Here’s Looking at You, Canoe.

There are a lot of things that I love about the town I live in, but one of my favorites (and I would argue our biggest claim to fame) is that we are the town that was the inspiration for Stars Hollow, the quaint and idyllic setting of the show Gilmore Girls. In truth, the town doesn’t really look that much like Stars Hollow, but it is tiny and adorable, and everyone knows each other. There are quirky and endearing characters who drive each other crazy over the smallest of things, and yes, we have festivals. Maybe not a festival for every month of the year, but we do have festivals.

In the winter time, we have “Holiday in the Depot”, with horse drawn carriage rides, carol singers, and Santa. In the fall we have “The Harvest Festival” during which there is a scarecrow building competition. This year, we had our first ever “Community Block Party,” to kick off the Summer season, and it was delightful. It also turned out to be the event during which I had my most Stars Hollow experience ever.

I spent the day of the Community Block Party working at the bookshop, and then when I got off of work, The Mr and I walked around the town with our dogs, enjoying free ice cream and performances from local musicians before stopping and hanging out at our church’s tent where we gave out free hugs (the dogs were way more popular than the humans for that) and promoted our summer programs. One of the things we were promoting was our huge annual tag sale that the church puts on as a fundraiser, and we were doing this by featuring a gorgeous canoe that was donated to the church so that it could be auctioned off at the event. It’s a beautiful boat, with two wicker-backed seats inside that face each other, and enough space for a little picnic basket. It basically requires one to wear a long, flowing white dress with a matching parasol. It also wasn’t very heavy, which would come in handy later, but I’ll get to that.

The family that owns everything we were using that day (the tent, the popcorn machine, and the signs) were also the keepers of the canoe. So they were there for the first half of the block party, but they had to leave in the middle of it to go to some awards thing for one of their kids because she is amazing and they love her or whatever. That was fine, though, because they were so sure that they would be back before the end of the block party to pick everything up.

So the block party was scheduled to end at 9:30, I think, but all the vendors were packing up at 8:30 because that was when an outdoor screening of the movie Casablanca would start in the park (yes, seriously, Gilmore Girls fans. It was so Stars Hollow that I’m actually disappointed there wasn’t a barbershop quartet there to sing about the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer), and so we followed suit, us and our pastor tearing everything down and waiting for the family.

None of us had anywhere we needed to be, so it wasn’t really a big deal, but the dogs hadn’t eaten dinner yet, except for maybe the ice cream and popcorn they’d mooched off of several people, so The Mr decided he would take them home, feed them, start cooking dinner for us, and then I’d let him know when the family showed up so that he could come back and get me. I’d had plenty of free glasses of sangria at this point, so all plans sounded great to me.

So my pastor and I sat and chatted and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

At one point I looked over and saw a kid (old enough to drive, but probably not old enough to drink) trying to load a very large table into a very small car.

Me: Do you need help?

Him: Um… maybe? I had a ride coming to help me, but they got into an accident, I guess, so now they’re not coming and so I’m trying to figure out how I can get this stuff from here back to my church, but-

Me: Oh my god! Okay, better plan, I have a Jeep Wrangler. Where is this going?

Him: Right up the street to <insert location here>

Me: Cool, I drive by that place on my way home. I’ll take care of it. You go and make sure your friends are okay.

Him: Oh my god, thank you.

So now my pastor and I had a tent, a popcorn machine, a few signs, a very fancy canoe, and a very large table.

And no vehicle. Well, that’s not true. We had her Prius. But my point still stands: we had no vehicle.

At this point it was about 9:30 at night. The sun was officially down. The bugs were officially out. We had texted the family who owned all of the things (minus our new table), but the texts weren’t going through because I think they were in a school where the reception gets blocked. It was well after dark, and the only people left in town were all watching Casablanca in the park across the street, so I texted The Mr.

Me: They’re still not here.

Me: Please come.

Me: Also, we have acquired a table. Long story. I’ll explain when you get here.

Him: On my way!

He arrived and we started loading everything into the Jeep, but the table was actually too big even for our car, so we had to remove the windows from the back (yay Jeeps!) to get it all in there, but we did it, by golly!

Now all that was left was the moneymaker for the tag sale that we definitely couldn’t just leave sitting in the middle of town: the very fancy canoe.

The Mr: I mean… it’s not that heavy….

Me: …no… it’s not…

The Mr: And has wheels that hook onto it.

Me: …where are you going with this?

The Mr: Well, they live right around the corner. Why don’t we just… walk the canoe to their house?

So… after we assured our pastor that it was all fine and that she could go home, because at this point it was almost 10pm and she’d been there since 3, we attached the wheels and… started walking. The Mr with the canoe, and me with my camera.

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I’m honestly upset that I didn’t think to take a video of this because what made it truly great was that one of the wheels was super squeaky, so as we walked through the center of town, no one could really see us, because we were hidden behind the screen that was showing the incredibly romantic and beloved film Casablanca, but everyone could definitely hear the squeak, squeak, squeak, of us walking by.

I also considered sitting in the canoe one point during our journey, but the sangria was wearing off at that point and the look The Mr was giving me for even having the thought made me decide I better not. I only mildly regret this.

As we were squeaking our way around the bend, the mother of the family came whipping around the corner in her car to come and meet us at the tent. She saw us, stopped, laughed, and then turned around and drove along side us while she explained everything that had happened.

I won’t go into all the details, but needless to say, the story checks out and this family is more than forgiven for abandoning us with a canoe.

And a tent. And a popcorn machine. And some signs.

Actually, come to think of it, it was a nice night, and we were even stranded right next to the coffee shop, so we kind of had everything we needed to survive… The Gilmore Way.

P.S. If you’re interested in a very fancy canoe, here is a link to all the details about the tag sale. It’s very easy to transport.

P.P.S. We also did return that table, but I have no idea what happened with that guy. Send good vibes!


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