rosendale Theatre Collective    PO Box 250   Rosendale, NY.  12472

Thank you for joining us in this exciting and important project!  Please share this with anyone who loves the Rosendale Theatre!”

Current Board Members of the Rosendale Theatre Collective: F-Stop Fitzgerald, Ron Parenti, Nicole Quinn, Gale McGovern, Betty Greenwald, Fre Atlast, Ellen Sribnick, Beverly Keith, Amy Trompetter, Jan Melchior, Yuvai Scorer, Lisa Sterer, Abba Johnes, Dan Guenther, Dana Rudkoff, Livia Vanaver, Linda Park, Jane Hollinger, Marty Moltoris, Anissa Kapsales, Bill Brooks, Sophia Raab Downs, Laura Shaine, Bob Godwin, Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Ali Gruber, Louis Torchio, Annette and Max Finestone, Carol Garfunkel, Jane Hollinger, Eve Waltermaurer, Jennifer Metzger, Ann Citron.

In the City of Kingston, More Pharmacies Than Food

Driving around Kingston this morning I was struck by the number of chain pharmacies there were to grocery stores within a 1/2 mile radius. 50 years ago, could one imagine it would be easier to get a prescription of some sort over a bag of fresh produce?

There isn’t any doubt that having meds when we need (or can afford) them is a great advancement to modern medicine. But what ever happened to healthy eating first? It’s kind of poetic that a new Walgreens is opening next to a Burger King – across from a gas station that sells all the beer and cigarettes one could want.

Luckily for the people living in that part of town, there is also a small locally owned market hidden away (the locals know where it is). Although it might be more accurate to call it a ‘deli’ rather than ‘market’, it is one of the very few in the city that at least carry some fruits and vegetables (even if the distance their produce has traveled to get to Kingston is anyone’s guess).

Food for thought at least.

Here is a little reading on this very thing:  MORE PHARMACIES THAN FOOD

– Rebecca Martin

My Heart Lives In Wilbur. Where Does Yours?

Let me tell you what, I’ve got some mad crazy love for Wilbur.

(What follows is an essay in which a totally selfish and self-serving way,  I attempt to explain and quantify my love affair with the hamlet of Wilbur.)

Wilbur is not just a street, it’s the name given to one of Kingston’s older industrial neighborhoods in the southwest corner of Kingston.  Historically speaking, it’s one third of the reason we have city hall.  Local history attributes the 1875 completion of city hall as a symbol of the joining together and incorporation of the villages of Wilbur, Rondout and Kingston into the City of Kingston.

Unofficially, I consider the boundaries of Wilbur to encompass the area along Abeel St., starting at the base of Hudson St. and traveling south along the Rondout Creek to Hamilton St.  The “Heart of Wilbur” lies in the triangle bound by Davis & Dunn.  It then extends from Wilbur Ave, which runs up the middle of the “heart,” to its imaginary end at the corner of South Wall and Brook St.  It includes a handful of other streets along the way; Dewitt, Purvis, Rodney, Chapel, Burnett, Fitch and DuFlon.

To be sure Wilbur is in my heart, my soul, the very core of who I am.  I can’t think of another place on this earth that I feel so deeply connected to.  And I never saw it coming.  It’s easy to assume that the love affair begins and ends with my family.  But that’s not entirely true.  I think that’s because living in Wilbur changes the way you consider things.

My grandmother lived her entire life in Wilbur.  Her brother Charley did as well, living less than a mile down the road in the home they grew up in.  I think that’s because when you live in Wilbur, you tend to grow deep roots.

I never met my grandfather, but have heard he was one hell of a guy.  One of the family jokes often told is that he married a younger woman because he needed someone to keep up with him.  And Gram sure knew how to do just that.  I think that’s because if you live in Wilbur, you know the value of a hard day’s work and the reward that comes from it.

