Maine small towns are really just big families.
You know the feeling when you crowd into a large, noisy expensive restaurant. Now, compare that experience with what happens when just a few people dine around you. The mom and pop owners go out of their way with home cooked food and personal service.
Their Maine small town establishment with the owner in the store is not a franchise outlet like all the rest across the land.
No no, one of a kind and personal, intimate, connected, genuine. No cheesy smiles or poor attempts to act like they were born to serve you. Plus you don’t have to sell a duplicate organ to pay the tab. You don’t just darken the eateries door when it’s your wedding anniversary or birthday celebration. You also leave full and content. Not thinking of hitting a drive through restaurant on the way home. Or peering into the refrigerator to track down a snack. Because your stomach feels short changed from tiny portions and high prices that made your skip considering anything from the dine out dessert menu.
The Maine small town business owner lives where you do and knows your struggles.
Shares the same goals for their small well knit Maine community. The circles we travel in small Maine towns are smaller and bumping into each other happens a lot. During the week you and the owners who put in long hours for lower pay are ready to serve. Their reward is the appreciation they feel by your continued patronage. The time and money they put into outside the business that benefits the entire community. In all the local productions of any type, it takes the village to pull them off. You don’t pay to just attend an event. Usually you have a hand working behind the scenes at whatever is going on in your Maine small town.
Maine small towns, where everything done is not paid for with green currency.
Often you don’t know who dropped off the extra garden vegetables. Or the hot out of the oven fruit pie that someone knows just happens to be your favorite flavor. The local Amish settlement in Smyrna Maine makes Thursday “Community Day’. Each week, you leave your farmstead and band together at someone else’s spread. To get their barn raised, the leaking house roof shingled, their crop harvested, whatever is needed. You return the favor the next Thursday when someone else in the community gets a visit where many hands make light work.
When you live in a Maine small town, everyone bands together.
Sure, something that happens years ago might have ruffle your feathers. But the eye is on the bigger prize of what happens when we all work together. Because it won’t get done unless everyone steps up to do their part. The big thing is all of us are works in progress. No one is perfect and we all have flaws and lifelong struggles that shape and define us. Attack the problem, the need and not the person is discussed around the family dinner table at meal time.
In Maine small towns you really get to know the community members working on area projects of all kinds.
Everyone invests time, money, creative energy because of their fierce love of their community. When you hear at the corner convenience store picking up a pizza that one of your community members is in the hospital, what to do to show you care and to help out today. That’s what gets kicked into action as if a community air raid siren sounds and you kick into gear. Your neighbor down the road plows out the in need’s winter driveway and shovels the walk way and steps without being asked.
Others join in to share the same task to give you a break after a few days when a long illness or recovery is underway.
Everyone is busy but not too busy to extend a hand and show they care. Chances are they know the feeling of the ground swell of generosity personally or witnessed it extended to a family member or neighbor. All the small rural Maine community members think hard about what’s needed to create the slack for your small town member who is struggling. A benefit supper is organized to raise much needed funds.
Covered dishes are delivered like clockwork to free up the meal time planning. Because calls to doctors, setting up appointments and working the logistics of how to get the kids to school while away all needs to be coordinated. You don’t feel alone and everyone is needed in a Maine small town. We all treasure the natural beauty and unspoiled land and water in this place called Maine.
The Maine small town community member probably is related to you somehow.
None of us wants to be a burden on others or put them out or ask for help. But when you and your family are on the receiving end of the much needed aid, you never forget the feeling that my Maine small town cares about me So step up and do your part for others when it is your turn to do a good deed or two. Less people makes the connection stronger in under populated Maine. You and others in the small Maine community attended most of the same weddings, funerals, graduation, church services or community events in some capacity. You vote together at the rec center, cheer for the same home team up in the bleachers.
A church member or neighbor brings you breakfast and a sympathetic ear while you convalescence from surgery or to heal from a loss.
Three community members had a hand in creating a lap robe quilt so you won’t be chilly until you gain the strength to get up and move around like your old self. Someone from the local fish and game or snowmobile club stops in to see if you need anything or helps bank your house or to finish cutting, splitting, getting your winter wood in to the shed or basement. They quickly swing in and mow your lawn, pick up a prescription or deliver the local newspaper, a quart of milk and whatever you ran out of today.
The target of the attention squirms from the hubbub fuss. Feels there must be someone else more deserving and is just not used to being a recipient of the communal help when they need it most.
But stay tuned. They will be up and at ’em before you know it. Back on the chain gang to assist others which is the comfort of having a chance for pay back. Turn, turn, turn, it all comes around full circle.
You never feel alone in Maine small towns.
Too much to do and for years you have been part of the events that happen in your community. Many tasks handed down from other older family members who can not longer do them. Playing in the community band, helping decorate a float for a 4th of July parade entry. Raising money for project graduation by cash or food item donations of say home made pan of scotcheroo squares or a big pot of baked beans or loaf of just made bread. Everyone has a trademark talent.
Maybe it’s making cribbage boards out of local wood. The donator’s ability to weld and braze a specially designed trailer for say the local soap box derby race. Or to create a routered sign, to get your car running. Maybe talented at sewing a play or dance costume or knitting a pair of wool mittens.
When you see Maine small town members industriously pouring lots of effort into a task, there is no way to stay on the sidelines.
Pitching in and volunteering is a big part of the Maine small town experience. Planting and tending a vegetable garden way bigger than you need so you can share Nature’s bounty. Delivering extra eggs from hens to those who need them most. It is a take what you need and pass on the rest approach to everyday living in rural Maine. Easy does it. Tread lightly, respect and give what you are entrusted with to the next community or family member in as good or hopefully better condition. Think good thoughts and avoid stinking thinking as my Mom called it that does no good for anyone in a Maine small town living experience.
You don’t just live in a Maine small town, you are really a part of the big family of residents who create the community experience.
Everyone likes a helper, when they see you take on a duty that benefits the town without wanting any recognition. Advice for anyone moving to a Maine small town? Pitch in, work hard and help out to share skill set and your special talents. Since COVID gripped the globe, folks in crowded impersonal city population centers intensified the search for their plan “B”. Putting a lot of thought into where would I move and relocate to if the pressure becomes too much. For when quality of life is missed and it’s time for a new address like “up in Maine”.
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