TIPS FROM THE CORNER TABLE
And the Winner Is ...
On November 19, the Friends of the Prospect Library held a drawing for the beautiful Thanksgiving basket that was on display in front of the circulation desk at the library. The lucky winner is Maria DiGennaro of Cook Road in Prospect.
The picture shows the basket being received by her husband, Peter. The DiGennaro’s were surprised to find that it was not just a pretty basket. It included gift certificates for a turkey of their choice from Oliver’s Supermarket, a holiday ice cream creation from The Big Dipper Ice Cream Parlor, and a one of a kind centerpiece for their holiday table, hand-crafted and donated by Margot’s Flowers.
The basket also included gravy, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cookie mix, pumpkin pie & crust mix, coffee, hot cider, holiday decorations and, of course, a novel to enjoy while relaxing after enjoying their dinner.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this fundraiser. All proceeds from the sale of tickets go to fund essential library programs for adults and children year ‘round. And a very special thanks go out to our business partners, the library staff, and all of our dedicated volunteers.
Check out the Friends of the Library ad in this paper on page 17. It includes information and a membership form for individuals and businesses. Please consider becoming a part of this vital group and the important programs we support. We’d love to see you at our next meeting, on Wednesday, December 7 at 3:30 p.m. at the library.
Hello there! Your local restaurateurs here, Larry and Carla Erickson of Jesse Camille’s Restaurant in Naugatuck and Tavern 1757 of Seymour, providing you with foodie tips and wine lines, travel tales and suggested ales from The Corner Table which we hope you will savor, sip and find satisfactory to your palate!
Silent Night, Holy Night?
I admit it. I am as guilty as every Millenial and teenager out there. Words and symbols have replaced my voice. The days of picking up the telephone and dialing for an audible greeting followed by a spoken exchange of conversation have waned. Now, I can get it all done with an upward-pointing thumb or a frowning yellow emoji, without ever uttering a sound.
I ponder why this finger-tapping form of exchange has become so superior. For one thing, it is lightening quick. During the time it takes for three rings of a traditional telephone, I’ve already received the specials from our chef, replied to a student’s question, confirmed a meeting with my client, and alerted my assistant to finalize a document that I need by noon. All by text.
But although expeditious in some ways, auto-correct and thick thumbs can actually make the process very frustrating. I often find myself retyping the same word over three times attempting to reverse the erroneous auto-correct, yet I still do it. And honestly, texting can be perilous. It’s extraordinarily dangerous to text while driving, yet as I follow behind a swerving car on the road, I know it happens.
And another thing, texting is like learning a foreign language. At first, I was taken aback when a colleague ended his message with LOL. My eyes popped out and I blushed. Lots of love? I hardly know him?! How awkward! But not to be outdone, I reply “Well thanks friend” in a similar abbreviated form. Unfortunately, WTF doesn’t translate to exactly that response in text lingo.
So, what makes texting so appealing when it is fraught with perilous communication pitfalls and misunderstandings? For me, it is the silence. It is the ability to engage in a conversation with a person while simultaneously listening in on a group conference call or watching a movie. I can carry on two, three, even four conversations at once, without offending any of the participants because none of them know that I am not paying sole attention to any one of them! Texting allows me to convey a message to another person in a place where an audible conversation would be impossible or inappropriate, such as at a rock concert, or a noisy bar, or in a courtroom after the judge enters. I love that I can share secrets after “lights out” with my son at camp, or continue a conversation with mydaughter at college when her roommate is asleep. And nothing beats the ability to stay in my warm bed at 6 a.m., yet still wake up my high schooler and 8th grader in time to catch the bus.
Sometimes, texting can provide for a connection where one would not have otherwise flourished. Like my 84-year-old mother, for instance. Now that she has a smart phone, she often sends her grandchildren a quick text or emoji, and they happily respond, thrilled that their “G” can “speak” their language. While you hear many complaints that cell phones isolate people, destroy traditional conversation and have turned our children into zombies, we must acknowledge that online communication has fostered new forms of exchange and dialogue that has bridged the gaps between generations, across nations, and it has changed the way we access information. Gone are the days of encyclopedias, and even Region 16 is providing ninth and tenth graders with Chrome Books in lieu of text books!
Being an attorney means that I am often bombarded all week with multiple verbal exchanges and conversations. And when the law office work day ends, the verbal exchanges continue on Town Council and town committees, and clients continue to call, even after 5 p.m.
