Sunday, October 23, 2005

Flirting with the Coast of Maine

We were in Maine this weekend for a wedding, and it was a quick, refreshing break. Bouncing along the coast from Kennebunkport (where we discovered that there actually is a local Democratic headquarters, which has a mighty fine parking lot next door), to Ogunquit and Perkins Cove, to Cape Neddick and York Harbor . . .

They say in Maine that if you don't like the weather, wait awhile.

Friday was a beautiful sunny day if mighty cool, and the Atlantic was as calm as a silk scarve casually thrown upon a drawing room tabletop at the beginning of a friendly visit. Quickly though, Saturday turned darker in anticipation of the rain that would come on Sunday, the grey-aqua sky bowing down to the white sea at the horizon, like a clear-eyed, courtly uncle embracing his sleepy nieces and nephews before taking his leave . . . then the uncle left, and the rains came, and the nieces and nephews awakened on Sunday morning and turned and threw their white caps in the air, galloping and cavorting . . .

The chill also sent us inside various shops, including a jewelry store, run by an old couple named Thomas and Carol, where it can be confirmed that somewhere in this universe there is someone who enjoys listening to Roger Whittaker (who knew?). Carol enjoyed it so much, in fact, that she sang along, enthusiastically, giving her browsing customers a perhaps inadvertant cabaret show ("Say . . . did you happen to see the most beautiful girl . . ."), interrupting herself only to remind us to look upstairs. "They-ah's wonderful things up they-ah . . . some beautiful lamps."

"Lambs?" asks Thomas from behind the cash register.

"No, lamps."

"Oh, I see, I didn't think they-ah were lambs up they-ah."

And Carol was right -- they were beautiful, and they were lamps, not lambs.

The cold weather also gave us a good excuse to have a chunky bowl of lobster stew and a Shipyard Ale at Barnacle Billy's on Saturday. It was, in fact, a weekend of good lobster -- lobster roll, with just enough mayo to hold it together on Friday, a tender and succulent whole lobster at Foster's Downeast Clambake on Friday night, lobster inevitably everywhere -- punctuated by doses of sweet, juicy mussels, corn on the cob and haddock.

It was just a weekend, but it was our first time in Maine, and the trip was so quick and so astonishingly mind-clearing, that as we sit down at home this evening, sipping wine and chewing it over, we are struck by all sorts of possibilities.

We resolve to return some day soon.



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