SOLON & BEYOND, Week of January 5, 2017

by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

As I sit down to write this week’s column, it is already 2017! Where did 2016 go? My mother-in-law always told me, “The older you get, the faster the years go!” Truer words were never spoken. It is nice to be busy, but there is such a thing as too busy! And that is what I was in 2016, hope 2017 won’t be quite so busy, ( I can dream!) Anyway, I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Starting January 4, for the months of January and February, the Embden Thrift Shop (and Lending Library) will be closed Wednesday afternoons. Bone Builders (9 – 10 a.m.) and Sewing (10 a.m. – noon) will meet as usual on Wednesdays.

Because the name of this column is Solon and Beyond, I have always appreciated news from other communities as well. This week I have room for some words from a very interesting e-mail I received from Somerset Woods Trustees about Bill Townsend receiving SWT’s 2016 Conservation Award. “Somerset Woods has many reasons to thank Bill, his dedication to conservation has bequeathed us with Townsend Preserve, the Land for Maine’s Future, free-flowing rivers and surely the best fishing stories in the county.”

Another one of Bill Townsend’s favorite hometown (Canaan), projects was the Canaan Public Library. More words from the e-mail I received: “Just a few feet from Rte. 2 sat the Canaan Public Library, located in a one-room schoolhouse from the 1850s. Despite its tough location and lack of a restroom, it was a popular place. Schoolchildren walked down in groups from the Canaan Elementary School for special occasions, people in need of a computer or wireless service logged in to connect to the internet , a knitting group met there, and books, DVDs, and a variety of items loaned.

“The Library’s trustees had long wanted to build a new library, but it seemed like a bridge just too, too far for our small town. But then Bill Townsend did something extraordinary. He donated 14 acres of land across the street, behind the town hall and fire station, and made it available to the library for a new location. His generous donation was catalytic. The townspeople, loath to take on debt, contributed up to $25,000 per year to a building fund; private foundations such as the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, Skowhegan Savings Bank, Davis Family Foundation, Morton-Kelly Foundation, The Betterment Fund, and Plum Creek granted about a third of the cost of new construction; a local engineer Steve Ruell patiently designed the building with endless citizen input; and Friends of thye Library baked pies, sold used books, held events, and wrote checks.”

It took several years, with help from many people working together but in 2014 they reached their goal of paying cash for a new library on the land that Bill donated. “In 2014, we opened our doors to a lovely library that sits quietly in a field with old apple trees, ample parking, and a trail to the Carrabasset Stream.”

He envisioned a trail by the stream for children to fish from and it was built with the help of volunteers. A veteran’s memorial now graces the grounds. Flowers have been planted by the entryway and “thye little library that could” now sits on the brow of the hill that Bill Townsend donated.

“Bill Townsend will be remembered with fondness and gratitude for many, many generations, for without his generous gift to the town of Canaan, as well as his vision, this library would never have been built.”

My many heartfelt thanks for that e-mail, it was very heart warming.

I do have one more little piece of news to share. The Pilgrim Fellowship of the North Anson Congregational Church will be meeting at the church at 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 8.

Percy always did like to quote words from important people so this week his memoir is from Eleanor Roosevelt : “Do whatever comes your way to do as well as you can. Think as little as possible about yourself and as much as possible about other people and about things that are interesting. Put a good deal of thought into happiness that you are able to give.”


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