I sat in the bleachers at Fuller Field recently, the scorching heat of the day having just relented to a gentle and welcome mid-summer night’s breeze. As I glanced over my shoulder at the families settled in together to catch the latest example of a pure and perfect American summer known locally as a baseball game featuring our Falmouth Commodores, I swore I saw the ghost of Normal Rockwell seated comfortably on the still-baking aluminum seats, his eyes surveying the beautiful painting developing in front of him. He winked at me as a wide and knowing smile emerged on his nearly translucent visage. He opened his arms wide and pointed toward the Arnie Allen Diamond, presenting the landscape before him to me, his gift of a summer snapshot like no other.
I winked back, returned his gift of a smile, and mouthed a heartfelt “thank you,” a grateful validation of both the visit from one of America’s legendary image-makers, and the uniquely Falmouth image he presented to me. As a fitting denouement to that magical episode, I strode out to home plate and sang our National Anthem, a uniquely Falmouth honor from our local team that still has me overflowing with pride. As our Commodores, our team, our nine local representatives of Americana carried themselves and their collective banner of good will and homegrown flavor out to the field, it was as if they, too, had seen the friendly ghost, and began their game mindful of their hand in the meaningful images in this uniquely Falmouth painting.
My visit to see our Commodores was the cap on a mosaic of local memories – several remarkable pictures that cobbled together created my colorful, unforgettable – and uniquely Falmouth - weekend.
The images began to take shape on Saturday, as faces of Falmouth past and the recollections and remembrances that they molded came alive in Marina Park as the Casino-by-the-Sea “Reunion of Summers Past” unfolded before a wet but wonderful crowd of more than 1,000 nostalgic revelers. Organizers Tim Smith and Donnie Cross, with the help and inspiration of Mike Giery and Dutch Drollette, delivered on their promise of a reunion to remember. The entrance tent to the band shell was transformed into a time machine, as the names and faces that defined summer for decades shed their numerical age and returned to their youth for a night of music and memories. The ageless and animated Steve Smith and the Nakeds filled the night air with a bold and brassy melody of summer themes, and the crowd went wild - clapping, swaying, dancing and celebrating as one. They were celebrating their memories of the Casino, celebrating long-lost friends newly discovered, and celebrating a reunion that could only happen here. They were all celebrating what is uniquely Falmouth.
On Sunday, Donna and I made good on a long-standing promise to Corner Cycle mainstay Ted Rowan, and rented a couple of bikes for an afternoon trek. We walk everywhere on the weekends, taking in the sights of Falmouth Heights, Woods Hole, and our scenic downtown village, but few things stimulate the senses like the splendor and rapidity of the imagery as you traverse the Shining Sea Bikeway on two wheels. The images brought to us thanks to Ted’s encouragement burst forth in rapid succession and piled atop each other, creating a colorful movie than can be replayed on demand of the unparalleled natural beauty of the community and the bike path, this gift we gave to ourselves – this gift that is uniquely Falmouth.
After a brief recovery from the bike ride, and the realization that 18 miles on a bike uses entirely different muscles than a ten mile walk, we cleaned up and headed to catch our Cape League locals. Commodores Coach Jeff Trundy, a veteran of nearly a generation of Falmouth memories as skipper of our local nine, said it best as we shared a brief moment before my crooning commenced and his game management began. “This place is special,” he simply observed, his own indelible smile inking a tile on this weekend’s mosaic of memories.
Yes, Coach, it is. This place is special. Uniquely special. Uniquely Falmouth.