Correspondence forwarded in a Motion of Comity ~
"Conversation piece" published as a Newburyport Daily News Viewpoint column on October 31, 2011


Forwarded in a Motion of Comity, text submitted to the Newburyport Daily News as a Viewpoint column, with publication on Monday, October 31, 2011.  This month’s Viewpoint is less
a “point of view” and more a review (and preview) about history and “history in the making” --- serving  as a “conversation piece” [of sorts] to prompt further discourse [and of course, course of action].

[Ed. note: The submitted text can be found at this link within (pdf). The article ~ entitled "Trick or Treat or Treatise" ~ published in the Thursday, October 31, 2011 issue of the Newburyport Daily News ~ can be found online at the website at this link without.

The unabridged, annotated version of this “conversation piece” ~ presented on this webpage ~ is a work in progress ~ fully posted and posited with the Full Hunter's Moon. Take note that the hyperlinks (highlighted in blue) will each refer the reader to appropriate notations (annotations and connotations) which follow the body of the text. The ellipses [...] are each hyperlinked to further context which will expound upon its preceding text.]  

Text submitted to the Newburyport Daily News for publication as Viewpoint piece on Monday, October 31, 2011 ~ All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) ~ supplemented by hyperlinks which follow the text:

Despite all its fantasy and frivolity (and fructose), Halloween has such potential as a creative (intergenerational) learning experience — about life and death, religion and spirituality, mythology and history, civilization and culture, language and communications, human nature and nature.

With the New World adaptation of Old World traditions in its third generation — during previous trick or treat transactions with gaily or ghoulishly garbed gremlins — we often wish that the Old World tradition of "souling" (i.e., recitation of a memorial elegy, or a soulful performance of a favorite song, poem, story, joke or dance) had been adopted or adapted along with the "guising" (i.e., masquerading).

In the spirit of the season (and "souling"), let us impart a story about a story about history (and history in the making). The setting: time, June 2006; space, the Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts. While staging the "Yankee City" multi-media production, the open-ended question was, "Does the city have a soul?" Five years later, one might pose the question, "Does the nation have a soul?" And propose, if "corporations are people," do "they"?

In response, one might (sup)ply another story, taking place here in port once upon another time. In response to the question, "What is a soul?" Newburyport's 18th century quixotic, quintessential entrepreneurial spirit, Lord Timothy Dexter, answered in writing (applying his unorthodox orthography): "I 'thinc' the 'sole' is the thinking part." Think?

Though beckoned, Lord Tim (or cohorts Madam Hooper or Jonathan Plummer) did not reappear to serve as Comity's entry for this year's Tenth Annual Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce Harvest Festival Scarecrow contest. Instead, another took form to inform and serve as a "conversation piece" during the ongoing conversation.

(Con)figured to embody the Re:Generation of the Spirit of the Waterside people of Newburyport, an American citizen living in the new nation at the turn of the19th century or in the second decade of the 21st century. Androgynous youth, lifelong learner, faceless everyman (woman and child), situated there in Market Square near the door of the original site of "ye Waterside Parish Meetinghouse," to remark milestones in history & "history in the making." (Including the 210-year generational milestone said meetinghouse was dismantled Sept. 28-Oct. 6, 1801, and Market Square was thereafter laid out and deeded as a public way and meeting place forever, with a town water pump to be set where the pulpit once stood as approved by town selectman on Oct. 14, 1801).

Representing the essence and distillation of the Waterside people and quintessence of 99 percent of the new republic's public citizenry, this uncommon everyman living and laboring seven generations ago may well have dismantled the Waterside meetinghouse or built the new one (on Pleasant Street). Or he could have helped craft the Ship Merrimack at Market Landing (once the community shipyard) or help with her launch on Oct. 12, 1798, or sailed on her maiden voyage to Boston on Dec. 9, manned her in battles at sea. Though attending classes of higher education depended upon "class" ever enterprising, his generation's "history in the making" was the promise and premise of America's future, in pursuit of peace and prosperity and in perpetual progress toward glorious perfection.

Since first introduced to the mayor and other contest judges on that afternoon of the Full Hunters Moon, we sense that for moons to come, this scarecrow (archaic synonym, "shewel") will have a role. Greeting those trick or treating at our door tonight, serving as the illustrative "model citizen" to illustrate the forthcoming "straw man proposals," to be the "presence of mind" for the "body politic" at each and every meeting of the mind, gathering and "bee(n)."

As a proxy of approximate physique (and psyche) of proximate, imminent graduate of our public schools, s/he bears the sign of the times, of all times: 2b or not 2b, that is the quest and question — 2b but a scarecrow in courage or 2b supercargo of brave good — (great and greater) exploits (prepared for life's adventures and consequential matters).

(The mind-traveling reader is invited to SMILE (Seek More Information Logged Electronically) at and join the conversation at the Virtual Wolfe Tavern E-stablishment.)

Corollary notations, annotations and connotations (a work in progress):



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