Despite our bleary eyed awakening to our national holiday it ended up being a really terrific day! We made our way back into town barely alive after only a few hours of sleep and found ourselves back at the Green Salmon. Everyone else seemed to have coffee on the brain this early in the morning as there was a short line of locals waiting outside for it to open. We cruised up and jumped at the caboose anticipating some bean rejuvenation. The locals in line were colorful characters full of life on this misty morning. They spoke of the festivities that would be going on during the day – the sumo wrestling, the local art and farmer’s market and we can’t forget the 20 different varieties of pie that would be sold at the heart of it all – in the community center (or as we like to call it the Pie Center). There was one man that stood out in the crowd wearing a gray windbreaker with a long white pony tail and thick bottle neck glasses. He was putting smiles on peoples faces at 7 in the morning (even two grumps that had just spent the night not sleeping on the beach).
We decided to fill up – we got breakfast and a little something for lunch (we were going to splurge that day). So, we got up to the register (no longer strangers) and were welcomed by the familiar face from the day before. She rang us up and asked us if that was all. It was. She told us that we were all set that the gentleman in the gray coat got it for us. We looked at each other funny. Really? She assured us that it wasn’t a joke and to enjoy our free meal! If there’s anything that’ll get you out of a funk after such a night/morning it is someone who buys you breakfast and dinner for no particular reason – just out of the goodness of one’s heart. We marched right over to where he was sitting and shook his hand. We wanted to know this guy. We talked to him for a while about traveling and living life. Jerry was awesome. We found out a little later that he gave the cashier a $100 bill and said, “Use it up until it’s gone!” Talk about patriotism and what it’s all about. A little reminder that life is too short and to live in each day. It’s so positive to act in such selfless ways when your able. There’s a connection and a mutual respect for the person who can just smile and let things go.
The day just kept getting better after that. We headed over to the Pie Center and couldn’t believe our eyes. A line that wrapped around the building that lead to a 20 foot table with every kind of pie you could imagine. We were in heaven. Ladies over 40 in their homemade aprons hauling out countless pies and walking around to each table serving up fresh brewed coffee. As Kurt Vonnegut says, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” We got our pie to go and went down to enjoy the community parade; with the tractors, homemade costumes, belly dancers and they even had a synchronized umbrella dance.
We went back to the Green Salmon to check out their outdoor festivities and found a woman selling original designs made out of recycled fabrics. She went by the name of Jeanne Fairchild and her motto was, “Go Green with Design by Jeanne.” I absolutely fell in love with this one skirt and decided I had to have it. I hadn’t spent one penny on anything besides food, shelter and gas on the whole trip (besides my moosewood cookbooks) and decided I deserved this one of a kind skirt by Jeanne.
We decided to try out our new kite on the beach front and made our way down just in time to see the Ducky Races – where they let loose a few hundred rubber duckies down the river all with numbers to see who will win the prize! I couldn’t wait to see my kite fly in the sky. It had been a while since I got to partake in such an activity. I experienced a few crash landings but after a while I got the hang of it and soon enough it was flying higher than the others. It’s such a freeing experience feeling something so high being moved by the slightest touch of wind way up in the sky. After a while we hauled it in and read for a time on the beach.
We took in a bit more of the festivities and wondered if we should stick around for fireworks. For some reason a night in the deep woods sounded fitting after such a lovely day. Plus we had our fair share of fireworks the night before. So we packed it in and put on our hiking bags and finished our day of celebrating freedom with a hike to our temporary home in the woods, far away from people and noise and commotion. It was…a silent celebration.