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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