This has been a tough summer for me. I do not like heat and humidity. My thin, freckled skin requires layers of sunscreen. The sun has absolutely scorched the Grass Ranch.

I went without mowing for more than a month. Joanne’s beautiful flower garden was parched as well. We did keep it watered. It looks great to me, but Joanne sees it up close when she goes and pulls the weeds.

However, I am renewed by the breezes of the northwest wind as they come by more often. My mother used to read me Thornton W. Burgess stories of Old Mother West Wind, who had a bag full of merry breezes she would dump out over the meadow. I am thinking about a pumpkin for our porch, growing somewhere. It is not big enough just yet but will be soon.

I am hoping we can make the trip to Knox Ridge; four corners that meet atop a hill at its high point. If Maine had a Robert Johnson, he would sell his soul here at this country crossroads.

The road from there wends its way through Thorndike village, past the Bryant Stove Works and what was the Tweedie Hotel near the railroad tracks and on to Unity and the fairgrounds of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association. It is there we park in a field and are taken on passenger wagons pulled by vintage John Deere tractors.

Bap-Bap-Bap-Bap

The Common Ground Country Fair greets fairgoers with sights and smells you will not find anywhere else. We are like children picking our favorites before fanning out.

For me it is the beef jerky booth; just like when I was a little boy riding in the shopping cart the first thing to come aboard was a brightly colored circus box of animal crackers to keep me occupied. The bag of jerky does the same thing. Then on to the catnip for Marley, then a thick wooly sweater for Joanne. The Common Ground Fair is a full day and I recommend it.

This time of year also presents the fundamental question…

…And I have the answer.

YES, I AM READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

Football never totally goes away for many of us. It just goes quiet. But now it is getting louder. Spring training, then pre-season games. All the organizations are building new teams for the coming season. I like the prospect of the rebuilding of my New England Patriots around a talented rookie quarterback from Alabama. I am not looking for a championship (not just yet), but instead hope for a solid season where the players compete and play as a team.

On Sundays in the fall I feel like I am part of something spanning the New England region. In the morning I mow the lawn and rake leaves. All yard work must be done before 1 p.m. kickoff. (I am convinced most men in New England are all doing this at the same time.)

Then it is on to Hannaford to get the beer and snacks. The employees all have their favorite Patriots jerseys on. This year I want to see Mac Jones number 10, after years of Tom Brady 12. I do not wear a jersey but will wear a Patriots cap or my coach’s pullover when snowblowing.

There was talk last week of baked beans and cornbread.

Bring it on!

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

Freaky fair goer. Photo by Glenn Billington

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