Local Commentary

The Little City Weed

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Teacher conferences are a pleasure. A room filled with education professionals, each playing a role, earnestly explaining, making notes, asking thoughtful questions, and flawlessly executing a familiar agenda.

 

 

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Teacher conferences are a pleasure. A room filled with education professionals, each playing a role, earnestly explaining, making notes, asking thoughtful questions, and flawlessly executing a familiar agenda.  I count every person, over and over, to myself. The spectacle is impressive, but it is good to be the parent. Vaguely amused at the display; but mostly comforted at the charade of adults pretending to be grownups when all we all really want to do is help, to the point of irrationality, a child we all love.

West End Park deserves a mention. One of our hidden pocket parks, tucked off the bike path abutting a quiet neighborhood. The park is situated such that it captures summer breezes, buffers noise, and balances shade and sunshine. The landscaping at West End Park is particularly well done. Someone who cares about the park spent extra time creating a special place. It is much appreciated.

Patios need to be on the list. Patios have become pieces of folk art, reflecting a hidden aspect of the community. Some patios are designed by professionals, but most in the city are still informal projects done over a weekend by family. Sometimes the folk artist is a small group of neighbors willing to work for a glass of wine and lifelong sitting privileges.

The leaf collection. There is something comforting about the annual fall ritual of suburban homeowners gambling on when to rake and wondering if the city will time its collection to beat the big fall rainstorms, Halloween, and the first frost (or snow).

The back story on the white star the city uses for New Year’s Eve belongs here. The star used to sit on top of a water tower at the edge of the city and for people of a certain generation it was the landmark which signaled that they were home. Then it sat forgotten in storage. Using it now to countdown the New Year is a deft homage to bygone days – even for folks who find city history remarkably dreary.

It is probably wrong, but the empty GEORGE buses gliding along city streets also need to be added. A vanity bus system ridiculed by national press as a bus to nowhere, the city clings to its misplaced symbol of a bygone village era which never actually existed. Every time the empty busses roll past, it reminds me how silly my political opponents can be. Which I find particularly comforting.

So these are some of the things I enjoy about the city.

Sometimes we get caught up in the things we do not like about our community. Finding fault with our neighbors and the people who serve us is the easiest game in town. It can be oddly addictive, too.

But on our journey to perfect our community, we can chose to be cognizant of the line which, once we cross, begins to corrode the grace which binds us a community; and pledge instead to only fight on the side of the happy warriors, no?

 


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.