As for the actual holiday portion, I've been on both sides of the equation. Some years (depending on my employer), I had to work. Other years (like this year), I officially had the day off.
Actully, today was a working holiday. I took the opportunity to use my "free" day to gather more Moxie material, taking a trip to Bedford (near Manchester). What's in Manchester? Well Cornucopia Bottling (a division of Coca-Cola of Northern New England, whose parent is Kirin Beer of Japan), of course, the Bedford-based owner of the Moxie brand.
Moxie's roots are in New England and that's where one is most likely to find the unique drink, fueled by the curative qualities of gentian root. When Moxie was acquired by Atlanta-based Monarch Beverages Company, many hard-core Moxie fans felt the brand was languishing and becoming harder to find, even in New England. Cornucopia's acquistion of Moxie has been viewed favorably, thus far, by Moxie people.
I met with Justin Conroy, Cornucopia's brand manager, in order to interview him about Cornucopia's decision to bring Moxie back home, to New England.
After meeting with Conroy, I headed across town to meet with Merrill Lewis, president of the New England Moxie Congress. The NEMC is the "fan club" of Moxie and according to their website, they are "a loosely-knit band of Moxie zealots and fellow travelers who collect Moxie-related memorabilia, promote the drink's availability, get together for parades and clambakes, and some who actually drink the stuff."
Merrill's a knowledgeable guy and a gracious host. He answered my questions and then brought me into his own Moxie "shrine" of collectibles.
[This is the House of Moxie, but we just know it as Kennebec's (GGoodman photo)]
When one writes research-driven books, like I do, the tendency is to become one with the material. Over a period of months, you begin to see how your research fits together. I suppose you could say you even become a bit "protective" of your subject and the people you get close to, during the course of your research.
A week before my own photo shoot at Kennebec Fruit Company, aka Kennebec's (to the locals), or "The House of Moxie" to Moxie true-believers, Down East Magazine sent a couple of filmmakers to visit with Frank Anicetti, Moxie's most endearing spokesman and the star of the annual Moxie Festival, in July.
I'm not a fan of Down East and I thought that the filmmakers, particularly Russell Kaye, came across as a bit condescending to Anicetti. Maybe that's my own bias at work. View the video and let me know what you think. Either way, you 'gotta love Frank! Also, no one that I know refers to Frank's as "The Moxie Museum." Please get it right (see above)! Oh, and the "dusty" quality of the place is part of its charm.
I've always felt that Down East tends to represent a mythology of Maine that does the state a disservice. Certainly, you can find writers/filmmakers and others that capture Maine realistically, not the "Maine is for tourists" way that Down East and others regularly and dishonestly (in my opinion) portray the state.
I'm on an unrealistic timeline to get Moxietown to press, but I think people are going to enjoy the finished product.