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Around this time each July, once we're done cutting, splitting and stacking firewood for next winter, we like to step back, take a breath and wonder just how our summer is going. Visitors might wonder why we do this, and that's a fair question considering it's from summer-complaints.
What they don’t understand is that in Maine we don't get much of what's considered “summer,” since we're located around the 45th parallel above the equator. For those who can't read charts, that means we're halfway between the equator and the North Pole, between hazy, hot, suffocating heat and zub-zero polar bear habitat. Those who've lived in Maine a while often feel like we're a lot closer to the North Pole than the equator, but the geographical facts are there.
That middle position gives us shorter summers and much longer winters than all our neighbors to the south. Because of the precious few summer days we do get, we tend to treat them as pretty special and so we like to evaluate those limited days on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis, just to determine if we're getting the summer we deserve.
Having said all that, I'll now ask: So, how's YOUR summer going?
I hadn't given much thought to the question myself until the other day when I concluded – after looking at my calendar – that I might be having one of my best summers in recent memory. I don't know if it's anything I did, but I'll take the credit, anyway.
From June on I've had a steady stream of corporate banquets and conventions to attend to give the attendees “A taste of Maine humor.”
Time was when most of those corporate events were scheduled from fall to spring, and summer was reserved for the Grange and Opera House shows. But not anymore!
Corporate groups now realize that if you want a lot of people to sign up for your next company event you should plan to have it at a popular Maine resort and you'll break all attendance records. Of course your company will have to plan way ahead for such an event because these coastal resorts are booked way in advance.
Just last week I was asked by the concierge of a coastal resort to entertain a corporate group at an off-site dinner. (After the woman introduced herself and gave her title I thought to myself – I can remember a time in Maine when you'd never even hear the word “concierge” now, here I was talking to one.
Anyway, they turned out to be a group from a large insurance company and as I stood before them I was concerned that my humorous observations would first have to be evaluated by one of theirpanel of insurance adjusters so they could be properly advised on how heartily they’d be allowed to respond.
It turns out my concerns were unwarranted. These insurance types were able to laugh and enjoy themselves as much as any normal group of adults.
What wasn't normal was what happened when I was finished.
The organizer of the banquet came forward and said he'd decided to buy everyone in the group a copy of my latest book: “John McDonald’s Maine Trivia.
What a great summer!
To show my appreciation I told him I would hang his company's calendar in my neat but not gaudy Portland office.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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