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Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category

The Enchanted Trail…LEMON PIE

I have held a number of jobs throughout the years. One of my favorites was as a waitress at a small restaurant in my hometown. The Enchanted Trail Restaurant was a place to grab a quick bite while catching up on the latest town news, a local hangout for teenagers, and the perfect place to hone my people and work skills for the future.

I started working there at age fourteen. During the school year I worked every weekend, and in the summer I worked full-time. When I left for college, they were flexible with my schedule. All I needed to do was give them a quick call to let them know I was coming home for the weekend. It got me a few extra hours and put much-needed jingle in my pocket.

Pearl and Aimé owned the restaurant. They had previously owned a number of businesses in our small town and were well-known. Pearl was a hard worker, a fair person, and she knew the business like the back of her hand.  Her husband, Aimé, did some of the heavy work, hauling barrels and cases of beer, moving things that needed to be moved, watching the cash register, and keeping us all in check.

Years before, as a teenager, my mother worked for them, too. She and their two daughters were great friends. I worked with their granddaughter, Sonja. When Sonja started working, Pearl sought me out and asked me to train Sonja. I considered it a great compliment because there were other more experienced workers there.

Juliette, the baker, a relative of Pearl, worked a couple of days a week whipping up her delicious desserts, puddings, and pies. One day, after Juliette had worked her magic, there were several pies on the sideboard, lemon meringue, apple, blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry rhubarb, all calling out to the customers. Those tempting smells permeated the dining room. My order pad was ready and so was I.

I approached a large group of folks who had just finished their main course. I took their dessert orders. Each ordered something different. I ran back to the kitchen and started with the lemon meringue pie. I moved it closer to me on the sideboard, placed the pie cutter on top of the pie and started to cut it into eight slices. Just as I got to the last piece Aimé came around the corner and saw every single piece of pie slip and plop on the floor. I heard an angry gasp and then he sputtered and told me I had destroyed the WHOLE pie and asked why I do that! I held back tears and replied I didn’t do it on purpose. He glared at me and said I needed to be more careful and not so clumsy. Then he huffed out. Mortified, I ran to the bathroom while someone else finished my order for me.

Please understand that Aimé was very good to me. He always called me ‘little girl’ and was, more often than not, very patient. In fact, he was a bit more patient with me that with some of the others. But, the more I thought about his reaction, the more hurt and stubborn I became. I decided to buy every piece of pie I had dropped. I grabbed a slip and wrote down eight slices of lemon meringue pie, used my tip money and paid for every single piece. Then, I went back to work!

Later that evening, when Aimé gathered all the slips and was ready to cash out, he noticed an order for eight slices of pie. He approached me and asked if I had done this. I said that I had since he had been so upset over the incident. He immediately said he would not accept the money and tried to give me the full amount. I argued with him and let him know that I did it because he was so upset. He went directly to my ‘tip cup’ and put the amount in. I didn’t say a word, knowing he was chastising himself for letting his aggravation get the best of him.

Aimé and I never had another altercation in the many years I worked there. We respected each other and worked well together. He knew I was doing the best I could and I always gave one hundred percent on the job.

.Believe me, from that point on, each time I used the pie cutter, I remembered Aime and the Lemon Pie incident.

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I MISS….

being able to tell you how I feel.

being able to ask you if I am being unreasonable.

being able to explain the deep stuff inside of me.

being able to know that you have my best interest at heart, no matter what.

being able to hug you…for even just a moment.

being able to go down memory lane with you.

being able to tell you I am angry and know you will help me work through it.

being able to know you are just a phone call away.

being able to know you love me, no matter what.

Oh, how I miss all these things, Mom.

