2020 is now behind us.
Goodbye and good riddance.
Between a coronavirus pandemic that stretched wwwaaayyy too long, and an election season that got wwwaaayyyy too intense, it’s small wonder we’re not in a dark corner, peeking over the parapets from time to time and waiting for all this to just go away.
And yet, there were good moments, mainly from those who managed to adapt to the new demands imposed by the pandemic.
Take Family Promise Metrowest, for example. In the spring, they usually hold a walk featuring most of the participating congregations; the walk was dropped, and an online fundraiser took its place. That fundraiser raised nearly $250,000.
In the summer, one of their drivers decided to take his electric bicycle and travel cross country; he wanted to visit similar agencies, and raise money for FPM. He made it as far as Michigan before he headed home. And yes, he raised money for FPM.
In late fall, the usual concert and auction went virtual; featured acts included Livingston Taylor. And yes, that raised money for FPM.
Until the pandemic ends, FPM’s client families will be staying in local hotels, but will continue to receive services from the agency, from creating and maintaining budgets to job training.
For information, visit https://www.familypromisemetrowest.org/
Let’s go to the town’s libraries — from a distance, of course. Since springtime, both the Morse Institute and Bacon Free libraries have offered curbside pickup. For most of the summer, the Morse offered limited browsing, but that closed up last month due to the increasing cases of coronavirus.
Natick Parks and Recreation had to adjust as well. Advance registration became the norm – even a visit to Memorial Beach had to be planned in advance. The staff also offered more drive-in events, such as a Trunk-or-Treat at the high school (and right after a snowstorm, to boot).
Then there’s Natick Community Organic Farm. Special events such as Maple Magic and Spring Spectacular were canceled, but the farm remains open to visitors daily from 9 a.m. to dusk. Face masks and social distancing are required, but visitors are welcome to see the animals and purchase goods from the outdoor stand.
For information, visit https://www.natickfarm.org/
Let’s not forget the “Love 10760” campaign that featured a collection of words and pictures from Natick High’s Class of 2020 that covered the pedestrian bridge by the commuter rail station.
Hopefully, we can finally put this pandemic behind us as we proceed into 2021, and we can look forward to spring events at the Common and summer concerts and the Fourth of July and Relay for Life and all the other events that make this town special.
… One more shoutout to the Town Clerk’s office for dealing with the demands of Voting by Mail and Early Voting, combined with the craziness of rescheduling town election and Town Meeting.
… The Natick Rotary recently delivered more than 150 Wegmans boxed lunches to residents at the Natick Housing Authority. Their goal was to reach out to the residents, say hello and let them know the community is thinking of them.
The Natick Rotary has a long-standing relationship with many organizations in Natick, the Natick Housing Authority being one. In years past Rotary members helped with minor repairs and painting units in preparation of new residents moving in. Every month the Rotary provides a meal at Natick’s Open Door and a favorite annual barbeque in June for Natick residents. With the pandemic, delivering boxed lunches was a safe and welcoming treat.
… Cochituate Rail Trail news – You can now own your own piece of the CRT. The Friends of Natick Trails are offering 8-inch square laser-etched red bricks that will be placed at the entrance to the new Whitney Field at Navy Yard, and at the entrance to the trail near the State Park at the end of Chrysler Road. The price per brick is $225, with net proceeds going to the town to maintain and benefit the CRT. Bricks will be installed when they have batches of 25 or more. They have about 400 to sell in total. See https://www.friendsofnaticktrails.org/bricks for all the details.
The Friends are also offering other sponsorships, such as plaques on the benches to be installed along the trail. The website has more information.
It looks tempting (both bridges have been installed, and they look gorgeous), but the trail will not be open to the public until spring of 2021 (tentative).
… Miss visiting the Bacon Free Library and Natick Historical Society? Book a 30-minute reservation via https://www.eventbrite.com/e/book-your-visit-to-the-bacon-free-library-andor-natick-history-museum-tickets-115150753002
… The Morse Institute Library has temporarily suspended in-person browsing, and the Friends will not be accepting book donations. The library now has a Walk-Up Window that allows you to pick up your holds with no appointment necessary. Come to the library and line up outside along the ramp, where you will be protected from the elements with our exciting new Holiday Window Display. This initiative will give you the flexibility to pick up your items on your time, with expanded hours during the week and on weekends.
If you have holds to pickup, please use the Walk-up Window. This window is located in our interior entryway.
· One person may enter at a time
· Please enter at the bottom of the ramp, and wait on the marked spots to keep physically distant
· An exterior light indicator will go from red to green when it is your turn to enter the Walk-up Window.
· Scan your library card once inside, and we will grab your items for you.
