Living in a small Maine town, the grapevine news is not just gathered filtering national sources.
The latest happenings around the Maine community not covered by CNN, FOX, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, ABC or some other big name news source. No New York Times, Washington Post. Forbes Magazine does not have lots of small rural Maine stories in their glossy pages with high end color photo spreads. Also, a small rural Maine radio station if you are lucky enough to have one is probably a “rip and read”. Something major could happen locally but it would be some time before it hits the wire service for broadcast outlets without a local news department to pick up on it. More on the history of Maine broadcasting.
Unless the local event, accident, fire or whatever news story hits the AP, UPI teletype news service, it stays dark and untouched. Or left to the weekly newspaper to tackle and break the story for its readership. We get the latest close to home news, the spin on state and national coverage from local family gatherings. From employees at work from all walks of life. Picked up with the two ears on the side of our heads from kids tapping into other circle sources. Maine has a low population. The folks that do live here are tight. Hannah oversees the Yankee Swap at the annual Christmas party out at the McGuire’s below in Linneus Maine.
Commercially, it’s best if your “this just in” small Maine town news story happens in time to get covered in the latest daily broadcast.
Or especially so it can appear as big as life in the weekly edition of the black and white news print local outlet. If it does not, stay tuned. Could be many days later. Or not at all or as an after thought in skimpy coverage down the road. No one likes old news that’s like moldy bread.
The timing of the news living in small Maine towns is critical.
How many other competing stories are out there to tackle impacts what you do get splashed across the front page or in the broadcast lead in news gathering. This all seriously impacts what does or doesn’t get covered. Making it feast or famine for lots or just a little to report on in small rural towns in Maine. The editorial and small rural Maine news gathering staffs on the print side of things especially suffering steady shrinkage.
The army of often only one or two reporters do the best they can covering their beat.
Always coaxing to come on over to the cyber side presentation where you scroll and tap, swipe, double click. To break the habit of open wide, spreading the newspaper wide to scan the columns and turn the pages. Media outlets are consolidating and working hard to get us to make the leap to digital formats of the news delivery pixels. But that’s where the “local militia journalist” become the cub reporters to fill in the community news gaps. Everyone has a cell phone camera. Can hunt and peck and they do shoot “the you are there” pictures and video with copy hammered out with two thumbs or a pop out stylus. As they roam around all the small rural Maine locations, the community itself, at large shares the “news” they see first hand in their travels. Neat huh?
The term is accurate. There really are “slow news days” when not so much is shaking locally when living in small Maine towns.
That’s when journalists revisit old news articles for an update. Dig harder to create the copy the other end of the conversation can enjoy and find useful. Or tap into the human interest angle from the guy and gal on the street. To hand them a mike, quote them for a printed sound bite. Dragging them into the spotlight to learn what they think. Weighing in on an opinion poll on one or a variety of topics of interest to the audience. We all want to know what others think and learn from their perspective.
No one can update you better than someone you have known for years and who is living Maine small town local.
Someone you trust and full of the same local area pride. What’s new delivered in a special, personal way with local expressions and a mix of humor. Maybe a tad of fiction. Or part of what the person relays is what they thought they heard Bubba say. But lots of people were talking, my hearing is not what it used to be comes into play. Factors causing the what you thought you heard getting blender mixed and twisted in the information. The stuff you hear and repeat like it is gospel gets exposure. Like Paul Revere hollering while he gallops through the streets close to home. Raw, real, unpolished, but out there and not kept a secret.
Sharing information that resonates all around you in your daily travels happens more in small rural Maine towns.
News gets passed on and on in the small Maine community circles. Give me the local you know and trust for free sharing of the news. Nothing missed in the translation or relay. Not delivered from a talking head with an agenda and an obscene salary. Who has an artificial smile with perfect teeth but does not even know where the small rural town is in way up there in Maine.
In my small Northern Maine town, there are several popular places to congregate to chew the fat.
