Getting things lined up for my first trip back to Maine has been a bit of a challenge. First of all, while he’s always supportive, EW was surprised that I was adamant about taking this trip. He had understood that I wanted to visit with friends and family prior to taking the planned voyage across the Atlantic, but once we decided to stay here in St. Thomas for a year, he thought my trip home was off.
We left Maine over two and a half years ago and I am ready for a visit. I had my heart set on seeing our sisters, as many of my Maine family as possible, Kathy, Lynnelle and Rhoda, and Dora and John. I told him that he could poll any number of our US and Canadian cruising friends and find very few women who hadn’t been home more often than once every 30 months. Then, of course I found one that night. Damn! “Don’t tell my husband!” I said. However further discussion revealed that each time she goes home, she stays for at least two months. Hah! I’m flying out of St. Thomas on May 4th and will be back May 14th. He’s just going to have to deal with it.
Below: Rhoda (in front), Dora, Kathy, Cathy, Lynnelle, me in July 2010.
When dear friends Lynnelle and Rhoda, who also moved away from Maine in 2010, had heard about my planned visit before the big crossing, they booked flights back to Maine so we could spend time together. That meant I had to be in Maine on the weekend of the 11th and 12th. Then, I had to backtrack from that to include a second Sunday, so that I could see my brother, Fred’s family. His daughters are my age and have JOBS, so a Sunday was necessary. I also contacted a group of my cousins on my mom’s side, and made plans to see them, and of course, I kept my friend Kathy, first sister of my heart, and EW’s sister Dale apprised to make sure we had time together.
These friends and family are spread out from Farmington to York. When Kathy offered to loan me a car I had to relate the bad news: The State of Maine has decreed that we are not “residents” in that we have no Maine address and are not eligible to renew our driver’s licenses – which had been on my agenda for the trip. I would have to rely on public or friend/family transportation to get me from point A to B to C to D to .. you get the idea. I’m visiting eight Maine towns and Boston in 10 days, and staying overnight for two nights in two of those towns, which mathematically doesn’t even seem possible. One of my cruising friends laughed and said she could just see me “charging across Maine”. I’ll be charging, at whatever pace the driver du jour travels. I am very, very grateful.
Kathy called to ask if there were a food or beverage I craved that I couldn’t get down here in the islands. It was difficult to think of anything. The truth is, we can get most anything we want here, except fresh fruits and vegetables that can only come from Maine – rhubarb in the spring, corn on the cob in August, strawberries at the end of June. Come to think of it, I haven’t had a decent ear of corn on the cob since summer 2010 – and I’ll not get one this trip. The only available food item I thought of was ice cream .. fresh from the freezer…whenever I desired it. We’ve had some wonderful ice cream down here -- a dairy in Grenada made a delicious ginger ice cream – but since we moved on the boat we have not been able to just keep a half gallon in the freezer for consumption at will.
Who am I kidding? We were never able to keep a half gallon in the freezer without downing it in three sittings. This lack of a real freezer on board may be a good thing. Kathy said they don’t usually keep ice cream around for the exact same reason, but promised to have some ice cream on hand for Friday night. I love her.
After her call, I got thinking about things I do miss – and intend to enjoy while in Maine:
Having lunch with Kathy.
Gathering for food and talk and loud laughter with the Huff family.
Talking with my sister.
The peace I feel when I am with my Robbins cousins.
The delight I have when visiting with EW’s sister – yet another sister of my heart.
Driving around Portland and simply enjoying the beauty of that city by the sea.
Laughing and sharing with Lynnelle and Rhoda.
Laughing and talking past midnight with Kathy and Cathy.
Holding babies whose parents I held when they were babies.
Talking about EW.
Hugging everyone. Often.
This little sweetie is the daughter of the Whisper Cove bartender. I get to hug babies in the islands.
In Maine, I’m sure I’ll eat too much, and I may drink a bit more than I should on some days. I’ll certainly be busy – I even get to go to a meeting of my former book club! And – in case you missed it – Cathy, another sister of my heart is flying up to Maine during my visit so all three freshman college roommates will be together. How perfect is that?
I’m going home for a visit and I can’t wait!