Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits to any job at a community newspaper is the chance to go places and see things.
The past couple weekends have been perfect examples. Yesterday, the second annual Derby Days brought out hundreds of people looking for an excuse to dress up and party. They found it at Portofino, where the Clayton Rotary Club had arranged horse races, a hat contest for ladies wearing their best Derby headwear and music from North Carolina’s own Nantucket.
The weekend before, in eastern Wake County, there was just as much fun going on. Opening Day of the Wendell youth baseball league was last Saturday and boys and girls were dressed in their too-large uniforms, ready to snag a fly or hit a home run, or whatever else they could find to do on the baseball diamond.
The town turned Opening Day into a party of its own. The American Legion cooked hot dogs, there were bouncy toys and Corinth Holders senior Becca Wilkins hosted a 5K run that raised money for wounded war veterans as part of her senior project.
In Zebulon, the Rotary club there held an auction and raised more than $11,000 for their community service efforts. People filled the parking lot at the Rotary/Woman’s Club building and inside they got to bid on everything from artwork and guitars to lawn equipment and a set of braces. Auctioneer Jeff Stone, as he always does, kept the event lively and entertained people even as he got them to up their bids for some of the items on the auction block. And, who doesn’t love listening to an auctioneer’s chant for at least a little while?
All these events remind me that we don’t have to go to the big city to enjoy a good time. Sure, there are things in Raleigh we don’t have in eastern Wake County or Johnston County, but we can more than make up for the loss by finding ways to entertain ourselves.
Aside from the sheer fun of attending one of these events, or dozens of other events like them during the course of a year, the finest thing about them is the chance to visit with friends, meet new people occasionally and, just simply stop the ever-present rush of the daily schedule.
It may seem simple-minded, but our bodies and our minds need that kind of respite. Even for people who like the work they do, there’s just something restorative about slowing down and doing something we want to do and not something we have to do. It’s relaxing. It lets us know that we made a good decision when we decided to call that town home. And, it’s miles better than plopping down in an armchair and staring mindlessly at a television screen.