Many years ago, when my husband and I traveled through upper Vermont on our way to Canada, we happened upon a concert taking place on the village green, where townspeople visited with each other, enjoyed picnics and photographed their new gazebo.

It didn’t take long to meet “the locals,” learn the story about their renaissance and be invited back. It was a wonderful feeling, underscoring the feeling that we hold an ability to pull back from the bombardment of what grabs our attention every day and create memories of simple times that sustain us.

And so it was with the Johnson Hall-sponsored Colwell Brothers concert on the Gardiner waterfront on May 15 — and did I mention free?. It was a wonderful event, a welcome-to-the-promise-of-summertime carved out of our usual pursuits to enjoy meeting our neighbors, listen to wonderful music created by “our own,” watch children delight in the freedom of twirling a hula hoop, dance, sing, enjoy picnics and be with family and friends.

I want to express my appreciation to Johnson Hall, for creating this event; City Council, for supporting Johnson Hall with money budgeted for the arts, as well as the Boys and Girls Club, both of which some would see as unnecessary, even frivolous. Support that pays mere lip service without money is no support at all.

For most people, these are challenging times economically, making it even more crucial that these kinds of experiences be part of the fabric and collective memory of this community.

Marj BurgessGardiner