It has been hard getting back here to post lately! We have been quite busy over here on the plains. The farmers almanac stated that this summer would be a rainy one and BOY were they right!! If I believe what it says, this is NOT over for the state of Maine. So far, they have been right and I am hoping they are wrong for the rest of the season. We have such a short summer here, it is hard to swallow that forecast but what can we do? Farmers Almanac 2009
I have managed to get out to my garden, in the rain most of the time, and check on my little babies that are still growing, despite the down pours. Growth is slow because of the lack of sun. The only plants that are going crazy are my tomatoes! They are growing by leaps and bounds. Today it is sunny….thank you god! Our rivers and lakes are extremely high. The farmers almanac even apologizes for bad weather!!!! Farmers Almanac Apologizes
I grew up in the town of Yarmouth. Every year, for as long as I can recall, the town had a big event called The Clam Festival. I went to it as a child with my parents. I walked down to it as a teenager with my friends, and brought my kids as an adult. Every year, the kickoff is on the third Friday in July. It is an event attended by hundreds of thousands of people and it is called the Clam Festival Parade. The Clam Festival Well look at that! They even have their own website! Imagine!
Some of the best memories of my life, come from being at that big festival! My brothers drove old cars in the parade and sometimes I rode in the cars. As a child, I rode on top of the big fire truck and threw candy. I marched in the parade as a brownie and girl scout and then later in the high school band. My fathers band would play at one of the local clubs or under a tent at the fair and so did my brother Arthur and a band he would throw together. My grand parents had a big old Victorian house on West Elm Street. My grand mother had died and my aunt and uncle lived there still. I never met my grand father, he died before I was born. The property went right to the road. The parade starts at the Yarmouth High School and proceeds down West Elm Street….right past my grand parents home. That is where we always set up chairs along the edge of the property. My entire family would be there. Cousins and friends knew where to find us on that Friday night. That beautiful old home has since been sold. My aunt and uncle have since passed and I truly miss being there. Over the years we have found other places to watch the parade.
After the parade, my parents would have a huge gathering at their house around the corner. You could walk from my grand parents there and we often did. My parents home would be filled to the brim with young and old. Out back on the attached screened in porch, is where the musicians would gather, playing all the old tunes. Five foot two, Bill Bailey, Tiger Rag, Crazy, and many more I cannot recall right now! My brother would show up with his guitar and friends that also played. My father had friends that played mandolin and piano and the harmonica and anyone was welcome. Often times there would be a party on the porch, a party in the kitchen and one in the living room all at the same time! Neighbors would hear the music and stop by. People would walk by and hear it and stop in. I remember one year, my mother said to me… “ Debbie, do you know who those people are in the living room?” “No mom I don’t!” But that was ok….those were the days when you could trust just about anyone and we made friends with all. They were there for the music.
They are setting up the carnival in Yarmouth as I write. The kiddie rides will start probably tomorrow. It is usually Smokey’s Greatest Shows that haul into town during Clamfest. The parade will be this Friday night and the festival will be officially underway right through Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. I don’t spend a lot of time down there like I used to, but the memories I have of those days are wonderful and precious. My dad died in 1993 and he loved the clam fest. It was quite fitting that he died the week of the festival on July 14…..and it will be 16 years tomorrow that we lost him. I can hardly believe it and I still miss him every day. The roads to the funeral parlor were so crowded with people from the festival, we had to wait to have his funeral AFTER it was over! Can you believe it? Years later, I went to a psychic and she mentions this WAITING to me. (More on that some other time.) The funeral was not a common one. It was almost like the ones you hear about in New Orleans. It was so crowded, people were standing in the entryway. We had his Les Paul guitar on a stand in front of his casket and his banjo was there too. My brother played a couple of songs my dad wrote and there was more music. I read a poem my dad wrote when he was younger. A fellow musician and friend wrote a long “send off” that was quite apropos. It just went on and on like that and it was fabulous. My dad would have loved it. This time of year will always have great significance to me…..the wonderful Clam Festival and my dad’s passing right in the middle of it.