I want you to sit down and listen hard to what I'm saying to you. Do you know what you have here? Do you really know? I have asked myself, can it really and truly be as good as I think it is? Am I walking around wearing rose-colored glasses? I know that life is not perfect here and there are things that I would change, but this town could possibly be as good as life can get. Now, if your expectations in life are big things, like international travel, yachting, and skiing in Aspen, then I can't help you. But if you're looking for a place where you can go all day and never see a stranger, this is where you're supposed to be. If you want to walk down the street and hear your name called out by friends, then this is where you need to be. You should stand back, and pinch yourself if necessary. Don't take this for granted. Keep this town safe in your hands, and hold your friends close. It is a gift.
|From Street Party and JDRF Walk|
And if you still don't believe me, go ask Anthony and Jennifer Morris what makes this town a special place. This past Sunday was the Central Virginia Walk to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an event that the Morris' are familiar with because they have two sweet babies with that insipid disease. Of the thousands of people who walked in Byrd Park on Sunday, the largest team was from St. Mary's Hospital. Do you know who had the second largest team? Seventy people showed up to be superheros for Kellen and Rosie, and more than that have reached out to the family over the past few weeks. Anthony and Jennifer have been over-whelmed by kindness and want to extend their thanks and appreciation to everyone. Battles are never fought alone here.
The Second Annual Tiger Trot 5K and Kids' Races enjoyed a beautiful day this past Saturday! One hundred and ninety kids ran in the Half-Mile and One Mile Kids Race and were cheered on by their parents and many Gandy & Henry Clay teachers and staff. Gilbert Jones, Assistant Principal at John M. Gandy handed out wrist bands to the kids as they finished, and former Gandy Principal Tricia Miller ran in the 5K. There were also kids from Elmont, South Anna, and Our Lady of Lourdes, who's track team made a strong showing. The smashing success of the day rests in the hands of two incredibly capable volunteers: Tracy Brown and Susan Spence. The countless hours that they spent in planning have been with one goal in mind- to make Henry Clay and Gandy the best schools for our kids. You should say “thank-you” to them, a least two or three times.
|From Ashland Pictures|
The last Street Party of the summer was this past Saturday night, and we were not disappointed. I was unsuccessful in convincing people that it was a tradition to stay until the end, and so we finally left a little after ten when the moon bounce started to deflate. Ron Moody had a full dance floor the entire evening, and many members of the Patrick Henry High School Class of 1988, in town for their reunion, came to cut a rug. The weather was perfect, as always, and the conversations were worthy of writing down and remembering. We heard that the Cow Catcher is opening mid-October, and that Lorie Foley and Jen Burch both had birthdays on Saturday. We'll think of these beautiful evenings all winter until they re-appear next May.
On Monday, September 29, the Town of Ashland will hold a community meeting: “Where Are We Now? Defining Community Character” at 6:30 pm in the Gandy Elementary cafeteria. What makes this place special? What can we do to make Ashland a better place to live? This is a great opportunity to talk to community planners and give them your ideas. For more information, please call the Dept. of Planning at 798-1073.
A big Happy Birthday to Captain Davis Luck who turned 5 on September 22nd!
Max Reiderer has volunteered to be chairman of the Ashland Nap Committee. Please get in touch with Max if you have any questions about how to nap, where to nap, or the best kinds of pillows to use. The Ashland Town Nap will occur Sunday, October 19th from 2 to 5pm, and is a designated time for people in this town to get some sleep, for Pete's sake.
You have a little time left to get ready for the next race in Ashland. On Saturday, September 27th, the Slay the Dragon 5K Walk/Run will be held in memory of Richard Lloyd and to raise money for the National LeiMyo Sarcoma Foundation. The race begins at 9am at Carter Park, and you can register online at http://www.slaythedragon5k.com/. Remember what Tom Grant says: “Run Ashland First!”
You have been given an extension on the chance to buy an Ashland Yearbook at the early bird price of $55. Visit http://www.ashland150.com/, and go to the Yearbook section to print out an order form by October 31st. You spent all that time writing up your family story, have you not bought your copy yet? These books will be beautiful, and they will give us a valuable snapshot of our town. Plus we can have a party and sign everyone's yearbook.
This cool weather has opened the windows at our house. We can curl up under our blankets and fall asleep to the lullaby of crickets and train whistles. My favorite sound is when two trains are coming into town and they whistle at each other. They sound like they're competing to see whose whistle is loudest or longest, and they make a sort of harmony when they blow together. On still nights, we can hear the dinging bell of an Amtrak as it slows to a stop, and the "swoop" sound of the engine when it begins to move again. I bet we could write our own dictionary of train words, just like the Eskimos have so many ways to describe snow. What word would we use to describe a train that gets slower and slower and finally stops in the middle of town? How about when the guard rails go down but there's no train coming? A slow moving trash train in the heat of summer? What about when you're waiting for one train to finish, and just when the guard rails should be coming up, another train comes on the other track?
In honor of school opening, I'm giving homework this week. Make up a train word and it's definition, and send it to me. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call me at 804-310-5320. Or you can write your train word on a piece of college-ruled loose-leaf paper (with a No.2 pencil) and mail it to the Herald Progress. Have a wonderful weekend!