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Some Days in the Life - Home and Maine

Posted 5/17/99

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    "Home is where, no matter what time of night, they have to take you in."
-- Garrison Keillor

Maine is better looking than most other places.

It's green, of course. They call it the Pine Tree State and there certainly are a lot of evergreens. This time of year there are a lot of poplars and cedar trees and hardwoods as well. The oak trees are just coming in now, the same as my mother's garden, which has just started looking less like a collection of weeds and more like organized agriculture. Towards the end of summer, my parents and I -- when I can make it -- will sit in the late afternoon, and drink beer or soda or what have you on the deck. We'll pick cucumbers and tomatoes still living and cut them up and enjoy the fresh, wonderful taste of food that's never known a Supermarket -- foot that is vibrant and alive and fills you with joy with the tasting. Tomato is the king, of course. A garden fresh tomato, picked and washed and sliced and eaten, is a sensual pleasure to rival any night with any woman I have ever known. Including "nights" that were days at Renaissance Festivals. But that's a different story.

If I have any former lovers reading this who are outraged at my comparing a tomato favorably to them... I am terribly sorry you haven't had fresh vegetables in a while. It is no reflection on you, your agility or your enthusiasm. Take some time this summer -- perhaps with whoever your current lover is -- and find a garden or farm stand where the food is still essentially alive, and get it and wash and cut it right there. Don't wait. Share this together. Close your eyes as the tomato fills your senses, and live that moment as one.

Of course, that'll be weeks from now. Tomatos haven't come in anywhere in America that I know of. I don't count truck farming operations. What organized agricultural business does to a tomato shouldn't happen to McDonald's food, much less real vegetables.

The homestead is looking fine. Mowed and cultivated. Mom was in her brook, doing brook maintenance as I pulled up. I was late, having been called into work to fix a server and then being stuck behind Sunday Drivers the whole way from Wolfeboro to Maine. It's a sad fact of life that beautiful spring days bring out cars. Cars towing boats. Cars just touring and looking at the beautiful world. Either way -- cars doing fifteen miles an hour below the speed limit.

Still, it was a beautiful, sunny day and a lovely day to be driving, and an even better day to get into Standish and pull up at home. The dog is having the time of his life. He's not simply running -- Amy describes Buddy as a Ballistic Missile and she's right most of the time. No, Buddy was bounding today. Leaping over rows of flowers from path to lawn, gracefully and with excitement. Circling the house and enjoying sheer motion. He's gotten his spring haircut -- he's cut along Schnauzer Lines except he's nothing like a Schnauzer. The result makes him look not unlike a miniature bearded grayhound, and he tries to live the part. He was very happy to see me, both running everywhere and bounding up to me, and (when I sat down) climbing up on me. He licked my face for a bit, and then just leaned on me for a while as my parents and I talked.

They're doing very well right now. They've just gotten a new sailboat -- a sloop, replacing their old sloop. It's in Salem right now, waiting for everything to be made ready so it can be dropped into the water and sailed to its "Spring" mooring in Falmouth. Then it'll get sailed up to Rockland Harbor for its Summer home. Mom and Dad love their boat. While they were still at the University it was their refuge. Their camp. Their place to be away. The new sailboat is a little longer, and has better toys (Dad's looking forward to the Autopilot), and has a second cabin so that Kris and George can have a private place to sleep away from their daughters when the Gibsons make the trek out to be with "Granpa and Grammie." It'll be my cabin the rest of the time, when I make it out there.

They also got a built in inverter for me to plug in my Powerbook at the Map Table. My parents know me so well. And I love to write on a sailboat. It's just... right, somehow. I'll have to get out there, often.

Mom and Dad got me a shirt at Reny's, which is a discount place in Maine. It's a nice one. There's something vaguely funny about parents buying their thirty-one year old clothes, but I don't mind in the least. And, after talking for a good long while and touring the place a bit, we hit the road for South Portland and dinner.

We went to the Olive Garden, which we like. Only this time, it kind of sucked. Mom always gets the Porterhouse Steak, but it's gone from the menu, replaced by a much thinner T-Bone steak which Mom has little interest in. As for me, I'm a soup fiend -- Pasta Faguli -- and the soup was... off. Not as good. Disappointing, really.

And the garlic breadsticks were made with garlic salt instead of garlic powder or crushed garlic, this time. They were like eating a salt lick. I'm still thirsty. So, the Olive Garden of Maine's gone way downhill. Sad, really.

We went to Borders and I picked up a book I almost bought when Mason was here. Work's going to reimburse me so I don't mind the cost. It's an O'Reilly Tech book, which means it has an animal on the cover. A meercat in this case. What a meercat has to do with Web Design, I don't know, but at least it's not a spider (I'm told Webmastering in a Nutshell has a spider on it. Sigh).

And then? We went home, and I climbed in the car and went back to Wolfeboro. Exciting? No, not really. But it's moments like this one that make a life worth living, and if I'm not going to record those moments in here, I don't much see the point of a journal. I went home on Sunday. It was very nice.