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I don't want to bring up a sore subject but, hey, why not? Have you noticed the weather lately? If this isn't the worst summer in recent memory remind me of one that was worse.
Oh, sure we've had a few quick peeks of the sun from time to time over the past month or so but that's about it. Mostly we get a glimpse of the elusive sphere just before it goes behind a cloud and just before the rain resumes.
After such a stretch of mostly wet and sometimes foggy weather it's only natural that people here in Maine begin to get a little testy around their outer edges. The worst ones among us of course are the tourists - those people from away - who come here in summer to enjoy a week or two of glorious Maine weather. After 50 weeks of barely surviving in some wretched, congested city to the south these worn and weary fun-seekers arrive in Maine desperately hoping for two short weeks of badly needed rest and resuscitation. This year they are not happy campers.
All the average tourist wants is a stretch of warm sunny days with moderate breezes off the water and they also want those cool summer nights Maine is so famous for - to help them get some needed sleep.
Our summer visitors - no matter how weary they may be - know that Maine can do glorious weather because they've all seen the pictures of our spectacular Maine days in those beautiful four-color brochures our tourist people print up and send out. They've also seen the television ads where the summer sun is always shining here in Maine and they've seen all those happy, obviously contented people in those ads frolicking - yes frolicking - on one of Maine' s two or three beaches.
You might not know this but we here in Maine were never known for frolicking and have never encouraged our children to frolic so the ad makers - who insisted that frolicking be part of the picture - had to import special foreign 'flolickers' just for those television ads and the glossy pictures in the fancy brochures.
The tourist gang in Augusta did their job convincing all these people to come to Maine to have fun and - of course - to frolic, like the people in the ads. The tourist promoters have seen to it that those slick television ads ran in lots of well-populated out-of-state markets. It's just that for the past few weeks our summer visitors haven't seen many examples of frolicking or glorious Maine weather from the balconies of their $79 motel rooms which - regardless of the weather - now feature seasonally adjusted rates of $300 a night. But don't forget, that $300 includes a 'free' continental breakfast.
As a kid I never minded a day or two of wet foggy weather. In summer our family often had visitors in July and August and when the weather was bad most of the adults would often go to town to shop leaving the house free of adult supervision which always made things seem better for a while. Shopping is still a bad weather activity which is why many shop owners - like farmers - often pray for rain.
The worst place to be in Maine when the weather gets bad is at one of our many fine campgrounds. They're fine places when the weather is fine but when things get wet and soggy campgrounds get downright 'gamey.'
Think of it: campground dwellers awake in sleeping bags that may not be wet but are far from dry and fresh-smelling. They go to clean up in a washroom that can only be described as awfully dank. They realize that as long as the weather stays bad they'd be much better off in the large comfortable home they left behind.
Needless to say - but I'll say it anyway - at such times you see little if any frolicking, nor should you.
E-mail John McDonald at: storytellers@maine.com or call 899-1868.
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storytellers@maine.com