Same thing with my husband. In the restaurant, it is 24/7 talk. Typically, at the end of a long day, silence is our only solace. My children will tell you that during dinner, we bark out orders to turn off the television volume or lower the music, we admonish them to keep the conversation at the table to a quiet lull, and we sneer at them when laughter erupts. (You know you are on sensory overload when even your children’s giggles annoy you!) When the work day doesn’t end, texting provides a non-auditory option to listen and answer without the talk.
However, the 24/7 accessibility of texting completely irritates me. Nothing is worse than a frivolous 6 a.m. “bing” on a drowsy Sunday morning that eradicates the hope for any further sleep. And nothing is more disconcerting than the parade of vibrations that occur when a text is not immediately answered. An unreturned text can cause inconsolable worry. Sometimes, texting actually doesn’t solve the problem, but only perpetuates one.
Now, in addition to texting, there are other forms of non-verbal exchange contained in the broader category of what I call “silent communication,” including email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Through these vehicles, we communicate regularly with people in a non-auditory format. On a positive note, they provide an opportunity to foster relationships and dialogue where one might have been limited due to lack of time, opportunity or transportation. On a negative note, they can be misused as a platform for bullying, for exploitation and to influence others.
Much to my dismay, my children are obsessed with Snapchat. There are no words, just photos. My children tell me they prefer Snapchat as their form of “silent communication” because “they don’t have to ask, because they can see.” A photo fanatic, I agree with that logic, as I constantly snap photos to memorialize all that my eyes see and all that my heart feels, because I want to remember. But gosh darn it, snapping a thousand selfies isn’t nostalgia, it’s flat out narcissism!
While many of us utilize texting and social media as a positive form of communication, the world has latched on to this “silent communication” venue and suckles it like a nursing baby.
I don’t have a Twitter account, but after this presidential campaign, we all know that Donald Trump does. Trump’s Twitters were the topic of every news feature, as were the replies of Hillary Clinton. Before this campaign, I never really paid too much attention to Twitter, and I didn’t realize that even President Obama has a Twitter account. These quick, to-the-point, online posts have become a consistent way for leaders to communicate to the general public, but like all communication that is one-sided and lacking personal exchange, it should be used with caution to avoid misunderstanding. An effective leader must use communication venues that foster compromise and unity, dialogue and exchange, rather than confusion and dissension.
A few years ago, restaurants attempted to ban cell phone use in their dining rooms claiming it was “disruptive” to other patrons, but this proved to be an unpopular mission. While hoping to inspire “etiquette” by limiting the use of cell phones in their dining rooms, restaurants quickly realized this could very well kill their restaurant popularity and reduce support by cell phone-dependent clientele. Patrons who rely on their cell phones to consummate business transactions or who rely on their cell phone for emergency contact rejected the proposition, and many consumers who rely on the cell phone as a form of entertainment or distraction for their children were unable to “eat out.”
Rather than perpetuate a losing battle, many restaurants changed their position to permit cell phone use in their dining rooms, and today, many actually encourage it by offering patrons a discount or complimentary appetizer for “checking in” at their business or for posting “foodie photos” of their menu items online. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, and use ‘em to your advantage, I guess.
But while online media has proven an invaluable form of advertising for many businesses, it strikes with a double-edged sword. Just as many businesses profit from posts by patrons who laud their experience, many businesses are left without appropriate recourse for those patrons who criticize them. If the intention of a patron is to communicate a problem with the hope of rectifying it, certainly the better form of communication would be to discuss their complaint directly with the business or the manager, as that would likely result in immediate and personalized correction.
Most businesses pride themselves on providing customers with 100% satisfaction and want to ensure a customer comes back, and online complaints deprive both parties involved of agreeable resolution. I am not sure what motivates a person to complain on social media, but my recommendation is to avoid it and to provide the business owner the chance to make it right, and avoid the post that only serves to unfairly hurt your local businesses and your relationship with your community.
All of us at Jesse Camille’s Restaurant are wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! We invite you to embrace “old fashioned” conversation with your family and friends in our festively decorated dining rooms, by the crackling fire of our traditional wood-burning
This Fall has been a time of transition at St. Anthony Church.
In early October, Fr. Mark Suslenko was reassigned from the Parish. On October 24, Fr. Grzegorz (Gregory) Jaworowski began his position as new Pastoral Leader (Administrator) of the Parish. Prior to this Fr. Gregory was the Pastor of St. Jude Church in Derby. Fr. Gregory is acclamating himself to Prospect and beginning to assess the needs of the parish.
