Yup, I’m a real Mainer. I have the birth certificate, stating I was born in Old Town, Maine. I have the accent, the one with no “R” in the alphabet, and I’m proud of it and refuse to lose it. Sure, people make fun of me when I say “cah” or “pahk” – but I like that it is not a generic way of speaking.

You want more proof that I am a real Mainer? I grew up on a farm in the small town of Holden, with a population of 800 folks, and every registered voter was a rock-ribbed Republican. There were selectmen – no selectwomen – and town meetings to decide how the tax dollars were to be spent. They were so parsimonious with the finances that we attended a one-room schoolhouse with outhouses and no running water. This school was heated by a potbelly stove located at the center of the room. We all drank from a pail of water, using the same tin cup.

The books were so old, they were falling apart and were probably the some ones used by my father when he attended this same school.

They were not going to waste a penny of those tax dollars on non-essentials. Yet we loved that school and the lessons we learned there, along with the games we played during recess: prisoners base, red rover, kick-the-can and tag.

Not for one minute did we feel deprived, although, in the city, just five miles away, children were attending schools equipped with central heating, running water and flush toilets.

For more verification that I am a real Mainer, well, I will tell you: I have picked potatoes, been hunting, gone ice fishing and clamming and raked blueberries. My radio is set to a country music station and I can square dance. Also, I have been to bean “suppahs” at the Grange Hall and belonged to the 4-H Club.

What does a real Mainer eat: Baked beans every “Sat’dee night,” potatoes every day, finnan haddie, venison, moose meat, blueberry pie and homemade whoopie pies, washed down with Allen’s Coffee Brandy – better known as “the champagne of Maine.”

As to my survival techniques, during the ice storm of 1998, when the power was out for a week, my woodstove and supply of dry firewood kept me warm and also kept the pipes from freezing. I cooked my meals on the stove top, heated water for hot cups of tea and maybe a hot toddy. One of the most important parts of being prepared is a good supply of reading materials, it makes the hibernation period almost enjoyable.

Well, here is a disclaimer: I do not ski and do not like snowmobiling. I do not own a four-wheel-drive vehicle and do not have a mounted head of a 12-point buck on my living room wall, but my roots are firmly planted deep in rocky Maine soil and I never want to live anywhere else. The Pine Tree State is my home. Dirigo.

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