At the art festival -- 07/15/02

As I had predictied, Sunday was just about as lazy a day as Saturday had been. The earlier part of the morning had been devoted to reading the Sunday paper and moving the lawn sprinkers around to thoroughly soak our nice green sod. (Oh, okay, so there are a few brown splotches, mostly on the lawn to the side of our garage, so it's not too noticeable -- and eventually those areas will fill back in with green.) Nancy was off at an eight a.m. tennis match.

After Nancy returned home from her morning tennis we drove over to the train station parking lot to meet two sisters-in-law (one of Nancy's sisters plus the wife of one of her brothers) so that we could drive over to the Wickford Art Festival in one car. We found a convenient spot near the Wickford library (which has a back path leading into the center of the village) and walked to the art festival.

The art festival had started years and years ago and grew every year until it grew so large that it was choking the village, at which point the organizers decided to cut the number of exhibitors down to a more manageable number. They have capped the number of artists accepted at 250 with fairly strict criteria for acceptance. This eliminates most of the artsy-craftsy exhibits, the sad-eyed clowns and Elvis portraits on velvet, etc., and raises the calibre of works exhibited. The center of the village -- the commercial "downtown" section -- and a few residential blocks are lined with display tents for the artists. The various stores (Wickford has a number of antique shops) and restaurants have huge increase in business that more than makes up for the parking problems. This is a waterfront village, with scenic views of Narragansett Bay, sailboats docked at marinas, etc. Wickford is a idealized New England village, filled with restored 18th and 19th century buildings that are not museums, but are in daily use as residences and as commercial buildings. (Wickford, by the way, is supposed to be John Updike's model for the village of Eastwick in his novel The Witches of Eastwick.) Parts of Rhode Island (especially Providence) were fortunately spared the "urban renewal" idiocy of the sixties and seventies that destroyed so many cities and towns across America.

We spent two or three hours wandering around, looking at art work. Janet and Diane both made purchases but Nancy and I just looked. We had gone through an art collecting period years ago (hence the several works by Carl Kocich that we own)... and then we were too busy (and broke) with kids... and now I'm busy investing in my mouth. Those two titanium implants set me back a total of more than thirty-five hundred bucks -- dental insurance does not cover a single dime -- and I found out today that the crowns that will evenually be screwed onto those posts will run around twelve hundred each -- and again, my dental insurance will not cover any of it (they would cover about half the cost of a bridge, but they save themselves a lot of money by not covering any of the costs of the best method). So we admire the paintings but we don't buy any.

Back in June I compared our town with the mythical Mayberry, RFD -- well, when we got back to the train station parking lot, there were goats wandering around. Someone with property adjacent to the parking lot has several goats. Two relatively small goats were in the parking lot while two larger goats munched grass at the edge of their property. The two small goats climbed onto the hood of someone's car. Diane yelled at them and waved her arms and they hopped down, but then they hopped up on another car. A woman who was parked nearby asked if they were our goats. Nope. So she lifted one of the goats off the hood of the car and carried it across the parking lot and back where it belonged. The other goat hopped off the car's hood and Diane herded it home. Once they were back where they belonged they seemed content to return to grazing.

Jennifer is on her way to South Carolina right now. Her friend Joe's mother purchased a car from someone down there and Joe is going down to drive it back to Rhode Island so Jennifer volunteered to come along to help with the driving. Nancy took her to the station this morning (and this is after working all night long)... their train will reach South Carolina around six tomorrow morning... and they will then drive back to Rhode Island. Jennifer was originally insisting that she was going to work tomorrow night even though I kept telling her that they could not reach here by eleven o'clock at night, but when she came home this morning she told me she was taking Tuesday night off. She took her new laptop with her (Amtrak has electrical outlets on most passenger cars, not just in business class) plus a backpack filled with books and music CDs.

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