November 13, 2016

Department of Good Stuff


Sam Smith - We live down a rural two mile coastal neck in Maine where one of the many pleasures is a local neighborhood club that has monthly pot luck suppers. We meet in a one room schoolhouse built in 1856, later to become the local chapter of the Farm Bureau and then turned over to the club.

The hosts of each supper provide some fruit juice and desert while everyone else brings part of the main course.  After the pledge of allegiance we settle in to eat, trade stories and hear what’s going on nearby. Children are not only welcome but at tonight’s dinner, one 13 year old boy gave a pitch for the eggs his chickens were producing and another 13 year old guy volunteered to be the club secretary.

I was reminded that, as a summer resident, at 13 I not only drove a tractor but a 6-wheel Amy surplus personnel carrier. Being a rural teenager in Maine is different. In fact tonight, the head of the local conservation trust told me that they had indeed found on one of their trails some of the trash I warned them I had dumped there many decades ago.

It was about this time, when the schoolhouse was still the Farm Bureau, that I was introduced to climate change. Farmer Horace Mann, whose family had been there for a couple of centuries, told a friend, “I remember that wintah of aught eight (’08). The first snow came Octobah 15th and come May 1st we were still on runnahs.” Even as a kid I found that hard to believe.
They no longer make root beer in a large bucket outside the schoolhouse for the potluck, but otherwise it still feels like what America’s supposed to be about.  Which is nice these days.

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