I wonder if anyone remembers that little jingle of the past? I have to stop to think what it pertained to! I remember we used to all sing it back in the '60s. Even today we still hear it often on the radio or again as part of commercial jingles.
Thank goodness, the first day of summer 2019 will be just about here by the time you read our story this week. It's officially Friday, June 21. What always seems to correlate with this date is the start of the Hampton Beach Sand Castle Competition. You know our New Hampshire coast is our favorite get away spot in the world. Well, this weekend they were bringing in large wooden frames they use, I guess, as a foundation for each sand structure. I always wondered how that initial sand was brought in and always seemed to stay in its place. The structure sizes very, but overall they are about 2 feet tall and a few inches thick. We had never caught the very first steps in the process before.
Even though it was raining, a few hopeful artists were standing just looking at their designated area and I bet they were visualizing the sand sculpture they will create and that will be in place in less than a week. Can you imagine that it takes two tons of sand just to get things started? This year will mark the 19th year, and remember they now have lights for night viewing, too. I wonder what the themes will be this year? I would love to see one this year of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The more I read and learn about her, the more I admire her. I also love the friendship between her and Justice Scalia. Two people from opposite political sides, working together for the greater good.
Let’s get back to our song. It’s actually a song by the Jamies, an American rock band, and it hit the music charts back in 1958! I had no idea it was that old!
It was a great fun song about the start of summer. It was reminding everyone to kick back a little, relax, and have some summer fun. As the song says, “No more studying and fun for all.” It also tells people to “have a dance,” which makes me wonder why all the great fun dances stopped in towns.
I love talking to our friends Gerry and Vernon Van Grevenhof. They've told us about the best simple fun times that used to happen in our towns. Every week there would be a community dance and it was something everyone would look forward to. Where did they go? Maybe we need to bring those kinds of easy summertime fun back? How hard could it be?
A couple weeks ago, a few of us had a great conversation at Mack’s Apples, sitting on a wonderful bench by the pond, about bringing things back for our 300th Anniversary. Things like family picnics. Andy Mack Sr. was sharing stories with us of how beautiful and relaxing it was for families to gather early in the day and well into the evening to play games together, cook outside on grills, and relax on a blanket — not just for a rushed hour, like we are lucky if we find the time for now, but for the good part of a weekend day.
I wonder if we could bring a family picnic day back with music and dancing, too. Why not I guess? We need to find our way back to the easy, less rushed, family and friends gathering times, for the good of everyone and especially for our communities.
I never got to tell you about one of the nicest things I have been invited to do in a long time. The kicker is at first, I said a definite “no” to it!
My friend Laura Morin called me a couple Saturdays ago and of course I was rushing here and there. She said “Sherry, it’s a beautiful Saturday. Come on over and we can look for four-leaf clovers together!”
Laura was so excited, and I was for about two seconds, and then I started to list the five things I had to do on my list this beautiful Saturday afternoon. Let’s see, I need to clean the house, do wash, on and on.
I could tell Laura was disappointed, but she is also used to me and she is very forgiving always.
Now the side story is that Laura remembers the story I shared with her years ago. My dad didn’t have a lot to give, but when I was young he entrusted me with a four-leaf clover that he had found decades before. He cherished it, and kept it safe in a little wax paper envelope in between the pages of a book.
Of course being a carefree rushing young adult at the time, I didn’t take good care of it, and somehow it was crushed. I was crushed too. Nothing I could do. Laura had made it a little quest of hers that some spring we would find another four leaf, not a three-leaf clover, to replace my dad’s.
Well about 15 minutes after I gave Laura my firm “no” answer and I started to clean, I called her back and said, “I’m on my way!”
Laura loves history and for fun she had mentioned that she was going to wear a fun garden-party style dress, so I decided I’d surprise her and show up in one. Well, my reason for telling you this story and about sandcastles, too, is that these are the lost arts that can help us to relax, breathe, and share real time with our friends and family too.
Laura and I spent the next hour or so laughing, talking and hunting for that one very special clover together. Big hats and dresses too! I have not been that relaxed in such a long time. Laura even made us a pot of lovely flowering tea. If you get a chance, head out and look for a four-leaf clover in your yard or around our town with your family.
Now you may not believe this, but four-leaf clovers really can be found with patience and perseverance. Later in the week, Laura called to tell me that she had found my clover. When I went over to see it, I thought I would just pick it up and be on my way, but Laura had marked off a small area in the grass where it could be found. She wanted me to find and pick it myself, in memory to my dad. How great is that!
My prayer for all of us this summer is to slow down and try to do a couple relaxing, no real money involved things with those you cherish.
Look for that four-leaf clover together, remember what it is like to really fly a kite, build a sand castle, take a long walk, or do a puzzle together.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.