As I was working as a waiter last night, I had the pleasure of serving an older couple from Dallas, Texas. I never would have pegged them as Texans from my first little conversations with them. I have experienced two kinds of Texans:
- Overweight, and overly rude Texans, and…
- Interesting, friendly, kind and wonderful Texans.
(I know this seems like a sharp contrast, but legitimately; they are either people you don’t know how you lived without, or people you really don’t mind living without.)
Interestingly, this couple I was serving last night fit into neither category. They were, for all stereotyping purposes, very much like Mainers. The man was tall, and in shape with a short trimmed beard more characteristic of a fisherman on the Penobscot rather than an urban man. She was short and thin with close cropped hair and a Stephen King book by her side.
So, when they told me that they were from Dallas Texas, I was a bit surprised, and when they told me that they were looking for a place to move to in Maine, I was not at all surprised. The woman asked me, “Please be completely honest, what’s it like living here? Because it seems to good to be true.”
I was taken aback for a moment and I really needed to think for a little bit before I could present a big picture of what it’s like living in Maine. I explained that our jobs market was bad long before the recession. She explained that her husband was retired, so they had no concern for the economy where they were living.
“The winters are pretty long,” I explained, and they asked me how cold it got. I told them that it was rare when temperatures got close to zero and that we got some snow, but it never really gets dumped on us like to does in up-state New York or Pennsylvania. They seemed pleased with this.
“He’s always wanted a real winter,” she said to me, pointing to her husband, “And I just can’t stand another summer in Texas. It’s perfect here.”
And she’s right. As I write this post I am sitting on my porch under clear blue skies. It’s about 75 degrees or more, I can hear birds chirping and a little while ago a couple turkeys wandered through the yard. My cat mewed his most menacing meow at them and then fell back asleep next to my chair. Every breath I take is cleaner than any air south of Massachusetts.
The other day I went kayaking with my dad on Hermon Lake not five minutes down the road. Weather permitting, on Friday I am going to have a picnic by a waterfall not ten minutes down the road, and my cousin and I are putting together plans to hike Mount Katahdin, not an hour and a half down the road. When I say “The Way Life Should Be,” it is not an understatement.
The couple had finished their meals and were looking out over the view of the Passagasawakeg River spilling into the Penobscot Bay. There was a sail boat passing by and a cool breeze filtered in through a nearby window. As I took their plates out of the way she asked me, “Are you sure those are the only possible bad things about Maine?”
I said, “Well, not a lot of young people want to live here, because it’s not exactly a place to live it up. It’s much more of a place to settle down.”
“That sounds wonderful,” She said.
“I really hope you do choose to move up to our neck of the woods,” I said, “You would fit right in with the rest of the Maine family.”
She didn’t question the phrase at all, she just smiled as if she felt very much welcome, and I knew I was right.