Small Maine towns, where everyone is more connected, somehow related through DNA or work, social, church or volunteer endeavors.
Driving in a small Maine town is more personal too.
I have been looking up and down I-19 in Clearwater, Tarpon Springs Florida on vacation before and thinking how do I swim with the other highway fish in this blur? Some drivers I noticed just count to ten and floor the Cadillac or Lincoln. Blast off and hope for the best.
Sitting too low in the seat and eyes level or just below the dashboard.
And their right foot pushing the pedal to the metal and just going for it. Drive fast not so worried about the accurate part being the rule of the open road in cities where it can seem like dog eat dog.
Don’t give an inch. Don’t drive cowardly, like you wore a yellow streak down your back.
Or I remember being in Santa Monica with the owner of a Volvo wagon that had 22,000 miles on it that was halfway through the third set of brake pads. One foot on the gas, one on the brake and hang on. NASCAR style high wide and handsome with up to six car lanes abreast and packed solid.
If there is half a car length we are going to jockey for position to squeeze into it, make it grow to fit the in and out weaving wagon. That sash shay swayed back and forth at a rate causing vertigo, dizziness and white knuckles for this riding shot gun blogger.
But in small Maine towns this is a typical scenario driving the streets and roadways.
Knowing the vision of say Melbourne Jackins was fading, and realizing he had a Fisher angled snow plow on the front of that approaching pick up.
You wave, stop, move to the shoulder like he was at the wheel of a cop car or ambulance with a ear piercing siren blaring. Get out of the way.
Partly out of courtesy and respect your elders. Also because a date with a fender bender dent puller auto body shop is not on the list of highly entertaining recreational options in small town Maine.
Spare your wallet and the arm wrestling with the insurance carriers of the two cars involved in the crash.
You know the people you hold doors for and let go in traffic. There are no strangers on the in town, country roads.
Baldy Inman with his black bow tie dark gray Caddy had swerved into my driveway to sell a ticket on a Rotary function and while backing out, grazed the pick up door of Jock Gentle who was in looking for some Maine property listings.
Jock saw, heard the trading paint mishap as it happened and just raised his hand, shook his head and smiled. Said that’s okay.
“He is a nice old man and I hope to be one some day too. ” Just should not go into box canyons or use the reverse gear at his driving stage of life.
The big car added safety to the equation though and made him easier to see than the dark Amish buggies when dusk approaches and you just don’t always see them on radar.
Eddie Williams, a doctor grew up in Linneus and his raven black haired mom was known for two things. Being the school cook that made kids, teachers and any lucky visitors to the Roosevelt School on US Rt 2A feel like they were royalty in the cafeteria.
Fed cake so thick, moist, delicious that the state investigated and found the frosting had to be a little less tall, the cake created underneath de-tuned, tamed, pruned back.
With more prison like ingredients used so as not to spoil the students and faculty alike. The stuff she cooked was addictive.
Peanut button balls like no others back when they were not Kryptonite to kids that had life threatening allergies that made them lift fingers to form a cross to shun them if down the table lurking in a school lunch. And blondies like brownies with nuts, chocolate chips long before you could find them next to check out counters. As one impulse item you can not help reaching up and snatching for snackage on the way by.
These original squares as big as your head and not shrink wrapped and made local. By a scrumptious, low to the ground black haired school cafeteria happy cook. Gobbled up and history long before their expiration date. No preservatives injected in them needed. Because they disappeared before fully cooled off and hopping off the rack. Kids at the time did not know how lucky they had it and got the same treatment from home, their grandmothers as par for the course in a small Maine town school system.
The cooking great. But her driving, pull it on over. Lower marks later in life. Not so good eyeball vision wise. But not using her vision to create the recipes that did not need to be read after decades of tickling taste buds practically blind folded.
Cooking with her eyes closed. Tommy Fitz, Aubrey McLaughlin, my Grandfather Albert with the tie, sweater and hat cruising slowly never getting out of second gear. All that should have had their car keys taken away earlier than they did some would say.
But not like Scent of a Woman’s star when Al Pacino drove the sports car blind either.
But no one hurt because the locals knew who to watch out for and drove defensively to over compensate if they met the dirty dozen on the roadways of this Southern Aroostook town.
The drivers with diminished vision also driving very very slowly cautiously. Creepers, the good kind you look out for in a small Maine town.
Otis Putnam using his lawnmower to go to the bank, grocery store, to pick up a pizza pie or shop from his backyard.
Before that excellent at left hand turns, not so skilled at the right hand ones according to Joe Inman, a relative who shared the news with me this week.
Everywhere Otis drove when he could was in circles, the left hand ones because that side was the best field of vision.
The only one he had as his other senses stepped it up to compensate. To drive as long as he could with the help of others who saw him coming and took necessary steps to avoid a collision in a small Maine town neighborhood, down town or out on the country roadways.
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