To get updated on what’s new in these parts. Living in a small Maine town. The daily comparing notes process covers a wide range of topics. It is quick and efficient. Everyone has a role in the “newscast” that ought to be streamed online. Because highly original and very entertaining from people you know and love. Lots of common sense from the man on the street. Not someone on the west coast and out of touch. Maine is grounded, small town, rural., unspoiled. Rich in what is happening now in my small Maine rural town’s surrounding area is highly popular. We are starved for that close to home news reporting.
Someone in NYC or other large population center would not give a hoot but we do in the small Maine town.
But the guys at the barbershop, ladies around the hair dryer at the local small Maine town salon want to know. About events of local folks they know and sometimes are related to in the DNA. Reaching out to help someone in need starts with knowing someone is hurting or up against it. The local grapevine news is not all tragic and sharing the joy of new grandchildren, job promotion, even another birthday causes phone calls and text messages. Before coronovirus pandemic, face to face meetings were prompted if someone needed your help once your learned the situation.
How Bob is doing after his surgery down in Bangor? Anybody heard or checked in on him? Heard you have a grandson. Sorry to hear about losing your uncle. What were all those speeding cruisers and flashing blue lights responding too that just flashed by? Someone pick up anything on their scanner? The first thought in a small Maine town is hope everyone is alright. The direction the EMS or police are racing makes you factor in where your loved ones could be or if all the fuss could be they are heading to your home. And you should too because it’s on fire, etc.
What did you hear about the buzz surrounding the new restaurant chain rumored to be breaking ground or closing soon in the small Maine town?
Or the fellow slowly tearing down the barn on the corner of the Burton Road and US RT 2A. Who fell off the staging ladders? So that’s why all the Emergency responders were on the scene late Wednesday afternoon. You heard the sirens, saw the lights and wondered. You might not know every Tom, Dick or Harry in a small Maine community but you notice things. Out of the corner of your eye, what happens on your travels in and out of living in the small Maine town is registered between the ears. So when someone brings up local news, others in the group add what they know about the person, situation, procedure, history, whatever. Living in small Maine towns that are sparse and rural are like that. Caring, sharing is a way of life. It’s not busybody or having nose problems. Not all about putting your beak where it does not belong gathering fresh, accurate local news.
Not so much gossip as experiences or observation shared in a helpful way.
Like pot luck suppers where everyone brings their favorite covered dish. In small Maine communities, everyone cares more about the lower population that inhabit it. There is a strong connection and we worry about each other, include them in our daily prayers.
The spontaneous discussion as new members enter and some old ones exit changes it up too at say the corner convenience store.
If the meet up is early morning, getting to work is on the agenda. But not before pouring yourself a coffee and reaching for a snack. Maybe a breakfast sandwich or crackers, a donut. The timing you arrive determines what you learn or missed. We are all creatures of habit. And like sitting in pretty much the same area of church. Or a Rotary meeting, whatever gathering. The groups within the collection of folks happens. You gravitate to the folks you enjoy the table talk with best.
Everyone has their favorite topic and the ones they shine brightest in recalling details that makes them a local resource.
Step right up. Adding color, details like the play by play partner who reads back the stats. And adds information about upcoming trades or injuries of both clubs competing in the contest. Like Jeopardy, the living in the small Maine town version, where the questions are pure local. Only someone living here for many decades could possible know the answers. Someone who calls this rural area of Maine home would be one of the few to truly care about the conversation because it’s where they call home. And the news coverage is home grown and local. But covered by John Q Public, the on the scene reporters who were there. Recalling what happened in their own special way as eye witnessed close to the source. Or the news was about you, the small town rural member.
The debate between two cronies over a small detail can ensue in the small Maine town news exchange.
People can be moody or feisty or both. People have good and bad days but their still need a coffee, loaf of bread, quart of milk and the latest Uncle Henry’s to hunt for bargains. There are groups within the gathering that have side conversations going on too. Just part of the dynamics of the daily coming together. To share and get updated on Maine small town affairs. Talking local elections candidates or vote counts. Bitching about property taxes being too high. The debate on what needs to be done to bring them back down to Earth.
Not so much religion discussions but the Sunday version is call “going to church”.
