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Grey Matters, May 19, 2014; Volume 2, Number 34

posted May 18, 2014, 6:11 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 26, 2014, 11:07 AM by James Marcotte ]

Growing up, my wife spent several of her teen years working for Star Markets (now part of Shaw’s), and was often stationed at the customer service desk.  According to Melisa, she would periodically have customers who would bring back carcasses of turkeys and roasted chickens, and declare, “this [insert poultry here] tasted a bit off, I’d like a refund please.”  Each time this happened, she would be tempted to ask, “did you come to that conclusion only after you ate the entire bird?” but she was well-trained, and politely processed the refund. I recently thought of this because I find myself with a (sort of) similar dilemma.  Last spring, we bought numerous bushes and shrubs from a local garden store to plant in our backyard and it’s clear a few of them did not survive the winter. This garden store (like many others) offers one year warranties, and my sense is that I can bring back these plant “carcasses” for a refund/replacement (though I am nearing the one-year mark).  And yet, I will admit that I am a little nervous about doing this, feeling like I’ll be questioned about (or at least secretly judged for) my poor shrub and plant maintenance. I have this feeling that they’ll post a picture of me at their registers with a note about how my backyard is a deathtrap for rhododendrons and boxwoods.   So if any of you have had experiences at garden stores with returning dead plants, even and especially after a full year, I’d welcome your advice and guidance on this dilemma.  

Here’s our weekly reminder of upcoming events and dates to keep in mind:

  • The Spring Chorus concert is this Tuesday, May 20th at 7pm in the RJ Grey auditorium.  

  • We don’t have school next Monday as part of the Memorial Day long weekend.  

  • The 8th grade End of Year Dance/Celebration is Friday, June 13th.  In the near future, I’ll send some information from our parent volunteers about ways that RJ Grey families can help with food, and event set-up and clean-up duties.  

  • Another reminder about our Arts Happening festival on June 5th!  It will include on-going events which will include both musical and dramatic performances, creation of musical 'portraits', an opportunity to make art, and a fundraising Empty Bowls Ice Cream Social. All proceeds will go to the Acton Community Supper and the Acton Food Pantry. For more information, visit the Arts Happening website by clicking here

On Wednesday, May 28,
RJ Grey’s Girl Up club will be hosting a special screening of the film Girl Rising, and the event will also include musical performances and guest speakers on education and opportunity for girls in developing nations.  The event begins at 6:45pm, and there is a suggested $6 donation for students and seniors, and $10 for adults.  Click here to view the flyer for the event, and click here to learn more about the Girl Rising campaign.  

Our latest installment of Poetry Fridays was led by Mr. Malloy, and featured a poem by Robert Creeley.  Mr. Creeley is an internationally acclaimed poet who grew up in West Acton, and I learned from Mr. Malloy that between the ages of 5 and 14, the poet lived in the white farmhouse on the corner of Elm Street and Arlington Street.  The poem that Mr. Malloy read is entitled, “Oh No”, and 8-line piece about discovering what is truly important and the need of feeling like you belong.  If you’d like to read the poem, click here.  

Finally, I wanted to share an article I came across last week about two high school students in Liberty, Missouri who devoted a good deal of time and energy coming up with a solution to an extremely complex and widespread issue: watery ketchup.  As part of a project for a high school course, the students developed a cap for a ketchup bottle that prevents that first squirt of the bottle from being a watery sludge.  My favorite part of the article was reading about the teacher’s approach to the course, and how the project(s) start with the basic prompt, “it really bugs me when…” as a way to generate ideas for a problem they’d like to pursue.  To read the PBS article, click here.  

Have a great week, everyone.