Portland, Maine So Far, Yet So Close.

We met singer/songwriter Connor Garvey, one cloudy morning in Austin Texas. He came to our bus with our folkie kinfolk, The Lovebirds and Matt Nakoa to have breakfast. His bright smile and zest for life caught our attention as he shared his story of growing up an Irish kid near Portland Maine. We found out that we shared a few mutual friends and fellow muso’s, Putnam Smith and Heather Styka. So, between the rest of the breakfast crew there was much laughing and joking with reference to what we all decided to call the Maine Mofia. After breakfast we exchanged information and hoped to visit Connor when we passed through his state.

IMG_3773The weather was unusually hot when we arrived but Connor welcomed us with a cold fruit smoothy and that same bright smile. After we settled the bus, we all put on our bathing suits, hopped on our bikes and rode to the little town beach near his house.

I almost don’t want to tell people about this beach because I don’t want to spoil it for the locals but Willard Beach is a soft white sandy beach and has great views of the Casco Bay Islands, plus you get to watch the ships and boats come in and out of the harbor. The only down side was that the water was about 55f, the coldest we’ve ever felt, maybe even colder than Barton Springs in Austin, TX. None the less, it was refreshing. And, Connor, an avid surfer, jumped in no holds bar, as did our son, Banjo and swam their little hearts out.

IMG_3705Later that evening we drove an hour northeast to Durham, ME to visit our mutual friend, Putnam Smith at his log cabin in the woods. The last time we saw Putnam was five years prior in Green Bay, WI. So, we were excited to see and hear about all that had transpired in life, love, and music since our last visit.

He took us on a tour around his garden and showed us his 100-year-old antique letterpress, explaining the intricacies and process of creating his CD artwork with the press. Then he made us a lovely dinner and we shared songs late into the evening. Putnam is an accomplished banjo playing, songwriting, old-world troubadour fresh from the 19th Century and it was a delight to swap songs and be invited into his experience.

IMG_3772The next day we met up with Craig’s old band mate, Andrew and his family for dinner. These fella’s lived and played music together back in the late 90’s, in a world punk band called Ballydowse. Those were significant years in Craig’s journey and during that time his friendship with Andrew was meaningful and important. As life moved on, throughout the years, Craig would remember his friend fondly, but at times, the distance between them seemed so far away. And yet, here they were, just like yesterday, stories intertwining finding that close bond once again renewed.

The neat thing about seeing an old friend, who we haven’t seen in years and years was finding that although life looked completely different from before there was still that sweet common thread that once wove us together and that was a beautiful thing.

We spent the next few days hiking Fort Williams, sharing delicious meals, and catching up on story, enjoying the goodness of friendship and as we pulled away a little piece of our heart stayed behind.

Portland is a pretty cool city, that’s for sure, but Portland with all of these kinfolk as inhabitants is even cooler. It’s a place that feels like home and we are so grateful for our time and friendships there.

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Published by

Jana Holland

www.thehollands.org

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