The Friends of Madison Library will be hosting a New Hampshire Humanities program, “New England Lighthouses and the People Who Kept Them,” presented by Jeremy D’Entremont on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Everyone knows that there’s “something about lighthouses” that gives them broad appeal, but their vital role in our history and culture is little appreciated. Our early nation was built on maritime economy, and lighthouses were part of the system that made that possible. Due to automation, traditional lighthouse keeping is a way of life that has faded into the past. D’Entremont tells the history of New England’s historic and picturesque lighthouses primarily focusing on the colorful and dramatic stories of lighthouse keepers and their families. Register at madisonlibrary-nh.org for the Zoom link.

There was a brief stand-off between my 11-year-old curmudgeon of a Bernese mountain dog, Griffin, and me recently. He has a sort of attitude about him sometimes that can be best-described as passive-aggressive.

If I slight him by not taking him to the transfer station, even though he witnessed me load it up the car with trash, I will return home to find a shoe or a slipper upon his dog bed. Not chewed up, but there to let me know he did it and that he could have chewed it. That’s just how he is. He demands things in his own silent way, and if you neglect the signs, you pay for it in some annoying way.

We’ve learned over the years not to leave cookies, (or his personal favorite, banana bread), anywhere upon a counter top where his large stature could reach. We’ve had to close his access to a screened porch, where he recently removed and devoured pizza boxes, leaving behind a mess in the yard for me to pick up. He’s a gentle creature that won’t growl or bite, but will spite with the best of them.

The recent incident came a week before Christmas, where I entered the driveway without his express permission. Out from the behind the house he charged with his woof-motor in full action. I expected him to stop, I really did. It seems that he thought the exact same thing. My bumper and his forehead met briefly (at a crawl of a speed on my part, but half-throttle on his), and he retreated as fast as he came around. As I walked up on him quietly sputtering and calling him names, he came to me to welcome me home, perfectly unharmed. As much as I’d like to say that he learned his lesson, he indeed has not.

The selectmen and budget committee have been at it, tirelessly assembling, snipping, gluing and taping together the budget to be presented to the town in just a few short weeks. It is an effort that begins in September and lasts through town meeting. What will land on the warrant this year? Two police cruisers? A revamped and overhauled rescue truck? A new excavator and loader for the highway department? Well, yes. Looks that way. While it sounds daunting reading this in a column, and detached from explanation or financial implication, these are actually investments that intend to improve and smooth out long term financial impact.

While these articles will be decided upon at town meeting, discussion has already started about what Town Meeting will look like in these unprecedented, uncertain, trying, mask wearing, social distancing, times like these ( I think that’s most of the adjectives). Plans will be put forth, and I have every confidence in the governing boards that a meeting will go forward with as much normalcy as can be had.

If you have free time that you’d like to devote to becoming a selectmen, town clerk/tax collector, planning board member, library trustee, budget committee member or trust fund trustee, then you’re a rare sort with perhaps too much time with idle hands. I write this in jest, of course, but the filing season for these offices are upon us and begins Jan. 20. If you don’t throw your hat in to contest one of the sitting members by Jan. 29, then you’re likely out of luck for this year.

In these (see two paragraphs up for adjectives) days, gathering information for town columns is a tedious and often times difficult process. Thankfully, the new year brings with it nifty new things at the town offices that keep this keyboard ticking for a few more minutes.

Resident boat launch permits are in, and ready to be applied for your nautical adventures on Silver Lake. New dog tags are in, so, as your K-9 companion’s tag from last year is wearing out, come on in for a new one. If you’ve taken the pup, and absconded from the residency of town, contact the town office to be removed from the scrolls, and relieved of the legal requirement that deadlines in April.

As the days of January tick away, Silver Lake seems to be a stubborn holdout for the enjoyment of ice fishermen and skaters alike. The ol’ 6-mile pond hasn’t let us down all winter in recent memory, so, here’s hoping I’ll be able to grab ol’ Griffin and take him out to try for a trout. I better take him, my slippers are at stake.

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

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