Monday December 24, 2012

I went to the ceremony today at the Town Office to honor and remember those that were murdered in Newtown, Conn. Bennington's Town Manager Stu Hurd, Town Clerk Tim Corccoran, Chief of Police Paul Doucette were all present. About a dozen other mothers and fathers and friends that work at the Town Office, who are now my colleagues, were there and so was my second grade teacher.

Fifty-plus-mile-an-hour winds buffeted those of us that gathered around the bell that graced the "USS Bennington." The gusty winds seemed appropriate today, one week later, as if mother nature were grabbing and shaking and demanding us to remember this day, for the rest of our days.

I watched nine, grim-faced fathers, mothers and friends come forward to grasp the rope attached to the clapper. Some pulled the rope tentatively, others resolutely and purposefully -- all intently focused.

With each strike of the clapper, the faces of those that were lost - six adults and so many gap-toothed smiling kids- came before me in my mind's eye. And each time the bell tolled, I could not help but think that, in the grand expanse of time, our lives are not much more than the chiming of a bell. And the tolling of 20 of these bells was all the crueler in their brevity.

Near the end of the ceremony, I looked to my second grade teacher, now elderly, but otherwise vivacious and energetic, and she was weeping. In a somewhat selfish way, I needed to hug her, but the far-away look in her eyes kept me rooted.

My second grade teacher taught, nurtured, and held the hands of hundreds of children and this day, and this ceremony, must have resonated in her in a way that only teachers and parents could hear and understand with the sounding of twenty-six-bells.

JIM CARROLL

Bennington

Ed note: Mr. Carroll is a member of the Bennington Select Board.

Explanations, please

A few things I would like explained:

TV: "Reality Show" -- Why not differentiate between filming folks doing real jobs (reality) from other people vying to win a million dollars by competing in nearly impossible and idiotic contests?

Government spending: A very small example of unnecessary spending by requiring me to have blood work done by the VA as part of an annual physical when I have had the same results through my primary doctor at times only days previously? Why not share the results? This is a very minuscule example of "Fiscal Cliff" overspending.

Environment: As we are supposed to be saving trees, among other things,why do I need 36.5 inches of 3 inch (109.5 square inches) of cash register tape after making a $10 purchase at Kmart?

Cell phone talk: Why do some folks find it necessary, in public places, to speak two-to-three times louder than normal conversation levels? I don't need to hear about Aunt Milly's face lift or Uncle Billy's weight problem.

U.S. Senator Sanders: He periodically makes "Big News" by "going after" gasoline retailers regarding prices.

Why not speak out against airlines and major hotel chains about their obvious price gouging? For example -- personal experience -- on a Wednesday, Thursday overnight the price was $79 per night. The next two nights were $109 per night.

Airlines (my personal favorite). As pointed out on a recent news item. Point "A" to point "B" during a 5 to 7 day span the price is increased by $330! Multiply this by two people or a family of four. I call this price gouging on a national scale.

Go git em Bernie. Merry Christmas.

RON ALDERMAN

Bennington