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      POLLYANNA by Barbara Biddison

      b8200ed.knjdShe's fictional. She lives in a 1913 children's book about a young girl who tries to find something positive in every situation. That sounds good. But I'm told that overly positive people can be annoying. And then I wonder what "overly positive" means. Let's say you are taking a test and you give a correct answer, your answer can't be "overly correct," can it? So, I submit that there is no such thing as overly positive. That still leaves room, you know, for being disappointed or even for being negative. I am sometimes sad and disappointed. But I'm going to go for being "Pollyannaish" for this moment, which is actually a lot like SPAMALOT's "Look On the Bright Side" advice.

      The outdoor hanging flower baskets are gone now, but the one I always bring inside for the winter (the Christmas cactus) burst into bloom as it always does when it moves indoors. Too many to actually count but I estimate 70 or 80 pinky-white blossoms within a few days. Gorgeous! And on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church, the every-Thursday Growers Market came to its seasonal end on a rainy "cancel the market" day, which made us remember the gorgeous Thursday afternoons during the past months. It's been a place for me to buy good lettuce and pumpkins and sweets, and, even more welcome, to visit safely with friends for a few minutes. Sometimes to pet a dog or two. The last week I even picked up an aloe vera plant! And then there's my back porch. I love that porch. It's big enough to seat at least 8 comfortably if the dog doesn't get the swing first, it has a ceiling fan, it holds lots of plants (including the aforementioned Christmas cactus), and we eat most of our summer meals there. Now it's time to "winterize" it, so where is Pollyanna when you need her? Aha, it will be where we lean the real Christmas tree before we bring it in. It will be where we stomp the snow off our boots before we enter the house. It will be where we stand to watch the neighbor kids take sleds up and slide down our hill.. It serves its purpose year round.

      "Now what about the arts" I say to the Pollyanna in me. A few weeks ago we watched a wonderful high school halftime show up at the football field. No game, just a half hour of music and marching and baton twirling--the whole thing. Drum majors directing, everybody in band uniforms or cheerleader outfits, all the instruments, all the formations. And a smallish masked and socially distanced audience in the stands. Many years ago our sons played and marched with the WAHS band, one on clarinet, the other on drums. Neighbors invited us to attend this 2020 event. I had a tear in my eyes as I sat there and watched those high school kids give it their all.

      Now Pollyanna gazes upon all that Hamilton-Gibson would do. Some things just won't happen this year. Now that the Boro has cancelled Dickens totally, it is not so hard to realize that HG won't be dancing and singing on Main Street that first weekend in December. And Larry and I can slide into retirement, put away my long skirt and the Christmas tree skirt "cape" and his antique top hat, after having been on the street in costume every year since Dickens began..And HG mainstage shows? Time will tell. I get the greatest pleasure from knowing how careful HG is, how safe we want everyone to be. So far I have had some connection with the three shows that HG has tried to produce since the pandemic began. I have been in the show, and/or in the audience, and/or helping with line memorization. I have always felt safe. To be able to do a modified version of what was hoped for, to have actors, crew, staff, audience all cooperate with a willing spirit, to live in a community where people care so much about each other...all this and more exemplifies the Pollyanna spirit.. And that is not annoying.

      Just one more. A notice from Peggy Dettwiler "to whet your appetite" for Mansfield's upcoming recorded concert entitled "With Liberty and Justice for All." I saw and heard 3 selections prepared for that concert: Hard Times Come Again No More (Stephen Foster), Adinu (Sufi melody), and Joshua (spiritual). MU singers were shown distanced and masked singing together in 3 different auditorium spaces. I watched in happy tears. Didn't even need Pollyanna for this one. Thank you, Peggy!

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