Monday, August 15, 2011

weekend in Maine (m)

When Abby's mother died in March, it was decided that there would be a memorial service in Maine on the island that was the location of her final home.  The island has some year-long residents but is known as a  beautiful summer resort.

I first went to the island during winter break back in 1974.  While the newly-built house itself was gorgeous, it was the setting that captivated me.  Ocean views and lush gardens.    Abby's mother was an award-winning gardener who collected plants from all over the world.  She had rock gardens and a trout pond among many other features. 

It was in this magical setting that my roommate cultivated me.  During winter breaks, we would skate on the trout pond and then sit by the fire, listening to show tunes (Pippin was my favorite), sipping Earl Grey tea (the bergamot flavor was the most exotic thing I had ever tasted).  I felt so sophisticated (in contrast to our White Trash phase when Abby and I took up smoking for a week.  We smoked Marlboros while watching Name that Tune).

It has been 19 years since my last visit here.  Kids, job, life have filled the space in between. 

Sunday morning, I head up to Maine.  The trip takes about 5 hours, including the ferry. I stop at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee to make sure I am fully alert for the drive alone.  I plan a stop at LL Bean in Freeport.  I pick up something for Abby and peruse the sporty clothes.  If I were tall and thin and not so ethnic-looking, I would buy several things there.

My cell phone goes off while in LL Bean.  It's my friend, A, the one with cancer.  When she learns where I am, she asks if I would stop across the street at Vineyard Vines and pick up a pair of size 8 corduroys on sale for half price.  They are for her.  I am so excited that she is feeling so optimistic as to buy new clothes that I jump at the chance to get them for her.  When I tell the saleswoman what I'm looking for, she gives me the once-over and has an expression on her face as if to say, "Honey, I hate to break it to you, but you're no size 8."

It takes longer than I thought to get the pants.  I so want one of Linda Bean's ( a descendant of LL Bean) fresh Maine lobster rolls but the line is long and I am afraid I am cutting it close for the ferry.

When I arrive on the island, Abby meers me and escorts me to a friend's house where I will be staying.  We arrive at the home (over 100 years old, second-oldest on the island), the friend is not there as she is doing the flowers at the church.  I am greeted by two dogs, one ferocious one.  The dog hates me.  Abby leaves me at the house.  I go outside to say goodbye to her.

When I go back inside, the dog rushes me.  I go back outside and sit on the porch, waiting for the homeowner/host.  I notice a tomato plant.  Lots and lots of cherry tomatoes.  I eat some.  They are excellent.  I don't mind the wait as long as I have food. 

That evening, a cousin of Abby's hosts a barbecue beginning at 6:30 p.m.  In typical WASP fashion, there is plenty to drink and not much to eat for the first hour.  I am famished.  When the (very generous) dinner is served, I stuff myself with a hamburger, a hot dog,  and potato salad.  And a chocolate chip cookie.  I haven't eaten like this in ages.

Get back to the house I am staying at and am relieved that the dog is nowhere in sight.  Read my book for awhile and go to bed.

With my belly full and the window open to the ocean, I sleep like a baby.

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