Just about everything is fair game at the pit stop. It’s more than grab a coffee and pastry or breakfast burrito time. We gather, talk, get caffeinated and then jettison out into the local surroundings. Ready and wired to tackle our individual days ahead. But in the know about something happening for the latest news. News that spreads wild fire fast living in a small Maine town.
The coronovirus has put a kink in the hose flow of local small Maine town grapevine information news circulation.
You can not get six feet distant wedged between the Bunn coffee maker and the wire shelf Pringles rack. It is standing room only. As you side step to make room. When a new comer darts in for coffee and a plastic wrapped chocolate donut in the large glass display jar. Polly Hand did just that for many years. Until son Ward took over making the home delivery of the same items.
How are the fish biting, are the smelts running. Be fiddle heading yet? Often someone has a car or home construction problem or medical issue. We all want to help. When it is brought up, anyone in the group can add their .02 and does. We get regular updates. Learning from the other person’s situation to apply wisdom and skills to our own life. Somehow it is more real when you know the people affect. The Coronovirus pandemic has made those daily gatherings hard in the conventional sense. Even being connected with the Internet broadband signal and texting does not make up for the human interaction. We are all glad to see each other on a daily basis. John Benn, my first cousin is usually there. He can hold down the Click and Clack portion of the automotive discussion.
Remember who was on the winning basketball team from years past that scored the winning basket right at the game ending buzzer?
Who got their deer for the freezer and what was he using for a shooting iron? Ho many shots and where were you again, what time of day? Did you get a Moose permit for zone three Mark? That new game warden seems like a straight shooter. How’s your kitchen overhaul coming Kris? Your neighbor at the lake Rod, have the snow birds returned from the sunny south yet? Did you sell your pontoon party boat Jimmy Ritchie ? What’s that about Lou Ann not wanting anyone locally to buy it so she would not see it out on Drews Lake? That was one clean Sweetwater pontoon boat. Would have bought it but the Gerry McCarthy pontoon boat needed a buyer so I did instead.
And do you remember the yellow comet Snookie Bossie had back in high school?
With a name like Snookie, you know the story is going to be good. Muscle cars, music, home improvement, who died, who had a baby. All on the news feed that gets aired at Cameron’s Market. Rod Longstaff is telling you what you need to do for earthwork around the home that needs a french drain to dry up the wet basement. Duane Nickerson backs him up and the next thing you know, the discussion swings to retainer walls along the lake where Maine shoreland zoning laws make it delicate surgery.
Then talk about Snapper LeGassie comes up. Oh, he’s an electrician over around the Oakfield area. I thought it was the name of a new flavor of Shipyard or Allagash micro brew suds. Sure, serve up a round of ice cold Snapper LeGassies for my friends. And don’t forget to prop me up by the juke box, put sand in boots. I want to go to heaven but just don’t want to tonight. Doug has the XM on for the background music. We learn about the Amber, Silver alert across the Maine Lottery ticket terminal too. Want something mailed? He is downtown New Limerick, has your zip code in the back where mail and packages get sorted. Anyone getting hungry for pizza, sub, something off the grill? Watch it being made while you talk. Catch up on the local news living in a small rural town in Maine. It happened way more before the COVID 19 coronovirus pandemic flu.
The stopping in get together with local chums a local Maine business ceased due to COVID 19.
The coronovirus CDC warnings caused the re-trenching retreat to our homes. The small Maine social visits for the area news busted up the daily gatherings. I looked forward to stops at Cameron’s Market in New Limerick in the morning. Sure quick stops for grocery items or to fuel up the seadoo happened. But those pizza pickups were hit and run like gas runs. The morning stops were purposely done twenty minutes or a half hour earlier than I needed to get to work. To provide time to enjoy a hot fresh brewed coffee, munch on some peanut butter and crackers. To hear the boys interact, laugh. To tease along with Doug who could take a joke and was often on the receiving end.
Surprised he did not kick us out but guess COVID19, the coronovirus pandemic took command and weeded us out for him.
Funny some times, serious at others, the missed corner store discussions where no seats, it was standing room only. And on occasion, when no one was there but Doug the owner was, you knew you were running late this day. And he had turned the corner, was out straight himself when it was time to get to work for all of us.
