31 July 2005

Only in Maine...

There is a common saying around the Pine Tree State - "only in Maine..." Locals know what it means and visitors and tourists aren't long in being let in on the secret. There is no one thing to which this saying applies; it could be the fact that so many Mainers have above-ground pools, even though the summer season is quite short. It could be the fact that Mainers say certain things that only they understand: "ayah" "wicked" and "yep" to name a few. Perhaps the "only in Maine" saying comes from the fact that when Mainers accidentally hit a deer with their car, they take it home and eat it. It might even be the way they seem standoffish, yet they will give their neighbors (and tourists and strangers) the shirts off their backs to help someone in need.

Mainers are delightful people who love their fair state and though we mutter about the traffic during tourist season, we genuinely love our out-of-town guests. Recently a column by the Portland Press Herald's Bill Nemitz exemplified, in my mind, the phrase, "only in Maine." Not jsut because he happened to give that name to the column, but because the story he tells shows the true heart of the Maine people and the funny things that happen during tourist season. Here is Bill Nemitz' column for your enjoyment:

Even dead, this moose refuses to go quietly


Copyright © 2005 - Paulla Estes

01 July 2005

4th of July in Maine

Going to a 4th of July parade in Maine is having a little slice of Americana. It makes one think that Norman Rockwell must have found the inspiration for his classic artwork right here in Maine. Every year we attend the 4th of July parade in Bath, Maine. It usually begins around 11:00 a.m. or noon, just when the day is heating up, but spectators usually gather on the hill next to the public library under the giant oaks which provide plenty of shade.

The fun of going to the parade isn't just in watching the small-town politicians, the home-made floats, and the heartfelt military presence from nearby Brunswick Naval Air Station; near the gazebo above the parade route there are a variety of other attractions: hot dog stands, fresh squeezed lemonade, and of course, fried dough. Nearby is an outdoor art show and across the street is the annual library used book sale.

When the parade is over, people aren't ready to go home. While in many areas of the country it is often far too hot to be outdoors at noon on the 4th of July, Maine is usually quite mild. Spectators then make the short walk to the next street over, where, right next to the mighty Kennebec River, they find live music, much more food, and a variety of amusement park rides. The street is closed and the party goes on well into the evening.

Long about 9:30 on both the 3rd AND the 4th of July, Bath residents and visitors are treated to fireworks shot from a boat out on the Kennebec. One year when we went, the fireworks were amazing and then the moment they were over, a summer thunderstorm hit, sending everyone running and laughing.

This year the forecast for the 4th of July in Maine is sunny, dry, and in the mid-70s. Wouldn't you agree - it's the way life should be. :)

Copyright © 2005 - Paulla Estes