When I was in school, March was always the time that I would begin to check out. It would happen in small increments, but it would start in March. I would begin my wild daydreams of lounging by the pool all day. Playing until it gets dark. No commitment. It was a simpler time and there isn’t much that could compare to a schoolboy’s pure delight when summer hits.
Just around the time that my feverish daydreams of summer would inevitably always begin, my father begins retreating to the basement. Not for long. Maybe an hour or two an evening. Mixed tapes made from before I was born play through an old boom box. And my father plots and schemes in the basement under the lights. If you tear back the tarp that all the whistling along to those tunes of yesteryear is coming from behind, you will find my father. In his element. Watering the seed of his feverish school boy daydreams of summer. My father, as some of you may very well know, is an avid gardener.
A great garden doesn’t pop up over night. It requires months of meticulous care. As we speak, my father already has young tomatoes, and basil plants, and even a little bit of impatience growing in our basement. Tomatoes are always his favorite to grow.
Even as a young man, my father had an interest in gardening. It was just a matter of not having the free time to pursue his hobby. For as long as I’ve been alive, he’s been tinkering in the dirt. It’s something that he continues to work on year by year. What started as just a few flowers many years ago, has vegetables and flowers as far as the eye can see.
I have always said that my father is truly the happiest when he is in his garden. Those lazy, hazy days of manicuring and weeding the garden to perfection aren’t too far away.
Over the years, gardening is something I’ve learned to love as well. When my father is away I’m designated as the garden’s care taker. An enormous responsibility. But watering the garden away from all of the hustle and bustle of daily life has become something that I look forward to.
West Pittston will soon be living up to its moniker as The Garden Village with a community garden on the way — maybe as soon as this summer. But some of you may be thinking, what exactly is a community garden? Simply put, a community garden is a piece of land gardened by a group of people. It can be urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables, herbs or a combination thereof. It can be one community plot, or can be many individual plots.
According to the American Community Garden Association (ACGA), community gardens provide a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, beautify neighborhoods, conserve resources, create opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy and education, reduce crime and preserve green space.
Our village’s new little slice of heaven will be located at the lot at 225 Race St. West Pittston Tomorrow sees the project as an opportunity to help beautify the town, build community spirit, help neighbors get to know each other and become involved in the community, as well as provide a place for recreation activity for various youth groups.
All the general benefits of community gardens are greatly increased for West Pittston in using flood buyout properties. There is the additional benefit of transferring the financial, maintenance and administrative burden of the property from the borough and West Pittston taxpayers to West Pittston Tomorrow. FEMA and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development are supportive of developing community gardens on buyout properties.
Penn State University Extension’s Luzerne Avenue, West Pittston, office is adjacent to the proposed garden site and has offered to help. The West Pittston Tomorrow Community Garden Committee has been developing garden rules and regulations, fleshing out the garden plan, discussing programs to involve school children, scouts, church groups and others, and, most importantly, looking for funding sources.
Be sure to stay tuned for any further news about our community garden. Who knows? I may just buy a plot myself.
Here’s what else is happening around town.
Trinity Episcopal news
Trinity Episcopal Church holds noon prayer every Wednesday at the church on Montgomery Avenue.
Corpus Christi Parish news
Corpus Christi Parish will hold its annual car show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21, on the grounds of Holy Redeemer Church.
The parish announced its Daily Lenten Mass schedule. Masses will be held at 7:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, at 8:30 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Church and at 5:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church.
Stations of the Cross are at 6 p.m. Fridays, March 24 and 31 and April 7 in Immaculate Conception Church. Everyone is welcome to participate in Stations of the Cross. Sign-up sheets are in the sacristy of Immaculate Conception Church.
