“Take Off This Uniform and Leave the Show”
On August 10th I will officially be recharging my batteries…and not a minute too soon. See, occassionally I find myself clenching my teeth and rubbing my temples while looking at a spread sheet (or a significant other…it happens) and I realize, “Dear GOD I need a break”.
Now, I’m not talking a vacation. I don’t recharge my batteries on the beaches or in Vegas. I chill out and remember who I am best when I find myself in Lubec, Maine. Never heard of it? Of course you havent.
Lubec has one road in, as it sits on a penninsula jutting out in to the ocean…it’s the Eastern Most town in the US, in fact, and that might be it’s only claim to fame. It’s got two gas stations and one grocery store…well, two if you count the IGA on the way out of town. One bar and one coffee shop, and two restaurants. There’s a little hardware store and well…not a whole lot else. It’s quiet, and damn near nothing ever happens there that would make the news, local or otherwise.
And by God, I love it.
I grew up spending my summers there with my grandparents. (My grandfather worked in the postal service and my grandmother ran one damn tight ship at home.) As I got older I kept going back and in lots of ways the progress of my life can be measured by my summers in that town. I got my first real kiss there from a local girl named Sandy. I still remember the first time I made the drive, which at the time was my first really good, really long road trip North. My brother was married and started his own family there and more than likely he’ll be there the rest of his days.
I used to beg him to leave because the world was so much bigger and better than Lubec, Maine. Now I realize just how arrogant I was when I said that. In fact, I think that I can measure my own growth as a man by the ways my view of this sleepy little town have changed. From wide eyed wonder at it when I was a boy to contempt when I was a late teen and early twenty-something to outright admiration now.
Lubec is where I cool my jets…where I spend time sitting on the rocky cliffs of Quoddy Head (the actual Eastern Most spot you can be) looking out at the ocean and thinking about absolutely nothing.
For whatever reason, this former fishing town (complete with a run down museum of the history of canning) brings my peace. It always has. There is damn near nothing to do, but I find myself always feeling like there wasn’t enough time when I have to leave. And every time I DO start to pack to go, there’s Kid Brother and the Old Man asking me if I’m sure I want to go…
And every year it gets harder and harder to say “yes”. This year I’m flying in to Manchester, NH, then driving North in a rented Ford for a good 5 or 6 hours of my beloved Asphalt Therapy…up through Portland and Augusta, ditching the main highways for the routes that cut through Bangor and Ellsworth…out of the reach of the Starbucks and the McDonalds…North and East, North and East until suddenly there’s just no land left…and as soon as I get there I remember the time before when the Old Man asked if I really wanted to go, if I really wanted to be so far away… so far away from the place where headaches aren’t an every day occurance and family stops by without knocking. Where I don’t wear a suit that feels like a uniform…
And once again (as I’ll do this time too) I said “yes”. But this time, it’s going to sting juuust a bit more than last year. And next year it’ll be a bit worse. Because, I don’t know what your picture of heaven is, but mine looks just like this;
And for 9 days this August, I’m gonna soak it all in.