September 2020

It is Sunday at camp in Maine. After early morning coffee on the dock, I got cleaned up, put on an old Woolrich plaid shirt, and headed to Lincoln for my weekly fix of the New York Times. The computer here is equipped with a fiber-optic connection so I can stay in touch with the office, but I haven’t taken up the habit of reading the news online, and I do not have television. While at my cabin in remote Danforth, just shy of the Canadian border—where isolating from the pandemic was qualitatively no different than any other Tuesday– I am usually a week behind on the news of the day. I disconnect by choice, not just from current events but from most everything else that doesn’t have to do with how the bass are biting. News filters in nonetheless. Greg, the camp caretaker, is bound to give me an earful of information, slanted though it may be through his pro-Trump prism. He proudly displays a MAGA flag on his dock as do many of the visiting campers here, and his truck has a Trump 2020 bumper sticker: Make Liberals Cry Again.

Last year I had an old college friend–a noted cancer physician–up for a visit. He and Greg hit it off, bonding over their enthusiasm for our President. Greg, a high-school graduate, got a kick out of how much he had in common with Doctor Smart. Today, Greg has a new story for me–one that didn’t make the New York Times. Apparently, there was an incident near the border on Route 1, which runs through Washington County up to Forest City–population five, 30 in the summer–a land port of entry between the U.S. and Canada. It is a desolate stretch of road and a low-volume crossing. Word in Danforth was that a woman was seen on foot heading north on the highway and she was carrying an infant. She would have had to take a bus to get as far as she had and was dropped off near to where she was spotted. A non-white woman walking on Route 1 was apparently cause for great alarm, so a concerned citizen reported her to the authorities. When she was picked up she had no ID, and was promptly taken to the Homeland Security facility in Forest City, where she was detained and questioned, admitting she was illegal and trying to reach Canada. The level of security assembled to protect America from this poor, tired mother attempting to flee to Canada was impressive. According to Greg’s inside source, she was given the third degree and made to respect the power of a government bureaucrat. Eventually, someone in command decided there was no reason to prevent her and her infant child from crossing the border without a US passport since, having contacted their Canadian counterpart, it was determined the Canadians were happy to have her. Greg delighted in the efficiency of our border control system in removing this competitor for American jobs and future welfare recipient. This year, despite the flapping Trump flags out on the water, there are rumors the state of Maine may go Blue down the line. Maybe the last few months have been too much even for some of Trump’s people. There will be a few unhappy locals, and maybe the Trump flags on the lake will be taken down and stored appropriately. At least the wildlife here is apolitical. I can mouth off to the birds and fish all I want, and no one disagrees.

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