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Neighbors: A healthy, joyous New Year to all

Hello neighbor.

The next time we meet it will be 2014. I wish you all a healthy and joyous new year.

I had several people contact me to tell me about their resolutions for 2014. Some were the typical: lose weight, find a new job, stop drinking, etc.

Our neighbor Claire Heath, who lives at Elm Terrace in Greenfield, has a different take. She called me the other day to tell me she is going to “stop refusing joy.”

She said she, like so many of the rest of us, has a tendency to feel responsible for all that happens around her and to others. She said she feels guilty when she feels too much joy, while others are suffering.

That’s not the point, though, is it?

It is so true that we can only make others happy if we ourselves are happy.

Being a good neighbor means stepping in and lending a helping hand whenever possible, not relinquishing our own joy or happiness. I don’t think anyone, even those struggling, want any of us to do so.

So, accept the happiness that comes into your life this coming year. Savor each happy moment, believe that you deserve it and then share it with others.

All we can do is be the best that we can be.

Happy New Year!

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING to do locally on New Year’s Eve, head to Orange for the 18th annual Starry Starry Night. There will be musicians, including the Amandla Chorus, Pat & Tex LaMountain, Charles Neville & Sons and Fire Pond, juggler Henry Lappen, comedian Steve Bjork, magician Ed the Wizard, hayrides, ice sculptures, a large, life-size puppet parade and fireworks. The fun begins at 6 p.m. Starry Starry Night is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit:

ST. VALENTINE’S POLISH NATIONAL CATHOLIC CHURCH in Northampton will be holding a Polski Koledy, or Polish Christmas Carol Sing-along on Sunday at 2 p.m. at 127 King St.

Our neighbors Marcy and Barbara Hoynoski said all friends of Polonia are invited to attend — and refreshments will follow the sing-along in the Parish Hall. Yum!

ALSO ON SUNDAY, our neighbor Rosemary Christoph of Shelburne Falls will talk about “Exploring Essence and Personality” at Green River Yoga and Movement Arts at 158 Main St. in Greenfield. The talk will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The talk is free, but contributions are appreciated ($5 to $10).

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN — Reading Aloud for Grown-ups is coming back for its seventh year at the New Salem Library. The event is sponsored by Friends of the Library and each evening between January and April, two readers share their short stories.

I’ve been to a couple and I can tell you that it really is a perfect way to spend a cold winter evening.

Admission is free, although donations are accepted and scrumptious refreshments are sold (coffee is free).

All proceeds benefit the Friends and are used to supplement library materials and programs.

This year, Tony Palmieri and Jane McKay will read on Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the library, with Dee Waterman and Ed Golden to follow on Feb. 12 at 7:30.

Daren Idoine and Penny Kines will read on March 12 and Linda Overing and Hugh McKay will read April 9.

DID YOU KNOW that six Franklin County towns made’s list of the “Top 25 Places to Live in Massachusetts?” used its Dream Town Finder, which looks at schools, people, location and the fun factor of towns throughout the state.

Those that made the list are: Shelburne (5), Leverett (11), Rowe (17), Greenfield (20), Northfield (21) and Gill (25). Congratulations to all!

GREENFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS recently don ated 590 pounds of nonperishable food to Community Action’s Center for Self Reliance. The winter food drive, which ran from Dec. 1 to Dec. 18, will help local families through the winter break.

Good job!

IF YOU’D LIKE TO START THE YEAR volunteering, join the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Hampshire and Franklin counties.

I’m told you can do what you love and help others at the same time. Some of the opportunities include being a Meals on Wheels driver, being a meal site helper, tutoring in a local school and being an exercise leader.

You will get training and support.

For more information, contact Pat Sicard, volunteer coordinator, at 413-584-1300 ext. 183 or email her at:

THE SCOTTISH RITE MASONS VALLEY of Greenfield told me that members made Santa calls to more than 80 children this year. Each Santa asked children, “How do I guide my sleigh tonight in the fog?”

Besides Rudolph, some of the youngsters suggested using elves this year.

The Masons wish you all a happy season.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: 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: up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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