WICKED GOOD PEOPLE
Written by Becky, Brahms Mount’s Client Services Specialist
The typical lifestyle of Maine is an enigma for many people. Being the only state which borders exactly one other state, and packed away in the easternmost corner of the US, we’re a bit off the map for most. With about 1.3 million people spread out over 35,000 square miles, taboos have room to grow.
We do have visitors—after all, we’re America’s “Vacationland”—who arrive in drones during our short summers. However, you can see the confusion in tourists’ eyes as they sit back stuffed in their lobster bibs and peruse the coastal scenery. They’re trying to fathom what we are really like, these strange and friendly Mainers…joyful, helpful, hard-working…always smiling or chiming a “hi there,” “good morning” or “hot enough for ya?” Really, what’s the catch?
That’s what I wanted to know in 2004 when I first visited Maine. That summer, I traveled around the state staying with good people who opened their doors to me, volunteered to act as trail guide or local historian. I met Mainers everywhere ready to laugh, to share stories, to share food. My first lobster was supplied and cooked by a friend of a friend of a friend who wanted to celebrate his son’s birthday.
What I really wanted to know that summer is what Mainers are like when the gift shops close, when lobster season ekes…when it’s winter? They must change their cheerful dispositions to be as bitter as the elements, remove their welcome mats and become territorially vicious like wolves. How could they not, with Mother Nature constantly nipping at their exposed flesh, howling in their ears? I’d get wolfish too.
A year later, I had the chance to find out when I packed up from Philadelphia and headed north to settle. This is now my fifth winter in Maine, and it’s still surprising to me how the locals just continue on in their joyful, helpful and hard-working lives. If anything, this just builds the Maine enigma.
It’s hard to believe such a place like Maine exists within a country known for its unhealthy individualism, skepticism, and deep rooted fear of strangers and neighbors. What breaks this taboo is the understanding that the genuine goodness of Maine’s people is a survival tactic. It’s how to survive the elements, to get through a bitter day, to thaw the ice.
Through six or seven layers of wool as I head to work, sliding down icy walks or climbing the ever-growing snow banks, I’ll hear from passing pedestrians a “hello” or “cold enough for ya?” Despite winter’s smacking wind against my cheeks, I’ll raise my head to smile back.
Aside from its practicality, it’s a beautiful way to live. It’s also the perfect inspiration for our method of business. No matter who you are, we’ll treat you like a friend. No matter what the weather, Brahms Mount will keep you warm.