· Don’t have anything on hold? Give us a call at 508-647-6520 and we will assist you. Or head to “my account” and browse our catalog.
Walk-Up Window Hours
Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m.
… Leather boots need repair? Leather purse need a new strap? Cobbler Shop West on Pond Street is open; call 508-653-1064.
… Optica at 23 Main St. is open by appointment for eyeglass sales and repairs, as well as eye exams. Call 508-655-2594 for an appointment.
… Join the Natick Lodge of Elks and be part of a spirited, friendly and charitable organization. They support veterans, local charities, drug awareness programs and many more community related charities and activities. For more information on the lodge, including programs and events, contact Club Manager Paul Sanford at 508-653-9792, ext. 215, or [email protected], or visit https://natickelks.org/
… Order 2021 Oldtown Photo Calendars via oldtowncalendar.org. The calendars are also available at the Natick Service Council, Natick Historical Society, Bacon Free Library, the Charles River Coffee House and Wellesley Books.
… For the past several years, the Natick Center Cultural District has sponsored public arts projects to help convert transformers and other locales into works of art.
Proposals are now being sought for the Traffic Calming Public Art project at the intersections of routes 27 and 135. Application deadline is Jan. 15, 2021; successful applicants will be awarded stipends ranging from $500-$1,200.
Projects may include street paintings and murals that are bold and bright in design while still being respectful of the place.
Project proposals must include the project description, budget outline and goal statement. Artists are welcome to submit artwork for up to three designs for the TCPA project. Please draw to scale for your chosen TCPA’s. Proposals should be based on the dimensions of the TCPA area. All projects must abide by the Town of Natick’s traffic rules and regulations.
For details, visit natickcenter.org.
… The downtown lockers are now available to NCCD members on a first-come, first-served basis. The district is offering lockers to member merchants who would like to allow customers the option to pick up (or return) items after hours.
Located on Adams Street, next to the Natick Center Cultural District office, the brightly painted lockers are a great place to put items, but they are not airtight and some outside moisture may get in. If you are leaving any soft goods (clothes, papers, etc.) put them in a plastic bag for protection. The Natick Center Cultural District is not responsible for items placed in the lockers.
For details, visit https://www.natickcenter.org/natick-center-lockers/
For the weekend:
… The Farmers Market is open most Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. across the street from the Common; some vendors will be outside the Spiritual Center, some inside. Social distancing guidelines will be observed, and everyone is required to wear a face mask. Pre-orders and “grab-and-go” options are available and encouraged. For information, visit www.natickfarmersmarket.org, or https://www.facebook.com/natickfarmersmarket/
… Don’t forget – free two-hour parking in downtown Natick through the holiday season.
… Like everyone else stuck in the pandemic vortex, South & Spirit had to find a way to perform without the benefit of a live audience.
The group will present its first virtual concert, called “Thankful.”
Guaranteed to delight its audience just as it does the 84 choir members who bravely jumped into the virtual realm, this true multigenerational performance choir ranges in age from 8 to 80-plus. The concert spotlights songs of every genre and era, from Regney’s majestic “Do You Hear What I Hear” to Delanoy’s stunning setting of the folk “Shalom Chaverim,” and then straight onto classic Broadway with “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”
Dashing its way into the coolest edge of pop with the Pentatonix’s “White Winter Hymnal,” the program features enlivening crowd-pleasers like Dr. Seuss’ iconic “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Jingle Bells,” not to mention a visit from Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and even Granny Norma from “The Lorax.”
The concert will be airing On Demand from Dec. 26-Jan. 2. Tickets are $10.
Please visit https://www.soundandspirit.net/tickets to learn more about streaming the concert and to purchase tickets.
And just beyond:
…Come to “Coffee with a Purpose” on Mondays from 9-11 a.m. at the Common Street Spiritual Center. Have coffee, get social and discuss local issues. For details, email Pat Conaway at [email protected] For the time being, meetings are being conducted via Zoom.
… Happy New Year, everyone!
… The Natick Catholic Community invites you to Pause for Prayer, a 10-minute prayer service via Zoom on Tuesdays at 7 a.m. Whether you need a moment of peace or are looking to build your prayer practice, come pray with us. You’ll submit your special intentions via the Chat function, hear a Scripture reading, a reflection based on the reading, and enjoy a minute of silence. You can join with your camera on or just listen in! Log in using this same Zoom link every week.
Meeting ID: 898 8340 6326
The link can also be found on the NCC website at https://www.natickcatholic.org/140
… Plans are in the works for a “Redhawk Walk” from Jan. 25-31 in downtown Natick. It will be an opportunity for Natick High students to showcase their talents. Details to be announced.
Have something for the column? Email me at [email protected], or call 781-433-8226.