The Top of the Mountain

Amazing what a cat finds out, curled up beneath a chair. I’ve heard from a number of people that among Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Gejda numerous talents, she bakes a delicious biscotti. I do hope she shares the recipe with us at The Bee (ahem. nancy@thebee.com) so all of Newtown can indulge this holiday season.

Here’s where eavesdropping pays off once again, in a silly tale of feline frolics. The following was overheard during the Newtown Historical Society holiday party on Sunday night, and the tattler promises that NO names have been changed to protect the innocent (or otherwise). Two weeks ago the water pipe from Main Street into the historical society’s Matthew Curtiss House had to be replaced. Heavy machinery was brought in and a deep trench was dug. Workmen tromped in and out of the old home, and the rear bulkhead was opened wide for easy basement access. Somehow, once work was completed the bulkhead door was never properly closed.

Enter, literally, a certain feral kitty known as “Binky” to explore every nook and cranny of the 260-year-old structure. The police were alerted when the cat’s movements set off the automatic motion sensor alarm and a call was made to Bonnie Miller, who acts as the museum’s volunteer custodian. Soon, everyone converged at the house, causing neighbors Sherry and John Bermingham to join in the hunt. Yes, the Berminghams did recall seeing a cat’s face in one of the windows and thought it a bit odd. They also remembered that the neighbor on the other side, Dolores Miller (no relation to Bonnie) had taken in a feral cat a while back — named Binky; but it had returned to the wild…

All attempts to lure Binky out of the house failed. Not only was John unable to catch hold of him, his Have-A-Heart trap with its open can of tuna fish was likewise shunned. “Feral cats are too clever,” noted Sherry. At last, Dolores Miller was asked to come over and see if she could retrieve this elusive creature that she had once befriended. Dolores stood outside calling “Binky, Binky, Binky!” and sure enough, the cat appeared and came over to her. The two were briefly reunited on the back lawn while Bonnie saw that the Matthew Curtiss House, now quite catless, was securely closed up. Having caused enough commotion for one day, Binky disappeared into the shrubbery behind the newly restored Colonial kitchen garden. Now you see him, now you don’t… it’s the magic of the season, I guess.

Kathleen Godoci shared this tweet little photo with me.  This bluebird was one of seven that took refuge during Tuesday morning’s snowstorm outside of Kathleen’s living room window.

This week’s weather caused a number of changes to plans, including one for the NHS Varsity Winter Guard that had planned to begin selling poinsettia plants, Tuesday night, during the NHS Chorus & Orchestra Winter Concert. You’ll get a chance to support them, anyway, at NYA, 8 am to 4 pm, this Friday, December 13, and then Monday and Wednesday, December 16 and 18, prior to concerts by Newtown Middle School students, both beginning at 7 pm. The team will also return to the high school Thursday, December 19, during the NHS concerts. $10 for 6-inch plants, and $20 for 7½-inch plants.

A reminder that the 4th Annual Coat for the Community, a collaboration between DMP Asset Management and the Newtown office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, continues until December 22. This year there is a need for children’s and teen coats, as well as scarves, gloves, and hats. New and gently used items can be dropped off at DMP Asset Management, 84C South Main Street, during the week, and at Berkshire Hathaway, 84A South Main Street, on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm. Last year more than 100 coats were collected. The coats will be given to Newtown and Danbury residents in need.

Stuff-A-Bus! It’s happening again, but this time All-Star Transportation is supporting Toys For Tots. Bring your new toy donation to the bus in Sand Hill Plaza between 9 am and 4 pm, this Saturday, December 14. And ho-ho-ho — Someone special will be there at noon.

The Newtown Foundation has published a website tribute slide show of photographs submitted by families of gun violence victims at www.newtownfoundation.org/vigil. The slide show was also scheduled to be shown during the Thursday, December 12, vigil at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The December 12 vigil honored the more than 30,000 lives lost to gun violence every year in this country, and attracted people from across the nation.

Shared with me this week is a link to NPR station KUOW in Seattle. In March, nationally recognized poet Carolyne Lee Wright read her “ghazal,” an ancient form of poetry, for 12/14 victim Emilie Parker. If you care to listen, go to http://kuow.org/post/poet-carolyne-wrights-ghazal-emilie-parker.

Kindness is happening near and far, and the first selectman’s office has received many cards and calls in recent weeks telling of those actions, including one from the mayor, superintendent, and Children’s Grove and Putting Children First organizers in Columbia, Mo. The Children’s Grove in Columbia is made up of 41 magnolia and crabapple trees “which will combine to create a symbol of love, safety and community union,” they write. “Equally important, the Children’s Grove project creates an opportunity to promote community dialogue around mental health, particularly mental health issues among children and youth.” More than $20,000 was raised by the community and Missouri Mental Health Foundation to create the Children’s Grove. “Every step of the way, the families and children of Sandy Hook have been close at heart and an inspiration. Tree planting for the Children’s Grove is underway and the dedication will be held the first Saturday in May 3, 2014, with a citywide promotion of ‘Acts of Kindness’ and Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week,” the letter goes on to say. They hope that the Columbia Children’s Grove is only the first of many to grow across Missouri and beyond. “Then when anyone sees a Grove, they might be moved to repeat the words, ‘They are all our children,’ and recommit to the personal and civic responsibility that makes that sentiment genuine.” Thank you, Columbia, Mo., and thanks to all who are taking action to remember 12/14 and all who suffer from acts of violence.

An act of kindness can be as small as holding the door for someone else to go through, but every gesture will reverberate. Honor all who have been lost to this town and worldwide with your own act of kindness, on December 14, and every day.

I’ll be back next week. Please… Read me again.

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