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KISSED

 In my garden 2012

bright golden color
kissed and teased by sun’s hot rays
drink up, sip, enjoy

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FRANCES

FRANCES

I choose to remember you
as you were back then
so long ago

driving your new ford demo
with dealer plates
all around town

I choose to remember you
picking up the mail
before noon everyday

getting your hair done weekly
while catching up
on the town news

I choose to remember you
at your camp by the lake
BBQ time with friends

watching your soaps
and planning dinner
for your family

I choose to remember you
for your bright mind
trapped in the wrong era

born in a town too small
when those
glass ceilings were cement

I choose to remember you
holding your son’s child
for the first time

watching your face
as you fell in love with her
unconditional love

I choose to remember you
for only those times that
were good

and I say goodbye to you today
as your tired pained eyes closed
just as the sun rose.

Mary Frances Rita Achey Bisson
06/10/1925 – 03/31/2012

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My sweet watermelon cut and ready!

Sweet Watermelon Rebellion

There is no snowman in my front yard. It certainly isn’t because we don’t have enough snow. In my neck of the woods we have had over a foot so far today, and it seems to be spitting and trying to decide what to do next. Any of you without snow, please, feel free to head my way. I will let you jump and romp to your heart’s content. You can even build a snow house or a snow fort. There is enough for that. If you don’t know how, I will set my childhood memories in gear and give you exact details how to do it. When you get tired, you can take a break by making a snow angel, laying in the snow, rosy red-cheeked and exhausted from building your home, while looking up at the blue sky and reading the shapes of clouds letting the fluffy white stuff kiss your face.

This winter in my area of Maine it has been mild, to say the least. I have loved every minute of it. We have had a minimal amount of snow. That in itself has saved me at least a couple thousand dollars. I have had to plow my yard only once, up to today. Beaucoup dollars saved. And oil…I can’t even tell you how much I normally use, even though I always try to be conservative. I usually keep my thermostat on 57F when I am not home and set it at 62F when I am home. I heat my two-bedroom one level living space and also the apartment upstairs that I added on years ago.

I woke up this morning to announcements on TV of school closings, parking bans, and turnpike accidents. I forced myself out of bed, walked past my house thermostat without so much as a glance, and headed for my living room window. It was snowing at a pretty good rate, although not furiously. Right then and there I decided it was NOT going to be winter IN my house today!

I headed for the thermostat and held my breath as I turned it up to 68. I was performing true oil blasphmey…and I didn’t care. My Sweet Watermelon Rebellion was starting. I then made myself a cup of coffee, adding a bit more cream than I usually do, for rebellion’s sake.  I took out my latest book and began to read…after I put my flip-flops on, of course (with stockings – cold bones can only stand so much). A couple of hours later, feeling like the lady of leisure I was proving to be, I decided to make myself useful. I headed to the kitchen and made a huge batch of spaghetti sauce kept simmering on the stove all day. Now I wouldn’t have to try to figure out when I was going to get time to cook my contribution to this week’s Sunday dinner party with friends.

What a lovely relaxing summer day I was having. I figured it was time to cut the watermelon I bought yesterday on a whim. Ahhh, there is nothing like watermelon in the summer, even if the summer is just inside your house…or inside your head! The plate looked scrumptious and juicy. This was indeed a great-tasting late breakfast.

Today I have been on call for the local medical center, my shift ending at 9:00 P.M.  The phone rang in the early afternoon. Work! As I looked out the window at the deepness of the snow, and then down at my flip-flops, I knew I was going to have to change, albeit reluctantly.  I didn’t want to go from summer to winter, but…work is work. Just then, an interpreter texted me saying she was at the hospital and would be happy to do the assignment if I preferred. YES, more sweet rebellion in store for me!

I sat at my desk and leisurely wrote four cards to friends living far away but always near at heart. Then, I ventured into my guest room and emptied the closet. I am looking forward to having tiger strand bamboo wood floors installed and an empty room and empty closet gets me one step closer. Walking through my dining room to my kitchen to stir my sauce, I noticed the hutch looked pretty dusty so I took on the task of not only dusting it, but rearranging it. Much, much better.

The washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher all had turns singing to me today. I sang back “hot fun in the summertime…” even thinking for a minute that I just might be Olivia Newton John and John Travolta just might walk in anytime, at least if he didn’t get distracted making a snow angel outside.

