I love a big city. You can’t beat having restaurants featuring every cuisine imaginable just minutes away, or concerts and plays every week. But in the past year I’ve also learned to savor the sweet, slow pace of Harmony, PA with a population of 1,104.
Tonight I was out for my evening walk and ran into a police officer on my path in the woods. He was closing the path because he said they’d be setting off fireworks in town, and it would be dangerous. So, I wandered to the town square, literally a five minute walk away, to hear the concert.
Older residents, moms, dads, and kids sat in folding chairs in the square. I watched a radiantly smiling woman in a summer dress, twirling her smiling baby girl to the music, the child’s shiny, dark curls bouncing with every move.
The band played everything from The Beatles’ Penny Lane, whose notes the trumpet player tried valiantly to hit, to Perry Como standards and patriotic tunes. This was not a slick, polished band, which is what I loved best about them. (Click on that highlighted link that says, The Beatles’ Penny Lane, and you’ll see and hear the band playing.)
The evening air was perfect for sitting sleeveless and I stayed longer than I’d planned, just absorbing what looked like a Rockwell summer scene. Kids eating soft-serve cones, friends chatting, and the band playing as well as each member could.
When I got home, I talked with my neighbor then dragged a chair outside to the back porch and watched the fireworks, which will always make me gasp with delight, no matter how old I get.
On the way home I passed the Harmony Inn, the weaver, the Two Frau’s Bakery, the Wunderbar restaurant, the store where an aging hippie sells nothing but tie-dyed items, and Salon MD hair salon. Along with another three or four small gift shops, the Neff Haus ice cream shop, an additional bakery in the square, the Harmony Museum, an antique shop, and another new shop I haven’t investigated yet, this encompasses the town’s merchants. This town could die of small town quaint and I love that about it.
Whatever town you’re in, I hope your Fourth of July weekend brings you peaceful, beautiful moments to relish, with music, fireworks, neighbors and friends. Celebrate it with abandon, as my mom would have, because the Fourth of July was her birthday and the celebration of our nation’s independence. Too many people have died defending this country to ever take that for granted. So, Happy Fourth of July, or as mom would say, “Happy Fort of July!”
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Matilda NovakJuly 5, 2022 at 1:07 am
Happy “Fort of July”…that’s exactly how my parents (and All my relatives from Europe said it!)
i love the way you write Fran….you make me See and Hear it all.
Fran TunnoJuly 8, 2022 at 4:45 pm
Thank you Matilda. I hope all is well with you and your family! Thanks for always reading and taking the time to write. Have a wonderful summer!
Emil MitchellJuly 2, 2022 at 11:11 am
Grew up in a small town moved back to it last fall, pretty much as it was, changes to main street for the better and most of the stores are intact. Hope you enjoy your small town as I always have here. Have a Great 4th of July Ms Fran!
Fran TunnoJuly 3, 2022 at 12:17 pm
Thank you Emil. I am doing just that. Have a wonderful Fourth and thank you for taking the time to always read and respond!
BurseJuly 2, 2022 at 9:24 am
Hi Fran, So great to hear from you. It certainly sounds like the small town life is agreeing with you. It
certainly gives one time to smell the roses. Your smiling face is truly issued. May you have a wonderful
July 4. Your Mom will be celebrating and dancing away the whole day. 🇺🇸
Fran TunnoJuly 2, 2022 at 10:07 am
Thank you Burse for always reading and taking the time to respond. I do miss my friends and the beauty and great weather of Glendale.
Ed McCannJuly 2, 2022 at 6:32 am
Hello, Fran: Thanks for this charming reflection of small town pleasures. I, too, have forsaken big city living and deeply appreciate seeing a sky filled with stars, hearing the call and response of owls and coyotes, and—best of all—neighbors I love who know where we keep the spare key to my house. Happy fourth to you, too!
Fran TunnoJuly 2, 2022 at 10:06 am
Ed! I’m so happy you found a small town to love. It it wonderful to listen to the birds. I just heard something that was either an owl or a dove this morning! Haven’t seen a coyote yet. But have seen lots of deer and my favorites…chipmunks! My lifelong friend since I was 14 lives within walking distance and has my key! Thanks for always reading and taking the time to respond. Happy Fourth of July!