NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

May 11, 2013

Tra la, it's May -- time to shop before the taxes go up

The world is young today:

Forget the gods are old,

Forget the years of gold

When all the months were May.

— Digby Mackworth Dolben

I’ve read that this “may” be the coldest spring in recorded history in New England, unless we have an unusually hot day that allows 1976 to keep the record. I haven’t forgotten 1976, when we were told the new Ice Age was coming. Regardless, the cold nights and cool days are prolonging the life of my daffodils, forsythia and mock-pear blossoms, as my lilac bushes wait their turn with small purple blooms, as yet unscented.

The enjoyment and expectation do remind me of my golden youth. Yet the gods aren’t the only ones who are old; my present age is called the golden years, but it’s the gold of autumn, the end of nature’s cycle.

After decades of faithfully attending Marblehead Town Meeting, I realized this week that I just can’t sit for three hours in anything but my beloved Ekornes stressless recliner; after an hour I went home to watch on television. I’m glad nothing passed or failed by one vote.

The closest vote was the last, after the debate on leaf blowers. I think this year’s compromise, to ban them except for spring and fall cleanup, might have passed except that at the last minute the selectmen tried to amend it to exclude town departments. The spontaneous laughter was followed by defeat for both the amendment and the ban.

This sense of voter humor renewed my faith in Town Meeting, which had already been boosted when departing School Committee Vice-Chairman Jonathan Lederman, presenting its budget, actually thanked taxpayers for funding the schools. He was followed by the chairman of the Glover School Building Committee, Dick Nohelty, thanking taxpayers for paying for the new school. Some town or state official might have thanked taxpayers somewhere during my golden years of political activism, but if so I’ve forgotten that golden moment.

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