Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fire Pit Purge (by: Mike)

During my 4 1/2 years as a select person in Barrington, NH I collected a file cabinet full of paper work.  My original reason for saving the paper work was for reference.  I was new to being a select person and didn't want to get caught with be pants down (figuratively or literally).  As time passed I continued to collect it and am not entirely sure why.  Regardless, as we're preparing to move, I had to dispose of thousands of pieces of paper.

Some of the paperwork is sensitive so my first thought was to shred it.  When I looked at the stack again I figured it would take me hours to shred 5 pages at a time.  I decided I would use our fire pit and ceremoniously burn it all in one night.

Our fire pit at our 3rd annual L.O.A.D. (Last Outdoor Adult Dinner of the summer) in 2007

A couple of nights ago I decided it was time.  I gathered up the first bin full of paper and went out to the fire pit and started to burn paper after paper.  It brought back a lot of memories.  How many times have I gone through the town's budget, line item, by line item?  How many meetings have a I gone to?  How many people have I met?

Me in a Select Board meeting reviewing the budget for Barrington, NH.  December 2006

Working with the town employees has been very rewarding.  It is incredible to me how committed they are to the town.  We had a dinner a couple of years ago for those who were long time employees of the town.  It was astonishing to see how many employees had been there for 15 years, 20 years, and a few longer than that.  Now that is dedication!  There is a certain camaraderie amongst the employees and they really take pride in their work.  It's been a pleasure working with them and getting to know them.

I noticed some paperwork from when I was on the Planning Board (PB).  I was on the PB for 3 years and we met nearly every Thursday night.  I met some really interesting, dedicated people, during my time on the PB.  They are a hard working board (it's slowed a lot since the turn in the economy).  We rewrote zoning to include an eventual downtown area, if the economy ever rebounds.  It was a lot of hard work, but I enjoyed the people and the learning.  After 3 years I still feel like I know about 10% of all there is to know about land use.

I started to think about all the volunteers in town.  This town, like most, would be in a world of hurt without the volunteers.  Not only does it save the town a lot of dollars, but the community that volunteers help create is priceless.  When you start to volunteer you start to notice that it's mostly the same people who volunteer for everything.

Declan pitching in May 2007.  In the middle of baseball season the place is
swarming with activity.  It takes hundreds of volunteers to make it happen.

As I continued to put pieces of paper on the fire I started to think about all the cool people I have met while volunteering around town.  Not just the parents, but the kids that I helped coach as well.  Some of the parents have become some of our closest friends.

I threw the last of the papers on the fire and went back inside for another bin full.  While I was walking back to the house I thought about the "long timers".  Those volunteers who have been volunteering for years and years.  They are like permanent fixtures.  They give their time because they care and want to make a positive difference in the place that they call home.  A few popped into my head -  Dave F.,  Dave A., Chris E., Mira F., Steve B., Lisa A. Lisa H., our favorite cover band Rough who played numerous times for free, and the list goes on and on.  Good people and some are amongst our best friends.

I am Jack the Pumpkin King and Rough is disguised as Devo at a benefit gig for the FBRD - 2007
After several trips back to the house for more paper, I eventually tossed the last piece on to the fire.  It was very therapeutic.  I will miss this town, and our family and friends, I am sure.  We enjoyed the volunteering,  it has been fun and I have learned a lot along the way.

The fire warmed my face and the memories warmed my heart and the whiskey warmed my belly (just kidding!).  Cheers to "good people".

1 comment:

  1. It is all just stuff isn't it Mike. I was gratefully redirected at any early age of motherhood as Kerry "waited" for a surgery team to be able to fix her heart that people are all that matter. Maybe that is why you never see me with a camera and I constantly make mental memories.
    The memories of you and Nani will continue to be awesome and they will definitely not end up in a burn pile! I have a slow week if you and Nani need help with anything give me a jingle if you still have the phone.