I left my apartment on Tuesday August 21st, anticipating my weeklong stay in Northern Maine. Looking back on my time there, I realize that it was the best trip I have ever had.
Para-transit drove me to Fitchburg station and I caught the 7 o’clock train to North station. I arrived at 8:25 and a courteous conductor helped me board the 9:05 to Portland. The whole transfer process couldn’t have gone smoother.
I sat in business class and was impressed by the quick and polite service. I was served coffee and a buttery corn muffin by a nice woman on the pull down table in front of me. I made sure to tip her for going the extra mile to make me feel comfortable and welcome.
At the Portland terminal, I received assistance buying my round trip ticket to Holton, Maine. While I waited in the railway terminal, I called my stepdaughter to inform her where I was. She asked me if I’d like oyster stew and garlic bread for dinner. Smiling, I said, “It sounds perfect.” I was going to have a taste of New England my first night there.
While on the final leg of my trip to northern Maine, I noticed that the train had many more passengers that the previous two. I decided that a bunch of people must have shared my idea and wanted to head north for their late summer vacation.
When I got to Holton, Jonathan, Pam’s fifteen year old son, was there to meet me. It was nice to receive such a youthful and excited welcome. As I walked out of the terminal to their neighbor’s van, the cool night air made me wish I had planned ahead and brought a sweater. Shortly thereafter, we arrived at the rambling farmhouse where warmth and non-stop conversation made me feel very at home.
Did I say it was chilly? I wasn’t kidding. Wednesday morning I was grateful for the extra comforters and blanket, as the temperature was 46 degrees. We had a late breakfast of fluffy scrambled eggs and toast with homemade strawberry jam and hot coffee–a perfect meal to battle the morning cold. The eggs came from the 13 free-range chickens, who spend their days roaming the large back yard.
The six and a half days I spent there took on an unhurried, gracious quality, with mornings slowly blending into afternoons. There was always conversation and time spent reading a book or sitting outdoors taking in the sun and fresh air.
Alternatively, there were some exceptions. Wednesday afternoon and evening, we had “Ladies Time” and Pam’s kind neighbor clipped coupons for me, some of which I will use here in Massachusetts. That evening Jonathan was at a friend’s house and Pam’s husband was away at a conference, so we had salad and wine with Pam’s butter crisp haddock, and spent the evening chatting.
On Saturday afternoon, I practiced the four hymns we would all sing at the Mormon Church service on Sunday morning. They were able to get the hymnals and the Book of Mormon in Braille from Salt Lake City, so I had no problem following along.
That night, as we sat reminiscing about the wonderful week, we could hear the quiet ovule of the turkeys and faint sound of crickets. The telltale chill had returned to the once-warm summer night, a sure sign autumn would arrive soon. But not before we got our last fill of a pleasant Maine summer.