At eleven o’clock at night, Filibuster discovered we were out of cat litter. My husband sighed and changed out of his pajamas and he and Filibuster headed to the grocery store, which was open until midnight. At four-thirty in the morning, my husband discovered the dog cage was too large to fit in the trunk and that the garbage can had leaked all over the garage floor. Worse, his car emitted a strong odor that filled up the garage with the smell of gasoline.
Vacations always seem to start this way.
But the trip was largely uneventful. The kids argued. I consulted the map. Destructo sat on my feet and squirmed. And then we hit Massachusetts where we sat in traffic for two hours, inching forward, hoping… hoping… hoping for a rest stop because, of course, someone had had too much water.
We made it through Massachusetts and crossed New Hampshire with ease. “Guys, remember the lobster rolls at Governor’s? We should have lunch there,” I said. Everyone brightened and sat up straighter. We’d eaten potato chips and zucchini bread for breakfast hours ago and now it was after noon.
“How far is it?”
“Just over the Maine border.”
“Good, I’m hungry.”
We entered Maine and drove past a man driving a Buick and wearing a bicycle helmet.
“Where’s Governor’s, Mom?”
We passed an old cemetery that was on either side of 95.
“Mom, I’m hungry.”
We passed signs cautioning us to watch for moose in the road. A bike flew from the back of a car and bounced in the middle of the road. Every time we approached a sign, we leaned forward in our seats to scrutinize it. Was Governor’s at the next exit?
The back seat grew quiet. The kids clenched at their stomachs and doubled over. Their eyes grew glassy and dull.
“Maybe it’s not just over the border?”
“Governor’s!” My husband shouted, putting on his directional at Exit 130.
A faint cheer went up in the back seat as my husband went to place a to go order because you can’t take a dog into Governor’s, even if it is a former service dog in training. We drove to Starbucks—Despite my best efforts, I still am a coffee snob—and ordered coffees and sat outside where a woman plied us with questions about Destructo while we ate lobster rolls and drank coffee and celebrated our good fortune to be in Maine on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
* * *
As we drove up Route 1, the soil grew rockier; the houses had more land between them. On either side of the road, we could see water and an occasional person digging for clams. There were farm stands selling corn and wild blueberries; there were lobster traps piled on side laws; there were signs advertising fresh lobster, mussels and cherrystones. There was an antique store and a tiny library and a used book store. There were restaurants of all sorts. There were roads with quaint names and tiny cottages whose lights twinkled in the dusk. And finally, after fourteen hours of travel, there was our turnoff: a narrow road that lead to a hundred acre organic farm near Frenchman’s Bay. The owner met us at the car and led us to the cabin—a timber frame he’d built in his spare time.
“Do you think it’ll be nice, Mom?”
I glanced at the cabin. “I hope so.” My husband had rented the place sight unseen.
The owner gave my husband a quick tour, going over Manly Things like starting the heating system and the location of the electric panel. “I guess that’s about it,” he said.
And then, the place was ours. We explored and decided upon sleeping arrangements and unpacked, hanging clothes from pegs or putting them on the open shelves.
Eight o’clock. Pitch dark. Through the open windows drifted a cool breeze and the sound of coyotes. The closest grocery store was thirty minutes off and we had no coffee; we had no milk.
By nine o’clock we were all asleep.
At 5:30, the sun streamed in through the window. My husband brought me instant coffee—black—in a blue tin cup. The owner showed up with eggs and bacon fresh from the farm. The kids offered to make breakfast.
And while my husband and I walked the farm, enjoying our tin cups of instant black coffee, planning for the day when we would own a little patch of land and lead simple lives, the kids made us breakfast.
Vacations always seem to start this way.
Labels: Blueberries, Buying Locally, Community, Consumption, Country life, CSA, Culture, Maine, Raising Children, Traveling, Vacations