Friday, August 12, 2011

On Fire Twirling and Other Life Lessons

It is a place trapped in time in so many subtle and obvious ways. The general store in the center of town has a new paint job, with a cheerful white facade and brilliant green trim, a jaunty string of lobster buoys hanging across it. But inside the wooden floors still creak, and are just a little uneven and slanted, whispering of years of locals and visitors from away coming in to find a can of this and a bottle of that.

It celebrates it's origins with Friendship Days, which includes a parade as old fashioned and fabulous as any you can remember from your childhood. There are fire trucks, old cars with old citizens and Veterans of old wars riding in them. There is an old style oompapa band, as well as a relatively new addition, a roller derby team showing off some of their tattoos and skills. Candy is thrown from the cars and trucks, and kids scramble to get as much as they can.

We go every year to visit with friends, and the cove, even with some of the changes like new concrete steps on the cabins and a new counter in the kitchen, hot AND cold running water in the house (long gone are the days of a very cold shower on a chill summer morning), seems as changeless as the ocean you can see from every porch.

One of two newer residents in the cove. They came FOR dinner, not to BE dinner...

The Barnstable...

Fishing for the first time...

Conquering the slide that scared him last year...

And yet, while you sit on the porch, in the glider that has been there for as long as anyone can remember, the red vinyl cushions inexplicably undecayed, there is always opportunity to learn something new, to grow and explore and be the better for having been there.

We were sitting on the porch, 15 or so of us, enjoying the late afternoon sun, having wine and appetizers, catching up on a year of kids growing, new jobs, new ailments, when they approached us from one of the other cabins. A man and a woman, who were new to the cove. Newcomers are always interesting, because the cove is not on the beaten path, with regulars who have been coming to stay for decades, if not generations crossing a century. They came to say hi and invite us to a fire twirling demonstration later. I had no reference point for this so I asked what she meant. "Like the cheerleader with the fiery baton" she responded. She was just learning she said, and I asked what inspired her to try it. "I turned 50 this year, and I decided to do something scary as a way of reclaiming my power" she answered. Because I was curious, I went down later to the green in front of the cabin they were staying in to see the demonstration. She was quite obviously a novice, but it was still quite interesting.

Meanwhile, her companion, a 6'5" or so, 300lb man was chatting with a few of the other people, and handing out business cards. She explained it was for a blog he writes. He lives in Cambridge MA and writes a blog. He looked like every computer geek/slacker you have ever met. Some people later commented on how gauche it seemed to hand out business cards to people you have just met while on vacation. Being a blog writer of sorts myself, I didn't really have a problem with it. He just seemed like a big ol' nerd and good for him for trying to get the word out on his endeavors.

The joke was sort of on all of us. The card went forgotten for a few days after I arrived home, but on the weekend I found it again in my card while rummaging for something, so I decided to see what it was about. In the process of finding that out I found out about him. It would appear he is something of a genius entrepreneur. He went to MIT for the first time when he was 16 (seems he has several degrees, two from MIT). Then he created a company, which designed one of the first massive, multiplayer online games. He sold the company last year for 160 MILLION DOLLARS. So. In the category of "do not judge a book by its cover" this guy apparently was a) smarter than all of us on the porch that night, combined, and b) richer than all of us on the porch, or even in the cove for that matter, combined.

I didn't see much of them the rest of the time we were in the cove. I would like to think I would have taken the time to get to know them better if I had. But there, in the cove, which seems to never change, our little world was broadened just a bit, by power reclaiming fire twirling and genius entrepreneurs.

Editors note: I have no idea why some of the text is highlighted and goofy. Something happened when I was editing the photos.

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