The first Tuesday of March is Town Meeting Day here in Vermont--a day when a couple of hundred town citizens (about 10% of our town's population) sit on metal folding chairs in the gymnasium of the K-8 school and vote on spending money on a new road grader or buying a new fire truck or passing the school budget.
Today's Town Meeting began with a roll call of those who had died in the past year, followed by a moment of silence. The last name was Florence H. who always sat in the front row at Town Meeting.
I blogged about Florence a year ago. In memory of her, i'm reprinting part of that blog here:
When i was checking out of our local farm and garden store, i saw a
lovely hand-drawn card of flowers taped to Florence's cash register.
Florence has been a clerk at the store for as long as i've been going there--a
few decades. "What a lovely card," i said.
"Oh, that was for my birthday," she said. "Last August."
"So, how old are you, if i may ask?"
"93," said Florence. "Sometimes, it's a bit scary."
Yes, living in an aging body is scary. You're on a roller-coaster ride, and you don't know what's going to happen next.
We are all living in an aging body, and no one knows what's going to happen next. Another friend, aged 75, sent an emissary to Town Meeting to propose that our little bitsy town sign the Charter of Compassion. That friend will not live to see our next Town Meeting.
Compassion is one of the best antidotes for fear.