It feels good to live in a town where people aren’t afraid to come out and get together for an afternoon of self-celebration. Last Saturday the Somers Chamber of Commerce organized such an event and closed car traffic to the Towne Centre so that we could meet some of the people behind the small businesses that make each town unique and give a community its character.

I was escorted by my four-legged friend Gidget, who loves small business. Sometimes when I take her out to “do her business,” she takes so long to find just the right location to make her business successful that I think she must be quite a businesswoman. Going anywhere with Gidget is a time-consuming endeavor, because everyone wants to pat “The Most Prettiest Dog in the World.” She was exhausted by the time she got home, but she had made a lot of friends. There hasn’t been so much petting since my sophomore year in high school. We walked by all the booths, soaking in the sunny day, drifting through the crowd, saying hi to acquaintances and trying to figure out which direction the pizza was coming from.

I ambled over to the Somers Women’s Club to see if I could join, but I was not accepted even though my credentials are impeccable. The Library Foundation was here, and I wanted to ask them what was holding the library up if the foundation was over here. I’m often asked to be quiet at libraries, and most other places. There was a loose tooth loitering around near the orthodontist’s booth, which had to be led around by a human because it couldn’t see too well, so it obviously wasn’t an eye-tooth.

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I was chatting with Eileen and her dog, who almost became a seeing-eye dog for blind people. Not all dogs make it through the rigorous four-phase training program, but all dogs who attempt it come out better for it. What I really need is a hearing-ear dog to watch television with me. I always have to ask my wife what’s going on in the show because I keep the sound very low so I can’t hear the commercials. Bark once if the husband killed her, bark twice if it was somebody she didn’t know. Hmmm... just as I thought.

There were demonstrations by martial arts and exercise groups, performances by dance teams, and a DJ kept everything moving along. I remember when I was a substitute disc jockey for WAER when I was at Syracuse, working the overnight shift when somebody called in sick. I had a captive audience of ne’er-do-wells who couldn’t have had any legitimate purpose for being awake at four in the morning. I was the only one there, so if you heard “Stairway to Heaven” that means I had to go to the bathroom.

By mistake I wandered into the area where the cheerleaders were about to perform. I got out of there just in time before I had to do any high kicks, but I think I could have held my own. Certainly no one else seemed willing to hold it. But since then I’ve been practicing some routines in case the same thing happens to me next year. Let me know what you think of this. It starts with, “Give me an ‘I!’” Yes, I know that there’s no “I” in Somers, but you never heard of “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?” You can mine a lot of great cheers from the Old Testament, and I can get the tooth from over at the orthodontist’s tent.

I’m not sure why so many bees are attracted to small business, but there were quite a few of them flying around. They say you can catch more bees with honey than you can with vinegar, but be careful because the bees may be employing a similar strategy. I started to feel a little like a rhododendron, and I think I may have been cross-pollinated. 

My friend Lise had just signed up with the Somers Litter Task Force. They gave her a 20-inch litter grabber, locked and loaded, and she looked like she wasn’t afraid to use it. She says she sees litter everywhere she goes, and come to think of it so do I, especially near the laundry room where the cat box is. What is the take-away from all this? Just about everything if you have a 20-inch litter grabber. If I know Lise, and you’re on the couch buried in your cell phone, either you better have done your homework or be sitting 21 inches away.

Small business is the backbone of our economy, and everybody behind a booth last Saturday started with the dream of doing it their own way. The odds against you are high, and success takes work, commitment and a little luck. When I think that Richard Branson dropped out of high school and yet became a billionaire, I realize that I have that same kind of dedication since I graduated high school with a 1.7 grade-point average.

We wandered through the streets, alone, a man and his dog, some bees, a tooth, four girl scouts and two slices of pizza, like something out of a novel. By the way, what do you think of my novel so far?

Join Rick and the No Options band for some Rock & Roll, Saturday evening, 09-21-19, 9:30PM at PJ’s Restaurant, 84 Route 6 in Baldwin Place.

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