Lobsters as Tasty as Ever

I discovered Maine when I lived in Massachusetts and it instantly became home. My husband and I purchased a cabin there in the mid 90s. Snuggled at the feet of a sparkling lake fed by the Kennebec River, the cabin needed some work. We were young and although we had four little kids, we spent most of our weekends from Memorial Day to Thanksgiving working on the house. We cleaned and stripped. We scrubbed and painted. We nailed and sawed.
In the mean time, we discovered the fragile sun of Maine and the rocky shore of the Northern Atlantic. Moreover we met the reserved, respectful and kind people of Maine who live in the small towns along the Kennebec River. Far enough from the too quaint towns of southern Maine that attract hordes of tourists, this is real Maine populated with people who endure harsh winter and quick summers.
Our cabin and this part of Maine became the place of memories, personified our first encounter with the American real estate dream and established our roots in the US. Year after year, the cabin witnessed snow and ice storms, brief summers and river floods. I know it’s a privilege to have a place on both coasts of the US. I know how lucky I am to leave the California foothills when temperatures reach the triple digits and I treasure each day spent in Central Maine.
This summer is no different from the many I’ve spent there except for two important facts. For the first time, my four children are away, attending summer schools or summer camps. Their talks and laughter don’t fill the cabin until midnight. Grocery shopping and laundry loads are ridiculously small. Quietness suits well the small house, free time allows delayed remodeling projects and definitely matches the general mood in this part of Maine.
As any American state Maine is bracing itself against state budget cuts, unemployment and lack of locals and tourists who usually flood the coastal towns after Memorial Day. Familiar business owners talk about their fear for worst times ahead. Stores have closed and no reservation is needed at restaurants.
The cost of real estate has pushed many business owners to shut down their shops and restaurants. The mood is somber yet smile is on every face, kindness hasn’t vanished, driving remains one of the most courteous in the country. Since small businesses are the backbones of the USA, a few brave entrepreneurs are already remodeling closed buildings and signs announce openings for early July. Others are planning to find a less expensive location in order to remain open.
The Gulf oil disaster, the high unemployment numbers, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the gloomy economy make for a toned-down summer background. Even the sun that pokes its timid nose after sudden rain showers seems hesitant as if summer weather was indecent in times of crisis.
Yet, like the entrepreneurs who, against all odds, remain creative, I force myself to see beyond the obvious slow market. And I notice the appetizing produce aisle at the local supermarket. Thanks to a mild and sunny spring, the blueberries are plumper than ever and the corns beg to be grilled. The nurseries abound with plants, shrubs and flowers, no doubt better looking than last year when it rained almost every day of the summer. Houses are decorated with flags in anticipation the fourth of July. Boats and canoes appear on the lake. And of course, the lobsters are as tasty as ever.

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