Crustacean Celebration

I promise, this story will take five minutes. Set in Maine and true, It's the cliff notes version of a summer vacation involving nephews, crustaceans, lakes and boats, typical summer stuff. Tina and I started in the rockies, just east of the continental divide just below treeline . Over 4,000 feet above Denver. Here, the mornings are clear and brisk, even in August. Speedometer pegged to 70, we glided down the eastern slope across the city into the high plains. DIA, a huge white circus tent. How appropriate.
Two id checks, one scanner, two escalators and one train later is the gate. On time departure, see ya later. Land JFK, trouble begins. Huge thunderstorms are pounding the eastern edge of our beautiful country. The rain presses heavy holding the planes on the ground. Bummer. Delays start to be measured in half hours and then full hours, all the while the fire-alarm keeps tripping and sounding . Double bummer. Finally we just fly away into the night. Adios JFK. Land Portland. Quiet and almost empty, up past bed time. A few tired stragglers sitting askew in airport chairs, the epitome of uncomfortable. Hoping a familiar face materializes. Ahhh theres Dad. Dark late night, tired eyes and a blurry yellow road line that goes on forever. Two hours later a creaky screen door sounds the Alarm. We're here.
Awake in a quaint lake cottage, simple outdated kitchen, uninsulated exposed beams, lots of windows framing lake views. Coffee poured and sweetened by the arrival of our nephews, my sisters. Three boys, young, smiling and full of life. Hang time off the dock, splash and swim. More like a doggy paddle. Lots of small wet footprints in the cottage. Idle talk fill the afternoons, evening cocktails in simple lawn chairs. Six wide young eyes marveling at the scenery and their aunt and uncle from far away. We marvel back. Morning turns to afternoon then evening. A lazy cycle. Dinner on the Penobscot Bay shore. Open air dining with hot lobster on paper plates. A complete lobster lesson for the kids from our adolescent waitress, free of charge. She is a natural born educator. Thanks. The next day, our nephews disappear into their minivan and migrate back down the coast to Virginia. Quiet returns. When the wind blows the sunfish sails. Mom capsizes. Tina and my father rescue. What a scene, or so I'm told cause I napped through it all. Perfect. The days melt together, only the weather differentiates; one day sunny, the next foggy. Side trip inland to Elmer's Barn. Three levels of antiques, bottom floor is junk. I spend all my time down there. My price, my style. The eastern slope of the rockies seem far far away.
The local paper lay open on the table. Volunteers needed for State Lobster Festival. A crustacean celebration… Why not? Thick Maine accent explains the job, steaming large vats of the red crustaceans. Saturday night. OK. I'm in. Tina smiles when I explain. She's not committing. Thursday and Friday slide by. More of the same, sun, sail, swim. Saturday arrives. Tina commits. She assigned the ticket booth. Ha Ha Good luck with that. Timeless festival with lots of sticky foods that only exist at fairs. The folks are regular folks…just like us. Lots of beards and bellies, flip-flops and tube tops. Could be Alabama, Nevada or any other state. Happens to be Maine. Meet head volunteer lady, put on our free t-shirts, mine's lobster red , Tina's is green. 85 lbs of lobster pulled from the truck and immersed in vats of boiling water. Eight stainless steel squares total. Super steamy. Mundane to the locals but exotic to me. Food tent has tables of people wearing plastic bibs and eating with plastic utensils. Outside others wait to get their food ticket. Hot dog line snakes into the crowd too. Not everyone likes lobster. Tina hands out tickets for cash. More people stream in. The fair is a big deal around here.
Packing light travel smart. One last swim from the dock. Our turn to pile into the minivan. We drive south to Portland. It's a reasonable hour so Mom comes along. Daylight this time so we see all we missed on the trip up. Hugs, pleasantries and goodbye. Airport is clean, slow-paced, friendly. On time departure. Land JFK, more trouble, more delays. Vacation escape turns to traveling reality. The Rockies seem far far away. So long lake swims and sleeping in. Cramped, crowded, the flight is full. So long summer vacation. It seemed so short.