In spite of the massive flooding that’s been reported throughout New England recently, there hasn’t been much of a mud season this year. One theory is that the mud has all been shipped down to Washington DC, where it is being slung vigorously across the aisles of Congress. But further research shows that the material being used there is actually another type of organic matter having to do with the male bovine.
Here in Nelson most of our roads are unpaved. I recently complained to the Selectmen: without a few days of don’t-bother-to-steer, up-to-your-axles-in-mud driving, we are deprived of experiences that reinforce our robust rural character. What’s a country boy to do? Our road agent, Mike Tarr, can be cited as being at fault here. Mike is something of a genius when it comes to understanding the concepts of water flow, drainage, and just when (and when not) to grade the road. When I first moved to town some decades ago my road would often wash down to bedrock in the spring, and anything less than a full sized pickup truck was worthless. Indeed, perhaps one reason the roads have improved is that they are now built on a base of old Subaru’s that mysteriously disappeared each spring. But mostly I’ll give Mike the credit – he’s both technician and an artist. Every day the roads are a little different, with tweaks to angles and approaches to culverts. But in the end they get you where you’re going.
Which brings to mind a couple of my favorite song writers. I first heard Bill Staines at the Folkway in Peterborough back in the late 1970’s. I was introduced to Kim Wallach (then Boston based, now of Keene) a couple of years later. Their songs are generally not similar – Bill’s often have a rural flavor, and Kim is more introspective. But as artists they accomplish the same thing that our road agent Mike does. They create a flow that has interesting tweaks to angles and approaches to culverts, but in the end they get you where you’re going (or in this case, where they want you to go).
Bill and Kim are co-billed at the sixth event of The Folkway Remembered Concert Series, on Sunday, April 25. This program is presented by the Peterborough Historical Society, with co-sponsorship by the Peterborough Folk Music
Society and the Monadnock Folklore Society.
The series in turn is a complement to The Folkway Remembered Exhibit which opened in March and runs through September, where you can see various Folkway memorabilia, including a dining room and stage setup, and hundreds of photographs of musicians, Folkway staff and audience members. If you experienced the Folkway (which opened 35 years ago, and closed in 1996), the exhibit will bring back warm memories. And for those that weren’t around here then, going to the exhibit and especially attending one of the concerts is a great way to get a feel for what this wonderful place was about, and how it contributed so much to Peterborough and the Monadnock region.
For more information about both the exhibit and the concert series, visit the web site of the Peterborough Historical Society.