Waving, nodding your head and smiling, saying hello to everyone you meet in Maine.
Everyone, no exceptions. You have to become natural, at ease waving and being friendly if you plan to be in Vacationland long. There is a strong sense of community, a local connection and not just between native Mainers.
Why? Because Mainers are interested in other people. Used to helping each other out from back in the days of I need a new barn on the Maine farm. And this weekend everyone is gathering to build one at your place. Next weekend, the same routine but down at my end of country road. We need each other, work together, survive and make it work.
Mainers are strong community local volunteers and working together on local projects you get to know each other outside a work, professional relationship.
The entire village also raises each others kids, watching them grow. Following their career and hoping for the best. Because we all had a stake as a little league, hockey, basket ball or whatever coach. Or were a teacher in public schools, church and we do know each other. Who your Dad and Mom are.
Youth activities, family events in Maine are huge, common, happening all the time.
So we bump in to each other, get to spend more time together in small town rural Maine.
Kids are friendly, like to have fun and it rubs off on the adults that grow up but stay young at heart.
Smaller population areas like Maine is famous for means we see each other a lot in the course of a week. At local community Maine events. At local farmers markets, down town shopping, sitting on a bleacher watching a youth sporting event. At an outdoor band concert. Beano or bingo, whichever way you spell low cost gambling.
So back to waving, the new habit you better get proficient at if spending much time in Maine. To ignore someone is mean, hard too if you see them a lot. To be in a store and oh oh here comes so and so that you had a go around with a while back.
Say hello. Just smile.
Be pleasant, get over the misunderstanding and be civil. We don’t like being at odds, we fix broken relationships and don’t hate any one. We teach our kids to do the same.
And if you don’t know someone from Adam or Eve, be friendly anyway. Make eye contact, hold doors open for them, let them go in traffic which is pretty light all the time in sparsely populated Maine. Wave at them. Everyone does. In showing Maine real estate I will get asked one question right off the bat by the fellow that came in with New Jersey, New York or some other state tags than ones with Vacationland stamped on the bottom. Do you know all these people they wonder as they ride shot gun looking at recreational properties on a lake, land in the middle of the woods.
Most of them I do know. But the ones I don’t I will in no time if I just wave. Show an interest, acknowledge they are there.
I see you, you see me Dick and Jane simple.
They wave back, we begin to figure out who they are. In small town Maine, we feel like any of the folks are friends, family the longer you spend time here. It’s called friendly, neighborly. We don’t carry full charged tasers with the safety off. No locking our Maine house doors, camps. No worrying about personal safety in the 4th lowest crime state of Maine.
The vehicles sit in the yard with keys in the ignition. Maybe that sounds dumb to you. Maybe you don’t live where things are like life should be. Maine, get here quick as you can.
You will love the rock bound Maine coasts and sampling the food of the deep from lobsters, clams, baked potatoes, local fresh blue berry pie.
But you will enjoy the people even more. The community spirit and how everyone is friendly, waves, gets along for the most part is contagious. That taste stays in your mouth, is easy to swallow and warm up to if where you live now the feeling is missing, dead.
We have to get along. There are only 11 of us per square mile in Northern Maine’s Aroostook County. Similiar situation in the other fifiteen counties. We rely on each other in smaller towns. If we did not, what makes the area special would be lost. The pitch in and work together would be missing and it would become dog eat dog, every man for himself. Maine is home grown not store bought. Home made always trumps something off the shelf any day.