. . . but I shed a few tears almost every day. After all, nearly every day I hugged loved ones I hadn’t seen in over two and a half years, and nearly every day I said good-by to those same loved ones. It’s a wonder I wasn’t a mess.
I wasn’t a mess because I felt just so loved and blessed, and because so many of my friends and family “get it”. No, none of them want to sell their homes and most of their possessions, say good-by to loved ones, and sail away. However, all of them seem to understand the pursuit of a dream, living life to the fullest, going for the gusto – whatever you want to call it. That brought me a great deal of peace. So, mostly I laughed, hugged, ate, talked, listened, asked questions, held those babies whose parents I’d held as babies, and had a wonderful time. There was no sobbing in Maine.
The real title of this trip is “Driving Miss Barbara”. Since the State of Maine has decided that EW and I are no longer residents and will not renew our driver’s licenses, I had to rely on the kindness of family and friends to make it from Boston to Farmington and back. My rule for the “Driving Miss Barbara” portion of my journey is that I was a grateful, no-back-seat driving, detours-welcome rider. All of my drivers were excellent:
May 4, Logan to Constitution Marina …. John and Dora from S/V Windrifter, dear friends, former neighbors, and fellow cruisers. They earn the “Planes, Trains, and Boats” award for picking me up at Logan and getting me back to their boat via bus, subway, and a ferry.
May 5, Boston to Augusta …… my niece, Hazel and her S.O., Tim. They earn the “Distance” award. Also winners of the “Early Bird” award for leaving Portland on Sunday morning and picking me up in Boston at 8:30 AM. Oh my.
May 6-7, Augusta to Fairfield, Fairfield to Augusta to Fairfield .… my sister, Pat and her husband Jerry. They earn the “Back and Forth” award. They also won the “Most Exciting Trip” award when we were stopped by a very long train and I acted like a three-year-old. I hadn’t seen a train in over two years. When someone, who shall remain nameless, was surprised by that I had to remind that person: “Caribbean. Small volcanic islands. Not exactly conducive to building a rail system.”
May 8, Fairfield to Industry …. my cousin Fran. She earns the “GPS” award for traveling to a new location. (Also, see May 10 for Fran’s second award.)
May 9 , Industry …. my cousin Gil. For hooking up the boat to the truck, launching it, and giving me a ride around Clear Water Lake – the lake I knew in my tender years – Gil wins the “Fresh Water Driver” award.
May 9, Industry to Turner .… my cousin Willy and her husband Larry. They earn the “Detour” award for taking me through Wilton so I could see Fran and Ken’s new home.
May 10, Turner to Biddeford …. The “Hand-Off” award goes to two people: Larry who drove me to the Gray exit to meet forever friend Kathy, who took me to her home – after our lunch out, of course. Kathy and Fran are tied with the “Driving Miss Barbara While Getting Ready for Guests” award. Fran had a luncheon for 16 senior members of her church the day after I arrived. Kathy hosted the book club and baby-sat her adorable grand-daughter the day I arrived. Both made it seem easy.
May 11-12, Biddeford to South Portland and Portland, and back to Biddeford …. dear friend Lynnelle, vising from Dallas, picked me up in her rental car, thus getting me to ride to beloved southern Maine locations in a vehicle with outah state plates. She simultaneously earned the “Massachusetts Driver" award and “There’s No Place Like Home" award.
(Lynnelle is a very good driver and is not from Massachusetts. You have to be from Maine to get that one. For good reason, all Maine drivers are suspicious of folks driving cars with Mass Plates. We even have bad names for them.)
May 12, Biddeford to Portland and back … Larry. This Larry is Rhoda’s and our friend who picked me up from Biddeford for a special Sunday Dinner with Rhoda and Lynnelle. He gets the “Cheerfully Drafted” award. Especially when he asked, as we were leaving the restaurant, “Oh. You mean you need a ride back, too?” Thank you, Larry.
May 13, Biddeford to York …. Kathy and Cathy – for a from the heart gabfest and an amazing breakfast in Ogunquit, followed by tea with EW’s sister, Magdalene. The K(C)athys get the “World’s Greatest Roommates” award as well as “Most Adaptable” for putting up with my coming and going from Biddeford. Also I broke curfew on Sunday but didn’t get grounded.
May 14, York to Portsmouth Bus Depot … Magdalene – Plus a trip around York and Ogunquit on the 13th – Magdalene gets the “Most Relaxed Award” for a lovely quiet visit with her, Norman, and the cats – as well as a stress free trip to the airport.
In between all of these trips I
- Enjoyed a cook-out in Augusta with almost all of my Maine Huff family.
- Spent quality time with my sister and got to do some necessary shopping.
