’Twas three weeks after Christmas, my tree’s water tray in drought, yet the decorations are still hung at the old King house.

I’m willing to bet that there are some die-hards among us that embrace the season for as long as the needles adhere to the branches. I’ve even heard as trees being erected in living rooms after Halloween that remain up for Valentine’s Day for one reason or another.

My reason for waiting even a week post-new year was in two parts: 1) Sheer laziness and 2) To devise a strategy for storage that would make it difficult for the most scroogiest of house cats to find yet another way to knock the box of Christmas decorations tumbling to the basement floor.

Last year’s storage failure resulted in the destruction of some ornaments and a few tree bulbs as the contemptible cat mysteriously figured a way to bat his little paws enough to knock the 15 pound box off a 7 foot shelf. We’ll find out in roughly 11 months if my latest tactics are sufficient to keep the little trinkets in one piece.

The town office has been hard at work hammering out budgets that will take us into the new fiscal year. The selectmen and the advisory budget committee have been pouring through spreadsheets and making adjustments as necessary, in order to compile the numbers that work in the best interest of the tax payer.

Final drafts are nearing the print date, and soon, the townsfolk will gather at the public hearing, ahead of town meeting that is looming just a mere 60 plus days away. The filing period for those that want to jump into the sometimes thankless, yet critical role of public service and town government is just ahead. If you’re interested in some of the many offices open, the filing period will be open from Jan. 22 through Jan. 31.

Down the road at the school, the advisory budget committee and the school board are still hard at work hammering out a budget that fits the needs of the school. Budgets understandably become a palpable subject when discussing both the needs of children and the needs of the taxpayer.

Everyone is encouraged to be a part of the discussion as we come to the annual deliberative session on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. Last year, the town packed the deliberative session of the school budget. Here’s hoping we can repeat the attendance this year.

While we’re talking town hall, allow me to begin to be the proverbial flea on the dog’s back for a moment. Yes, you guessed it, it’s time to begin that yearly tradition of replacing the tag on fido’s collar yet again.

Registering your dog at the town office before April lands you in the good graces of the town clerk’s office. The more of us that cooperate with the law, the less we’ll have to see the police cruiser going door to door like the most unwelcome kind of delivery truck, handing out the most unwelcome of packages, the dreaded dog summons. If your pooch moved away, passed away or ran away, please give the town hall a call to let them know.

Escape the winter’s cold for a while at the library this month The Friends of Madison Library host an evening with local historian Bob Cottrell on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Chick Room.

This program focuses on the many ways New Englanders balanced work and play during the winter over the years and includes such topics as sleigh rides, ice harvesting, snow rollers, snow mobiles, winter logging, ice climbing and snow shoeing.

Now that things around town have found their seasonal blanket of snow and ice, folks are headed to the pile of sand behind the fire station, to collect a cache of grit. Unfortunately, we’ve received reports of some not playing by the rules.

For a recap, the rule is simple: If you own or rent a home here in town, you’re welcome to come collect some sand to help avoid a nasty bump about the noggin. If you are a contractor (meaning, if you are putting sand in your truck to deliver to customers), you are not allowed to use the pile. It’s a pretty simple rule that the police department will be left to enforce.

Breaking the rule will likely result in the forfeit of use of the sand pile as well as some money in the wallet. It’s certainly not what the police want to be watching for, and for once, when the officers field the question of “don’t you have anything better to do?” The answer will be a determinate, “Yes.”

Bob King can be contacted at rjking203@outlook.com.

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