I cannot tell a lie. There are problems in Newton that frequently rankle. Not enough parking where I want to go. Too many people in line at the bank. A long wait at Cheesecake Factory to be seated and they don’t take dinner reservations after 5PM or so — and my digestive system abhors the “Early Bird” approach! All this sounds trivial, and, indeed, it is, until these daily annoyances magically disappear into the heat of July and August when many of our neighbors ride blissfully off to summer-knows-where to relax, laze, regroup, reconnoiter, refresh and recreate on the beaches, waves, boardwalks and roller coasters of their travels out of town.

And that is when I smile my fondest smile for Newton, a town alive with but the ghosts of crowds, most noticed by their absence –as in no cars on the roads at 9:30pm– yet available for huddling when chosen –as at concerts on Friday nights at Hyde Community Center.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Cape and the nearby lakes and shores and getting out of town as much as most. But I also delight in the shriveling at home of the population in summer that allows for stretching and reflecting on all that our town offers to us. What a grand place it is to share with those who have noticed this unspoken benefit.

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