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2/6 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

We've turned the page on our calendar to a bright and shiny new month. Tiny green shoots are beginning to make their presence known in gardens and flower beds all over MI Town, which means we can soon look forward to tulips, crocuses and hyacinths.

Those pesky weeds somehow seem to manage to survive whatever Old Man Winter throws at everything else in the garden, so an occasional rain-free day gives us the opportunity to get the garden spaces ready for planting.

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MI Town had its own version of a flash mob last week, when several of us gathered at the Monmouth post office to congratulate Gary Derowitsch on his retirement.

We burst through the doors, singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to the delight of several unsuspecting people who just stopped in to mail a package or pick up stamps.

Gary has been behind the counter helping everyone with all things postal for 30 years. He is finally going to have the opportunity to take some time to do all the things he's been planning to do now that he is officially retired.

One of the highlights of our celebration was when Al Opplinger shared the story about selling Gary his first Schwinn bicycle -- bought with proceeds from Gary's paper route when he was a young boy. It was so much fun to be a part of such a wonderful day and it just reinforces the joy of living in a small town where just about everybody knows your name.

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Punxsutawney Phil was poked and prodded from his warm and cozy den on Groundhog Day, but since my deadline was before Feb. 2, I don't have the latest word on whether or not he saw his shadow. Be that as it may, I'm not in any big hurry to try on the latest in spring and summer fashions quite yet. No matter what Phil's weather friends had to say, we'll have days and weeks of bundling up in wool coats before we venture outdoors in shorts and T-shirts.

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April 15 may sound far away, but those tax forms will be due before we know it. If you need a little help trying to wade through the state and federal forms, contact Sue Teal at the Monmouth Senior Center at 503-838-5678. AARP-certified volunteers will work free with seniors as well as mid- to low-income folks, and everything is confidential. This service is on a by-appointment-only basis, so call soon.

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It's not too early to mark your calendar for the next Monmouth Senior Center Soup and Pie Sale, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 21.

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