December 28, 2016
Thank You, Woodstock
The Town of Woodstock has given me far more than I have given it. She gave me a childhood scented with grain. She tamed the fragrance of a waning chicken and farming economy that died in the 50s, gently surrendering the aromas to tidy, fresh cut lawns. In my childhood, the exact notion of trespass had not yet been codified, and so swimming holes were abundant, as so were paths to sweet raspberry patches. It was an era where the pastoral had not yet run smack into the literal. How many of you remember?
I left Woodstock for many of my teen years.
In 1969, I returned to a booming IBM-driven economy plus an exploding rock scene, which brought not only steady wages (for us kids mostly from the restaurant business) but also glamour to our hills. Fortunately, and more importantly, earlier in the 60s a committee of enlightened locals made sure that the sudden influx of money and ephemeral tastes didn’t upset the sense of aesthetics and appreciation for the environment that Woodstock has jealously guarded for generations. The town had kept its form, and I barely noticed the change.
I got older, Woodstock got older, but the town always seemed to keep abreast of me. As time went by I wanted brighter streetlights, safer places for my kids to play, less kerosene perfuming the air; gosh, so did Woodstock. I’m not exactly sure how these coincidences came about, but they did. Knowing as much about Woodstock politics as I do now I can imagine a few knife fights preceded them. But, so, there you have it.
On top of giving me a wonderful place to grow up, raise a family and enjoy life, Woodstock gave me the opportunity to contribute to public affairs. Whether one contributes by coaching a youth athletic league (and even if that as a lowly water-bearer), it is an engagement you will never regret or forget. Myself, I sailed up the ranks. Almost at the same time I began coaching baseball I also got involved with the stinking sewer mess. Let history decide on the quality of those involvements. I am here to tell you that getting involved is far better than sitting on the sidelines.
If I have one regret it’s never having joined one of our volunteer fire and emergency dispatch companies. What can be a greater look of gratitude than “thank you for saving my life.”
Well, it is said, you can’t have it all.
Thank you anyway, Woodstock. You have given me a full, happy life.
– Jeremy Wilber