Every Wednesday I bump in to an old Maine friend named Slim.
For years I have followed him, what he had to say so simply, succintly, with just few timely words. Slim is a wiry, skinny shadow of a fellow, like me desperately in need of an extra ten pounds. But who not like me, says what he has to say simply. Not long winded, but keenly focused, to the point when he does speak up.
Slim is a town crier of sorts.
A Paul Revere in a good way with news to remind local folks that he cares about greatly around him that this weekend is the annual Meduxnekeag River ME Canoe race. Showing a glimpse of himself paddling through the white water for all he is worth to support a local cause, celebrate spring at the same time.
A friendly reminder for others to consider digging out the red, green canoe or blue, yellow or whatever color kayak you have not in use. Stored in the garage, neglected. That maybe you should get wet, out on the river water. Find a paddling partner.
Slim is active, has high metabolism.
You see him running in local fund raising marathon road races for a good cause. Suggesting you ought to take in a McGill’s outdoor community band concert, to support the local movie theatre, Cary Library.
You could call Slim a clothes horse of sorts.
Has an extensive collection of promotionally provided, advertising disclaimed items. With many sets of black, white, shades of gray ear muffs, winter knit hat and scarf sets. Cool head and wrist bands, high top Chuck Taylor sneakers, and sporting gear ranging from hockey skates, down hill skis, motorboats, baseball bats, basketballs, soap box derby cars.
Slim is slim, trim because he is rarely idle, his mind is in high rpm. He is passionate about his home town, having the right kind of fire in his belly about youth activities. And promoting all kinds of local worthwhile outdoor recreational events being in Maine full time. Not just for what only one vacation week a year can provide. Slim considers himself very lucky to live in a small Maine town. Does not keep it a secret.
Slim gives advice about when storms happen in your life, to adjust your sails to take full advantage of those high blustery winds. He grew up on a Maine farm, felt lean, mean poor potato years that hit below the belly, are like sucker punches. But became stronger because of it.
An eternal optimist, a dreamer with a practical side.
He learned early on not to expect life to get easier. But that the pathway to get more deeper meaning from setbacks that are really lessons, stepping stones means opening up your eyes, ears, hearts and souls. Surrendering. Considering others first, keeping his eyes looking up for guidance, needed direction.
Slim is not afraid to get his hands dirty, to dig in Mother Earth. Is a gardener of sorts. Knows the immense importance to tend and spend daily time in his private, spiritual garden. And what can happen if he does not and weeds, thistles, thorns, sharp stones quickly take over an untended garden.
Win or lose, Slim encourages local sports teams, any one in educational, music program competitions to give it your best shot.
Hold your head up high and know you gave your personal best. That the entire local community is proud of your accomplishments and you should be too!
Sometimes Slim is seen in public glimpses dribbling the orange round ball. Hunkered down with his hockey stick on the sheet of polished ice. Winding up for a lazer slap shot in the five hole to hit the twine under, between the metal bars. Slim is not the best athelete but works hard to improve, to encourage others that are talented in the local area.
With Slim it’s not about being perfect.
But to get living not dying. But more important to strive to be kinder, gentler, loving, humble, meek and mild. There is a playful side when you see him barrel racing on a horse to remind anyone around him about an upcoming horse show.
Eating cotton candy, munching on a fresh dough boy or an extra Italian sausage loaded, smothered with onions and peppers of all colors after watching a dusty, smokey Demolition Derby performance. Slim is not stuck in his home and gets involved in local events. Covers them a tad like a cub reporter.
Slim wishes anyone that can read him, he is pretty black and white, a Merry Christmas wearing his Santa hat or reindeer antlers. A happy, bow your head and be grateful Thanksgiving in front of a bountiful table of food of all sorts. Or wearing a pointed party hat with the always too tight kid sized elastic that stings your neck, blowing a noise maker to wish everyone a Happy Safe New Year.
Slim choses his words carefully, tries to only open his pie hole after considerable thought with week long pauses between what he does think needs saying. Opening his heart and mind up to ponder, consider and study, to listen first. I could learn much from his example being from two very verbal parents in a boisterous household of four boys growing up. Better at talking than listening.
I am an excitable boy that could benefit from working way way harder at relaxation, pauses and have taken a slew of steps that are working wonders to create a greater inner peace. Check out some of the earlier blog posts and sense, whoa. Something is up. Like the kids say, “it’s all good”.
Slim with his cheerleader megaphone is a rah rah rah, hoot, holler and root for his local area to brag up the many home grown special events.
Like the largest soap derby race city in the country for five years running. That is a testiment to the importance kids have, the area committment parents, neighbors show in their volunteer efforts.
There is nothing stronger than the heart of a local volunteer, especially when kids are the recipients of the effort.
Slim is a big kid with a soft spot in his heart for children. Slim in a not pushey way encourages people that he meets to get off the couch, go climb Mt Katahdin, to hike and bike trails, to snow sled, ATV and get out in to nature. To support local ME Rotary Auctions. Or Moosestompers Winter Celebration or investing in new chairs for the local Houlton ME performing arts center.
Skiing down one side of a local me mountain or hiking up the other side. Slim beams with pride about the largest soap box derby race so many worked on for the award five years running in his small Maine home town.
Wonder what Slim will talk about the next time I see him? Slim appears weekly as a cartoon in the local Houlton Pioneer Times, the only newspaper in the world interested in the Shiretown, County seat of Aroostook County. Get to Maine, small towns where people are connected, need each other and appreciate the outdoor four season beauty all year long. Not just one week a year on vacation.