By definition, a real Mainer is wicked funny. Arthur Gott qualifies.

One day Arthur’s good friend Bill Matthews (then president of the Cape Arundel Golf Club) took Arthur and another friend, Eddie Spalding, for a picnic lunch outing on Bill’s boat up the Kennebunk River.

On the way back, the boat ran out of gas. They hailed another boat, whose operator towed them down the river, where they passed the golf club. Bill, embarrassed, hunched down in the boat. Arthur, with a big smile, hailed the golfers looking down at them and hollered, “Yup, that’s Billy Matthews ducking down there. He’s the president of your club. This is his boat, and it just ran out of gas.” Bill meekly waved to his golfing buddies.

Many years later, another friend of Arthur’s asked him to house-sit while he and his new wife went on a brief honeymoon. When they returned, they found Arthur sitting in their living room. They told him about their vacation experience and then, obviously tired from traveling, expected Arthur to say goodbye and leave. But he just sat there, chatting away. After what must have seemed like an eternity to the couple, the water heater suddenly exploded like a bomb going off. After a long, stunned silence, Arthur finally stood up and said, “Well, I suspect you two want some time alone together.” And walked out of the house without another word.

Arthur Gott grew up in Kennebunkport. Bill Matthews and Ed Spalding were “summer people,” as was my wife, Linda Ward. They all hung out together, boating, swimming, playing baseball. When our daughter Sara, raised in Kennebunkport, was to marry Arthur’s son, Jake, Arthur made a toast at the rehearsal dinner, telling the wedding party and guests: “I always said, if you live in Turbat’s Creek long enough you’ll end up related.”

Arthur was a real Mainer in other ways. He played varsity sports at Kennebunk High School. He was patriotic, serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. And perhaps most Maine-y of all, he was a working lobsterman, fishing out of Government Wharf and running a fish market at the family restaurant, Jake’s Place.


His many storied adventures made him a local legend. In his retirement years he loved to fish for trout in the local rivers and streams, golf with his lifelong buddies, and drink coffee at Colony Beach while watching the tides.

Arthur died in 2018 after a long illness. He was a man deeply tied to the water his entire life, inspiring his daughter-in-law, Sara Gott, to write this beautiful phrase in his obituary: “He was salty like the ocean, feisty like the sea, and calm as a river.”

Years before, at some family gathering – Thanksgiving, perhaps – when family members were sharing their annual reflections, Arthur paused for a long, thoughtful moment, then said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would’ve tried harder.”

Understated eloquence, with a hint of humor, just like a real Mainer.

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