Every spring time I make these big gardening plans. Actually, I begin to plan my garden on paper in early March. There are floral color schemes to consider in addition to the planting of vegetables that we will certainly ‘oou’ and ‘ahh’ about in July. Not that I have a lot of property to work with, but I make good use of what is there. When my yard is done, it is beautiful. My husband and I are proud when people compliment us about how much care we care for our property.
So last year, driving around a lot of nearby towns for one reason or another, I noticed that many downtowns were nicely decked out in flowers, too. Planters with beautiful annuals were everywhere as were hanging baskets dripping with cascading scent and color. Restaurants looked quaint and inviting which made me think that if the owner cared enough about the outside, then the food had to be good, too. I had the idea that my town could be just as pretty and without breaking the bank.
So I wrote a letter to the Mayor, Rick Proctor, an old classmate of mine from elementary school and someone, who even way back then, you just knew was destined to be a mover and a shaker. I asked him about beautifying our town a bit more than it was and maybe carrying this theme of beautification throughout all the seasons. I had something in mind like autumn leaves, mums and pumpkins adoring downtown businesses after Labor Day and decorative winter greens for the holidays.
Rick Proctor called me and asked if I would like to help shape a program called Volunteer Rahway, an offshoot of the Keep America Beautiful campaign. Was that still around I wondered? Apparently so, and picking up steam in many parts of our state. Me and my big mouth. I began to fear that this was one of those ideas that could look good on paper but reality would be a different story. But then I remembered that there is no shortage of good people and good leadership in Rahway, so maybe Mayor Proctor was on to something with this volunteer idea.
We are all affected by the environment we live in. A beautiful, cared for town invites others to come and check us out to see what we have to offer. When points of interest, like City Hall or the Library or the Rec Center are dressed up a bit, people pay more attention to them because they reflect pride in the town. Maybe a well-placed train station sign that says “Welcome Home” would convey warmth and hospitality to a rider looking to relocate. Besides, hospitality is a big part of Rahway’s history as George Washington would attest.
Flower power. Don’t underestimate it.