by Gwen Fifield from Live Free or Die, the first Granite State Mystery by Jessie Crockett.
Have you got any plans for Memorial Day? If not, consider yourself invited to Winslow Falls, NH, where the doughnuts are worth the drive from just about anywhere.
By Memorial Day, on a good year, the black flies have all gotten off to wherever it is they go and the frost has finally stopped dropping by every evening. Gardens are full of early season tidiness and good intentions instead of the weeds and first rumblings of disease that will be there to stay by the Fourth of July. Kids are sporting shorts and scabby knees above still white spring sneakers. Irises are unfurling and birds are flitting about, building nests in the still unplanted hanging baskets of the laziest gardeners.
Not only is this weekend the official start to summer, even if we still need to light the wood stoves at night, it’s also time for our annual parade. While it’s true our parade is so small it goes around the village twice in order to make it worth unfolding a lawn chair to watch, it is charming in its own way. Kids on bikes, the town fire engines, a 4H float covered with paper mache vegetables, six purposely striding veterans and goats with ribbons in their beards all put on an enthusiastic show.
And when it is all over, eight minutes later, the trucks and bikes pull over to the side of the road. The goats munch on the flowers coming into bloom in the park beside the lake. The citizens sit in the shade of newly leafed out trees gossiping pleasantly about their neighbors while munching on doughnuts from Dinah’s General Store. A pair of enterprising kids sell lemonade for a nickel a cup and the old people tell the young ones that’s how much everything used to cost.
By one o’clock everyone has drifted off to barbecues, gardening projects and visits to the local cemeteries to deliver cheerful pots of geraniums and flags. Before dark someone’s grill will start giving them more worry than pleasure and the fire department will get called out. All the folks with scanners sitting on their kitchen counter will think about driving over to watch the show but most will decide to hear about it at the store in the morning instead.
I hope all of you have plans as pleasant and if not, we’d love to welcome you to Winslow Falls.
A nearly life-long resident of the Granite State, Jessie naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother.
When not working on her next murderous adventure she enthusiastically putters in her greenhouse, designs bento lunches and throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools.Her first novel, Live Free or Die, won the 2011 Daphne DuMaurier award for Excellence in Mystery.
Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small most other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Hearing from readers makes the winter seem shorter so please drop her a line.