Our big community festival wrapped up yesterday, and I although I am still sleep deprived and foot weary (I hawked ice cream one night and helped keep a parade on track the next morning), I am happy happy happy for it has passed for another year with no problems or incidents to fret over.
The festival is a lot of work for the staff and the volunteers. But the community loves it. It showcases our wonderful location on the Great Lakes, and our stunning municipal marina.
The event has its roots in the summer festivals of my childhood, the summers before I became restless with the wanderlust that would one day cause me to flee this little town.
One afternoon I was heading back to my car, which was parked several blocks from the festival grounds. As I neared the corner where I would turn, I saw a young girl, 8 or 9 maybe, on a bicycle. She stopped at the corner and looked wistfully toward the waterfront.
"Is it there?" she asked the man walking 14 paces in front of me. He did not reply.
"Is that the festival? Is it there?" she asked me. "My parents won't let me go. I want to see it."
She brought me back to the days I stood at the corner of Dunlap and Belleville streets in Frenchtown, looking down the street six blocks to Ogden School where my adored but older friend Natalie attended kindergarten. With other kids. While I was only four and still at home. Alone.
"Oh, but you can have as much fun at home than you can at the festival," I told her. "I'm there because it's work for me."
She seemed disappointed. She turned around and pedaled her bicycle back down the side street. I followed. She looked back at me and then turned to pedal on.
"Ah, she already has it," I thought to myself. She already had the restlessness that comes with summer, the same restlessness that caused me to pace and wring my hands at 15, trapped at home on summer nights when it seemed all the world was out cruising the streets. I was sure that something - or someone - was out there waiting for me.
The restlessness increased when there was, as my Grandma Annie, always said, "Big doings down at the shore."
I feel the same restlessness myself on farm market days. I must go to the market. In lean times, I might have only been able to purchases fresh garlic. Today, I can buy what I please.
But I must go. I look forward to the first market of the year, even with its scant merchandise.
I've never met a farm market I did not like.
This year, the markets in our area are a bit behind previous years. Saturday I bought broccoli, beets, beans, herbs, lettuce, onions, scallions and green pepper.
How is your market doing?