westport 8/21

I expect I'm not the only one feeling a little frazzled lately. That end-of-August exhaustion that leaves some of us longing for the peace and quiet of deepest darkest February seems to have arrived a little early this year.

Everything seemed to happen all at once. The fair arrived, and left, with a bang. (More on that in a minute.) We had a record turnout for Shakespeare-in-the-Park, where the Depot Apprentices acted their hearts out in The Tempest. Boquet River Theatre Festival put on what I heard was a stellar production of Guys and Dolls, which I'm sorry I missed.

And, as you probably know, we had two fires within 24 hours - the major structure fire on Marks Road, and a wildlands fire the very next afternoon at a camp on Lake Shore Road. I'd just put my gear out to dry from the first fire when the pager went off for the second one.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in either fire. Two dogs perished in the Marks Road fire, which is of course a terrible blow for their owner. We had trucks up at the fairgrounds covering the tractor pull when the fire was called in. Irwin Borden was announcing, and he said he just bolted right off the stage to respond. That must have been interesting.

As for me, the past few days taught me something I already knew, which is that I didn't join the fire department and the emergency squad because I have any great talent for the work. (That's for sure, to say the least.) I joined because I finally understood how real the need was for more manpower in both organizations.

That need still exists. We had a close call with one member of both teams - a beloved friend and leader who has shouldered more than his fair share of this burden for many years had to be taken to Burlington from Marks Road after pushing himself too hard all week at the fair. Thankfully, he seems to be okay. But the burden of responsibility that he feels so strongly still needs to be shared by more of us.

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