Having love for Wilbur is a tricky thing – the result of an imprint perhaps.  Some have it, others only witness it.  While my aunts and uncles have an appreciation for where they came from, only my Uncle Bruce shares my affinity for Wilbur.  The yarns he spins on any topic related to it are not for the easily distracted – unless you appreciate his glorified but still understated retellings of his Wilbur history.

Despite my familiarity and early bond with it, it was tough living in Wilbur at first.  There was much to come to grips with.  Perhaps even more difficult to bear was the environment of Wilbur itself.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  To live in Wilbur is to understand the duality of its nature.

During the day, it is a noisy, gritty industrial hotbed – really.  Alarm clocks are optional here.  The shipyard starts up at 7 A.M. sharp Monday-Friday.  They’ve been known to start early on the weekends too.  Sunday is the best chance for sleeping in.  We have other industry concentrated along this stretch of the creek as well as the train trestle.  Although there are few blaring train crossing whistles to endure, the sound of a lumbering train over the water is certainly a unique sound.

Wilbur is also home to the only remaining junk yard on the Rondout today.

At night Wilbur becomes something entirely different.  It’s sleek and quiet, even a little thick and inky at times.  Although I’ve lived in the city my whole life, I didn’t recognize its sounds at first.  More often than not, you don’t even realize that you are living in the city.

Every season brings something new to love and marvel at.  From the peepers of late March, operatic frogs of summer that inhabit my yard, turkeys that roost up in trees on the ridge of Fly Mountain, deliciously sweet wild berries, an enveloping fog that rises from the creek, a blaze of fall color along the hillsides, the last ray of sunlight awash on the old brick chimney across the creek, to a full moon low on the horizon just beyond the trestle, or the hushed silence of a snow fall, Wilbur is truly a humbling place to be.

My entire life Wilbur has been defined by family, shipyard, train trestle, brook, water spigot, creek, fishing, caves and church bizarres.  They resonate deeply in my memory.  The rest eludes me in distant whispers and curiosities as I travel past historic stone foundations and remnants of a bluestone empire not quite fathomed.

But living here I found something else, something deeper than romanticized childhood memories.  I found my community spirit.  And I blame Wilbur for it.  The first year and a half I was overwhelmed by everything, all my senses affronted a daily basis, my spirit tested often as I allowed the grittiness to seep into how I saw Wilbur.  And then a small series of unconnected events put the pieces together.  I woke up from the chronic complainer I was becoming.  I realized that I could love Wilbur fully, as long I was contributing to making it a better place to be, rather than just accepting it as it was. 

It’s nothing more than a small step, but I helped to organize a small community garden on a sweet little corner at the apex of the Wilbur Triangle – at it’s heart.  It’s the first step towards demonstrating our spirit and pride for our little hamlet.  I can’t wait to start phase 2 in the coming spring.

Perhaps my finest moment – and most selfish – in my short time in Wilbur is happening right now.  The hill I live on overlooks the creek and the shipyard.  It’s a loop comprised of 3 streets, 7 houses and the old church.  To say that traveling these streets compares to driving on an off-road trail wouldn’t be an exaggeration.  Early on I started writing letters about the conditions with the sole intent of getting something done about it.  Thirty nine months later, the hill is getting the makeover of a lifetime thanks to a Community Block Development Grant.  It turns out that patience is a virtue after all.  It gives me tremendous hope for Wilbur’s future.

All of this but really, I’m just an old and loyal soul who’s here to hash out a living in a life that is often uncertain in its path and direction.  After all, I’m just a girl from Wilbur.

Where this ridiculously wordy pontification of my ultimate crush ends, yours begins.  Come on people!  We know you’re out there waiting for a topic you would love to write about, maybe this is it.  Write us and tell us how you’re inspired by your community or neighborhood.  Captivate us with your own love story so that others can share your enthusiasm.  Perhaps your ultimate gift will be to inspire others to do the same.  Send me an email submission   wilburgirl@hvc.rr.com

-    Wilbur Girl

(Also Known As ~ Kate Lawson)