Congratulations! In the contest of life called “You Couldn’t Catch a Break If It Hit You Over The Head And Landed In Your Lap” you have earned the title of Grand Champion!!
After all these months, this turning of the calendar and trip around the sun, a sure thing once again seemed to unfold. A project, so perfect for my creative salvation with its intense writing, photographing and marketing, was handed to me. I went to the EDA (the local Economic Development Authority) to ask for a partnership, a 60%-40% investment in creating a State of NH Scenic and Cultural Byway (a state sanctioned tourist route) in the Monadnock Region. The need was clear:
- The State contacted the Chamber suggesting we apply for it.
- This is the only corner of the State that has no Scenic & Cultural Route.
- The impending demolition and rebuilding of a bridge on a major route into town scheduled to begin in late 2018 is projected to depress business severely in the downtown district.
- With a tourist route in place we could market our way through the crisis and control the traffic to benefit rather than bypass our fragile economy.
- I could do something so right and so fulfilling at a point where I most need to.
My presentation and estimated budget for the project was not unreasonable and it would buy me desperately needed relief from emotional and financial discomfort. Not only was it unanimously accepted, the vote increased the split of funding to 70% EDA, 30% Chamber of Commerce. I took a deep breath and walked out into the raw April rain smiling so hard my cheeks cramped.
Seven hours later, I looked at the title of the email and thought, “Not funny George!” expecting a cruel joke followed by congratulatory support. It read, “Scenic By-way Vote Rescinded.” The reality of small town politics and its inherent lack of dedicated souls to fill the committees and boards of directors came rushing through the Internet. It seems the EDA vote was not legal as both George and I sit on the boards of the EDA and the Chamber. A lesson in government states we should have recused ourselves from the vote. But it wouldn’t have mattered because without our votes there would not have been a quorum, so no vote could have occurred.
There is perhaps a work-around by going to the selectmen and getting their votes as the EDA is under their jurisdiction. Do I trust this news? Not even a little. I refuse to believe in the fairness of life at this point. My dreams have been shattered too many times. I have reduced, minimized, lower, tightened-my-proverbial-belt to the point of breaking. All my positive energy and stamina have been repaid with defeat. My knees are scraped, my nose is bleeding; I’ve run out of fight.
The new normal is furtive collecting of the flood of thoughts in journals with no plan of publishing. Shame? Perhaps, yet who have I really disappointed but myself? Certainly, I have not brought emotional distress or financial strain on anyone but Alice. While she notes a shift in my cheery attitude, (for a long time I stopped singing our silly songs to her). She is more affectionate in her own singular way. One would never compare Alice to a cuddly Golden Retriever. She and I share the end of the day, curled in complimentary commas in bed, but otherwise she is most comfortable shadowing me with little physical contact. We read each other’s expressions and live in our routine like an elderly married couple.
So where does one go from here? If you have no expectations, perhaps the best will happen? I keep thinking of the childhood rhyme “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” I will bloom again…