- Hugged and visited with my Farmington cousins, sharing some happy and sad moments, and creating wonderful memories.
- Met three new babies grand nieces – Kinsey, Gwen, and Cecilia – and got to know Carter as a big boy. (Kinsey was a newborn when we left, so we didn’t get to meet her, then.)
- Talked – well, not until we were done – but as much as possible with Kathy and Cathy, and with Lynnelle and Rhoda. Laughed, hugged, listened, ate, advised, took advise, cheered, laughed some more, and cried a little, too.
The family portion of my week was absolutely wonderful – and necessary to my peace of mind. Life goes on and challenges, break-ups, illnesses, and deaths have occurred in the two plus years since we left Maine. Nothing is a substitute for being present, listening, and hugging. Both sides of my family are strong, thoughtful, fun, and loving, and they have wonderful little kids, adult kids, and pets. It was a joy and a blessing to spend time with them. They have much to teach me.
The friend portion of my week was magical. I’ve known Kathy since we were ten and we met Cathy during our freshman year of college. They know everything about me and still love me unconditionally. Cathy flew from Jacksonville to Maine on Friday just so we three could be together again. I developed a lifelong friendship with Rhoda and Lynnelle when we were three self-employed women in the Portland area. We were thrilled to be able to coordinate our spring trips to Maine and spend time together. Along with Dora, these five women have given me the strength to set sail with EW, and the ability to recognize other kindred sprits as I meet women in all the ports we visit.
“Make new friends but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold.”
Still not sobbing. Just very, very happy.
NOTE: Thus completes this blog post about my Maine Trip. For family and friend photos and a bit of the rest of the story – feel free to keep reading. I’ll get back to writing about sailing, the Caribbean, and working in St. Thomas with the next post. Promise.
If it’s in the 50’s and below, it’s not sailing it’s “frostbiting”. And yes, I did use all four of those blankets.
Carter my great-grand nephew and his mom, Heather, my grand niece. At right, my niece, Jean, and her granddaughter, Carter’s sister, Kinsey.
Niece Joan, her husband, Tim and their granddaughter, Gwen. That’s Gwen below left with her mom, Lindsey.
My Maine nieces, brother Fred’s four girls – Hazel, Joan, Tammy, and Jean.
Fred, Pat, and me. Our other brother, Kip, is in Maryland.
INDUSTRY – That’s near Farmington. My mom was born there.
Fran read the post in which I riffed about foods I miss -- so I had rhubarb and ice cream at Industry
I had a lot of ice cream in Maine.
Be careful what you wish for.
I am well and truly loved.
Connie in the boat. Gil, Wilma, and Larry at camp.
AND – They play dominoes in Industry! Who knew?
That’s me with cousins Fran and Wilma. And yes, I did get a kick out of wearing my pirate T-shirt in Maine.
That’s “Poppy” with his and Kathy’s granddaughter, Cecelia Corinne -- CC. He filled in as baby-sitter of darling CC once the book club started.
Dear friend Cathy arrived on Friday around noon. First stop – lobster rolls for lunch, of course!
Followed by shopping in the Old Port. During which we discover a pair of kitchen tongs that none of us are qualified to use.
Followed by family time and girl time back in Biddeford.
Boys, in the form of dads, grand-dads, and supreme steak grillers were welcomed. Sorry, Marc. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t get a photo of you. Your daughter is so cute that you are in danger of being relegated to simply being, “CC’s Daddy”.
CC and Mommy.
Mally, supreme griller and mix master.
PORTLAND AND SOUTH PORTLAND WITH RHODA AND LYNNELLE
Lynnelle in front of the QStreet diner – one of our favorite breakfast spots.
With Lynnelle and Rhoda at Willard beach. One of our favorite dog-walking spots.
Our trip down memory lane was followed by Bloody Marys in Portland. Yes, that’s a shrimp for garnish. We know how to roll.
Dinner was all about being together – wine, chocolate, hummus, veggies, cheese, wine, crackers, chocolate, and friends.
Told you we know how to roll.
Below, Sunday night with Rhoda, Lynnelle, Larry, and Lynnelle’s friend Kurt. Kurt is a very brave man to fly to Maine to meet us. We treated him kindly. Mostly.
I don’t think he knows I blog.
BIDDEFORD BONUS -- My trip coincided with CC’s christening, which she graciously shared with her younger cousin, Fiona. I wish both babies long and happy lives and the same love and joy I have in my friends and family.
Finally! A photo of CC’s dad, Marc. Thanks to Cathy for this one.
The aunts liked her a whole bunch!
This is Holly, Magdalene's other cat. She's beautiful.
Final Note: I did take the time to email EW during my visit – primarily to tell him that I would be back and that my home is now on La Luna with him. He seemed relieved.