If I were a Maine native, or if Maine and Massachusetts had not parted company almost 200 years ago, this commentary could not have seen the light of day. However, in the intervening years, Brad the Portland native and I, the Massachusetts native with a Bostonian father met and married across the ‘great divide.’

I was aware of Brad’s quiet demeanor and his use of one-word sentences when it sufficed and he was patient with my wordiness. His was a diet vocabulary often right to the point, devoid of flowery adjectives but with meaning plainly understood. It was quite evident he would choose to be an accountant. I grasped this early, our relationship blossomed, and I became enamored of him and subsequently of the state of Maine.

It took longer for my four siblings to catch on to the terse syntax. They often made comments so as to catch him with some Maine lingo they had never heard before. Brad became Tim Sample before Tim became a Maine icon.

Now along with the paucity of words, throw in the Maine accent. The Maine-Massachusetts divorce and the sheer geography of the state had drastically changed the spoken word. I was privy to when Brad, his brother, and his mother talked with each other. It was another tongue. For unknown reasons, the boys’ father had an unaccented, almost Massachusetts sound, due perhaps to his occupation as a store manager in both states. You might say he was bilingual and thus could translate for me and my sibs when necessary, unless it became a secret code between the three. Those latter conversations I will never know.

My brother delights in telling of one experience he had with his Maine brother-in-law which illustrates and captures the title of A Real Mainer. He and Brad were in the car traveling between Route One and Route 201 headed to Newport (not the one in Rhode Island) when nature called. Brad called out for a stop at a likely spot and walked into the woods. When he came back, my brother said, “That was quick.”

Nodding, Brad opined, “Fence.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: