An ominous day, today, if one is superstitious.

I wish my world was black and white instead of so many shades of gray! When I read some columnist’s writings, their life seems so orderly. My former editor writes of being Republican or Democrat, everything is black or white, no gray area, no in- between. I wish sometimes that my outlook, and choices, could be as clear.

That’s not the way my life is. Every day something changes. A new ache here, an unexpected expense there; reduced income and increased insurance premium. A new baby and a scurry to find an appropriate card; a death and the need to attend another funeral. Dealing with the day-to-day uncertainties and trying to maintain a semblance of security can be overwhelming and leaves little time to ponder the state of the country.

Unlike many people, my concerns are not in making a mortgage payment or losing my retirement fund or investments. I never have had any of those. My worries are in paying rent and utility bills on time, avoiding late fees and choosing between name brand or store brand. I’ll bet a lot of folks are just like me.

With survival topping the list of priorities, I don’t have time to argue about who’s to blame and why our current president’s plans won’t work or who has been named head of some commission and why he or she will fail. A lifetime could be spent on playing the “what if” game.

Here in Windham, the tough job of balancing the municipal budget should be a concern for everyone. The situation is what it is. We need to deal with it and not waste energy on useless investigations into why or how the situation occurred.

We need to quit driving hundreds of miles to do our shopping and spend time at home, patronizing local businesses. I have heard of some local companies laying off people this winter; we also know some new businesses have started up and are doing pretty well. Many of us have been through these tough times before and will make it.

Soon the “summer people” will arrive and there may be more local visitors this year, as it seems many folks have chosen to stay closer to home. At least one Windham organization has seen attendees at programs grow from a couple of dozen to well over a hundred. For years, the Historical Society presented a monthly program for the public, but this year, in this economy, the attendance has been eye-opening and most welcome.

Let’s hope this new interest in local offerings continues. Restaurants will thrive; people will shop in local stores and spend more time at home, fixing up their yards, renovating their home, and (according to what I’ve heard) planting gardens!

Meanwhile, basic survival stays at the top of the priority list.

See you in a couple of weeks.

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