It was a perfect Fourth of July. The weather was gorgeous, the parade was all a parade should be, the strawberry shortcake on the porch was delicious, nobody scared the puffins with loud fireworks and there was a glorious full moon to finish the day with a grand flourish.

P’raps my rhapsodies have something to do with the fact that three of my four children and their families were here. That doesn’t happen very often, and a lovely thing it is when it does. The fourth, that peripatetic Brazil family, is in Italy. Poor guy; he missed a really good time – and my potato salad – something not served at Hotel Bellagio.

Cannon Beach is hopping these days. ’Tis the season, I know, but it seems to be even busier than usual this year. I am not complaining, mind you, simply observing. So many people from far away; purse strings must be loosening the world around. Could it be baby steps toward a better global economy?

One of the bounties of this season is the Cannon Beach Farmers Market. It is a feast from 2 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday. Last Tuesday, it was rainy and ugly all morning – and – o res mirabilis – at 1:58 the sun came out, hot and brightly shining. It dried up the streets in no time and the market was, once again, teeming with people. On the upper level, there are restaurateurs serving lunch, there is music playing and very inviting Adirondack chairs for lounging.

Down below, people are chatting with vendors and each other, dogs are taking it all in and everyone is exclaiming over the sweetness of the Rainier cherries, the excellence of the cheese, freshness of those blue and green-ish eggs (Yes, Dr. Seuss, there are green eggs), all of Blue Scorcher’s fabulous breads, sweets and savories and, of course, the just-out-of-the-ground produce. Kingfisher washes everything so well that it goes straight in the kettle or on the table. We are so lucky to have such excellent vendors, a fine manager in Jennifer Williamson and a cadre of helpful volunteers.

As I wandered through this week, filling my bags with all I could carry, I ran into two people I had business with and it was all concluded in the sunshine, accompanied by the great music and winning personality of Denise Drake, rather than in some stuffy office. It’s a little like what happens at the post office, where everyone spends lots more time visiting than collecting mail. That’s the advantage of no mail delivery; only one of the perks of living in a small town.

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown is now open at the Coaster Theatre, the second of the Summer Repertory plays. Arsenic and Old Lace is still going strong and A Week of Augusts opened wednesday. Then, all three will rotate performances. I have seen the first two and guarantee that you will have an enjoyable evening at either one – or both. Poor Charlie Brown always has a hard time, but we expect that. He manages to persevere despite Lucy’s best efforts to drive him crazy. A Week of Augusts is a world premiere – a first for Coaster Theatre – so that alone might bring you to Cannon Beach for an evening. Auditions are now starting for Scrooge, the holiday show. Go to for showtimes and dates and the audition schedule. 503-436-1242.

While you’re waiting for the Coaster to open of an evening, check out The Wine Shack across the courtyard. Steve and Maryann Sinkler, new owners, have completely remodeled the tasting room upstairs and are now doing daily tastings from 1 to 5 p.m. – except on Tuesdays when Steve pours at the Farmers Market. The room can accommodate groups up to 25 and has wifi. The Wine Shack is open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings through Labor Day. Call 503-436-1100 or visit

A couple of weeks ago, several of us ladies of a certain age jumped in the buckboard and drove to Hillsboro to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. We despaired that it would ever come to Seaside or Astoria because it had actual real people in it and no explosions, cataclysms, vampires, zombies, special effects beyond all reckoning – just the best British actors around and a good story. Not enough for today’s young moviegoer.

Anyway, we had all read bad reviews of the movie which portrays several Brits who move to India to retire for reasons financial and personal. We ignored them, thankfully, because they were likely written by 20-somethings who just didn’t get it. It is a pure delight. Yes, it is episodic and quirky and there aren’t many surprises – but the performances are excellent and the story is a good one. If you are over 50, don’t miss it; if you are under 50, keep an open mind and go for it.

Valerie Ryan owns a bookstore in Cannon Beach and writes an opinion column every other week.

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