Fr. Gregory’s spiritual formation began with his very religious family in Szczuczyn, Poland, where he was born. His family all still live in Europe. His four brothers, one sister, five nieces and four nephews all live in Poland and Berlin.
His vocation began at a young age and after high school he entered the NOMZA Seminary. After six years, he received his Master’s in theology from the Catholic University in Lublin, Poland and was ordained a priest in 1994. Shortly after becoming a priest in Poland, he relocated to France where they had a need for Pastoral leadership.
Father Gregory was fortunate to meet Pope John Paul, also a native son of Poland. He describes his meeting as an amazing, once in a lifetime event where he received a blessing from the now St. John Paul “that will stay with me my whole life.”
Fr. Gregory served 11 years in the Archdioceses of Sens and Auxerre, France where he was immediately happy with the joyful nature of the parishioners and was very happy to be their priest. Over the 11 years, he was Pastor of over 17 churches and had to split his time in several locations. He enjoyed the strong community of people who were always socializing and enjoying life! He always liked improving parishes and building the community in all the parishes.
He then transferred to the United States where he served at parishes in Bristol and Manchester before he was assigned Pastor of St. Jude Church in Derby, where he had been for the last five years.
Fr. Gregory is very positive about his new assignment at St. Anthony. He would like to continue to build a family and a community within the Parish. He would like us to pray together, but also have a good time together as a parish family.
“To be a Pastor is to care for and pray for the people … it is consecration and administration.” There are many components to running this large parish. When asked what fortifies his faith while supporting so many, Fr. Gregory replied “Perseverance gives me strength, always striving to remain close to Jesus by praying and the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Before, I always say the prayer to St. Jude and now I add St. Anthony to remain close to Jesus.”
He refers to this quote by Mother Teresa to help guide him at times, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
Fr. Gregory’s favorite holiday is Christmas because we celebrate Christ’s birth with wonderful music and decoration. Easter is also very important because through the Triduum we live more deeply in our faith. During the three-day period of prayer, people take more time to reflect on Christ’s journey.
In his free time, Fr. Gregory likes to ski and swim; he enjoys nature, walking and being outside. He is also looking forward to discovering the area around St. Anthony and Prospect!
A Friend Remembered
On Saturday, November 19, a graveside service of interment was conducted at Prospect Cemetery for William Frederick “Bill” Hewitt.
The Reverend Stanley E. Youngberg officiated at the ceremony which was held with full military honors.
Bill Hewitt was a dynamic individual who lived in Prospect for over 50 years before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. He was an intimate part of the fabric of Prospect, serving as a member of the first Town Council in Prospect. He also was involved in numerous activities in town and in sports of all types.
He grew up in a remote section of Hamden and actually went to a one-room school for a period of time. At Hamden High School, he played on the State Champion Hockey Team. Following high school, he joined the United States Army and was stationed in Germany as an electronics specialist.
While in Germany, he met a lovely German gal named Maria and soon they were a couple and journeyed everywhere together whenever he could get time off. Her family was very friendly to the young American and her father even wanted Bill to join the family construction firm after his discharge.
The pull of the American shores proved too much, however, and when they were married, they came back home. He soon enrolled at Quinnipiac University and worked part-time. Following graduation, they looked around for a building site and found an ideal one on Hemlock Drive in Prospect.
He soon went to work in the medical supply field and progressed rapidly up the line to a major position in the firm. The Hewitt family assimilated quite readily into various activities in town and Maria joined a Runners Club and became active in church also.
When Lil and I met the Hewitts, it was 1967 and their son Billy and my oldest boy Larry were on the same team and in the same grade at school. We went to the Little League games and soon Lil and Maria became fast friends.
When we started the Football Association, Maria, Lillian and Rose Sabo made cupcakes and coffee and sold them at the games. They soon outgrew the card table; so Dick Sabo, Don Shea, Ralph Rinaldi, Bill and I teamed up to buy an old van which we refurbished as a mobile canteen.
I was the Recreation Director for Prospect then and Bill and I came up with the idea for a Hockey Club in town. Soon we had regular practices and games which we played at the Cheshire rink. We did our share of breaking up hockey fights, carting play-
ers off to St. Mary’s for stitches, etc.
During this time, the Hewitts became regular visitors to the Gomez home and we spent every Sunday and every holiday together. We went on family hikes and enjoyed many good times together. Bill also used to visit Dunkin’ Donuts almost every day and was considered a regular there.
In time, all of the offspring went off to school and moved away, but still returned for the holidays. By that time, Spencer, their youngest son, had a position at a large hospital in Charlotte.
