Better Times Ahead

There is no better place to ignore the Kavanaugh questioning than Maine. I have no TV, no radio, and no time to look at my IPad or phone. Warren kept me busy as can be today even though we only had one scheduled activity; a dinner with our friend July and Chip at six pm.

July and I went to high school together with Warren. Warren didn’t go to high school with us, but he was there. So this friendship goes back to 1976. Geez that is a long time! Friends like that drop everything when you text to say, “Can we get together?” So July planned a dinner for us to meet in a place called Hallowell, Maine.

I had never heard of Hallowell, which is right next to Augusta, the capital. I had also never been to Augusta, so Warren took this dinner invitation as an opportunity to school me on all things Augusta. This meant that our six PM dinner plans, a 42 mile drive away, involved a trip that had us leaving the coast at 9:45 AM.

First we had to go to drop the trash off at the dump. Then we got on route 17 headed toward the capital so we could make a stop at Elmer’s Barn, one of Warren’s favorite Antique spots. I use the word antiques liberally. Maybe it is because technically I could be considered an antique. But when I see empty cans of baking powder, that match ones I have in my cupboard, I don’t consider them antiques. And as such I am suspect of everything in a place. The room of floor lamps made me think of a flamboyance of flamingos rather than antiques.

After Elmer’s we finished the trek to the capital. It is no Boston. It is a small fish kind of place in a small pond. The capital dome is not even gold. One distinction that Augusta does hold is that it has one of the last remaining K-Marts. Now isn’t that something for the chamber of commerce to work with.

Warren and I stopped at the K-Mart so he could buy greeting cards from their very novel collection. My favorite section was the “better times ahead” cards. I wondered aloud if this was a new addition since Trump became president? For those who liked him they could think, “Now, we will have better times.” And for those who wonder how the hell we got this guy, they are saying, “Boy, do we need better times ahead.”

We went to lunch at a cute place called Otto’s on the Kennebec River. Sadly it is in the fairly dead downtown, where one of the few other open businesses was a formal dress and tuxedo shop that had two 1960’s era wedding dresses in a window on mannequins who were missing their hands. If you want to shop there you needed an appointment according to the dusty sign on the door. I think that last appointment was in 1972.

Our lunch was very leisurely thanks to the kitchen losing out ticket. It was fine with us since we had hours to go until we would meet our friends. After lunch we went to the very large and comprehensive Maine State Museum next door to the capital. I have to say it was worth every cent. My ticket cost $3 and Warren, as a senior citizen, got in for $2.

The Maine State Museum had fabulous exhibits about logging, and ship building and fishing, nature and so many other things Maine. The funniest part to me was the comparisons of two different eras of Maine kitchens. One in the 1800’s that had no light and we couldn’t see into it at all. I wondered if it was supposed to show you what living without electric lights was like. Warren liked the 1950’s kitchen because it had the most HoJo feel. I enjoyed all of the museum, except for the section on rocks and geology of Maine. Maine rocks are not that different from other rocks. It was a little embarrassing when Warren tooted at the Museum, but then again, the sign said he could.

When we had seen everything Maine we moved on to Hallowell. It literally is a four minute drive from the capital. The cute little town was all torn up from a Main Street water and sewer replacement. We visited another antique store which was more promising and Warren bought a pantry cupboard. From there we went to a fabulous old book store with a fine collection of rare books. We could have spent hours, but the owner wanted to close up. That was fine since I don’t need a first addition Little Women, but it was fun to see.

Finally it was time to meet our friends for the activity of the day! We got to the Slate restaurant before they did and settled into a table on the patio. Chip and July arrived and it was just like old times. The only problem with these get togethers is they are just too short. I think we need to plan a longer reunion. Maybe I will send a card from the “better times ahead” section.

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