Torrington Stories

A walk in the afternoon

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With a scheduled half day off thanks to my employer, I powered down the computer at noon, grabbed my pencils, sketchbook and phone and walked downtown. Now this morning the furnace turned on so I was prepared for a brisk autumn day with a warm jacket but it only took a block to realize the mistake.  Clear blue skies illuminated the colorful leaves that lined my journey past the river down to Main Street on this unseasonably warm October afternoon.

I met up with Cheryl from Toy Jam and we shared a happy few words discussing the new T-Town Torrington Chatter Cash mob (Toy Jam is in second place thus far).  While talking we said hello to our mutual friend Doreen who waved from her stopped car at the light.  Before I crossed north onto Water Street I spotted my friend Alec, no doubt in pursuit of another news story.

Walking as far as Alfredo’s Deli, the establishment that won the first cash mob a year ago, I said “hello”, bellied up to the counter and ordered a BBQ Panini. I know; an excellent choice! Diane visited Alfredo’s when I was there. She was enjoying the beautiful day by walking from Platinum Salon for lunch.  We talked about Skip’s Coat Drive and before long she had her order and walked back. I finished my meal and thanked the wonderful Beyus team for their hospitality and made my way to the library.

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Sometimes I like to draw or write at the library. Sometimes when I’m taking the kids there, my entire time is consumed with monitoring my son in the play area. Today I found some artistic and creative inspiration in the pages of some books I located on second floor. Pleased with the successful visit, I decided to make my way home.  Before leaving downtown I stopped in at the Dance Shop at the Nutmeg and said hello They’re gearing up for the extremely popular Sugar Plum Tea Party (which will be held Sunday 11/23), an event that sold out last year.

As I made my way into the north end I spotted a new store called “CRAFTY CHICS”. I stepped in, perused their selections and introduced myself to Donna, one of co-owners of the store. It’s wonderful that a new business has opened (just this October 1st) and I hope more stores open in the north end (and elsewhere in our wonderful city).  Except for taking photos at this last location specifically for an article I’ll write on It’s Happening Here about the store, I left the phone in my pocket. I thought about taking photos on the journey but sometimes, some days are meant to be experienced for what it is, a rare and wonderful gift.

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This afternoon I saw as many people I did not know as I did know during the walk. We yielded to each other when passing on narrower sidewalks, saying hello verbally or nodding or smiling as timing or appropriateness would allow.   I returned home before the school buses arrived and turned the computer back on where another Torrington community, the one online, was present and active and engaged.

This afternoon I enjoyed breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the smiles of friends and strangers alike in real time in our shared community. It made me consider the online community even more. Online we pass each other in the virtual street of ideas found in statuses, tweets, instagrams and pins. In the online world we have a greater occasion to present our better selves and yield half our virtual sidewalks, to nod and smile and say hello as timing and appropriateness allows through likes, positive comments, tweets and pins. But sometimes the keyboard can be a poor substitute for body language or a genuine laugh and the intents of others can be less clear on a screen. But if each online interaction is considered under the premise that each of us is standing on Main Street or on Water Street, then even online, a positive community spirit can lift us all and if given the chance, everyone can take a happy walk in the town we share.

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