Always look on the Ipswich side of life

Spring has sprung. Life is good.

My father will affirm this view. He was a springtime baby, born during the Hoover administration. Dad will turn 91 next week, and he’s in very good health, which is cause for gratitude, even rejoicing — not just because it means he’s still around for us to enjoy, but also because it means my DNA probably carries the longevity gene.

It’s been a long, lovely, leisurely Ipswich spring so far, with some much-needed rain, yet not too many raw, blustery days. Along with the inevitable clouds, we’ve had quite a lot of delightful sunshine.

(Of course, complaining is our official town pastime, so on the first hot day, someone will complain that spring was too short. But let’s agree, right now, to encircle the complainer and thrash them with our campfire hot-dog-grilling sticks.)

It’s spring, and Mother Nature announces this by causing the trees and bushes to fluff out, turning Ipswich beautiful shades of green, and making it easier for the cops to hide from speeders. In wintertime, that line of vegetation at the edge of the Catholic Church property doesn’t work as a speed trap. But this is the season of hope — and thanks to Our Lady of Hope’s springtime foliage, Ipswich police officers can once again ensnare speeders as they roar toward downtown on Linebrook Road. This has the potential of reforming lead-footed miscreants, making our streets safer for young and old, reducing the noise of roaring vehicle engines, and leading to the overall improvement of our quality of life. Life is good, and might be getting even better.

Another wondrous sign of spring: The Marini farmstand opened last week. I live on the Marini end of town, so I depend on this source of fresh food — except during our long, sad winters, when I’m forced to forage in my freezer, or eat from cans like a house pet. On Marini’s opening day, I was able to wait almost three full hours before I dashed into the farmstand, giggling and dancing with joy. (A kindly young woman in a Marini polo shirt quietly escorted me back out onto the parking lot until I could control myself.)

And this spring may turn out to be better than any previous spring — because the Marini farmstand has expanded! The expansion is very nice, completely in keeping with the other structures and the feel of the area. Rumor has it that Mr. Bruni proposed adding 90 or so apartments, but I understand the Marini family wisely declined that gracious offer.

Spring has sprung, life is good, and it’s time to count our blessings. Grieving over last year’s departure of the beloved Ithaki restaurant can now end, as the Brown Square Bistro has opened in that space, with a lively, ever-morphing menu. Last night I had a dessert designed to look like a Truffula tree from Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax. Instead of a puff of cartoony leaves, my miniature tree featured cotton candy. Life is sweet.

Oh, we could focus on the negative, the sad, the infuriating, the ugly. We are, in this election season, overwhelmed by lawn signs. But let us look on the positive side. We have such a rainbow of lawn-sign colors, I hear the town is up for a public-art grant.

Spring is lovely. Life is good. Sure, we’re bracing ourselves for a contentious Town Meeting, followed by a Select Board election with six candidates and only four open positions, which means perhaps a third of all voters may be disappointed in the outcome. But let’s do what Eric Idle recommended: “Always look on the bright side of life.” Okay, he sang this song during his own crucifixion — but it became a megahit! Good things come out of bad situations. Let’s look at our Select Board election this way: With each of us casting four votes on Election Day, we can all wake up the next morning and say, “At least two of my candidates won!”

Doug Brendel lives a cheery life of unfettered joy on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Find out more at

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