"Forget your troubles, come on get happy. You better chase all your cares away."
These "Get Happy" lyrics were immortalized by Judy Garland in the MGM musical, "Summer Stock." In March, on the weekend of Blarney Days, "Get Happy" could be the theme song for Maine's Cool Little City! From the Shamrock Sprint 5K to the "Go Green" Parade up Centre Street; from the Blarney Ball at the Winter Street Center to the Irish Soda Bread Baking Contest at Now You're Cooking, the people of Bath will be singing and dancing their cares away from March 14th through March 17th and beyond! Some people like to say Mainers are getting old, but they haven't heard about Blarney Days. You have to be young at heart to play Tug O' War at City Hall and enjoy poetry readings at Cafe Creme. Only those who sleep like babies can consume caffeine until late in the afternoon! Hearts are definitely beating strong in Bath, and they suggest that this small gem in the county of Sagadahoc could be a real life Shangri-la! At times Bath seems almost as mystical as the Shangri-la depicted in James Hilton's 1933 novel, Lost Horizon. I have only read three novels twice, and Lost Horizon is first on that short list. As a young reader, Lost Horizon was my Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone, and I came to believe in Shangri-la like children today believe in Hogwarts Castle! Perhaps Lost Horizon captured my imagination because it suggested that an earthly paradise where people live long and active lives could exist. Even before I had wrinkles, I considered the notion of "forever young" worth pursuing. After discovering Bath, I believe youthful exuberance must be a Maine state of mind! Truth be told, no one seems old during Blarney Days! Bath Time is like an injection of youth, and the community of Bath, though old in years, is puddle-jumping young! People make music in Bath, and that is positive proof of life!
Joe and I have three adult children. Is that an oxymoron? It probably is, but wise men say that children keep us young. If that is true, then Joe and I are five times blessed: Katie, Matthew and Lauren, Mark, and our Maine house in Bath! We really bought our house on Washington Street with our children and their future families in mind. Like the premise of "Field of Dreams," we hope that "if you build it, they will come." And the magic seems to be working! Our daughter Katie will be celebrating her birthday later this month in Bath. She and her boyfriend, Scott, have been planning their itinerary for months. Obviously, young in mind and body, they will be in constant motion. They will trek to L.L. Bean to replenish old hiking gear; they will brunch at Mae's Cafe, and they will splurge on a divine dinner at Solo Bistro. The main event, however, will be Saturday night's concert, appropriately named "The Natives Are Restless,"at the Chocolate Church Arts Center. Katie is a singer and a performer, so I was not surprised that she would choose to spend her birthday at a concert featuring some of the most popular bands and solo artists in the region. Without a doubt, Katie will be tapping and clapping in pure delight because for Katie singing is like breathing. You have to make music to stay alive! In Bath, Katie will connect with many talented musicians, and that means she will visit often! The fact that all of our adult children are planning trips to our Maine house proves that dreams really can come true in Bath!
|Katie as Zerlina in a "Don Giovanni" scene|
Ironically, it was Katie's love of music that led us to Maine. On behalf of Carnegie Mellon University, Katie attended the Bowdoin International Music Festival in August of 2012 and found the music enchanting; she also found Maine's natural beauty and historical flavor inspiring. She called us and simply said, "You would love this place!" The next winter we booked a weekend getaway at the Inn at Bath, and it was love at first sight! We looked at five houses that weekend just to explore the city and admire the architectural details of some graceful and historic homes. As fate and Bath would have it, it was the last house, the Greek Revival on Washington Street, that invited us to stay, play and be happy. There was a piano in the living room and bookshelves filled with music, art books and novels. Our realtor, Patty, told us the former owner had passed away the previous summer. Patty also told us the woman used to sing at the church down the street, and we could clearly see her fondness for music, travel and art in every room. The house felt just right for my musical, travel-loving family. We visited two more times before making an offer, and Katie returned to Bath to take a look, too. Of course, she hoped the piano would stay, and it did. There was a beautiful antique mirror above the fireplace in the living room, however, that did not convey with the house, so Joe and I made a creative decision. Over the elegant mantle, we hung a large, framed poster of Katie, which the Santa Fe Opera had used a few summers ago to announce Katie would be stepping into the role of Zerlina for the final three performances of "Don Giovanni." And in a Shangri-la, mystical moment, the Maine house became our forever home.
|Bath Time kids find yet another selfie op|
P.S. As for that short list of novels, Shane and Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Spanish version, are the only other novels that I have read twice. I must be drawn to woeful heroes who ride horses and try to right all the wrongs!