Reflections on Our Town

By Lynda Shadbolt

Columnist with the Haliburton County Echo,

July 23, 2013

Every once in a while we all need reminders to stop, pause and fully appreciate the goodness of where we live. Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder in 1938 is currently being performed at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion and is beautifully acted by people from our county.
I’ve been very involved with the play because my daughter acts the role of 11-year-old Rebecca Gibbs. At it’s core, Our Town celebrates the fact that the meaningful things in life take place in the very simple moments of everyday living.
I chose to live in Haliburton County almost 30 years ago and every day I am reminded why this is a wonderful place to live. One such moment happened at the opening night of Dusk Dances last Thursday evening.
It was 7 p.m. and I watched as hundreds of people began to arrive at Head Lake Park to watch the show. It is a magical moment (for our local committee who has worked all year to bring this event here) to watch as people of all ages and abilities move into the park full of anticipation about what this year’s show will bring.
Some have blankets, some have chairs, some have strollers, some are in wheelchairs and on scooters and wee ones are in “snugglies.” It was a perfect summer evening; the playground was full, teenagers were playing Frisbee, dogs were checking each other out and people were socializing and just happy to be in the park. Suzanne Haedicke had just finished a free family zumba class. The atmosphere was very festive. This year the opening band for Dusk Dances was Ragged Company and the audience was being treated to great music.
I was busily doing a few tasks related to being the volunteer co-ordinator when I looked up at the band and noticed that a long-time supporter of the arts, Clarence, was up close to the stage playing his harmonica along with the band. Karen Frybort was singing her heart out and the audience was happy.
At that moment I just thought, I love our town. Our town that holds the space for Clarence (and often Cowboy who happily strolls through the crowd) to feel welcome and part of the event.
Later in the evening the professional dancers thanked me numerous times for all the support they get from our local volunteers who come each evening to guard sites,  be ushers for the audience and help in many other ways. And again, I thought about how amazing our town (our county) really is.
It takes all of us to make this a great place to live. It is the thousands of little actions that we all do in our home lives, our volunteer lives and our work lives that allow us to find and create and sustain a good life. There thousands of great places to live on this planet. We each have to choose one and then do what we can to help make it a great place to live. Thanks to everyone who supported Dusk Dances once again. Our Town has three more performances at the Northern Lights Pavilion (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week).

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