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This country’s oldest observed holiday is Thanksgiving. Next week, however, be wary, especially on Monday. There are many origin stories concerning April Fool’s Day. My favorite follows Pope Gregory XIII’s 1582 introduction of the Gregorian calendar, which moved the start of the new year from April to January. Some historians and researchers think the phrase “April Fools” grew from the teasing of those who continued to celebrate the old new year in April instead of January. Others believe the silliness can be traced to the Roman Empire and Emperor Constantine, Druidic rites in Britain, and even a hint within the writing of Chaucer. I don’t want to go that deep into April 1. I just want to have some silly fun on Monday, and hope others can do the same.

Want to feel proud of your home state? The earliest recorded American April Fool’s prank reportedly took place in Middletown in 1796, when a handbill signed by “Sancho Panca” promised a marketplace for Seventeen Fool’s Coats. The advertisement called for the coats, and a matching number of caps, “with Toffils and Bells—-The Coats muft be of various Colours, but the Yellow muft predominate in each of them—-The Caps of the fame Caft, rifing in a pyramidical Form, or in plainer Words, in that of a Sugar-Loaf; the Toffils to be of red Linfey Woolfey; the Bells to be of Tin, two on each Cap, and feven on the Right Shoulder and Skirt of each.” The ads were printed in Hartford, New Haven, New London and Norwich, and were to be spread about by “Poft-Riders, Hawkers, News-Mongers and Pedlars.” Readers were instructed to deliver the coats to Middletown, on the first Friday of April, “where the Subfcriber, Mafter of Ceremonies for the Convention, will attend to receive them, and give a moft generous Price therefor.”

There was some exciting fun in the Harrison household on Monday, March 18. Not only was it daughter Morgan’s 18th birthday, but Mocha also gave birth to six Border Collie puppies with her boyfriend Tater. Mocha and Tater are both registered Border Collies with the American Border Collie Association (ABCA), according to proud “papa” Trent Harrison. Mocha gave birth last week to four girls and two boys, so there are now 10 dogs in the Harrison home in addition to the humans who also share that space. As I’ve said before, I’m a big enough cat to share this space with others on occasion, even if it is a dog. Congratulations Mocha. You did good.

In this week’s paper you’ll find a press release about the newest member of and the next project being hosted by Newtown Lions Club. Ahead of the club’s Stuff-A-Truck event on April 6, Lion Jennifer Collins was interviewed recently by Lions Gary Peters and Arnie Berman for a YouTube video. “Newtown Lions Food Insecurity Special” has already aired on Spectrum’s Charter Public Service Channel 192 times this week. It has at least one more airing scheduled, for Saturday, March 30, at 3 pm. The video can also be found any time on the Newtown Lions YouTube Channel and the local club’s website (newtownlions.org). Further, if you’re quick enough to grab this week’s print edition and read this far, you’ll be in the know before Friday morning. Arnie and Gary will be interviewed on the Newtown Lions Food Insecurity effort here in Fairfield County on the Melissa in the Morning Show on WICC Radio (600 AM) on Friday, March 29.

Newtown Lions Club also has something special planned ahead of Earth Day. Local readers who would like a tree or two to plant are invited to contact current Newtown Lions Club President Andrew Iorio at misteri_1999@yahoo.com. Available varieties are White Oak, White Dogwood and Japanese maple. These are saplings, approximately 18 inches tall. Andrew says they’ll be great trees, they just need to be protected from mowing and trampling for a couple of years. They come with burlap root bags so all you need is a hole to put them in.

Members of Trinity Episcopal Church are eagerly waiting to see which pollinators emerge from the planting they did last September in their parking lot area. Me too! Members of the Main Street church last summer and early autumn began working with local landscape designer Sarah Middeleer to transform part of the grass in the parking lot at the back of the church into a space for native plants to support pollinators. Trinity’s landscaper Paul Kovacs then prepared the site. Volunteers Sue Roman, Marcia DeBrock, and Lisa Mages gathered and then planted 120 pots of native species, following the design created by Middeleer, in partnership with master gardener Joan Cominski. Trinity’s pollinator garden joined the nationwide conservation project Homegrown National Park (homegrownnationalpark.org) with a mission to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and removing most invasive species. The national effort reached Newtown last spring.

Members of the church recently shared one of their favorite resources for anyone thinking about planting a pollinator-friendly garden. The Connecticut Native Perennial, Tree & Shrub Availability List compiled by the UConn Extension & Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Division is their suggestion. The list not only offers native plants, it also cross-references each native plant with a participating Connecticut nursery where they can be purchased.

Speaking of looking ahead, that’s what members of the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard are doing. Organizers are already working on their annual autumn event, and are seeking vendors. Space is limited for Saturday, September 7, when 2GHG will again welcome autumn with an event packed with fun for the whole family. Last year’s event drew over 600 visitors from Newtown and most surrounding towns. This year organizers hope to draw an even bigger crowd with horse shows, more vendors, food trucks, pony rides, face painting, kids’ games, arts and crafts, kids’ yoga, and more. Vendor spaces are 10 x 10 in a grass field on the 2nd Company Governor’s Horse Guard’s property. For details and a vendor form send an email to 2GHGevents@gmail.com or find the group on Facebook.

Congratulations to Friends of Newtown Seniors. A FONS Membership Dinner Meeting being planned for April 11 has reached full capacity. I bumped into a few members of the local senior advocacy group last week, and each was so pleased to share that news. Even the wait-list is full.

My belly is full now that this year’s Peeps Dioramas have arrived at 5 Church Hill Road. There’s something about marshmallow chicks and bunnies that this cat cannot resist. Just one a year, that’s all I need. I’ll be back next week, though, and hope you will too, to … read me again.

There was some exciting fun in the Harrison household on Monday, March 18. —Trent Harrison photo
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