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I Knit Around

Friday, October 28, 2005

Autumn in a New England Small Town

First Things First

Thanks to Pamela for her supportive comment to yesterday's post. I must have felt your spirit with me, because the evening at Santos-Dumont was less than satisfactory, but I nevertheless had the strength to stay there knitting and listening to the music for an hour and a half while I sipped my Republic of Tea Ginseng-Peppermint Tea.

The ambience wasn't what I hoped for. When you go to a coffee shop to hang out, you expect a certain amount of buzz in the air from people having conversations, but in spite of that you also expect to be able to enjoy quiet relaxation. But Thursday night at Santos-Dumont proved to be pretty slow, and within a half hour of arrival I was the only customer left. The three teenagers on duty used the slack time to do some clean up around the cafe, and rightly so - I expect staff to use slow times to take care of routine chores like that.

The problem was, though, that they did it in a very loud and abrasive way. The girl who went around to empty trash cans took each lid and dropped it on the floor with a resounding bang. Each new garbage bag was loudly snapped in the air several times to open it. At least one trash can evoked loud "Ewwws!!" from her as its aromas were revealed, and then of course the other two had to come over and smell for themselves. So I was subjected to their loud exclamations of disgust.

One of the boys took on the job of taking the bags out to the dumpster, and he dashed out into the cold with no jacket, ran to the dumpster, and came back in making triumphant exclamations to no one in particular over his feat. Cleaning supplies were removed from cupboards, and every door had to be slammed shut, not merely closed. Silverware was thrown into a bin, not placed. Chairs were re-arranged around tables by scraping them across the antique hardwood floor, not a one being lifted and quietly replaced.

In short, nothing was done with any gentleness to it. Nothing was placed quietly where it belonged, it was always aimed from some distance and tossed or slammed. Every single thing they did could have been handled in a quieter way without hindering the process or their efficiency. Through the whole thing, the three teenagers chatted loudly with each other. I'm not saying they shouldn't be allowed to talk, but they had clearly forgotten the childhood concept of using their indoor voices.

This was all compounded by the fact that the building housing Santos-Dumont is an original one-room schoolhouse. Old construction, a very high ceiling, and every noise echoes-echoes-echoes throughout the space. This is the sort of place where you can whisper at one end of the room and be clearly heard at the other.

Am I glad I went? Yes, even though at least half of the time I was there consisted of the noisy experience I just described. It broke a barrier for me where I was uncomfortable going alone to such a place to just sit by myself and knit for a while.

Will I go to Santos-Dumont again? Maybe. I'll concede I may have been there on an off night, and we already know that I was off balance myself. Maybe there's another week night that sees more traffic and therefore is more likely to stave off the noisy cleaning burst. If I have occasion to have a gentle chat with the owner, I may bring up the subject, too, but I don't feel it's necessary to go out of my way for that.

Will I go out to someplace else? Certainly. Santos-Dumont has the convenience of only being a little over a mile away. If I don't mind going further, we've got a Panera in the same plaza as the local Target store. I'll hazard a guess that they don't see nights as slow as Santos-Dumont did last night, and I'll bet they don't get as noisy as that, either. I'll probably try Panera next week.

Dinosaurs and Pirates and Buzz Lightyear!

One of the charming things I've discovered about small town New England is this: the elementary schools are nearly always close enough to downtown that the kids, at Halloween, get led down Main Street in their costumes in a parade for all to see.

Here in Wilton, we get two separate parades: the kindergarten children in the morning, and the entire elementary school later. Halloween isn't until Monday, so we were a bit surprised to see the kindergarten children parading this morning!

They caught us a little off-guard, but Gryphon was together enough to grab the camera and dash across the street to take some pictures.

As always, please click through to see more detail.

An Angel and Snow White with a Pirate
An Angel and Snow White, Guided by a Pirate

A Witchy Teacher
A Witchy Teacher
Even the adults get into the spirit of the event!

More Costumed Children
Tiger, Fairy, Spiderman, and more

Buzz Lightyear and Marge Simpson
Buzz Lightyear and Marge Simpson

We watched for the elementary school to parade as well, but that didn't happen. They're probably waiting for the proper day for their parade, which is a much bigger affair. The Police Department blocks off the ends of Main Street, and a Fire Truck with sirens blaring and lights flashing leads the entire student body and faculty down the street. There's one teacher who is famous for wearing vintage riding gear and riding her horse in the parade, too. Watch on Monday or Tuesday for photos from that event!

And the Best Part of Autumn in New England

The color. Hands down. This autumn we got short-changed from some of the shades by the endless bouts of rain, but we've still seen some nice color.

And where else but a small town can you see a scene like this, right on Main Street?

Autumn Trees by Wilton Town Hall
Trees in Gold and Orange, with Wilton Town Hall
The brick building at the far left with the clock tower is the Wilton Town Hall, and this piece of land with the colorful trees is across the street from the entire Wilton business district. Cool, huh?

Red Tree on the Souhegan River, Wilton Falls Building
Flaming Red Tree by Wilton Falls Building
At the other end of the block, this flaming red tree can currently be seen along the riverbank next to one of the municipal parking lots. The brick building behind it is one of the original working mills in town, now known as the Wilton Falls Building, and home to several businesses as well as the Wilton Main Street Association.

I Said I Was Knitting at the Coffee Shop, Didn't I?

Well, here's the proof that I not only knitted at the coffee shop last night, I've been working on the Market Squares Bag at home, too. In this photo, I've just begun knitting the final square in the 4th tier.

Market Squares Bag - End of 4th Tier
Market Squares Bag - Fourth Tier Almost Done
There will ultimately be around 14 tiers in this thing. The way the bag is shaped, in a few more tiers the squares in each tier will start getting smaller. This closes in the bottom of the bag, until finally it's small enough that you just gather the remaining stitches and you're done.

The next tier will repeat the purple that can be seen in the rim band, then we begin repeating the other colors.

Final Note

Thanks to everyone for being here. It helps tremendously to have you all to talk to. I need to remember more often that I'm not as alone as I may feel. Having you here isn't as good as if I were meeting with you at the local coffee shop, but it still counts for a lot.

Hugs to you all!

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