Vacationland: that’s what it says on our Maine license plate, and it’s true. There are plenty of fun things to do here, year round. We encourage folks from away to come and spend time in the great outdoors, enjoy the sights, eat the local delicacies, drink Moxie, buy stuff. We are willing to share our beautiful State with you, but please remember: be nice to us locals! The sign says “Maine: the way life should be”, not “Just like New Jersey, only prettier.”
We’re only half way through July, and us folks here in Mahoosuc Mills are already dangerously close to reaching our limit in the “being nice to rude people” department. Working at the A & P, I try to just let it roll off my shoulders, you know? I try not take it personal when someone is a little miffed because we don’t carry the exact same brand of butter they’re used to getting at home. ‘Cause, hey, I get it. Spending that much time with your family crammed into a car, tent or rented cabin isn’t quite as much fun as you thought it would be. You’re bored, sleep deprived, mosquito bitten, constipated and still digesting the fried clams and onion rings you had two days ago. I sympathize. Just take the attitude down a notch, and I’ll cut you some slack.
Babe Delahunt, however, takes a different approach. She runs the Busy Bee Restaurant over on Main Street with her husband Bud. They’re open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week during the summer. Babe’s a master of giving people just what they ask for. I was in there the other day getting a coffee frappe when I witnessed Babe at her best. This fella from away barges in, talking on a cell phone like we all want to know his business.
“Look,” he says. “I need to see some results in the next sixty days, or we’re pulling out!”
Me and Babe exchange eye contact and smile.
“Yeah, yeah,” he continues, “you’re breaking my heart. Later. Later!”
He doesn’t even wait for Babe to finish up with me. “Can I get a cappuccino?”
Babe doesn’t miss a beat. Winking, she hands me my change, and I settle in to watch the show. She walks up to the fella and says, sweet as pie, “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We don’t have cappuccino. I can get you what we call a Maine Mocha Latte Grande? That’s our special house brew, blended with domestic chocolate and topped with a dollop of faux crème.”
“Whatever.” he says. “That’ll do”
“Comin’ right up!”
Babe lets the guy cool his jets while she bustles about clearing tables and wiping down the counter, before disappearing into the kitchen.
“You on vacation?” I says to him.
“Yeah,” he replies, while texting someone. “Fishing.”
Fishing for what? I’m thinking, as Babe returns with a tray, and on it is a teeny tiny mug about the size of a juice glass.
“Here you go,” she says. “A genuine Maine Mocha Latte Grande.”
The fella isn’t surprised at all by the size of his drink. He takes a sip, seems to like it, and chugs the rest.
“How was it?” Babe asks.
“Not bad! And that’s coming from a real coffee aficionado. There’s something about that flavor. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Bold, yet unpretentious.”
“We aim to please! Would you like another?”
“No, I’m good. How much to do I owe you?”
“Well,” Babe said smiling, “because I couldn’t help you with that cappuccino, I’ll give you a special price. That’ll be $8.50.”
The fella doesn’t even bat an eye. He throws a ten on the counter like it’s nothing, just as his cell phone starts ringing. “Speak to me, and make it good news!” and he bolts out of the Busy Bee. Babe and I watch as he wedges himself into some little sports car, fires it up and blasts down Main Street like he’s late for a wedding.
We pause to savor the interaction. Then I turn to Babe and say, “Maine Mocha Latte Grande?”
“How about that, huh?”
“What’d you put in it?”
“Oh, our regular Maxwell House poured over a Hershey’s Kiss and topped with Cool Whip!”
“Babe, I got to say, if anything’s bold, yet unpretentious, it’s you.”
“Back atcha, Ida!”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
July 14 Reading, Freeport Community Library, 7:00 p.m., Freeport, ME
Upcoming Shows & Book Events: Summer
July 22 Reading, Bailey Public Library, 6:30 p.m., Winthrop, ME
August 9 A Visit With Ida, Storytelling by the Sea, 7:15 p.m., Castine, ME
August 14 Ida’s Havin’ a Yard Sale, ACT ONE Festival 2014, 8:00 p.m., Portsmouth, NH
August 15 Ida’s Havin’ a Yard Sale, ACT ONE Festival 2014, 2:00 p.m., Portsmouth, NH
August 19 Reading, Southwest Harbor Public Library, 5:30 p.m., Southwest Harbor, ME
September 4 Ida’s Havin’ a Yard Sale, ACT ONE Festival 2014, 8:00 p.m. Portsmouth, NH
September 5 Ida’s Havin’ a Yard Sale, ACT ONE Festival 2014, 2:00 p.m. Portsmouth, NH