Thanks for the thanks; Midsummer Night

Thanks for the Thanks

It was particularly nice that the Duxbury schools' PTA and PTO organizations and nearly 100 property owners saw fit to post signs around town thanking school bus drivers completing a safe year of delivering their precious cargo to school and back 180 times a year, as well as on countless field trips and to away games. These drivers are the salt of the earth and accordingly tend not to be given to self-promotion.

Both collectively and as individuals, kids know the ones who care about them. In this they respond as fellow human beings without yet having internalized fine distinctions about status and credentials. For any number of kids a bus driver, an assistant coach or a member of the kitchen staff can be their truest friend at a critical time in their emotional development.

Unfortunately, it is an accurate generalization that whereas in rural and suburban districts school bus drivers represent the best of the humanity in their communities, too many failing urban schools see instances of neglect, such as a child left for hours on a bus taken to a storage a yard by its less than fully responsible driver.

Judgment is, of course, individual. There are heroes driving school buses in districts with bad schools -- as there are heroes teaching in those schools. But in the two Americas dividing what needs to be one America, the quality of a community's school bus drivers is a fair indicator of its social health. That drivers in Duxbury are not taken for for granted is a wonderful tribute.

Midsummer Night

As of Monday evening, 73 non-residents had returned their 2013 beach stickers for refunds totaling $21,535. Eight residents had returned theirs for refunds of $1,280. This was a fair one-time exchange compensating sticker holders taken by surprise, as everyone was, by the closing of Duxbury Beach to recreational motor vehicles for the protection of breeding piping plovers.

Next year, disclaimers in bigger print will assure there will be no refunds. But in this year's unusual circumstances the refunds are an example of one of democracy's greatest attributes, the compromise. When we're sore about something and agree to split the difference we're then free to be sore about something else. The alternative is to quarrel about the first thing until death shuts us up. It's a core political principle.

But did anyone notice that Monday was also a beautiful day? The first half of June was so wet that even the poison ivy and Japanese knotweed look fine. From the heights of Plymouth the grass on Long Beach below is yellow-green. In the distance, the Myles Standish Monument in Duxbury peeks from blue-green pines, and when Duxbury Beach's sands catch the sun, six miles away they look like platinum. Could the presence of the plovers have something to do with it?

No! But in hours it will be midsummer night -- the shortest night of the year, six hours from last light to first light. Has there been a more verdant midsummer in the 376 years since Duxbury and Plymouth agreed to separate living arrangements? Yes, many. That is a right reason to keep differences of political opinion in perspective.

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