This is the first full week of spring in Verona. We’ve had some spring-like weather prior the official beginning of the season. We’ve had some cold, blustery weather since the season started. (How many trash cans did you have to dodge in the street?) But this is the first full week of the season and for the most part the weather seems to be looking pretty good. Temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 40s and 50s this week. Maybe it’s time to take those winter coats to the dry cleaners! (Fingers crossed.)
Wednesday of this week, March 27, is also the second Verona Municipal Alliance Committee (VMAC) Family night of the school year. That means no homework, no meetings, etc. It’s free time for the family. For most of us it’s probably much needed!
I only have one kid and even that can be crazy when it comes to schedules. So I am grateful for this one evening where there is no need to rush anywhere. There is no “did you do your homework?” (And the inevitable double-checking because even if he said he did, did he really?) There is the opportunity to be calm and to relax a bit. (What a novelty!) It’s time to put down the phones and just be.
For most of us, it means having a family meal together. VMAC has put together a great list of places to eat in town that offer coupons. (There are three pages of VMAC coupons this year.) I don’t know if my family will dine out or not. (It tends to be a bit difficult with all my food allergies! Do you hear me, Verona restaurants? This is your opportunity to reassure me that your kitchen is a safe space and that your wait staff is well-educated in the allergy safety. Make me feel like I don’t need to have my EpiPen and Benadryl at the ready and I will be more than willing to give you a try.) I do know that I’ve been trying to get my son more involved with food preparation at home. (Helping out at the First Presbyterian’s monthly Sunday Supper program has definitely gotten him more comfortable in the kitchen.) Conversation with a teenager isn’t always easy, but things definitely lighten up when were are working together to make something to eat. (Now if I could just get him to get more involved with the cleaning up process!)
Dining out or eating in, this evening is the perfect time to focus on the importance of family and to practice the “art” of conversation. Put down the phones! I know it’s hard! But for this one meal, do it! Along with coupons, the VMAC flyer offers some suggestions for conversation starters. While not all might work for your family, one of them most likely will. (My personal favorite is “what is the strangest or funniest thing that happened to you today?”) And if for some reason none of those work, take a look at the coupons themselves and use that as a conversation starter: Is your favorite restaurant offering a discount? What restaurant has the best logo? Is there a restaurant that you would NEVER try and why not? Have you had any memorable experiences at any of these places? (Example: One of MY favorite places is The Towne Scoop and not just because of their ice cream. When my son was in the third grade he had to write a letter to a business and this was the place he chose. He’ll be going into high school next fall and the last time I looked, his letter was still framed and on the wall at The Towne Scoop.)
If the weather is as predicted, it will be a great night for some after dinner outdoor family activity. A walk around the neighborhood or even Verona Park is the perfect way to end the evening. Meet up with other families and burn off those calories that you have consumed. Check out the new life that is budding all around in Verona. The trees might not be in bloom yet, but you can find robins hopping around and crocuses starting to make their appearances.
Winter is over! Enjoy a lovely spring night on family night and ANY night!
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than five years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.