Savoring the Seasons: Tornado brings community of Conway together

  • Mary McClintock

For The Recorder
Published: 2/28/2017 12:24:26 PM

I am writing this column on Sunday night so I can make my deadline. I had planned to write my column on Sunday morning about what’s on my shopping list for the last Greenfield Winter Farmers Market of the season (Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Four Corners School on Ferrante Ave. near route 5/10).

And, I planned to share a great recipe for Blueberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes that Rick Miller sent me. I also hoped to make Rick’s recipe before I wrote my column.

But, as George Pitagorsky, an author I work with, says, “a plan is a fiction.”

My plan changed Sunday morning when I got a call from Conway’s emergency management director who was on his way back from Maine. I’m Conway’s emergency shelter coordinator, and Dave Chichester told me to show up at a meeting at 11 a.m. at Town Hall.

So, I packed up my computer, some local apples and cheese, and headed downtown.

It’s now almost 8 p.m., and I’m still at Town Hall.

We didn’t need to open the emergency shelter, so I pitched in however I could, mostly working on the computer, recording notes, helping with press releases, and documenting the damage and the work being done.

And, I had the privilege to watch and work with Conway’s town officials, firefighters, police, fire auxiliary, and EMS staff work with many people from state and regional agencies and Eversource to respond to damage caused by the tornado that came through Conway Saturday evening. Dave Fisher from Conway’s Natural Roots Farm and many others showed up to offer their help. I shook the hand of state Sen. Adam Hinds who came to make sure we got the resources we need. I took notes of several conference calls with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito as she was briefed by town officials and offered state assistance.

I’ve learned a lot today. Much of boils down to two things: 1. Neighbors help each other and 2. Food matters.

Neighbors: I have known for years that my Conway neighbors are smart, hardworking, caring people. Today, I got to see it in action, from road crews and emergency personnel working hard outdoors to town officials coordinating that work and the Fire Auxiliary and others making sandwiches and hot food to feed everyone. And, as fabulous as Conway is, this storm was bigger than we could handle on our own. Our neighbors from across Franklin County and the state showed up to help us, bringing their expertise, many resources, and caring. Because of everyone’s hard, smart work, everyone in Conway is safe, and clean up from the storm moved quickly.

Food: When crews come in from working on the field, they’re hungry. Everyone who worked in the Emergency Operating Center also needed to have something to eat as they continued their coordinating work. All of those hungry people got fed. I just told one of them I was writing my column and he said, “what are we eating this week?”

Here’s what I told him.

This week we’re eating ...

Blueberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes: By Rick Miller, Greenfield

As maple season is upon us, I’d like to share a favorite recipe for pancakes. This happens to be gluten-free, though I’m not sure anyone would know that if they weren’t told. I use the Glutino brand gluten-free flour (available at Green Fields Market), but King Arthur flour works well, too. Yogurt (Sidehill Farm whole milk plain) can be substituted for the kefir, and I use olive oil, but I suppose canola oil would be fine, too.

1 ½ C. gluten-free flour (such as Glutino brand, although wheat flour works well, too)

2 C. yellow cornmeal

1 T. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 C. kefir (or Sidehill Farm whole milk plain yogurt)

½ C. oil

4 eggs

1 mashed banana

Fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine ingredients, stir until combined. Scoop out ¼ C. and cook on hot griddle.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book indexer. Send column suggestions and recipes to


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