To Granby, with Love

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Originally published in June 1988.

I say it simply—unashamed and unabashed—I love this town.

I love the sight of the Barn Door Hills, visible from every lofty elevation; the beautiful stark tangle of our oak in winter; Salmon Brook in all its moods, serenely meandering through fields or rushing down Huggins Gorge and the North Granby Crags; turkey vultures gracefully riding the wind and circling over Creamery Hill.

Granby is a town for all seasons: winter hiking is the best of all, no bugs, no heat and clear sunny days; skunk cabbage, forsythia and nesting birds herald the approach of spring; summer is heavy with the scent of wild grapes and the sound of peepers; and the spectacular colors of fall are trimmed with huge V’s of the Canada geese on their Granby flyway.

This is a town where my daughters could grow up like Huck Finn—roaming the fields and woods in safety, swimming in Salmon Brook, climbing trees and building forts.

Our educational system prepared my daughters well. They excelled in college, competing with students from much larger and wealthier school systems.

There is a feeling of community in Granby. Our town government, churches and organizations give help quietly to those in need. There is a network of friends watching out for those who are ill or aged or alone. It is a friendly town—if you are willing to be a friend.

I’m not a native, but came here from Wisconsin. “New Englanders are cold,” said the Midwesterners. Not true. I have had the opportunity to know many Granby natives and they are not cold, they are reserved—at first. They wait to see if you are honest and open, if you really care about Granby. If you are trustworthy, you have a friend forever.

I love the past as well as the present: North Granby and West Granby seemingly untouched by time; exploring abandoned town roads, old foundations, ruins of mills on stream banks; the stories old residents tell me; and broad, tree-lined Salmon Brook Street, a Norman Rockwell entrance to our town. There is still a know-everyone-small-town atmosphere when you go to the Post Office, library or grocery store. You may meet several friends, discuss projects with a fellow committee member, recruit a volunteer, answer a question and conduct some business. Granby is a town where the involvement of one person can really make a difference.

I even like the town dump—you can find a lot of good things there.

We don’t have many farms left, but we have enough corn fields and grazing cattle to forge a link with our rural past.

Granby also has the glorious gift that is the McLean Game Refuge—4,000 acres of sanctuary from noise and traffic and crowds. A place to see a flock of wild turkeys or come face to face with a deer.

The Memorial Day parade epitomizes the intangible and special quality of Granby. Watchers raise a cheer for marching friends; the old Reo fire truck, lovingly polished, chugs by; the Little League has never been in step; a feeling of pride surges through the crowd at the sight and sound of our Granby High School Band and our own Marquis of Granby Ancient Fyfe and Drum Corps.

Every year it is much the same. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Note: this is the last in a year-long series of reprints of columns written by the late Carol Laun.