Not thinking too much about summer
I always try to be in town for summer festival, in part because it acts as sort of a distillation of summer experiences I remember from growing up in the Village of Potsdam. I was thinking about this last night while sitting behind a coffee table in front of an old downtown storefront in transition to becoming a new Potsdam business.
It was a little hard to think about much, frankly, because there was a constant flow of people going by and stopping to chat, and there was a great band, Bee Children, playing onstage in the middle of the main drag. But then, one of the lessons summer teaches us is not to think too much.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time sitting on the sandstone front steps of downtown establishments just watching what was happening, maybe eating a little street food, just as I was last night. There used to be a clutch of old guys who hung out in front of the long-vanished Albion Hotel. WWI vets, then. Now I am the old guy hanging out.
Sitting on the front porch people-watching, chatting, maybe listening to music on the radio was the main resting summer recreation for families throughout the village, just as the main non-resting recreation, for kids anyway, was playing in the street. Every now and then you might walk downtown and stop a moment at each occupied porch along the way, chatting with friends, waving at non-friends. Wasting time–which, by the way, was a positive virtue then and could become one again if you care to take up the practice.
I used to waste a lot of time in the Roxy Theater, which still had a new theater look when we arrived in town with the Seaway “boom.” One of the perks of being a paperboy was free passes to the Roxy, but even after they were all used up, I could usually scrape up a quarter for the matinee. Westerns and WWII movies, epic dramas, what we would now call classic Disney, spy thrillers, all preceded by the requisite cartoon. Last night it was new classic Disney–“Inside Out.” And wonder of wonders, it was preceded by an animated short. I could say I watched the movie for the brain science, or even for the wowser animation, but I was really just wasting time, in a familiar place with familiar company.
Who wanders around town for the fitness training? Who eats an ice cream cone for the nutrition? It’s just summer.