The dog days of summer have arrived. The songs of parents and kids anticipating the first day of school were drowned out by the monotone buzz of the relentless cicada that refuses to allow one to sleep much past sunrise. The changing of the calendar reminds me to glance at the list of projects that I had assembled in the spring and was hell-bent on completing. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter, but the list isn’t.

One task that I did attempt was to remove a tree stump in the driveway, that YouTube assured me would be a menial task with the equipment I possess. As with most things tasks in my life, I underestimated the time, difficulty and motivation that were required to complete the removal.

I had been assured by a neighbor that there was no way I would remove it on my own. My own stubbornness be damned, I gave it my all, which included a few sessions of cussing. Thankfully, the neighbor arrived with his tractor, which plucked the stump from the earth easier than an apple from a tree. Turns out, there was, in fact, no way I would have removed it on my own. Thank goodness for the kindness of neighbors in this town.

It’s September, and that can only mean one thing … no, not back to school … Library Card Sign Up month, of course! Madison Library has entered into a NH Library challenge to see which library can sign up the most patrons and as I have told you in the past, there is a giant trophy I’d like to get my hands on. So, spread the word, tell your friends and neighbors about all the wonderful things a library card gives you access to: Cook Memorial, Conway Public and Jackson Public libraries, books, videos, music, computers and a telescope, just to name a few.

We are hosting a New Hampshire Humanities program, Gender 101, a presentation by Alex Myers on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the John F. Chick room. What is gender? Why does it matter? This program will explore the concept of gender identity, explain the differences between biological sex and gender, gender identity and gender expression, as well as gender and sexual orientation. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about transgender and non-binary identities. Free and open to the public.

We have a lot of book groups going on this month: The Madison Book Group is reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. for a discussion and light refreshments. Our One Book One Valley read is available to borrow. Come in and grab a copy of “Becoming Nicole,” by Amy Ellis Nutt and save the date of Oct. 24 because the author will be at Kennett High School.

Our Kids Book Club is reading “The Real Boy,” by Anne Ursu and will meet on Thursday, Sept. 19, after school. The Teen Book Club is reading “The Wee Free Men,” by Terry Pratchett and will meet Thursday, Sept. 26, at 5 p.m. With parental permission, the bus can drop off at Madison Library (for both Madison Elementary and Kennett Middle School). Snacks, your thoughts and fun activities, too! Come in and a pick up a book today.

Madison Library has a beautiful, huge blue spruce out front that would look magnificent with lights, so we are collecting donations for lights with the hopes of having our very own tree lighting during the holidays. We will also need help putting them up — please contact Sloane at (603) 367-8545 if you’d like to contribute.

Many of you have read about topics involving organ donation in my column. Just as important is a large contingent of folks that are able to donate blood. So, plan ahead: Friday, Oct. 4, will be the next Red Cross Blood drive sponsored by the Friends of Ray. It will run from noon- 5 pm at the Madison Elementary School. Go to redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment right away. We have this drive every year in memory of our friend Ray O’Brien.

Lastly, as school kicks off, remind yourself to grab that coffee early enough to take time on your morning drive. Kids will be out waiting for the bus, and nothing presents a more of an immediate danger than a careless or reckless driver. Officers will be out to keep an eye on things, but I think a little bit of extra care and preparation will be more effective. If not, the pink speed summons that may remind someone of both the coming foliage season as well as the speed limits, may be handed out.

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