I Lost October and November

I missed October. And felt like I missed most of November.

Oh, I saw some leaves, ate Thanksgiving dinner, even handed out Halloween candy (112 kids this year, most of them over 12).

I'll explain, as we go along.

Years ago, decades ago, a Westfield friend and business owner complained that our fellow citizens would always go "over the mountain" or "over the river" to shop, to enjoy themselves, to see physicians, to do almost anything. Most people just thought things were better on the other side of the county.

Now, I'm not too parochial, but I'm very glad one of Westfield's finest organizations is in my district. This fall, I gained new respect for our own Noble Hospital.

When you spend two and a half weeks somewhere, you learn a lot about wherever you are. And, how they operate. No pun intended.

Like most Westfield residents, I'd been to Noble before, but I'd never spent the night.

This time, I got to try about everything Noble offers emergency room, telemetry unit (intensive care was full), a regular unit, Bronson Rehabilitation, x-rays, MRI, blood transfusions, IVs, conscious sedation, nerve blocks, colonoscopies ... well, you get the idea.

The point to be made here is, I am very glad Noble Hospital is in my district, and I can attest to the attentive and courteous service it offers. From administrators and nurses and doctors, and physical therapists, to the aides, people who deliver mail and flowers, maintenance personnel. Everyone.

Which is nice, frankly, very nice. When you're feeling dreadful it's nice to have friendly people around.

Now, a lot of my friends and colleagues in Boston have repeatedly suggested that I branch out, and give Springfield or Boston hospitals a chance to weigh in. Of course, if something goes awry, I'll certainly explore all options.

But, I want Noble to know, and I want you to know, that the care given to me was first rate, unbeatable. From admission through discharge, diagnosis of two major problems that appeared simultaneously, through emergency services, through basic care, and the beginning of physical therapy and rehabilitation, and plans for my after-hospital care.

I've always said I'm proud to represent Westfield. And, I am. And Noble Hospital certainly tops the list of facilities we can all take pride in.

Although I wasn't ready to be sociable after my Noble visit, I did stop by the Noble Hospital Ball at the Athenaeum for about an hour. Hats off to Mayor Rick Sullivan and his wife Lisa for a fabulous event, a benefit to purchase a major piece of equipment for the hospital. I'm also proud to have a Mayor like Rick at the helm!

I'm proud of a lot of places and events in Westfield, starting with the Athenaeum and places like Stanley Park, Westfield State College, Barnes Airport and the Air National Guard. Army National Guard, too. And Western Mass Hospital.

I'm proud of all of our veterans. Does any city have more veterans organizations and posts than we do? And I'm happy to attend as many of the Veterans events, which numbered more than a dozen this year, as possible. (Sorry, Pulse Line, I missed two thanks to my hospital stay, not because, as you suggested, it was after the election.)

I'm proud of the Green and glad that there's a committee organizing to update it. (Let's get rid of those ugly parking lot signswe really can tell it's a parking lot.)

I'm proud to sponsor the Chamber Sparkplugs' Pancake Breakfast on the Green.

And, I'm glad that, last month, I could replace the giant flag that flies over the green. I'm proud of that flag and what it represents. (The previous flag that I donated was damaged, and is being repaired, so we'll have a spare.)

I'm proud that Westfield is a melting pot, welcoming immigrants and refugees, just as we did 100 years ago. I'm proud that new entrepreneurs and large companies are opening new businesses, like Victory Market and Bon Ton. Others are renovating, keeping up with the times. North Elm Butcher Block. And local philanthropists like Al Ferst, who built the hockey arena in honor of his late wife, Millie.

I'm proud of the Children's Museum, all the youth sports leagues for our children. Kamp for Kids, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA.

All the parades. The Sportsman's Club and Woman's Club, and all the civic organizations. Sons of Erin. Our churches. The Center of Hope. Citizens Scholarship Fund.

Special events. Taste of the World, Westfield Day at the Big E, Westfield Theater Group productions, Westfest, Breakfast with Santa, Puerto Rican Heritage Day, Stanley Park concerts, Strawberry Festival, Dozhinki, the ecumenical Thanksgiving service. The Westfield Fair.

The Western Hampden Historical Society and the Grange. The Red Cross. The Council on Aging. Grandmothers Garden. The canoe races on the Westfield River. Bicycle races.

I'm proud to represent Westfield. And, there's no need to go over the river, or the mountain.

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