July 2 – 8, 2021Vol. 23, No. 4

What a Difference a Year Makes

by Anthony Wilson

What a difference a year makes. Last summer could best be characterized by … uncertainty. No one knew what the future held … and in some cases, whether there would be a future.

This year, however, is marked by … hope — an abiding faith that life will be better.

The past year only reinforced what I wrote in this space last summer: There can be no better spot to ride out a rough patch than the Belgrades. Year-round and seasonal residents showed amazing concern, empathy and understanding for one another.

The Belgrade Town Office was flooded with offers to volunteer in whatever ways were needed. The community rallied around the Belgrade/Rome Special Needs Food Pantry to provide our less fortunate neighbors with ample sustenance. To ensure the survival of our favorite eateries, residents ordered takeout, and a couple of village shops miraculously thrived because of local support. People dutifully wore masks into indoor venues, respectfully keeping safe social distances. And more than two-thirds of Belgrade residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19; that is another way to express caring for those around us.

Now, it's time to start fully living again.

How joyous to again gather safely with friends and family — to break bread in restaurants and around picnic tables; to sit in homes and backyards, around campfires, in parks and on boats, sharing fellowship and reforging bonds; to celebrate a birth or a birthday, some milestone achievement or the Fourth of July. Heck, for some folks, stripping off the yoga pants, returning to the office and reacquainting themselves with colleagues and customers is a relief.

Perhaps a silver lining of this past year is that, if we remain mindful, we will never take these simple pleasures for granted. Being in the Belgrades — to live, work, play or vacation — is a privilege. Those experiences are always more gratifying when closely shared with others.

Belgrade's government will play its part in the march to making new memories. Our Recreation Department and the Belgrade Public Library have queued up an array of activities — from summer camp, to the annual July 4 book sale, to concerts and craft shows on the Village Green — plus a return to their normal weekly offerings. (Learn more at TownofBelgrade.com or the Town's Facebook page.)

Can we possibly make 2021 more memorable than 2020? Let's see.

Anthony Wilson is Belgrade's town manager. Contact him at townmanager@townofbelgrade.com or 495-2258.