We were all saddened when the Hewitts decided to move close to Spencer and after Lillian passed, we kept in touch by phone and letter.
I was shocked to learn of Bill’s passing after a brief illness. He was one who never even complained about a headache. Bill, the indestructible, was gone. I’m going to miss him and I’m going to miss a time we all shared together back when the world was young.
New Pastoral Leader St. Anthony Church
The Prospect we all love
Well, this is definitely one of those months when we should all be happy and grateful for what we have and who we are. So I’ll tell you right now that this is a “good news” article.
I’m grateful for family. I have a wonderful husband who does so much for me at home, picking up the slack that I’m not able to do when I’m working. He is definitely a keeper; love that man!
I’m grateful to have my mom, who, at 93 years of age, is still sharp as a tack living with the other residents at Regal Care on Summit Road. I’m grateful for the staff at the facility who take care of her and always make her feel young.
I’m grateful for my sister who has five sons. Having no children of my own, I’m counting on at least one of them to take care of me in my old age! Thanks, Deb!
I’m grateful to my co-workers at The Prospect Pages. My good friend Nanette Commendatore and I have been working together for over 21 years and we can basically finish each other’s sentences; Tracy Brody is not only my neighbor and friend, but has been my graphics designer for years now. My bookkeeper, Robbin, has been doing such a great job with finances, I’m thrilled to hand that job over to her!
I’m grateful for those who contribute monthly news and articles, including Joseph Gomez, George Hughes, Katie Minutillo, Carla Erickson, Martine Scott, and Dawn Krisavage. They have contributed wonderful articles that just add more interest to our town paper.
I’m grateful for faithful friends. We all go through life knowing who we can count on and who our true friends are. I’ve been blessed to have these people in my life. To not have friends is a true tragedy.
I’m grateful to live in a town where we can be thankful for what we have. I consider this one of those true small town America places that are slowly dwindling out of sight. But we are a strong town and our citizens are always ready to help whenever and wherever they can.
And I’m so grateful that I have such dedicated advertisers and readers who count on me and my crew to bring the monthly news to all of the wonderful citizens in the “Best Small Town in Connecticut!”
Merry Christmas to everyone!
Trends and habits are queer things. Sometimes I wonder how they actually catch on. I mean obviously someone gets an idea, or without much thought or care says or does something that someone else sees, and thinks, “Hey I want to do that too.” Fashion trends are easy for me to grasp. People rush to get the style that will make them “look” like the model displaying the clothing. To me this is about wanting to feel good, trying to be happy.
There are other trends that I am sure bring joy and confidence to people, but they make me just kind of say, “why?” For instance, flourescent colored hair. I love the colors, but I can’t help thinking of my little pony dolls when I see someone with pink or purple hair. But hey, they probably don’t understand why I like to wear plaid. So it’s all good; no one is getting hurt, happy, happy, joy, joy, to each his own.
I’ve noticed that there seems to be a new trend growing in our culture. Offense. This is one I really don’t get. Why is it cool to always be offended? Why do people want to be angry? Eaves-drop a little. Pick any conversation you want. You’ll notice how many people seem to be offended by something regardless of its triviality.
People are offended when someone wishes them a happy holiday that they don’t celebrate. How about thinking, “How nice that they would wish me happiness from something that brings them great joy.” Here’s one that really gets me, women who get offended if a man holds open a door. “I am capable of doing it myself.” Well, of course you are sweetheart, but kindness is a trend that I hope never goes out of style. When a man holds a door open for me I like to view it as his recognition to how important women are in our world, and its a small gesture to say thank you for all we do.
What really gets under my craw are people who get offended because they don’t get their own way.There is a breath mint commercial where a young lady is in a job interview and requests three weeks vacation; she is told, “two is standard.” Her expression is one I see in real life before someone stomps their feet and starts moaning, demanding and arguing with all the reasoning of a three-year-old. In the commercial she takes a breath mint and nuzzles a unicorn stating, “I’m not ordinary.” Well, most of us are “ordinary” people, so stop trying to pick a fight just because you don’t get what you want.
Now the crème de la crème, is when someone asks me my opinion and then gets offended because it’s not the same as theirs. If I don’t agree with you it’s just that. I stated my opinion, it is not a judgment of you. I’m pleased that there are views different than mine, it broadens my horizon. However, when you turn my personal opinion into an argument of my intelligence, knowledge or judgment, it offends me. ©11/19/2016MTS