It was another still and foggy day, with thunderstorm warnings now being delayed until 7pm—just when I would be finished with my concert! I had offered to play for the Cape Ann Finns, an organization only into their third year. Many of the members were friends or neighbors of my grandfather (sax player & band leader) and my great uncle Sylvester Ahola, a famous trumpet player in his time and character around town. I remembered him in his red jacket playing trumpet for us when we visited him. Then he would throwing sticks into the quarry behind his house for his yellow labradors, who leaped nearly the distance of a high diving board before hitting the water.
Bob McGlnchey kindly gave us a ride from the dock to the venue and we took a short detour down Nikolane Way, where I had spent summers camping with the family near the ocean and where my mother grew up. The three car garage was still there where I found my grandparents‘ film from 1929 that inspired the tune “A Fine Pickle.”
When I entered the Lanesville Community Center to set up for the concert I noticed a plaque with large photos of Sylvester. A neighbor came by and offered me some blueberries his yard, something hard to refuse for any self-respecting Finn. When I entered his yard he proudly showed me his free-standing sauna, and I was surprised to hear it was built by my mother’s ancestors. Robert Ranta had arranged a sound system and outdoor stage to the side of the community center, and Diamond Cove Music loaned us guitar stands. Soon the lawn filled with people. They were a delightful audience and at intermission many people shared memories of my relatives and the early Finnish community there in Lanesville. After the show the Rantas invited us to their house on “Finn Alley” where we enjoyed lobster rolls.
On Sunday July 18th we will have sailed to Freeport ME, where I’ll give a concert that will be live-streamed. I hope you’ll listen in. I’ll post a link on murielanderson.com/now