Did you ever have a vacation so memorable for you and your family that also became memorable for other people as well? That’s what happened when my sister, brother, and I decided to take a side trip. What’s one of your memorable vacations?
I’ve written about Maine in the past, you may recall that my sister-in-law’s family has a camp in Maine. When I say camp, I know most New Englanders will understand what this means. If you’re picturing a site where you can pitch a tent or roll in an RV–you’re wrong. Camp in Maine is a 4-bedroom, 3-season cabin on the shore of Great Pond in the Belgrade Lakes region.
From the time my son was two until he was about twelve, I would vacation with my sister Joni, my brother Jon, and his wife Sara in this beautiful location. Sometimes, my brother Jay and his daughter would join us. This story is about one of those years.
When Dominic was 4, my brother joined us with Kristina who was a couple of years older than Dominic. It was before any of us had cell phones. Might have even been 1991 when I was waiting to find out if I was being hired by Metro Mobile, which would eventually become Verizon Wireless. Really could have used a cell phone on this vacation!
Turns out, this was the year that our antics became THE story that would circulate around the Electric company – probably for years. (I don’t remember the name of the Electric company at that time. But for the sake of ease, I will refer to them as Maine Power.)
It was a hot summer day, hotter than it usually was in Maine. We decided to drive into Waterville to do some shopping. Joni, Jay, and I, along with both children got into Jay’s car for the trip. Once in town, Jay’s car started having some problems so he pulled off onto a side road. The car died in the middle of the road.
Luckily, this was a small residential neighborhood with no traffic. But it was hot and it was a newer neighborhood, so there were no trees for shade. With no phones to call back to Sara’s house, we needed to find another way to get help. Jay started going house by house and knocking on doors.
Please note, when we first pulled into the street, there were several houses that had their front doors opened but by the time Jay started walking to the houses, the doors were all magically closed, one closing as he walked up the sidewalk. No one answered their door.
There we were, three hot adults. Two hot, sweaty children, who were on the verge of crankiness. Temps in the 90s, and no one willing to help. We decided we’d walk back to the main road. Hopefully, we’d find a business that would help. That’s when our rescuers arrived in the form of a Maine Power.
They asked if we needed help and we explained we needed to call our sister-in-law back in Rome. The driver radioed it in. Someone from the office called Sara and let her know that we would need a ride. Somehow, during that whole mess, a tow truck showed up, we were transported to the closest ice cream shop, and Sara met us.
Days later, we were enjoying a lazy day at the lake when there was a knock at the front door. Sara opened the door to find a woman from Maine Power asking to use the phone. She was checking power at an unused cabin nearby. The driveway for that camp ended near a small ravine and she accidentally rolled backward. She went over the ravine with the truck and couldn’t get it out.
After Sara laughed at the coincidence of Maine Power asking us for help a few days after we asked them for help, she showed her the phone. Sara went into the kitchen to give her some privacy. But Sara heard the entire conversation, even when the woman, who never met us before, whispered, “You won’t believe where I’m calling from…remember the people who were stuck on the road in Waterville? I’m calling from their place!”
I wonder how long they laughed over this story at Maine Power. Sometimes I wonder if some old-timer still talks about it at work.