During this past summer, Inn Along the Way has been very fortunate to have Jason Anthony working among us. It's thanks to him that the Inn's walls are covered with welcoming, bright colors. Jason has spent many hours with us. We asked him to write us a little something about what he's observed. What follows is his observation.
The old farmhouse is coming to life, a swirl of activity with carpenters, plumbers – and a painter! – rejuvenating a place that for nearly 200 years has been woven into the Damariscotta community. But as heartening as that is, it’s really just a reflection of the larger work done at the Inn Along the Way. The Inn is, and will be, in service to the larger community of seniors, caretakers, and their families. Sherry and the other volunteers are there now, today, to build community and create a space where those in need of support can find it. The love and attention brought to the renovation of farmhouse and barn is the same love and attention being offered to the community.
I have been fortunate, during the few months I’ve puttered along brightening the Inn with paint, to be a fly on the wall as the good work of the Inn is being done. Sherry and her aprons are always on the move as she serves food, offers private consultations, meets to plan the Inn’s future, and talks with other volunteers as they do the hard work to make the Inn’s mission a reality. Every day there are flurries of activity – small and large – as people arrive to garden, mow, plan events, conduct meetings, do paperwork, find kinship, and talk about the serious issues that the Inn was created to help serve.
So, yes, the old farmhouse is finding new life. And it’s a life characterized by community, love, and determination. Community is being built, love is the driving force, and the good work moves forward with determination. And that’s a brighter, shinier improvement than any coat of paint.
Jason Anthony is a writer, teacher, and occasional painter. He was the 2014 Literary Fellow for Maine. His book Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine won a 2012 Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Award.
(Inn Along the Way, innalongtheway.org, is a unique and innovative community design in which older adults will live interdependently in a neighborhood-style setting of small, environmentally friendly homes The community is under construction at the 31-acre Chapman Farm in Damariscotta.)