I’ve lived in northern Maine just over 20 years now. We’ve bought homes and raised our babies. But I will never truly be from here. That honor belongs to those whose grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can say they owned and worked the land or built businesses that they passed on to their children.

This is beautiful country. I have to give you that. Well, for the few months we’re without snow that is. Winters here are long and harsh. But I digress.

This past weekend was the annual Potato Blossom Festival. It really is amazing. Friday night they block off the main street and local service organizations and churches offer all kinds of food stuffs to raise money for their annual scholarships. They set up a stage for entertainment and one of the people performing was a good friend’s son who has moved away and is now making money as a musician downstate. My heart clogged as he sang beautiful songs of coming home. Swelled even more when his hard-working father, a potato farmer, who hasn’t really understood the artistic side of his son, stood with the rest of us totally mesmerized by this young man. I just kept thinking that those are the moments life is made of.

On Saturday I got to ride with Mr. Nina in a half-ton pickup pulling a float full of pageant queens. Yep northern Maine takes their pageants very seriously. Over the years a couple of the potato blossom queens have actually gone on to be “Miss Maine”. I really can’t express the emotions rolling over me as we rode the parade route waving at all the families lining the street 3 and 4 deep to watch the parade. It was so cute when the little ones blew kisses at the girls or waved calling to the “pretty princesses”. But I’m not making a statement about pageants or queens.

I’m talking about the hometown pride of the people standing there watching the parade. Obviously, not everyone was from the host town. But everyone was celebrating small town America pride. From the fireman on a float behind us singing patriotic songs to the politicians walking the parade route, shaking hands and looking for votes, everyone was just hot and smiling and … proud.

I have no doubt that somewhere near you there’s a celebration just like this. Maybe bigger. Maybe smaller. A time when the high school band plays and marches, the antique tractors and cars chug-a-lug, the veterans don their military uniforms to the applause of the crowd and the guy next door becomes a Shriner clown entertaining the crowd. *sigh*

Sometimes life just doesn’t get any better.

0 Responses to Coming Home

  • Always loved our hometown parades where I marched with the Brownies and Girl Scouts. Big thing back in the 50’5-60’s. Pride in community and friends and family showed up.
    People are scattered everywhere now and I haven’t been to a parade since my kids were little.
    Going “home” will always be a town on Long Island, no matter where I live. That’s where my growing up memories rest.

    • Marianne – Oh, Brownies and Girl Scouts, that brings back memories. Funny how “home” is where you grew up. I do wonder what my children will consider home since we spend so much time where we grew up.

  • We had Richmond Days when I was growing up. As a matter of fact it’s coming right up on July 23 & 24th, 2010. I love it! I still go every year. I get to see and catch up with old friends who come back from all corners of the country. Growing up in a small town (31 in my graduating class)seemed soooo boring, but now, I realize we were one big family. Times were different for sure. If I did something I wasn’t supposed to do across town. My mother knew about it before I got home, sure kept me in line. lol

    • Lori – It’s so nice when everyone comes home and you get to visit with them. LOL! on the neighborhood watch system. Funny, we had one of those as well.

  • We love our small Pennsylvania town. Every Fourth of July the town holds “Good Neighbor Day” with events beginning at 7 a.m. and ending with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. The day is always well attended and lots of fun. Being a good neighbor makes everyone feel good.

    Excellent discussion, Nina!

    Best–Adele Dubois

  • We have Westbrook Together Days and it’s an entire weekend. My kids were in it from the time they were in little leauge through High School Marching Band. This was our last year with anyone in the parade, sniff.

    They have a wonderful band play on Friday nights and eveyone – all ages dance in the street. It’s a great place to catch up with people because it’s the one event everyone comes home for.

    It’s also the last weekend event for the seniors, which makes it crazy for parents of seniors, but no one misses it and the fireworks.

    We love our small towns here, don’t we Nina

    • Donna – That definitely sounds like here. Everyone seems to come home for this. Mr. Nina usually parks me in a chair near the band and I get to see all kinds of old friends. It’s wonderful. It’s nice they spend the weekend celebrating the seniors as well, Donna. *sigh*

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