The owner is in the mom and pop “has it all store and fast food take out” where you get the best local news living in a small Maine town.
Doug Cameron and his wife Denise, sister in laws Phyllis Blanchette, Lisa Sirois and others like the company. Talking while they are working and because they are stuck in the store. The news you share helps them be in the know. This is social life with his buddies stopping by to visit while deliveries are coming in. As the beer, milk, bread guy wheel in what is needed to replenish the store shelves and walk in cooler. To take care of the neighborhood and road traffic shoppers. The daily visits of locals to get their mail and a quart of milk creates interaction. Adds to the tid bits of information discussed. The what’s collected from each of the folks who stop in flushes out the local news story. More color or depth as eye witnesses or someone related to the news maker comes in and out of Cameron’s Store.
By osmosis you learn lots that gets retained.
You don’t even know you have it in your knowledge base until calling it up mentally. Writing a blog post like this one. For example Doug was a radio operator in Vietnam. He did not want to be a tunnel rat. The radio guy carries a heavy Mack 10 field radio but can ditch the rile. Wear a 45 caliber side arm instead. Carrying head down and hustling and sweating through the jungle vegetation his PRC 10 field radio transmitter with the whip antennae. We’ve blogged about Doug Cameron and music before in a blog post. Doug McNutt will come in and he was in Danang Vietnam War so they have a bound from their Uncle Sam sponsored tour of duty out of country. So do others who stop, shop and talk that come in who were in the service. Like Randy Russell, the cattle farmer out in Linneus. Gene Albright who is an Anthony Bourdain at making baked beans and other local food delicacies. His mother died young, his Dad was not a cook, he was self deputized to put on the apron and feed the family. That’s where his culinary skills developed fast for survival. In his childhood, not developed later in life.
The local potato and grain farmer too opens the glass swinging store door to step in and reach for a pack of smokes.
There is diversity from local authorities from the spontaneous gatherings at the country store in New Limerick Maine. The farm producer makes it like “we turn now to the agricultural report update. Buzzy Nightingale (AKA Frank)… how’s the spud market shaping up this year?” What’s that about way out west growers? With farming, it is feast or famine and often the better you do is because another out of state farm region suffered a horrendous growing season with resulting crop failure. Table stock, processor grade, seed potatoes. It matters not the type or variety. Bonanza years happen in Maine when drought hits other growing areas outside Vacationland’s agriculture bread basket. The playing field can tilt the other way just as easy too.
Larry McCarthy, the sign painter, brings in his own coffee cup.
Those Styrofoam white ones are probably not the healthiest and they cost Doug something to supply. Good thinking Larry and where’s my coffee travel mug? (Looking around the back seat of the Jeep). Someone’s regular unleaded gas at the pumps being siphoned, you can hear motor as the store conversation buzz heats up or ebbs. You see the guy or gal getting gassy hands out the window. Barry Ivey, the log home guy comes in to join the group. Lots of field workers, Nick Fitz the manager too from Nature’s Circle the organic farm producer across the road. Looking for a snack, to buy some work gloves, because they just fueled up the International 656 farm tractor and need to put it on the running expense tab.
Right behind following closely, a tall lanky fellow with a hat and long beard that makes you think ZZ Top is in town.
Mark McAfee, one skilled mason brick layer may or may not be able to play guitar. But his two tender helpers toting the bricks with a tongs to climb the roof top ladder to top your chimney have beards too. Now I have LaGrange song in my head and music from that little old band from Texas causing my toe to tap. A ha ha ha ha. Well the air is fine, if you have the time… (Focus Andy Focus. Blog post, wrap it up. Bring it all on back home to Maine.)
Questions asked about the crop in the ground, the one in storage and predictions on what kind of price it will fetch.
When the Maine area farmer does well, everyone benefits in the small communities. Same with anyone tied to the mills and lumbering forest industry especially. A new local dollar turns over six to seven times which lubricates the economy. Jobs for our kids to learn work ethic and earn spending money are sought after in coffee clutch banter. Cameron’s Market, the place voted best pizza in Northern Maine by the Bangor Metro magazine would sadly miss Louisiana Pacific waferboard OSB mail up the Station Road in New Limerick. We need jobs, especially the ones we already have and can not afford to lose.
