AND THEN AGAIN… Tamara Pettit

…….A buyer for the Graham building?  Be still my heart because for years I have tried to think of what could go into that building.   It has always seemed to defy the winds of change which have buffeted New Cumberland.  It sits on the corner near New Cumberland’s only red light and was once the center of the business district.    It was built in 1903 and first housed First National Bank until that institution closed its doors after directors absconded with its money.  But the 60 years the Grahams did business within its  walls for 60 years have seemed to define it.   If you were of a certain age and grew up in New Cumberland you have a story to tell about Graham’s Store.    More recently it was known as the Ross building and then the Staley building.   While others have owned it, we have all claimed it and volunteers Leslie Fields and Diane Wells have lovingly decorated its windows though it remained vacant.   The building  and the community seemed patiently waiting for better times..

…….While the Grinch wasn’t able to steal Christmas, COVID wasn’t able to steal the hometown 4th of July celebration we all love.  Chester is planning a 4th of July celebration to remember.  Starting with the duck race, the vendors on the street, to the parade, bands and fireworks.  The New Manchester parade is back as well.  Thanks to Laverne Owens who put out an invitation for all to come and participate. .   The parade was always my favorite.  My kids decorated their trikes and bike to be in the parade.  It goes around twice so if you miss anything the first time you’re bound to catch it the second time. 

……..Max joined a  wedding party last week…and the bride was not thrilled!   We just returned from vacation and just like those people you read about but vow you’ll never be, we took our dog, Max, along for a good time.  We are good pup parents and like him to join us on our travels.  Finding places that are pet friendly is easier these days.  We  spent a few days at America’s resort, the Greenbrier, and they treat dogs like royalty (or at least as good as the Governor’s pooch, Babydog) and even have a shop devoted to spoiled pups.      This was our second trip with Max and he can enjoy the grounds, but is not allowed in the main building.

     We next traveled to one of Bill’s favorite places,  Williamsburg,  where we stayed at the Williamsburg Inn.   It is as lovely as the Greenbrier and even more dog friendly.  Max was welcomed everywhere on property. .almost.   Our room was in the main building and to get to it we had to thread through narrow hallways and winding staircases..   I am the official dog walker so I had Max on the leash when we checked in.   Max is a good leash walker unless he spies a chipmunk, bird or bride.   I could see a wedding was going to happen  imminently in this historic inn.  Guests were milling about the lobby and I spotted the groomsmen on the terrace.

……..As we got to the room I noted that Bill’s medication which I packed in a separate bag was not there and hoped upon hope we hadn’t forgotten it at the Greenbrier.   Frantic, I took  Max and   returned to the car through the windy hall where we ran smack into the bride and her party which included a helicopter mother and nervous wedding planner.   Upon sighting us bearing down there were a lot of “Oh my”  “watch the dress” and one “a dog?”  as I navigated my way though.   I retrieved the medicine in the car and was trying to navigated my way back to the room just as the bride with a dress with a long train came down the stairs.   The mother of the bride started yelling about Max getting the dress; Max started barking and he thought the train was delightful.   As the bride moved the train moved as well.   It was like a squirrel and he reacted accordingly.     Max is a friendly, gentle dog unaccustomed to loud voices and by now they were yelling from all sides.  So, he did what any self-respecting puppy would do in this circumstance.   He just sat his butt down in the middle of the  train.   He wouldn’t budge, the bride couldn’t budge and the mother of the bride and I were at a standoff.   I attempted to pick him up, but at forty pounds he a pretty substantial puppy.  We were at an impasse.  A groomsman came to see what was the holdup and at least he had a sense of humor.   As the mother of the bride ripped into the wedding planner as to why a dog was permitted to infiltrate their special moment, I fired the only salvo I could   “This dog, is a paying guest!”   

……As Max sashayed down the hall, I reflected that we had done the bride a favor.   We had made her wedding day a little more memorable.  I bet years later she won’t talk about how perfect it was, but I will bet her kids will hear about the dog who sat himself down on her wedding train and wouldn’t budge.   Yep, we were making memories for her.