I'm becoming aware that none of these stories depict me as even moderately intelligent and what does that tell you when a fiction writer is unable to give the appearance of being somewhat aware of his surroundings. Here is another story about falling in love with Maine-this time the illusion of Maine.
Even when I made the move to Maine after a year of being separated from Karen, Laurel and Julia I still had furniture customers back in New York and would make the trip down with a van loaded with furniture and then make the five hour trip back usually in the same day totally exhausted. This time my my long suffering companion had made the trip with me. We were anxious to get back to Maine because although the kids were safe with Dr. Mary we always felt guilty leaving them. I remember it was summer and about three a.m. with very little traffic on Route 95. We were on the homestretch with me behind the wheel and Karen asleep on the van floor. Just as we crossed the Mass./N.H. border there was and is a welcome site-a rest stop with a concession kiosk on the side. I was trying to be courteous and quietly pulled into a space beyond the reach of the building lights so Karen's sleep would not be disturbed. I looked back and saw nothing but darkness because the overhead light had burnt out years ago and I softly whispered, "Karen, I'm making a bathroom stop. Do you need to come in?"
Half asleep she said she was fine. I softly closed the door and went into the rest stop and information part of the building where I exchanged some small talk with the attendant. On the way out I decided to go into the adjacent building for a cup of coffee. Again I made every effort to get in the van making as little noise as possible and off we were for the final forty minute trip To Eliot, Me. In fifteen minutes I could see the toll booth and began to slow down-still only two cars ahead of me on this lonely moonless night. I was waiting my turn when a another toll booth operator approached the driver window and asked if my name was Ronnie. Now this is the part you will not believe but it is totally true. I thought, "One more reason to love Maine! The state has so few people that the toll booth people get to know everybody on a first name basis! In New York this would never happen!. Then my bubble burst. "You left your wife back at the rest stop. She called and said look for a red van. I hurried back thinking Karen would be frantic and out raged but she was her loving forgiving self. As luck would have it she had woken up and gone to the ladies room when I detoured to the concession building. We must have just missed seeing each other. The rest stop attendant told us that this happened more than one would think and that all they did was call ahead to the toll booth with a description of the vehicle and the driver's name. We made it safely home and stumbled up the back porch steps grumbling that the light was broken, but you already know that story.