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Newburyport, MA and Brunswick, ME – July 19th

Newburyport

Today was an amazing day. It began by driving through the beautiful countryside of Essex County to Newburyport, an excellent representative of the other, older New England so far removed from its often-pictured, big-city, hard-driving side of Boston and other metropolitan areas. Pulling into the city, we parked near the sea, three large buses in a row, just a few feet from the Visitor Information Booth. Soon our musicians found a prime spot at a large island in the middle of a gracious, old-fashioned square of brick buildings, and we began playing acoustically. As the dancers joined them, people would stop, rest a while from their busy lives, and enjoy the scene.

The first person we met in town was a twenty-three-year old man and his girlfriend. They told us how the town was changing, from socially conservative (yuppie) to something else. The youth are dissatisfied with things, even coming from their well-off backgrounds. The discussion with them and their friends soon took on the character of an “Open Forum.”

Another, middle-aged, man also spoke with Hosah, one of five native Mainers on our trip. He was a millionaire, he said, and wanted to know (his first question, mind you) when the end of the world was coming. A Buddhist himself, he maintained different religious leaders were prophesying it would be in the year 2012. Hosah simply said it had to do with fathers turning their hearts to their children, not with some timetable in the sky. The ancient “father channel” first opened up by Abraham with his son, Isaac, had to be opened once again, this time by a whole people, for all their sons and daughters. Then all that God promised 4,000 years ago could unfold…

A young man initially went on the Garden Bus. Then he came on our bus -Peacemaker II– and told Yacob, “This is what I want to do with my life. I just talked with Malachi. I want to spread the good vibes with you guys.”

He left and got his friend, and after a while, the musicians came back from the square and got acquainted. Then they began to play Irish music for them on our bus, and one of them said they came from the most dangerous part of northern Ireland. They reminded Yochanan and Yacob of themselves. They once looked for the same alternative way of life, but nothing they found was enduring.

Another couple came on the bus and asked us, “Why are you doing this?”

We answered that a lot of people are really not satisfied. “They are looking for something. My brother and I were on the Dead Tour,” and the man interjected, “I was there.”

“We saw the same greed in the big skyscrapers was right there in the parking lot.” The man said, “Now, I am one of the businessmen in the skyscrapers.”

“When we came onboard the buses, we thought, ‘This is what disciples would look like – and how they would act,’” and he smiled and nodded his head in agreement.

One woman who met us there walked to the buses and talked to us. Her young daughter is causing her and her husband to think about schooling, which will soon enough be a major concern. They are thinking of homeschooling, and we had a lot to share with one another about how people once grew up, even her grandparents on the farm, and how they grow up now. So many of us grew up disconnected from the very things that would have placed us in contact with creation, with the chores and farm work that developed character in our forebears, and with the parental authority that would have prepared us to both honor our consciences as youth and adults and, ultimately, live by the deep things in our heart, not the passing fads and foolish, empty fashions of today.

When we finally pulled ourselves away from Newburyport, we almost took a local reporter with us! He was interviewing one of the bus drivers and stayed for a long time.

Brunswick

Our trip north on I-95 was very pleasant, especially our stops and visits with people at rest areas and gas stations. Our phone encounters with the older woman at the camping area we were going to were equally pleasant, as she arranged for us to enter after hours and pay in the morning, “Check, please, we don’t take credit cards.” We were entering another world, Maine!

Arriving in Brunswick, the hometown of our brother Hosah, we drove around the commons downtown in order to find a parking space. When we stopped, people came to see us, and we enjoyed our conversations with them. As always, the dancers enjoyed those who came and danced with us. Several mothers and their children as well as young men and women both learned several dances — well, sort of.

A lady who saw us on Pleasant Street on our way downtown chased us down, and was so thankful we stayed as long as we did, as she couldn’t find us sooner. We are discovering that we have to stay for a little while (here in Brunswick, nearly three hours this evening) so that the people who see us drive into town can find us!

Another woman told us she saw us, wanted to come over and talk to us, but faced a reluctance in herself. She had planned on going to a concert, but it didn’t work out for her, saw us, and wanted to come play her instrument with our musicians. By the time she got back from getting a snack, our musicians were eating supper, so she couldn’t enter in in that way. She came up the stairs, looked around, and started talking to Derusha, then Miriam. She turned out to be an interpreter for teachers at school. We are always so thankful to meet people like us – people who need friends, and understanding, and help on this long journey called life.

More coming soon!!!

For more information contact eastcoast@merrymakerscaravan.org

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