- Written by George L. Nitti with Kerryl Ann Ebneter
“Oh for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention…” William Shakespeare, Henry the V, Prologue
On Sunday, July 14th, 2012, I went to the Warwick Valley Farmer’s Market with the intention of meeting new people and promoting Warwick Valley Living. It came with some invention, at the last moment, as I was trying to figure out how I was going to proceed. Thanks to the collaboration of others, I found my way to the light that sparked a great day out.
The previous week, while Kerryl and I were swimming in Greenwood Lake on our noodles ( flotation devices helping to extend our swim), we met Gary Castelle who was paddle boarding, which is a water sport where you stand on a board resembling a surfboard, using a long paddle to move around. After inviting me to try the board and conversing about this unique sport, Gary revealed he was an inventor. He pulled off a double sided reflector, red on one side, white on the other, held together by Velcro tape, which was wrapped around one of the straps on his board. “This is one of my inventions,” he said, tossing it to me. “It comes in several colors and a couple of shapes.” (Click here for details)
I pulled the Velcro apart and then placed the reflectors back together to test its strength. “A very tight fit and good quality,” I added. He continued, “You wrap them around a leash, a collar, a hat, a backpack, etc. Clearly they are safety devices. Even if I save one life, it’s worth it.” Clever yes yet so innocuous and basic one could very easily miss the brilliance of this necessity. Being a dog lover, Gary was inspired by his own dog, Junior, as he wanted to put something around his collar when he walked him at night. In the grander scheme of a man that once worked for a plastics company as an engineer was the desire to be independent and make his own hours, whenever he wanted to practice his favorite things in life, whether paddle boarding on Greenwood Lake or making ingenious safety reflectors and other clever inventions.
Kerryl wanted to give something away for free at the Warwick Valley Farmer’s Market at our booth and came up with the bright idea of Gary’s velcro reflectors. She said, “Let’s give Gary a call and see what he thinks. At the same time we can promote his reflectors." I called Gary up that evening, arranged a meeting, and before long Kerryl and I were driving home with a bagful of reflectors. Suddenly the world of reflectors opened up to me and a light went off in my head, as I saw them everywhere on the road: the back of cars, telephone poles, mailboxes, virtually everywhere.
The day of the market arrived and I handed out the reflectors and shared information about Warwick Valley Living. It worked, serving as the perfect promotion, for both Gary and our online publication. Also for Gary, it got the attention of several interested parties. A Volunteer for Guiding Eyes for the Blind requested a phone number for the manufacturer. “These reflectors will help protect dogs being walked by the blind,” she said. Warwick’s Superintendent of Schools suggested hitting the local PTA’s. “You might make them in Purple and Gold,” he said, "to go with Warwick's school colors.” Also at the market, a non-profit backpack group that promotes free school lunches thought the reflectors might be a good giveaway for their program.
How inventive we are as a society, leading people to pursue their dreams and to create innovating products and services that can be of use to others. At the Warwick Valley Farmer’s Market, meeting so many new people and sharing the invention of Warwick Valley Living, what a wonderful opportunity it was to have a venue where we can all come together and share these gifts.
Shakespeare must have been quite pleased knowing that his plays would serve and give back to future generations. Our genius belongs to each of us and seems to shine when we are willing to tap in to that need to be of service to others. How I would like to write a play with such a prologue.
George is the publisher of Warwick Valley Living, an online magazine giving an inside view and unique perspective of Warwick, NY, its surrounding towns and other destinations far and wide. Writing stories of local interest, George travels throughout the region experiencing life in the Valley. His weekly newsletter, featuring upcoming events, stories and businesses is transmitted to a mailing list of approximately 3500 local emails.