Happiness found in Harpersville

By RENE’ DAY / Community Columnist

I am sure you’ve heard the old adage, “Physician, heal thyself.” Well, I have a new one. “Columnist, heed thine own advice.” Doing so can open the door to new experiences, new friends and new revelations. It probably won’t surprise you that contributors to this paper are also pretty faithful readers of this paper. Just before the recent July 4th holiday, a Morgan Creek Vineyards’ advertisement caught my eye. The venue was hosting a concert and fireworks celebration on America’s birthday. Tours of the winery, barbecue, wine tasting and blueberry picking would be available too. Having never experienced the Harpersville celebration, we decided to take a short drive down Highway 280 in the late afternoon. To say we are glad we did would be an understatement.

A beautiful summer evening enhanced by the gorgeous surroundings at Morgan Creek put everyone in a festive mood. Tents adorned with pretty chandeliers gave protection to the wine tasting and retail areas. The bandstand was festooned with grape vines, greenery and American flags. Tables reserved in advance sported centerpieces filled with wine corks and ribbon. And, the espaliered vines provided a wonderful, natural backdrop to the evening’s proceedings. It was definitely a “magazine worthy” sight. But, as beautiful as the setting was, the best part was the crowd. As I looked over the audience, I was reminded of why I love living in Shelby County. Families, large and small, were finding their places. Friends were exchanging hearty handshakes and hugs as they spread blankets out on the ground, or put up tent covers to block the strong sun. Food unpacked from the various ice chests and baskets reminded me of old-fashioned “dinners on the ground.” Children played games of “catch” or “tag” as they waited for the concert to start. Grandparents, parents and children alike were enjoying the setting, and each other, on this special holiday.

It was a big, beautiful and diverse crowd of people – big and small, tall and short, black and white, old and young – America in a snapshot. As the band, Tekneek, began to play, people took their places to enjoy the music. This talented group of performers offered a mixture of Oldies, Motown, Soul and a little 70s “Funk” – a lively, fun, interactive experience. The portable dance floor filled with this American snapshot as parents danced with their children, friends danced with each other and young people did – well, whatever, young people are doing on dance floors these days! However, the Electric Slide remained a definite favorite.

Later, as I watched the fireworks and listened to a pretty amazing rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s National Anthem on guitar – I reflected on the evening. So much of what we hear these days seems to reinforce that our nation is more divided than ever before. And, certainly, things around the country are not what we wish they could be. But, on Tuesday evening in Harpersville, Alabama, I saw a glimpse of the America for which we all pray, and it delighted my soul.