Summer Morning in Kennebunk

It is 8:00am July 3, 2022.  Patti and I are in Maine at our cottage in Kennebunk.  Next week I am off to my camp for a few days of undisturbed reading and of course fishing with Andy and Greg on East Grand Lake.  This morning I take my usual drive along the ocean, Route 9 to Cape Porpoise, where I first stop to buy my coffee and New York Times.  Then, it is on to my bench at the fishing dock on the Point overlooking the harbor and the inlet where the fishing boats are moored.  The cashier at Bradfords is decked out in his Boston Red Socks hat and a red, white and blue flag tie.  He is scowling.  The man ahead of me helpfully reminds the cashier that today is a holiday and he should be smiling.  With that the cashier laughs and his lips curl as he is about to say something but glancing at the long line of people he decides to keep his mouth shut.  I sip away at my coffee.  The early morning rush of weekenders and cyclists are here, fueling up, buying lunch and iced coffees to take down to the beach.  I pick up a paper and see the newspaper rack is low, which may be a result of the reduced volume of papers delivered each day.  Seems only half of what it was last year?  The papers on offer still represent a relatively wide range geographically, from Boston to Portland to New York, as well as a local weekly with mostly real estate ads. 

I drive the short distance to my bench on the waterfront and sigh with contentment in my solitude. I don’t feel like a conversation before I am fully caffeinated.  The parking lot is empty of fishermen–unusual except today is Sunday, the day before the holiday, and the lobsters have a day off before they succumb.  The wind is making my newspaper reading difficult, so I take a walk out to the dock. There are a couple of locals working the repair of the lift for a heavy catch like a tuna.  The large dog in the fisherman’s truck barks at me then realizes it’s a day off and he calms down.  I see among the strollers coming down the road a familiar character from last summer:  the mysterious older woman who lives in the large house on the water.  She is wearing a long raincoat and she makes her way up to the highest rock to scan the horizon for ships.  There are none coming in and she walks back, down the road, brushing her fingers along the flowering bushes as she passes by.  I think of approaching her but I recall last year she was abrupt with me when I tried to engage her.  A group of cyclists stream by slowly, looking around – probably for a public restroom, of which there are none, except in the restaurants and they are not open yet. 

The boats are like bowling pins in the harbor.  The low tide makes them stand out as if on stilts.  Off in the distance waves break.  A single sailboat is navigating cautiously.  With the tide out, Cape Porpoise is not safe sailing. 

It is a glorious morning.  I decide to take the top off the Bronco for the ride to our cottage.  I try a new route over the backroads to Kennebunk along the ocean.  There are signs offering handmade deck chairs and quilts.  I would like to stop but I know I will get into a conversation that will result in the purchase of something I don’t need.  I am happy and looking forward to going grocery shopping with Patti before lunch.  I will email my daughters Kara and Brooke to check in.  July 4th is very special to all of us as it was our anniversary – their late mother’s and mine.  This year would have been our 60th.    

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