Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Monday, July 27, 2015

Community Pride

When I came out of the bank this morning and looked up and down the street how fantastic it was not to see a proliferation of weeds growing out of the sidewalks! Instead, what I saw was a neat and tidy quiet stretch of sidewalk; a welcome sight not only for us who live here but also for those passing through.

Early this afternoon I ran into Mayor Barnes and he wanted me to be sure and express profound appreciation to the many volunteers on behalf of the village board for a job well done on Saturday.

There are many small communities struggling in upstate New York for a myriad of reasons and we have to be realistic when it comes to finding “easy” solutions. There are none. Complaints and criticism comes easy; proactively working together to move a community forward involves hard work.

Having said that, a community who takes pride in itself stands a better chance of finding “renewal” as opposed to a community who simply does nothing.

St. Johnsville has exhibited this necessary “pride” on any number of occasions. The hundreds of people who came out for the Memorial Day parade and service is a perfect example. Another would be the selfless work undertaken at the Benefit Club to help those with needs greater than their own. The Methodist Church recently hosted VBS and it is my understanding the numbers were excellent. These kids were not just coming from the Methodist Church but were representative of the various congregations throughout the village. The summer park program is also a great source of community pride. Every morning I see kids either walking or riding their bikes eagerly headed for the park; headed for another great day of games and crafts with the occasional field trip tossed in. I understand the marina concerts are seeing outstanding crowds and justifiably so. We are so fortunate to have that lovely green space and what a perfect way to spend a summer evening; music, fellowship and food. It does not get any better than that.

Think of ways for you to show your community pride. When school starts up plan to attend a sporting event. I’ve not seen a basketball game since Steve Zimmerman played. What I knew about basketball then would have filled two lines on an index card. However, I was smart enough to realize that when “our” side of the bleachers cheered I should start shouting with the rest of them; you could do the same Do you like bingo? Head down to the American Legion on Tuesday nights. If you can’t stay to play, grab some supper to go. Veterans need our support and Tuesday evening bingo is one way to show it. After tonight, there are two more concerts at the marina. The music begins at 6:30PM; take a lawn chair and enjoy the evening.

When you can, patronize the businesses we do have instead of bemoaning what we don’t. As an example, someone was discussing insurance on another post recently. My car and house insurance are held by Steve Stortecky at Judy King Insurance on Main Street. Why? I’ve known Steve since high school and while I might be able to get it cheaper somewhere else or on line I find it of great comfort to know that when I have a question I can pick up the phone or drop by and discuss my concerns face to face with Steve and his staff. When business is over, we talk about chickens, haying and country life.

My pal Barbara Stagliano and I breakfast together 6 mornings a week. We bounce between the Hungry Bear CafĂ© and Bridge Street Bakery. Sure, it would be cheaper to stay home and eat a bowl of Cheerios but what I would miss would be the comradery and conversation to be found in a hometown restaurant. When you go to places like Parkside, Lombardo’s or Ripepi’s you are not just a customer, you are welcomed as a friend whose business is appreciated.

We are richly blessed with outstanding emergency services; police and fire departments and ambulance. On more than one occasion their professionalism and skills have provided me with a necessary steadiness in the face of overwhelming crisis. You will see them all at the upcoming Fireman’s Fair. In between your bowls of clam chowder and plates of fried dough be sure and say thank you. These fine men and women stand in the gap so the rest of us don’t have to.

I could go on in this same vein but I think you get my point.

Finally, the ultimate way to show community pride is to treat each other with respect and tolerance, kindness and care ALWAYS, even in the face of tremendous differences of opinion and philosophies. We are never all going to agree on everything but we can work towards building consensus with regard to the issues that separate us. It will not be easy, but anything worth doing takes commitment and hard work. Some people saw Saturday’s clean sweeping weed pulling project as just that; a chance to get rid of some dirt and debris. I saw it as an opportunity to take one step down the road towards a more positive St. Johnsville; one step by which we can all be proud.

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