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What can you say about Maine in June? OK, I know that, but what can you say about June that we can print in this family newspaper? June has given us some of the best of weather and the worst of weather. We never know what's coming next and neither do the weather people on television.
June can give us beautiful bright, warm sunny days one minute and some of the dampest, coldest, foggiest weather imaginable. The problem is we never know and never will know, what we're getting and when it's arriving.
A while back I was hired to entertain a group of people "from away" with my Down East stories. They had planned a traditional Maine lobster bake at one of the state's most popular coastal resorts. It was to be an outdoor event and they hadn't booked an indoor location, incase of bad weather.
The day of the event arrived and it was one of those warm and sunny days that the tourist people in Augusta take pictures of and put in their fancy, four-color tourist brochures. As I drove up the coast to the resort I figured that these people from away had lucked out; they'd have perfect June weather for their out-door lobster feed. Mainers know that it's a gamble when you plan an outdoor event in June because it could just as easily be cold, dank and rain at an outdoor June event.
After arriving and parking my car, I walked toward the garden patio where the lobster bake was being held. That's when I saw a huge slow-moving bank of fog rolling in from Penobscot Bay. It looked as warm and inviting as a penitentury. It was not good.
Mainers know that thick banks of cold, damp fog can be good for weekends when you want to just stay home, build a fire in the fireplace and read a good 900-page book. On the other hand, fog is not good when people from away gather for lobster bakes on garden patios at expensive coastal resorts.
Experienced travelers to Maine in June know they should bring lots of clothing to fit any kind of weather - you might not need snow boots but it never hurts to have them.
The men and women gathered on the patio of this popular resort in the middle of June for a traditional Maine lobster feed obviously hadn't received the what-to-wear memo. They were dressed in light, summery clothes, the kind of outfits you'd wear to the Jersey shore on a hot day. Before long, as the fog settled in and made it clear that it intended to stay a while, everyone was talking about how cold and damp it was getting.
People started congregating around two tall, steaming pots of coffee set on one of the food tables. Some filled thick white mugs with the steaming coffee in order to warm their hands, but within minutes the coffee turned lukewarm. Before long the coffee in their cups was stone cold.
When the meal was over it was time for my entertainment. The host tried to make light of the cold and dampness, but the audience was not amused.
When I got up to tell my Down East stories the audience that huddled before me draped in car blankets and sweaters, looked like survivors of a shipwreck. It was not a fun time.
When the event was over, those assembled huddled together shivering in the warm, dry hotel lobby, and began assigning blame for the whole unfortunate, cold, damp, fog-infested incident. They blamed the resort's sales staff, of course. They also blamed the fancy four-color, cloud-free tourist brochures, they blamed their own planning committee and they blamed each other. Some even even blamed me.
Of course, they couldn't blame the weather. After all, it was June and this is Maine.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at mainestoryteller@yahoo.com or 899-1868.
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