Whatever you need. It’s more than the coffee pick me up buzz you are getting in the small purchase each morning.
Like I said, everything is fair game and fruitful. If I need an air nailer for a little hardwood floor home improvement job out at camp, don’t rent it. Just trade something you have in the exchange. True story. Just found one and the owner wants a 30 pack of Bud Light going in, another same size and type of barley pop when the floor air nailer is returned.
Or the coffee buddy offers to help in the house repair, car repair, whatever. That’s small town rural Maine. Tourism in Maine is big too but a lot less organized in small rural areas where banding together is done less Organized. Each roll out the red carpet, welcome to Maine enterprise is on their own to market themselves. We are working on changing that. Tightening things up to promote regions and the individual businesses in the hospitality sector of the population in rural Maine.
Nursing homes with visiting loved ones holding up signs “I love you Mom” from out side window.
Thanks Rusty Taylor for sharing your nursing home photo with my Maine blog post readers. He’s the retired business typing teacher out at Hodgdon. Cliff Barker and John Folsom, both in retirement mode too. But not hanging out around the fireplace at Mickey Dee’s these days thanks to COVID19 the coronovirus. They were fixtures along with others who are not slurping coffee or nibbling on happy meals at the local golden arch fast food outlet. Everyone forced to find new habits to spend their time apart. No doubt feeling cut off from their brethren. Everyone living in the small Maine town missing their buddies and the daily conversations in person, not online. Some sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot where the summer vegetable, fruit and seafood street vendors peddle their wares. Windows rolled down, speaking a little louder sitting in their cars. To visit with their friends and family from a safe coronovirus protective distance in new creative ways.
Hair dressers with darken salons, empty chairs and waiting curlers.
Waitresses not serving the weary travelers or locals that ate out to escape the monotony of stuck at home. At least winter is waning and spring is in the air as song and snow birds return from the sunny south. The price of fuel is low but we don’t run the roads so much and vehicles are parked at home in the driveway for days. It is good news for railroads and over the road truckers who keep things moving for the rest of us. Heating oil being cheaper helps as we wind down the need to twist the furnace thermostat controls for those not burning wood. Sometimes in the beginning or end of the Maine winter heating seasons, building a wood fire just is over kill and drives you out so oil gets tapped to remove the house chill.
Low interest rates cut even further is great news for those living in small Maine towns.
If the new Maine home owner has an essential service job or a fixed income high enough to buy property. Their income high enough coupled with low debt ratios to swing a mortgage loan is needed to scope up some very affordable Maine real estate. To be able to climb out of the rent rut. It is up to all of us to rise to the occasion and make the most of the situation. Nothing new in Maine where we battle weather, the economy and being insulated, maybe a tad isolated. Way way up here in the right hand corner of the country. Some argue so far north we by rights ought to be in Canada.
The US Canadian border traffic has stopped and Marden’s has turned off the lights, locked the doors.
Our country Canadian cousins are not coming over for “should have bought it when you saw it at Marden’s” bargains. Not fueling up their cars and tucking away extra five gallon red jugs in the trunk. Not buying milk like it is going out of style from our local dairy. Hunker down, be glad spring is approaching and enjoy remembering what you appreciated most about living in small Maine towns. That’s how you get through the day. If you have plenty of toilet paper, food in the pantry and freezer you feel blessed. When you and I can get out and walk, breath fresh air and feel the sunshine, we know we are the fortunate ones.
Looking forward to the day when some of the curtailed activities like watching a local sporting event changes.
When the COVID 19 guidelines are relaxed and the coronovirus curve is flattened. The very important job of sign language relay during the Governor’s updates is critical. But the tone and expressions of whoever is making the mass message to the right hand side of the split screen transmission. That information to hearing impaired could benefit from someone not quite so highly animated or fear expressing. Said with all due respect and just an observation that others may have made. Stay calm, carry on and work together at a safe distance. Thank you for following our Me In Maine blog posts.
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