Let me start today's post by saying I am prejudiced. Yep. I admit it. I live in, if not the best, the second best small town in America when it comes to doing Memorial Day celebrations. In the Town of Sharon, we do it right!
From the route: the grammar school (where the kids all line-up) down over the hill on North Main into Main and south through town down to the Soldier's Monument across from the Town Clock. The setting, along the town green, is gorgeous. The homes which line the streets are so Colonial America in their charm. The flags. The buntings. The flowers. The trees. The perfectly manicured grass of the green. It is so special. Norman Rockwell would have lived here if Stockbridge wasn't his home, I just know it. At the end of May, with things so green after the long winter...........special.
But that is about the route. What truly makes Sharon special on Memorial Day is its people. Singles. Couples. Families. Kids in strollers. Grandparents on canes and walkers. Grown children here with and without their parents. Grown children home for the first time since Christmas to be with Mom and Dad. A true balance.
I wanted to do something different this year, so I asked my son Drew to take pictures of the people, who line the parade route this year. Nobody special. Just give me a feel of what you see, what we, the marcher, the old car-driver, the volunteer fireman, the members of the ladies club, show them who "we" see.....let them see "our town".
Today I start with Mr. Tom Flanagan. As far as a know, a native child of Sharon. Now, a long way from a child in body age, but still full of the zest that is Tom (or Buck, which a few of us who've known him for our whole lives can call him). Gotta work a bit harder to get it out of him, but it's still there. Sharon flows through his veins. The northwest corner is his home. He maintained its roads for years and years when he worked for the D.O.T., on the highway crew. His daughter Diane told me he wasn't going to watch this year, but she said Dad, get out here! These are your people! Come see them! And I am sure glad he did. And judging by his smile, I dare say I think he is glad he came out too.....
Tom Flanagan, and his daughter Diane, her husband Pat, her brother Ed.....these are just some of the good people of Sharon. Not Rockwell's Sharon. Our Sharon.