Local Budgets and Generosity at Christmas
A local controversy with statewide implications is the subject of my Patch.com column, this week. In short, the Tiverton school department spent $367,165 in local funds to make up for estimated state funds that didn’t materialize, and now the municipal government is taking it back.
Of course, given the season, I couldn’t treat the topic without working in a moral:
The largest portion of my workdays, over the last decade, has been spent remodeling houses in neighborhoods of Newport that appear zoned to require airy names rather than street numbers. Tourists who venture away from the Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, and the rest of the Bellevue arcade of opulence may spot plaques and embossed stones labeling the homes of families still in the flesh and still in the money. My sense of humor being what it is, I’ve dubbed my North Tiverton cottage Piddlinghouse and await only the free time and resources to whittle a name-post at the end of my driveway.
The title would be apt, given the Dickensian feel of this Christmas season. Most of the presents under our tree will be a testament to the generosity of my children’s extended family – as well as the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The legendary couple made an appearance at a recent family gathering, and the next day, the person who arranged the visit swung by Piddlinghouse with a box of like-new used clothes that the jolly Mrs. had thought we might put to good use.
Does Santa Claus exist? I’ll offer an unequivocal “yes.”