This and that…
Just some random thoughts from the notes I’ve jotted down over the past week.
The list isn’t as long as I would like so many may applaud the brevity of this week’s piece. You see, I had to take a break from note-taking while recovering from a back injury suffered assisting the Easter Bunny Sunday morning. You see, I decided to give him a hand over at Donna’s house, which as far as Easter egg hiding goes, was unchartered territory for me. Because I’ve always taken the challenge of hiding these eggs quite seriously, when I discover a great new nook, hole in a tree, crack in a bush or divot in the grass &tstr; I feel compelled to make sure I study the location carefully and not just toss the plastic egg in there casually. I believe the egg must protrude in exactly a certain way as to be cleverly hidden but at the same time not impossible to find. However, when you repeat that bending motion several hundred times in the space of an hour &tstr; including the times you have to go back down to grab the candy which escaped the plastic egg which wouldn’t close properly and resist the temptation to gobble it up &tstr; the back begins to roar.
Of course this year also presented another problem. With temperatures quickly shooting up toward 70 on this unseasonably warm Easter morning, those tasty treats inside the eggs not in well-shaded areas (for the really young ones) began a rapid melt. My brilliant solution was to grab all the baskets following the hunt and hurl them into the chest freezer so that all the candy could be brought back to life. Well I am sure many of you know how that goes…the chocolate soon looks like sculpted balloon animals still inside the wrapper. Oh well, at least a few of them looked like bunnies…
Tuesday night we had a reporter covering the community meeting at the fire hall, organized by the mayor, to discuss ongoing concerns about loitering in the area of the new plaza at the train station/visitor’s center. As pointed out last year when the topic was first broached, this is a tricky situation without easy solutions.
Just about everyone who liked to be out and about as a kid, teen or young adult understands the need to have a place to hang out. So many times we went on that search and truth be told, it never stayed the same place for long (with the exception of one extra special secret spot). This was due to the fact that having large groups of young people congregating in one spot just isn’t generally accepted. For many years when we were young, the spots were the Cloister Shopping Center, then the parking lots around the pool and teen center (when you could loop), the Rec parking lot, the Green Dragon, a farmer’s field, and a house or two where the parents went away a lot. We really didn’t care &tstr; we just wanted to hang out together and have some laughs and try to impress the girls.
Sometimes it didn’t matter how well-behaved we were, they just didn’t want us there. Other times, if we were careful not to litter, be too loud, crank up stereos too much, avoid fighting or hassling others &tstr; we found that we were often left alone to have fun.
One of our former employees who has worked with young people quite a bit over the years, says she has tried to express some of these thoughts to those who hang out downtown and has definitely had some success with that. While that certainly is positive and encouraging, it would be good if a community approach can be taken and that is what is currently being explored. Stay tuned.
Earlier Tuesday, I was on hand to witness something pretty neat unfolding at the Ephrata Middle School track &tstr; and I’m not talking about that nasty storm we just missed around 6:30 or so.
In the long wonderful history of the Ephrata-Cocalico rivalry, there has not been a great deal of time spent talking about the Mounts and Eagles battling it out in track and field. So while football and basketball has usually grabbed the headlines over time, there indeed was a lot of buzz going around the EHS track Tuesday. On one hand, you had two very evenly-matched boys teams battling it out with literally inches and seconds separating them. Next you had the star power of Cocalico’s Jhett Janis and Emily Stauffer, who are among the best in the nation at what they do with a javelin and a shot put. And finally, you had an Ephrata girls team which, with a victory against a talented Lady Eagles squad, could clinch its third consecutive Section Two title.
From my vantage point, I saw many cool things happen yesterday &tstr; more in fact, than I can list here. There were so many amazing performances including four-event winners Alec Whitsett for the Cocalico boys, Alex Smith for the Ephrata boys and Kelly Liebl for the Ephrata girls; three-event winners Mark Ulysse for Cocalico boys, Taylor Mahlandt for the Ephrata girls and Megan Gingrich for the Cocalico girls; and two-event winners Arion Domonique for the Cocalico boys, Mark Njenga for the Ephrata boys, and Crystal Hartman for the Ephrata girls. But gaining nearly as much chatter around the track yesterday were two one-event winners for the Eagles &tstr; Stauffer and Janis. Though I did not witness either of their feats, nearly everyone was talking about Stauffer throwing the shot put with her opposite hand (she had recent surgery to her right throwing shoulder) and winning the event with a throw over 33 feet &tstr; not far from being an honor roll distance. Amazing. Amazing also describes the abilities of Janis, who will be taking his talents to the University of Oregon next fall. Janis uncorked a throw of over 203 feet. To put that in perspective for the non-track folks…the throws start from just to the left of the track bleachers at EMS. Janis’ throw was not that far from reaching the fence at the end of the field just above the middle school building. You almost have to wonder if with a really strong wind he could have put one on the roof?
It was indeed a great day. In addition to being a very competitive battle, it was, as one coach said, a very friendly rivalry Tuesday.
As we prepare to enjoy Ephrata High School’s production of the classic “Sound of Music” this weekend, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate all those involved with Theater 528 (Ephrata Intermediate and Middle schools “fifth to eighth” graders) and their production of Fame.
Teacher Dan Clark has shown a great ability to blend students with such diverse maturity levels in the group’s shows. These ages in a young person’s development can be tricky to begin with before adding in all the courage and ability needed to stand up in front of hundreds, memorizing lines and belting out songs with voices that are undergoing almost weekly changes. Hats off for just a tremendous performance.
And best of luck to Irving Gonzalez, his staff and all the students who have been putting in the long hours getting ready for the epic Rodgers and Hammerstein production. Start humming, whistling and singing those classic tunes now to get ready &tstr; they are sure to stay in your head for days after. Enjoy.