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Good times at the Maple Street Cookout
Maple St. party
Scenes from the second annual Maple Street Cookout last Saturday. (Times photos by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD -- For many of us, Maple Street is known as that street with all those stop signs, most put up a few months ago in response to slow the speeding traffic.
But if you ask residents what their street is known for, many will likely say it's the Maple Street Cookout.
For four hours Saturday, most of the neighborhood, more than 60 people, gathered behind 323 Maple St. for an afternoon of music, dancing and lots of good food. But this cookout is far more than that.
People, many of whom were complete strangers, were seated under a couple of tents, sharing a summer's day and creating good memories. Memories like Ken Zitzelberger taking the time to share a dance with 88-year-old Doris Flowers, who, more than once, shared a big grin that was shared by her neighbors who looked on.
They were among those dancing to the music of Rumford's own Country Classics, who include Bill and Dan Louvat, Billy Scott, Arnell Jones and Kenny Chapman. This group performed later that day at the River Valley Homecoming held at Black Mountain.
To make this event a success, everyone has to pitch in. Harry Powers, who made his bean hole beans the day before, was busy serving them to neighbors like Ginny Paradis. There was Terri's drummies, Chuck's ribs, Richard's pulled pork sandwiches and Linda's cupcakes.
There were also hamburgers, hot dogs and various dishes brought by neighbors.
Joanne Marena said the idea for the event came about last year. She had just moved to Maple Street and didn't know anyone.
She talked with her neighbors, Harry and Roxy Powers, and in the conversation, asked about having a neighborhood cookout.
So Joanne made out the invitations, with about 60 people attending. They had such a good time, it was decided to do this again this year.
At this second annual event, she could now proclaim, with conviction, that Maple Street "is a really nice neighborhood."
One change they made this year was to include name tags, which were even worn by family pets. Sandy, one of the dogs, was at the ready in case someone dropped any of the food!
Harry said there were some new people at the cookout this year.
While many of us don't know a lot of the people living in our neighborhood, it was apparent at this cookout that that is no longer the case here on Maple Street.