I'm completely enamored, taken with the American Legion, Sons & Auxiliary Post 281's Facebook page. And no, I'm not joking in the least.
The Legion Hall itself lives in Harbor Springs, Michigan, the rural burg that is my hometown. As I was growing up, the Hall was just part of the scenery, a place I'd never stepped inside, a place I wasn't at all curious about.
Every summer of my childhood, during Memorial and Independence Day parades, I watched veterans march down Main Street blowing into bugles and pounding on drums. When they passed by, the adults would stand and clap. Really, though, that was all I knew of the American Legion.
Now I live in Seattle. Far, far away from Post 281. But I cannot stop pouring over the photos I've found on Facebook. They belie rifles and flags hanging on white walls, formica tables and standard vinyl chairs. The people in the photos drink Bud LIghts and some smoke (indoors!). Women cook huge vats of chili and prepare tins of salad for whatever event the Legion is holding. There are Chicken Dinners, Five Dollar Brat Nights, Euchre Tournaments and Benefits for local folks who've been diagnosed with horrible cancers.
I keep going back to the page, ogling and shaking my head. I think I'm fascinated because I cannot remotely comprehend being happy living a life where I hang out at the Harbor Springs Legion Hall. Which is crappy and snobby and horrid of me, I know. With my need for cozy coffeehouses, aesthetically pleasing furnishings, richly-colored walls, and microbrews. I'm uppity. Or something.
Flipping through those photos is like an anthropological study. I see several people I recognize from school and wonder, what makes them stay? Or leave, only to return? Why is Harbor Springs enough for them? To me, the photos represent the vast difference between the restless (yours truly) and the contented (them).
And, if happiness were a measurable thing, I wonder which of us would come out ahead.