By Ashley Lodato

One day when my kids were young and just starting to answer the phone, I came into the house and my daughter said, “Mommy, a lady with a Southern accent called you.” No name, no number — just that single identifier: a Southern accent. Fortunately, for me that lone clue narrowed the field down to three possible callers: a CenturyLink telemarketer, Jane Orme, or Liz Johnson. The process of deduction becomes quite simple when you live in a relatively accent-free community.

How is all this relevant, you ask? Well, if, like me, you have a thing (or should I say a “thang”?) for Southern accents, then you’re going to love “The Miss Firecracker Contest” play at The Merc Playhouse, which runs through Sunday (March 12). The script is engaging, the cast is energetic, and the accents — oh, those Southern accents. Director Jane Orme did a smack-up job as an accent coach and the actors all provide their own twists on pronunciation.

If you wanted to research Southern accents, you’d go to the library to check out a book, right? (OK, you’d probably just Google it for starters, but let’s assume for rhetorical purposes that you’d go to the library, the way we used to in the olden days.) You’d find the books you needed and you’d be so thankful that the library provided you with these free resources, right? And then you’d think to yourself, “How can I give back to the place that graces me with enriching information free of charge?”

You’re in luck — Winthrop librarian Sally Portman has an answer for you. You could spearhead fundraising (book sales, bake sales, etc.). You could organize library projects (such as the crafts, for example). You could take the lead on the summer reading program. Or you could coordinate Storytime. If you’re interested and available at least through the summer months, you should contact Sally at 996-2685.

I wrote a big long article for the sports page (yes, me — sports page! imagine that!) last week and what with all the mention of the community effort required to relocate the McCabe Trails stadium and biathlon range, I neglected to acknowledge the man who has spearheaded the whole Ski Cubs program: Andy Kindig. Under Andy’s leadership, Ski Cubs has blossomed into a Nordic program that is widely accessible to young skiers across the valley. Thank you, Andy!

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