#51 In Roads-Americana


It’s been a day of celebration as I hike through the small beach town I’m visiting. Time has stood still in the place where 1950 sensibilities abound. Norman Rockwell would be proud. There’s been a parade that wound its way thought the community and finished with the closing of the state highway as the procession spilled out onto the road. And there were wiener dog races.

A group of us met up for lunch at a little place we found on the main drag just down from the corndog stand that has had a steady line since 9 a.m. The menu at the café warned that this is not a fast food restaurant and they ask for patience as they prepare each meal fresh. Everything is homemade. The owner comes out to visit with us and to ask how our lunch is. She explains that she’s stopped serving tilapia since she discovered it was being shipped from China. “I’m not serving my customers fish from China,” she declares. “That’s just wrong.”

We discuss the fishing industry a bit before she asks, “Did you make it in to watch the parade? Have you enjoyed yourselves? Isn’t this just the neatest little community? Just so homey and comfortable. We love our little town.” Her sense of pride and community was obvious. I ask if I can take her picture. She doesn’t ask why but grabs her sister and says, “Not without Jessi.” Jessi wears a Hogwarts t-shirt and admits that even at 30 years of age, she’s still a Harry Potter junkie.

The two women are chatty and warm. Jamie tells about how her mother used to own the café years ago but sold it. When the new owners decided they were tired of the place, they sold it back to the family and Jamie’s been managing things since the reopening in January. She says her mother has a coffee hut at the edge of town and it keeps her busy enough that she’s not down at the café trying to ramrod things.

“Will you be here for the fireworks tonight?” Jessi asks. “It’s down on the beach and it’s going to be great. Come on down, they do a really nice show, you’ll love it. And if you’re still around over the weekend, come on back by. We’d love to see you all again.” Happy Independence Day, America.


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