Down East 2013 ©
Your October article about Maine manners invites me to tell the following tale. About thirty years ago I was returning from an antiques-hunting trip in Maine. I stopped for gas in Brunswick, and called home from the phone booth at the corner of the parking area. I then hurried on to the turnpike tollbooth and reached for my wallet that wasn’t there: No toll or coffee cash. Nothing. Then I remembered the phone booth.
I wheeled back up Route 1 to the gas station, certain that the wallet would no longer be found in the phone booth where I had left it. The station was dark and the wallet was gone. I can’t say why I decided to go to the police station, but before I could finish recounting to the officer my tale of woe he handed me my wallet, saying the station attendant had found it. It had not been touched, not even the nine or twelve dollars I had there. I have never known who turned in my wallet, but here is a public thanks. Ever since that trip we have had very warm, good feelings about Maine and Mainers.
—Peter Nelson, Woodbury, Connecticut
Bravo to everyone at Down East for a terrific October issue. Specifically, thanks for the article “Behave Yourself!” As a Connecticut native who has lived in the Deep South for thirty-eight years, I can tell you that the behaviors you describe by those “from away” and the reactions by “natives” is basically an urban vs. rural difference in style. Every area of the country has its own, usually unwritten, manners. Maine doesn’t have the market on taciturn types; nor does New York City have the market on demanding, hurried, direct types. I’d guess that a resident of New Orleans vacationing in the wilds of Montana might unknowingly be viewed as “difficult” by rural natives. We all need to observe the style of natives of wherever we spend time and money, and attempt to match the local customs.
Salem, South Carolina
I lapped up your October editor’s note on driving manners like a hungry cat going after a bowl of cream. Here in Marblehead, on Boston’s North Shore, we have more than our share of rude and offensive drivers. I can remember being impressed at the wonderful and courteous system at Bath Iron Works’ quitting time, with a massive exodus onto Route 1. Each car let one go from BIW, and then one from Route 1, so there was a steady flow, as opposed to a huge back-up. Just good manners. We haven’t learned that here — we’re too “entitled” and in too much of a personal hurry to give anyone in traffic a courteous “go,” or easing the traffic flow in our narrow streets that are over-populated with cell-phone texting SUV drivers. You are correct to brag about Maine drivers, and thanks again for your commentary.
I just opened my October issue and was pleasantly surprised to see the Royal River Basin and Harbor in Yarmouth. I live on the peninsula created by the Royal and Cousins rivers. The picture shows the Yarmouth Town landing, Yarmouth Boat Yard, Lower Falls landing (a restored sardine factory), and Yankee Marina. I have spent many hours transiting the river in all seasons except when it is frozen. In fact, there have been many trips in December or January that required breaking ice when heading out to duck hunt on the ledges and islands near here.
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