Looking Forward: Commentary by Chris Jones
I’ve learned in the last 18 months or so that there really are certain physical laws of nature that, much like gravity, never change. The world in which we live provides reminders of this on a daily basis, and it becomes our individual obligation to learn from them, adapt and change. In the animal world it’s called instinct. In the far less intuitive world of humans it requires a bit more thought to survive.
For example, I’ve come to understand that â€˜dishwashing liquid’ is not the same as â€˜dishwashing detergent’. A subtle yet unique difference that if employed in the wrong method has disastrous consequences. Also, â€˜dishwashing liquid’ cannot be used in a clothes washing machine or as a substitute for shampoo, or for soap to wash wood floors. In my mind this pretty much makes â€˜dishwashing liquid’ a one-trick pony, substantially reducing its overall value as a home commodity.
Having made that distinction it should also be noted that you cannot, no matter what the â€˜door locked’ light on the clothes washer might indicate, fit a king size bedspread in a standard sized clothes washer and not expect equally disastrous results. The results ultimately will require a mop of some sort, and the walk of shame to the nearest commercial Laundromat, bearing a 50 pound soggy mess and digging deeply for $8.00 worth of quarters to fix the problem. (Not including the dryer)
One of the other absolutes in nature is the one that always seems to strike me as a physical law that we just cannot escape. It is that politicians, regardless of what their intent might be, always find interesting ways to distress the populous, and make simple matters complex, usually for the worse.
Take, for example, the article in this morning’s Hartford Courant by Rinker Buck headlined; “Borough of Litchfield Board: Get Those Yellow Ribbons off Our Town Trees“. (A catchy headline and an even catchier by-line)
But stick with me for a moment.
It just appears to me that here is another splendid example of dopey people doing even dopier things. Something I obviously know quite a bit about!
It seems that the Borough of Litchfield has had for several years members of their community that expressed remembrance and solidarity with our brave men and women serving overseas by tying yellow ribbons around trees on the Town Green. On the face of it, I would think a very nice gesture.
But now the Borough Warden, who the Courant was unable to get a statement from, has said that these ribbons are both harming the trees, and polluting the scenic wonderland that is apparently Litchfield center. The article goes on to say that if they allow these color ribbons then the door is wide open for any color ribbon. A quandary to be sure.
Now I wasn’t aware that Litchfield had or is a Borough but given the fact that it is Litchfield, I suppose something more than just “Litchfield”, or “Da Town” is required. After all it is the County Seat, and the home of the Litchfield Superior Court (been there!), ergo there must be some superiority quotient involved. However, yellow ribbons harming trees?
As for the â€˜blight factor’ that seems a stretch too.
In fact, according to the Courant article, The Borough (I’m starting to get used to that term) hired a tree expert named Starling Childs to inventory the trees on public spaces for reasons of preserving them and then went on to say that Mr. Childs specifically said that the ribbons were hurting the trees by allowing fungus to grow under them. The only sticking point here is that Mr. Childs also states in the same article that not only did he never comment on the ribbons hurting the trees, he was never even asked to provide comment on the subject.
And so the scandal that is “Ribbon-Gate” is born, broad public upset of the people is infused, and another absolute of life goes on. When Government sticks its huge nose into the lives of people in silly and unnecessary ways, it always gets bloodied.
Now I’m not sure if New Hartford and the proposed office of Tree Warden will have to deal with such drivel but if at some point we do find a “Tree Czar”, and the question of ribbons and fungus comes up, remember you were forewarned.
In our Town we are very fortunate to have our Town Green in Pine Meadow, the site of gatherings of all types. We also have our own War Memorial that serves to remind us of those that gave in the past and give still, many in the line of fire as we speak. To allow a visual reminder of such sacrifice in the form of the ubiquitous â€˜yellow ribbon’ should be the least of what we or anyone in the Borough of Litchfield could offer.
But this is not the people of Litchfield, rather the government.
In fairness, the article does go on to mention that the Towns’ folk aren’t too happy with this latest ordinance. But more to the point, why isn’t government dealing with the real issues? Because they just can’t help themselves?
A lesson that should be on the blackboard of every official in government, local or otherwise. The less government interferes with our lives, the more it will have time, and resources, to do the real things that need be done.
I suspect that the Borough Warden will at some point want to revisit this matter, and it sounds like the folks in Litchfield will make sure that he is aware that “Only God can make a tree”.
For my part, I will be happy to remind him when I see him. At the same time I will remind him about king size bed spreads, and the ills of using dishwashing liquid in an unsafe and ill advised manner. Just in case he finds himself in a bind again.
Oh, and that all of these constants in our world are absolute… and they always make a mess.
Chris Jones, a long-time New Hartford resident, is a former selectman of the town.
This commentary represents Chris’ personal views which are not necessarily the views of NewHartfordPlus.