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Go swimming, have fun and recapture joy of summer

Hello neighbor.

Well, we’ve gotten a little relief this week from the really hot temperatures and humidity, but not much, in my opinion. I hope you are all out at our local beaches or in your swimming pools cooling off.

I drove by Lake Wyola and Lake Mattawa recently and watched young children splashing and having a great time. Those are the types of things that bring a smile to my face.

Last weekend, my family celebrated the Fourth of July at my sister’s house in Turners Falls. I haven’t been in a pool for I can’t tell you how many years, but I spent much of the day in hers, first with 23-month-old grandson Justin and then with 10-month-old twin grandsons Owen and Travis. I myself felt like a kid again.

I forgot how much fun it is to watch the joy on a child’s face when he or she discovers the water.

My nieces, 20-month-old Amelie and 22-month-old Lexi, and my 7-year-old nephew Thaddeus joined us, and there were a couple of other children in the pool at the time, so it was pretty crowded.

Surprisingly, there was no whining, no complaining, no irritability — just one big happy family having a good time together. And you know, I think the big kids, and when I say that I mean those over the age of 25, had the best time. My son-in-law Oliver discovered a Nerf squirt gun and, I can tell you, everyone was fair game. My son Dan looked like a prune when he got out of the pool, but said he didn’t care because he had the time of his life with the kids.

Let’s all learn from children and apply those lessons to everyday life.

We don’t have to tell a child how to have fun and enjoy life — the laughter of another child, getting hit with a water balloon or a splash of cool water in the face on a hot day bring so much joy to a child.

It should do our hearts good to see someone enjoying life as much as children do. It rejuvenates, even if just for a few minutes, and we could all use a little lift, especially when we’re hot and miserable.

So, get out there, even if you don’t have a child to bring along, and enjoy the county’s beaches, your pools, or a sprinkler you set up in your backyard.

And the next time you are out and about, watch a child, young or old, having a good time in the water. I promise you will leave feeling better than when you first got there.

OUR NEIGHBORS Janet Masucci, Karen Traub and Margaret Olin will be doing a fundraiser for the Greenfield Public Library on Monday at the library from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The massage therapists and bodyworkers are participating in the national event, “Every Body Deserves a Massage Week,” sponsored by Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals.

The three will offer mini sessions to raise donations that will benefit the library.

The event is open to the public, so just stop by the library, head downstairs to the meeting room, and receive an individual 15-minute bodywork sessions, including acupressure massage, craniosacral therapy and energy work.

What a great way to spend 15 minutes on a Monday.

NEW SALEM OLD HOME DAY, which will be July 20, is looking for cake bakers for its sixth annual Cake Walk. At the walk, bakers will present two cakes, one for sampling and one as a prize.

Interested tasters purchase tickets to sample cakes and for a chance to win their favorite. The baker with the most votes will receive a $75 gift certificate to the New Salem General Store on Route 202.

For more information, call Bonnie Stewart at 610-608-4891 by July 16 or email her at: nsoldhomeday@gmail.com.

CHAMPNEY’S RESTAURANT AND TAVERN at Deerfield Inn is having a buffet and silent auction on July 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter on Sandy Lane in Turners Falls. Tickets are $25 and are available at the inn on Main Street in Old Deerfield and at the shelter.

There will be contests and prizes and your dog is welcome to enjoy the night out, as well, for an additional $5.

NEW SALEM CENTRAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH in New Salem wants you to know that with your help it raised $679 at the Hootenanny event for its Heifer Project fundraiser. The church will continue to accept donations until September, so if any of you who didn’t would like to donate, you may make a check payable to: New Salem CCC, 24 South Main St., New Salem, MA 01355, with a Heifer Project notation in the memo section of the check.

A good job for a worthy organization.

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) is holding a recipe contest for kids and Farm Stand Bingo as part of its “Local Hero Challenge.”

CISA is partnering with local cookbook author Deanna Cook, whose cookbook for kids is scheduled to be published by Storey Publishing in fall 2014.

Farm Stand Bingo will allow all of us to explore the offerings at our local farm stands.

To find out more about both activities, visit: www.buylocalfood.org.

Both sound like fun.

OUR NEIGHBOR JEFF COLE in Orange has received the North Quabbin Community Coalition’s 16th annual Barbara Corey Award this year.

Described as a “soft-spoken man with a huge heart,” the coalition gave the owner of Witty’s Funeral Home the award named for its original coordinator in memory of her values and dedication to the North Quabbin region.

The coalition said Jeff “certainly has a full schedule caring for grieving families and respectfully serving the needs of those who have passed.”

The coalition went on to tout the many things Jeff does for his community, as well as supporting numerous scholarships for youth, his support of Franklin County Meals on Wheels, AOTV, and a number of downtown improvement projects.

Jeff is described as someone with a generous spirit.

Congratulations, Jeff!

OUR YOUNG NEIGHBOR GREG BETSOLD from Turners Falls, who was a thrower for the Pioneer Valley Regional School’s track team for six years, is still throwing, even though he graduated this past June.

He participated in the Region 1 Junior Olympic Championship last Friday night at Icahn Stadium in New York City and he came in fourth with a throw of 139 feet 7 inches.

That placement qualifies him for the U.S. National Junior Olympics, which will be held in Greensboro, N.C., on July 24. He will also be representing Massachusetts when he competes in the Games of America in Pennsylvania the first weekend in August.

Greg’s father Matt tells me Greg continues to work out daily in preparation for both events and can often be seen throwing with Matt at the Turners Falls circle.

Danielle Devine was a teammate of Greg’s at Pioneer, and she is also attending the Games of America to participate in the high jump, long jump and the 100-meter dash.

Best of luck to both of you! Let us know how you both make out.

WE’RE ALMOST THERE — Yankee Doodle Days will be held July 26 through 28 this year at the Charlemont Fairgrounds. And this year, there is a new focus on crafts.

Coordinators will be holding a knit-athon in Exhibit Hall to benefit the 500 Hats Project.

Fair admission is $6 per adult and $3 per child. Children under four years old are free. All proceeds will support The Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds’ volunteer efforts to protect, preserve and restore the fairgrounds historical buildings.

They are also looking for vendors.

For more information, visit: www.yankeedoodledays.com.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: franklincountyneighbors@gmail.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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