In addition to the Saturday afternoon confessions at 3 p.m., as part of the Light is on for You program during Lent, Monsignor John Sempa will be in the confessional at ICC on Mondays, March 20, and 27 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. and at Holy Redeemer on Monday, April 3, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Lenten Soup & Scripture program will be held Tuesdays during Lent at 6 p.m. March 21 and 28 and April 4. Those attending will gather to enjoy a simple meal of soup and sandwiches, followed by scripture reflections from a guest speaker. Volunteers from various ministries will host the weekly sessions. The first week will be hosted by members of the Social Concerns Committee. The church is looking for approximately eight volunteers to bring a pot of soup and eight volunteers to bring a tray of sandwiches. If you can help, please contact Joyce at 570654-2753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First U.M. Church news
West Pittston First United Methodist Church will hold Sunday service at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
For further information, call the church office at 570-655-1083 or visit www.westpittstonumc.com.
West Pittston Library announced the following upcoming events:
Check Out a Librarian — Contact the library for availability. Are you in a book club and looking to shake things up? Have librarians Anne and Jen join you when you schedule your next book club meeting at the library. Jen will schedule your book club and offer a listing of novels that have people talking.
Kindergarten Readiness — Is your child ready for pre-k or kindergarten? Do they need structured time for socialization, learning letters, letter sounds, scissor skills and fine motor skills? Are there things you can do at home to prepare them for the classroom? Become a regular at this Friday afternoon early literacy program designed to introduce children to the library, get them interested in books and develop the skills needed for school. Spend some fun one-on-one time with your child or grandchild as you read books together, sing songs, play games and make crafts centered around the weekly, kid-friendly theme. Learn pre-reading techniques that you can do at home to enhance their skills. Please register by Wednesday of each week.
Goosebumps Get Together — Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. Celebrate the release of R.L. Stine’s new Goosebumps series, “Slappy World,” and the 25th anniversary of Goosebumps! Listen to excerpts around the campfire, play Witch’s Brew, formulate some monster blood, learn more about the author and design your own book cover.
Make your own natural home cleaners — Monday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. Interested in saving money and avoiding harmful chemicals? West Pittston residents and essential oil enthusiasts Kory Lyn Angeli and Marissa Linder will explain the benefits of homemade cleaning products, offer samples for you to try, and hand out recipes for you to take home and make yourself.
Vegan 101 — Tuesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. What exactly is a vegan? Do you have to hug trees and eat bark to be one? How do you live without cheese? Where do you get your protein? If you’ve ever wondered what a vegan is, what vegans eat, or if it’s right for you, then join Gemma, the resident vegan of the West Pittston Library, to learn about the vegan lifestyle, taste some treats, and take home some easy recipes. Registration required.
Captain Underpants — Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. The library is celebrating Captain Underpants’ 20th anniversary and new book series, “Dog Man!” Participants will don their red capes, find out crazy superhero names, play with some toilet paper, and maybe even decorate some underwear! Wrap it up by watching the trailer for “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” premiering this summer.
West Pittston Borough Council will hold a work session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the borough building.
The recycling containers located at the Public Works Building on Delaware Avenue are locked and closed to the public every day, except Saturday mornings. The only time residents may drop off recyclable items at the Public Works Department building is on Saturday mornings, 8 a.m. to noon.
Curbside collection of recyclables remains the first and third Thursday of each month.
The Public Works Department asks that residents place their recyclables in front of their homes Wednesday evening prior to recycling collection on Thursday morning
Yard waste collection
Yard Waste pick up will begin the week of April 3.
West Pittston Tax Collector George L. Miller wishes to inform property owners that the 2017 county and West Pittston Borough tax bills have been mailed. Rebate period will end April 7.
Anyone who did not receive a tax bill should call the office and a new tax bill will be sent.
During the rebate period, office hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. For appointments, call 570-655-7782, ext. 232. When mailing the payment, if a receipt is requested, please send the completed tax bill and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
See you around town.
John Bubul writes about West Pittston every week for Greater Pittston Progress. To include an item in his column, email email@example.com or call 570-301-2187 by Monday.