If Norman Rockwell were searching for the perfect backdrop for one of his poignant Americana masterpieces, where white capped rivers wind along roadsides, still lakes reflecting white birch and needled pines, or distant mountaintops in magenta hues greet a cobalt sky, he would set his easel in Grantham New Hampshire.
If you're lucky enough to have family who live there, may I recommend a visit during fall foliage. Imagine all this beauty, colored in shades of fiery orange and Tuscany red, paired with the smell of a wood stove burning on a crisp starry night, it's almost a sensory overload.
Eastman, the community where my folks live, is designed specifically for those who enjoy outdoor activities. There are miles of manicured walking trails around a lake, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, cross country skiing, and downhill slopes 35 minutes away. Not a lot of excitement other than a passing moose, or hungry black bear lurking about at night. The nearby town is small and very quiet, so when my mother eagerly suggested taking me to see the “Village People”, it definitely caught my attention. It's a tradition the town started a few years ago.
Every October, local businesses decorate straw men and display them along the streets” She explained. “Articles have been written about them” OK...that peaked my curiosity.
Usually, October decorations consist of carved pumpkins, baskets of gourds with corn husk bundles, ghosts, black cats and witches flying off on old whisk brooms, I grabbed my camera , anticipating that this may be something I haven't seen.
As we approached town, I caught the first glimpse, there...standing along the roadside were... “The Village People.”
I jumped from the car and ran to the closest, human sized character; mesmerized as I studied each detail. Its charming, happy face with round Rosy cheeks and a bucktooth smile, was painted on a burlap bag. It was cleverly posed in a bubble bath, rollers in her straw hair dripping in soap suds.
I was enthralled with the thoughtful attention and creativity put into this display. The other characters were engaged in activities such as, riding bikes, sitting on a horse, grilling, climbing ladders... I was not disappointed.
For a brief time I was captivated, imagining what my own character's escapades may entail. They weren't the scary, ghoulish, threatening images we have come to expect in October in preparation for Halloween. No blood, brains or hairy hands reaching from a grave. This little town created an atmosphere of tranquility and wellbeing, a perfect place to welcome fall.
Although my visit was brief, and I'm home now here in Florida, my friends and I have chuckled over the photographs, of the crazy cast of stuffed characters from Grantham New Hampshire. I'd like to share them with you, and hope they inspire, delight or simply make you smile.
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