Location: West Kennebunk, Maine
Here I sit at a window seat sipping coffee and munching on a bagel. Today is the first real warm day since starting the trip. I finally get to take my shirt off. Met lots of interesting folks in the last few days. I stopped at a coin-operated self-service water station. One goes inside the road-side house pops in a quarter into a slot and a gallon of filtered spring water is dispensed from the spout. I was very intrigued by the whole thing. About 1/4 mile further down the road I stopped again at an “antique shop” of sorts that advertised the purchasing of old photographs, along with gold, silver, jewelry, watches, and other valuables. The mention of old photographs really got me excited since I collect old negatives.
I pulled over and met the owner outside. He pulled up on his four-wheel Honda ATV, equipped with cell phone and CB radio. He looked to be in his 70’s and wore a day-glow orange hunting hat with four stars across the brim. He also flew an American flag off the back of his ATV. I asked him if he was a general. He replied, “I’m a four-star general around these parts.” I had to laugh, but I admired him for it.
After inquiring about old photographs and negative and finding out that he had none we talked a while. He told me he had built the self-service water station down the road decades ago. “It was the first one in the country”. “A while back people weren’t that concerned about their drinking water, but today, now that is a different story. I’ve seen the water business pick up quite a bit in the past few years”.
We chatted a while more and I made some photos of the “general” on his ATV. While doing so, he made the bold statement that he wasn’t lonely. “I don’t have time to be lonely, I’ve got lots to do around here”. Somehow I doubted that was true. “We all get lonely from time to time”, I said. I was just going on a hunch, but sometimes people say things that are the complete opposite of how things actually are, they are in denial. I would have bet money the old guy got lonely.. real lonely. Especially in the cold Maine winter when he couldn’t get out and about. I left him with my address, hoping someday he would write or call me if he ever decided he was indeed lonely. Perhaps he will, perhaps he won’t.
All for now.. off to meet more people. More later when I’m down the road in New Hampshire.