This summer day was so pleasant. It was warm and cozy in here and I am glad you came by for a visit. There is plenty of watermelon left if you want to make another trip. I will even put a small umbrella in your drink and let you use a pair of my flip-flops!

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Maine winters can be harsh. This year has been milder than most, yet, I long for the sun’s warmth to smother kisses on my face, to feel the glow spread to my shoulders, my back and my arms. I want my body to send a Goodbye Chill to my soul and replace it with a Hello Warmth to all of me.

I am looking forward to a week in the sunny south where I will let the sun brush my cheeks and whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

Warmth with Friends

drinking in sun’s warmth
time with friends I hold most dear
must I come back home?

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Thank you, Stephanie, of BeKindRewrite, for your Inspiration Monday prompts. It has been some time since I have written, but I just couldn’t resist the title No One Remembers But Me. It took me back to a time long ago, a walk down memory lane.

NO ONE REMEMBERS BUT ME 

When I close my eyes, I see the two of us, Mom and me, sitting together on the enclosed front porch of our small, white, two-story house. The supper dishes are washed and dried. Lunch is put up for Dad’s long day of logging in the woods tomorrow. I can faintly hear Dad talking to Mr. Brud Gilbert, also a logging contractor, as they sit at the kitchen table, the makeshift desk Dad always uses for his part-time bookkeeping work. My sister, Lu Ann, is off playing with her friend, Marlene, and my brother, Ernie, is swinging from the Tarzan rope in the huge tree behind our house.

On this warm and sultry evening there isn’t even a hint of a breeze coming from the porch screen door or the large, wavy, meticulously clean windows that give us a view to all the goings-on around this part of Main Street. The stifling air doesn’t bother us, though, as we sit together watching sporadic traffic pass by. We recognize each car, know who is in it, and know most of what is happening in their lives and the lives of their families. We even know their joys and sorrows on their personal roller coaster ride through life.

Through the screened porch windows we see Mr. and Mrs. Bouvier drive by at all of fifteen miles per hour, perhaps heading to tell someone who has not yet heard, about the invitation they received a few months back to attend John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s presidential inauguration  My paternal grandmother, Mae Lumbert, driving like the hot rod she is, whizzes by in her red VW bug, in a hurry to pick up someone in need of a ride to church services this evening. Mom comments on what a kind woman Grammie is. A couple of minutes later, Butchie Nadeau and Harold Coro fly by on Butchie’s old bike. They both have fishing rods in their hands and Harold is hitching a ride on the front handle bars. We wonder if they are going to crash before they get to the Moose River bridge. Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Smith float by in their large black car. Whenever I see Mr. Smith, it reminds me of the story Dad told me about working for him at Smith’s Hardware Store for a while when he was just out of high school. At the young age of eighteen he needed the work. He was already married to my mom and I was born just after he graduated from school.

Mom looks over at me with a twinkle in her eye, and starts to sing one of her old French songs. The words are coming from deep in her heart. I know them because I always listen intently, not only to her words, but to her voice, a voice untrained to some, but, beautiful to me, and full of love and fun. These are the very songs someone taught her when she was a child sitting with her family and friends on the front piazza at the boarding home her mother, my grandmother, owned and ran.

As she finishes her song, Mom glances my way and asks what the meaning of this song is. I translate the words from French to English for her. She smiles at me, an intimate mother to daughter smile and changes her question. What can we learn from the words of this song? I think for a minute about the song and what it teaches me, what the meaning behind the words are. This song is about a girl who ignores her parents warning not to go dancing on the old rotten wooden bridge. The consequences are disastrous. Sometimes I almost want to cry because some of these French songs are sad. They teach lessons about hard times in life, and hurts and disappointments that result from our choices. We talk a bit about how to make decisions that will benefit us in our own lives.

Mom winks and then starts to sing another French song. This time it is light and funny. I smile and start to sing along with her.  We laugh together because we both know that I can’t carry a tune for the life of me. I can’t even tell the difference between a good singing voice and a bad one. It doesn’t matter, though. Mom loves my voice just the way it is. She always tells me if a song comes from the heart that is what matters.

No one remembers but me…

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