Community (2)

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    Hey, did I ever tell you how much I love people?

    I know, I know . . . you TOTALLY can not tell that, can you? Not from the way I treat them.

    In spite of appearances, though, I really do love them.

    Vera Johnson of Village Green Nursery is one of the reasons why.


    Vera Johnson (Yay!)


    I met Vera for the first time just recently, after hearing good reports about her for years.

    It was a drizzly October afternoon. It was a Sunday I think. Earlier in the week Vera had put out a notice for people to bring their apples round for squeezing in her “new” cider press. Trouble is, the cider press, which was quite clunky and ancient to begin with, had already broken down on her. In better times, this beast was only capable of pressing a few apples at a time anyway, and then only with the most Herculean effort. But now? Pshhh! Not even!

    So it was really starting to look like poor Vera had overbid her hand on the cider thing. Instead of doing people a good turn, as she’d hoped, she was now in danger of causing some kind of apple-related disturbance in the community.

    I was one of the first people to stop by with apples that day, and Vera intercepted me in the parking lot with a worried look on her face. She was thinking about calling off the cider pressing, she told me, because her press was kaput and she didn’t know how to get it working.

    “Oh, that’s all right,” I chirped, yanking the bushel basket out the trunk of my car. “I’ve only got a few here.”

    She smiled at me and shrugged disarmingly, and I knew right then that we were gonna hit it off . . .

    [To Be Continued]



    I’ve met Vera, since I have a black thumb, but I’m sure she doesn’t remember me.

    Because of what I do, both professionally and as a hobby, “what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career.” In fixing and restoring old equipment. The oldest tool in my working collection was made in the late 1700’s.

    So, I’m on pins and needles. Did the press get fixed? I’m in no position to help right now, but I could probably help in the future.

    Please, do continue!



    What do you think of when I say “charisma”?

    A TV celebrity perhaps?

    A political leader?

    That high school teacher everyone loved?

    Certainly that’s one kind of charisma, that magnetic personality and charm stuff. But there’s a whole other kind out there, as well. One you might not have noticed in operation, because it’s so subtle.

    A person with this other kind of charisma is magnetic to be sure. She draws people in, too. Only not to herself. To each other.

    That’s the kind of person who builds community.

    That’s the kind of person who IS community.

    This photo is obviously posed. I give myself a C- for it.

    Fortunately, I have a magic camera which compensates for my many shortcomings as a photographer. Its lens perceives the beauty in every little design . . .

    And design in every bit of beauty.



    This girl was so well behaved and intelligent, it was unsettling. You’d expect a child this age to be whining, jumping on the furniture, and generally making a terror of herself, but this kid was sitting quietly at a picnic table, trying to scoop out the guts of a pumpkin without making a mess. (!)

    Every once in a while, she would say something like, “Oh dear! I seem to have dirtied the tablecloth.” or “Mother, may I have a glass of juice now, please?”

    Later I noticed her scribbling something on a napkin, but I couldn’t figure out what it was until her mom stopped by to offer some words of encouragement:

    Oh look, sweetie! You’ve made an octahedron. Why don’t you try a dodecahedron now?


    You know, I used to get bothered by little kids kicking my seat on airplanes, but I think I would prefer that to having to sit there and listen while some four-year-old drones on about particle physics.



    Vera is awesome!



    I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Vera for a couple years now… and I must concur w/ the sentiment here. She is wonderful, she is grounded, she is all about COMMUNITY. And her nursery? An oasis in the middle of our city. Cannot recommend a visit enough (any time of year). How nice to see a thread about one of our neighbors (and neighborhood treasures). Here’s to GOOD and HAPPY news this year. Love you Vera!



    Hey! Do you know what’s even better than a puppy for meeting interesting people? A camera.

    That’s right: A camera!

    Sure, lots of people will stop and talk to you if you’ve got a puppy. But think about it: Are these people really interested in you? Or are they merely pretending to be interested, just so they can pet the puppy?

    Uh-huh . . .

    On the other hand, if you carry a camera around with you, people will not only stop and talk, they will do whatever you tell them to.



    Your camera doesn’t actually have to work. However, a working camera is better, because then you can take pictures to “preserve the moment.”

    Note: Do not try to substitute a phone here, because any fool knows the difference between a telephone and a camera.

    To lighten the mood, whenever you take a picture you can say something like: “Ha ha! Captured your soul.”

    Just don’t overplay that.

    Oh! And it helps if you occasionally let slip something about being a writer for a famous blog.

    But don’t overplay that either. Or one day you might get a tap on the shoulder from a couple guys in trenchcoats.

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