My dad didn’t just tell us stories as kids, no, he was always singing. His favorite songs were show tunes. Once my sister, Jessie, had a party in which there would be no talking but everything had to be in the form of songs from show tunes. I invited a date to this event who quietly sat in the background with nothing to say for four long hours. As for me and Jessie, four hours was not enough to sing away the evening.

As kids we sang at home, in the car, in the backyard, in our theater room and on mountain tops. Once in Colorado we sang all the songs from the “Sound of Music” as I played the lead role of Maria! Pretending and playing was so easy for me … still is my passion!

Songs from Ireland and Scotland rounded out my dad’s repertoire. Our favorites were “What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor,” (our last name was Saylor) and “Molly Malone.” These songs we belted out in our loudest voices. You can only imagine my pure delight when Dublin, Ireland, installed a statue of Molly Malone on Grafton Street. She was installed by their Lord Mayor during Dublin’s Millennium Celebration in 1988, with June 13 being proclaimed Molly Malone day! I had no choice but to eventually go to Ireland (on June 13) and celebrate this lovely statue. Maybe you have seen it? If you go, please know there is/was a wonderful fortune teller sitting next to the statue. And, yes, she told my fortune!

Currently, I am not in Dublin or Prague or Ocracoke for that matter. Where in the world is Lou Ann Homan you might ask? I am cozily sitting in my studio with the red lamp and my tokens surrounding me writing to you in the town I love. So, friends, where are we going with this?

Angola is not Dublin or Prague or Ocracoke … but let’s chat about our town. Last month the Sculptures were installed on the Square, and oh, how we love them. On Sunday morning of the balloon fest I went over early to take photos, hoping the balloons would float right over the Square. I was right! It was perfect and beautiful. I found myself at the heart sculpture taking photos of the balloons right through the heart. I have noticed lots of folks posting photos through the heart as well!

Next on our town’s agenda was the opening of the Imagine Alley project that was the brainchild of two of our high school students, Brooklynn Shively and Taryn Stanley! The Alley project was unveiled on Friday and it is absolutely charming. I took a bike stroll out late last night to see it under the lights, which are strung across, and it is lovely. Take your lunch or a book or a friend and enjoy this new addition to our town located in the southwest side of the Public Square.

Oh, wait, there is more! Today is the Angola Arts Festival, in case you have not heard by now. Come on downtown for sidewalk sales, lunch, antiques, art, music at Monument Pizza and so much more. This is sponsored by the Downtown Angola Coalition, spearheaded by Pat Schlosser and John Mowry. I will be spending my day at the registration table so please stop by and say “hi” as you stroll about your day. Ask your questions or share a story; we would love to visit with you!

Oh, wait, there is more! On Friday the Historic Preservation Commission will be hosting an Architectural Tour of South Wayne Street. Please meet at the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County at 6 p.m. for this fun tour. Afterward, join us in the parking lot as Sunset Slush (now known as Maxton’s), which will be selling icy, cool treats.

Maybe you will never get to Dublin or Prague. Maybe. But chances are really good you can get to Angola, Indiana. You can visit with the locals, take photos, check out the Alley and the sculptures, buy a piece of hand-crafted art, listen to music and meet up with friends.

There is an old word from the Irish language, ceilidh. The word means a gathering of friends for stories or music. Sometimes it is just a few words or a full festival event. What is important is that on the next day, we can meet in the street and say, “Wasn’t that a fine time yesterday?”

Lou Ann Homan-Saylor lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories. She can be contacted at locketoftime@aol.com.

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