Dave Richards for August 1st…………
--What a week this is going to be! Starting later today the place to be is River Island Park in Woonsocket for our version of the Police National Night Out. It’s a real community celebration including and especially featuring fun for the kids. It starts at 4pm and goes until 6pm in Woonsocket, with similar events scheduled in local communities throughout the country.
Today’s event reminds me of a conversation I had some time ago with a police officer of my acquaintance. We were talking about the ‘down side’ of being a cop and I asked him why he does it. I expected him to say, “well, somebody’s got to do it” and just dismiss it. But he didn’t. He said, “because, Dave, if the bad guys don’t have organized opposition, they’ll take over. It’s a law of nature, even if it does sometimes seem like shoveling against the tide, whether or not I personally make a difference every day I know that all the cops, together, always do.”
Events like todays are a great way to show people they do have a choice to take the positive path, the right path to a better society.
--Next, tomorrow at 6pm the four nights and one afternoon of fun begins at Park Square in Woonsocket as the Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Roman Catholic Church Parish does what they’ve been doing since the 1950s, it’s their annual Parish Festival. Yes, you knew it as the ‘Carnival’, and it’s the same fun, food, and excitement, but with the updated name of Festival which some people think has a bit more positive connotation. I think there’s hardly a person in the Blackstone Valley who hasn’t attended this festival at least once, so I won’t go into a long description here. Suffice it to say if you want to relive old memories or make some new ones, Park Square is the place to visit until Saturday night when the drawing for all the prizes take place.
--August also is the last month of the “My Woonsocket Life” video project. Some people who would like to tell of their life in our city find it inconvenient to come to the Woonsocket Harris Public Library’s video studio to do so. For them, the “My Woonsocket Life Rhode Crew” is bringing the opportunity to you by setting up at both events I mentioned above, plus the Food Truck Night Friday I hadn’t mentioned. Look for our big white radio and TV broadcasting truck as we host the Rhode Crew at each event. Your participation in this historic project will help all of us make a better Woonsocket. And think of the fun you’ll have as family and friends watch your video on the Internet afterward!
--Some of us received the bittersweet news last week that our friend Vimala D. Phongsavanh has taken a job in Washington D.C.. And, though she promises to return to Woonsocket for visits and maintains her property here, she will be making her unique contributions on a national level now as she will become the Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, or N.A.P.A.W.F. for short.
Though we will all miss her, I’m sure you will join me in wishing our friend Vimala the best of luck and happiness as she follows her deep passion for improving the lives of Asian Americans across the country.
--We were delighted to hear the recent announcement that the Rhode Island State Police has received a top accreditation for excellence. I had the chance to see some of their excellent police work last week. You’ll remember the reports of a ‘road rage incident’ on R.I. 146 northbound in which gunshots were reportedly fired by the occupant of one vehicle toward another. This happened at about lunchtime on Tuesday. The State Police were able to lift photos of the suspect vehicle from R.I.D.O.T. traffic cameras and publish them asking the public for any information they may have. The following day, at about the same time of day, I happened to be driving north on 146 to Woonsocket, returning from a meeting in Providence, and I saw no less than five State Police cruisers parked at intervals on the side of the road. Each had a ‘Statie’ carefully checking every car as it passed by them hoping that the suspect would be one who routinely drives the same places at the same time each day, as many of us do. I didn’t hear if that process worked, but it was a great example of top police work from a top police organization.
--I have to be careful how I write this next thought. There’s bound to be someone who misunderstands. I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, you know, but I do have a point to make about how our society has changed the way it conducts wakes and funerals. Be careful, now, here I go.
I attended two events this past weekend which couldn’t be more different………or more similar in my view. The first was the wake and funeral of my good friend and fraternity brother C. Allen Buxton. I noted how friends and family chatted with members they hadn’t seen in a while and told jokes about times they’d shared with Allen. There were a few moments when the realization of our loss touched our hearts, but it was, on the whole, a pleasant gathering.
The next day I attended a large backyard gathering of Denise’s family and as I watched this gathering chat and tell jokes and remember family members now passed, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the two gatherings. The difference, of course, is the way we conduct wakes and funerals these days. Seldom now do I see the wailing and crying I witnessed years ago. It’s now replaced by a much more pleasant and positive atmosphere. I think this is a good change, and I hope it continues.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!