Damn Naugatuck River, we've been together so long, and now that we're even closer, I feel that I need to apologize to you for my past actions.

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I hope you understand Naugatuck River. Is it cool to call you Naugy R.? You see, back when I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, you were pretty stinky in Waterbury. I could smell you from my house on Oronoke Road. You were the phrase "They can smell you coming a mile away".

I know it wasn't your fault Naugy R., you just go with the flow, I get it. It was all those dirty companies, spilling their dirty chemicals into you. Someone else's problem, a great place to dump carcinogens, with little consequence. It took awhile, but eventually everyone woke up and realized what a beautiful, natural resource you are. You've really changed.

Your water runs clear, your banks have been cleaned, wonderful wildlife has returned, and actually survive and thrive in your environment. I'm sorry that I've hated you for all of these years.

Photo by Large "Naugatuck River RULES" Dave
Photo by Large "Naugatuck River RULES" Dave

Now that you are literally my backyard in Torrington, and I walk your bank daily, I can see it now. The images of all the used condoms strewn on your banks by the Colonial Plaza on Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury in 1985 has been replaced by the gorgeous geese, ducks, and swans that scare the hell out of my Chihuahua near the John Toro Sports Complex in Torrington.

I'll no longer imagine Tom Cruise running away from an alien creature that smelled like the plumes of fart coming out of the Naugatuck Treatment Plant. Now I'll think of the massive Rainbow Trout that I saw some lucky dude pull from the Palmer Bridge Street overpass.

Can you forgive me Naugy R.? I know that 50 years of me calling you a disgusting, stinky mess is a lot to overcome, but, I believe that we've both come a long way. Friends?

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