For real democracy in action, there’s nothing like a Town Meeting in Maine. Last night we gathered in the local school, as we do every March, to vote on warrants, swear in town officials, and in general discuss the machinery that makes a small village run.
First, though, there was a comfort-food supper of shrimp stew and cake (shrimp caught by the local fishermen, of course, the stew and cake made by moms of eighth graders raising money for an upcoming trip to Washington, DC), followed by plenty of conversation as everyone chatted up neighbors that we see so seldom during the winter months. The Girl Scouts sold cookies and there was a raffle for a gorgeous skiff built by students as another fundraising project.
Sometimes town meetings can be colorful and contentious, but ours was peaceful, with no controversial topics on the agenda. Many of the women brought their knitting and stitched without pause throughout the entire event. We are few but varied on my little island and the adjoining mainland part of our town: fishermen, young parents with school-age offspring, retirees, writers, artists, and transplants “from away” who have been woven–some more fully than others–into the fabric of life in our small village. We came in jeans, flannel shirts, LLBean boots, baseball caps, nurses’ uniforms, and an occasional office suit. It’s always one of my favorite times in Maine — a living Norman Rockwell moment.
If you’ll be in Maine on Sunday, March 25, be sure to check out the events for Maine Maple Sunday when all the maple syrup producers hold an open house to demonstrate the process of making maple syrup, and, of course, to sell their products. Check out mainemapleproducers. com for a list of all the possibilities. Visitmaine.com is a treasure trove of information about other things to do and see in Maine. And, if you’re planning an extended trip now or this spring or summer, you’ll find lots of good ideas in the Maine section of my book, Backroads & Byways of New England: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions. Whenever you come, you’ll find plenty to do in this beautiful part of the world.