I wound my way up North Leverett road last night, my destination was Wendell Depot, where I met a new date at the Deja Brew Pub and Cafe. The small pub consists of a narrow bar area with booths and a more spacious back room. The bands set up in the very front, in a tiny narrow space that results in people dancing on the booth benches when the music inspires them.
The Brewpub was filled with familiar faces; not of people I know well, but of people I’ve seen before, and our conversation at the table was animated. What began at six didn’t end until 10:30. The music was good, so good that we took a break and stood at the bar to hear a completely turned around version of Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean. Two horns and a woman singer who changed it so much, well, as Simon Cowell would have said, she made it her own.
My friend has been a Wendell resident since 1978. I’ve always thought there was something unique about this little hamlet. I know a lot of people who live up here despite it being a hefty 30 minute drive from Deerfield, which as we all know is the center of the known universe. None of them would live any where else, I am sure.
Cellphones don’t work, the internet relies on creaky satellites, but there is a spirit, a like-mindedness, that’s powerful and real in Wendell.
There’s a reason so many people like it here, it’s just a little different from the rest of the valley’s towns. Maybe it’s the isolation that brings people together. It seems like every time I meet a new person here, they know the other few people that I know who live here too. Having a cool pub like this to hang out in is what results when people commit to making a community, and in Wendell they sure have done that.