Saturday morning the gear heads and garage rats and even some young steam punks brought out their cars and trucks and tractors and antique engines (like the ones that ran our farms in 1900) and even a couple of steam boats. It was quite a spectacle and Everett took lots of pictures to share with you (see below). The hillside was covered with couples strolling hand in hand, kids running free, old men with their heads together planning next winter’s projects. Some of the kids were the children of the kids who’d been running around a decade ago making friends who became their spouses. You could see the spark of a lifelong obsession with engines ignite in a young man’s eyes as he got under the hood of a truck older than his father. The Lions Club on-site chicken BBQ Saturday evening only cost $10 for half a chicken, roasted corn on the cob dipped in melted butter, potato salad, bread & butter, a slice of watermelon, and a cup of punch. (You’d best be there by 4pm or the tables will be full and the wait will be long.) After supper, folks gathered for live music by Doc Barter’s All Star Wrong Road Band, and the fireworks started after dark. One family brought their portable fire pit out to the center of things. Remember, these are New Englanders – they hadn’t gone to Camping World and spent $89 on a factory made decorative fire pit. They’d salvaged the wash tub from an old Whirlpool clothes washer – it was light weight, tall enough to hold several hour’s worth of wood, and the little holes in the sides let the fire shine through like the twinkling of stars. There were red hot dogs on sticks cooked over the fire and dipped in Ray’s mustard as well as s’mores made with peanut butter cups and stale graham crackers being passed around. You could hear loon calls, small waves lapping at the lakeshore, and (less pleasantly) one hysterical 6-year old whose brother reassured her the spider was really more afraid of her than she was of it. As the fire burned down folks slowly carried sleepy children back to their campsites or cabins, a few hardy souls stayed up to be sure all was secure (or maybe to drink a few more beers), and the women quietly discussed how nice it was that – due to a mysterious lack of internet connections – even the teenagers had spent the day running, swimming, laughing and generally participating with their families. I believe that so long as the Watson Wheels & Water Show (and other events like it across the country) continue to happen every year, the America-we-want-to-be will stay strong and proud and free and there will be hope for the future. It’s not about the engines at all.