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Have you heard anyone this year talking about mud season? Neither have I. I don't want to make too much of it, but have we lost ALL respect for our Maine traditions?
You'd think from the winter we've just come through – and I hesitate to say we've come through it and it's over – but given the winter we've experienced so far we should be hearing all kinds of wild stories from folks in town about how deep the mud is and how many valuable items have been lost – never to be seen again — in the mud.
The lack of stories about Mud Season 2008 made me search my memory for yarns of year past, and I was reminded of a story from years back, when people knew how to observe the seasons of our lives. I can't remember the year it happened, but the story is known as the “The Strange Object in the Road.”
The way I heard it, Nate Tuttle awoke around 5 one morning as was his custom and began the business of his day. By 5:10, Nate had checked his thermometer, his barometer, and his rain gauge, fired up his Queen Atlantic, made his first pot of coffee, gotten his newspaper, checked the obits to make sure he wasn't among the listees, cooked and eaten his modest breakfast and washed his dishes.
By 6:13 a.m. he was sitting in his front room in his Lay-Z-Boy by the big window and finishing the morning's crossword puzzle. While pondering a tough clue for 8 Down, Nate gazed out the window. That’s when he saw a dark, fuzzy-looking object down the road in front of the Pinkham place. He wondered what it was, but after a while he turned back to his paper and continued working on his puzzle.
A few hours later Nate looked out the window and noticed that the strange object had moved a bit closer to his house. He was curious as to what it was, but not curious enough to do anything about it.
A little before noon Nate went into the kitchen, stoked up the fire in the Queen Atlantic and thought he'd have some leftover beans for lunch. As the oven thermometer shot up toward 400 Nate decided to get a little exotic and make some Bisquick biscuits for the occasion.
After eating the beans and bisquits and washing it down with the morning's leftover coffee, Nate washed up his dishes.
At some point Nate remembered the strange object in the road and went into the front room to check it out. By now the object had pulled up in front of Nate's house, right there by the end of his walk. This time he decided it was worth his time to check it out, so he put on his coat, boots and gloves, went out the door and walked to the end of the path. When he got to the end of the walk, he got down on his hands and knees, reached out across the mud, grabbed the strange object and slowly lifted it up.
Turns out the object was nothing more than a fuzzy black hat. And right there under the hat was Malcolm Beal the postman.
"Pretty muddy walking, eh, Malcolm?" Nate observed casually.
"Who's walking," snapped Malcolm. "I'm riding my new ATV."
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is
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