The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 12, 2001



Of pigs, peppers and public schools

What a brilliant idea the Pig 'n Pepper Harvest Festival is great food, grand entertainment for young and old alike and, best of all, money collected to support our schools, coming mostly out of the pockets of out-of-towners. The festival is ten years old this October (the first P 'n P was a one-day event, held on a Sunday in October, 1991) and, according to Carlisle Education Foundation president Jeff Brown, has managed to raise over $400,000 in the last decade for the Carlisle Schools. This is truly a remarkable feat.

And feat it is, have no doubt. The sweat work required to put this event on comes from the generosity of a multitude of local volunteers. These people, and their counterparts in Westford, who now share the responsibility with Carlisle for putting on the festival, deserve our loudest and heartfelt thanks. Something that has so benefited our schools hasn't cost us one tax dollar when was the last time you heard that statement?

Jeff Brown has stated his concern for the future of the Pig 'n Pepper Festival. Volunteerism seems to be on the decline and the festival has been hard-pressed to fill its needs over the past few years. This event benefits every child in the Carlisle Schools. Wouldn't it be heartening to see every Carlisle School parent take some small part in next year's Pig 'n Pepper?


Domestic archaeology

In transition from one job to another, I am currently enjoying several weeks of "vacation." Of course, with the boys back to school and my wife at work I can't really travel anywhere exotic (even if I were otherwise inclined to fly somewhere). Instead, I am using my unaccustomed free time to address some of the routine necessities I so often neglect. For example, I have managed this year, for the first time ever, to keep pace with the torrent of scheduling notices we received for events related to the new school year. I have also been able to attend the boys' cross-country meets, and to accompany them on their medical appointments. My primary ambition, though, is to establish some degree of order in those darkest corners of our household: my study, the basement storage room and (dare I say it?) the garage.

I am one of those people who prefers order to chaos. That doesn't mean I am as organized as I would like just that my failure to stay organized bothers me. Over the years I have managed from time to time to triage various areas of our home that seem to serve as magnets for disorder the pantry, the linen closet, that drawer in the kitchen. Each has returned to form within a short time, but the process of conquest was nonetheless satisfying. The scale of those efforts, though, is inconsequential in comparison to the project I have now undertaken.

The work itself is not so physically taxing, but as I sift through the detritus of my household I am continually tugged from one set of memories to another. In my study, I came across a file folder of letters I received from my sister during her time, a dozen years ago, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. Another folder held letters I had begun to write while in law school, but never finished or mailed. There are boxes of pictures from when the boys were little, and boxes of toys and books they've outgrown.

There are also boxes of stuff of indescribable irrelevance. The only possible explanation for the fact that we moved some of this nonsense from our last house (and the one before that) is that we were too busy to sort through it then. I am grateful for the Transfer Station, and even more grateful that I pay by the year and not by the trip. As a public service, I warn anyone reading this essay to avoid the swap shop for the next few weeks, lest you clutter your own dark areas with my certified junk.

Falling as it does during this transition from one job to another, and from summer into fall, my activity reminds me once again of the transitory nature of my perspective. The law books and class notes that so completely defined my life at an earlier time now rest quietly beneath the crib toys and tippy cups that marked another. As I dig through the layers of my own archaeological site, I can only wonder what I will think in another twenty years, should I have occasion to uncover the relics of my present existence


2001 The Carlisle Mosquito