Around this time each year, once we're done stacking firewood for next winter, Mainers like to step back, take a breath and wonder – to themselves and to anyone else within ear shot – just how our summer is going. Summer visitors might wonder why we do this, and that's a fair question considering it's from people from away.
What they may not understand is that we here in Maine don't get much of what's considered “summer,” seeing as how we're located around the 45th parallel above the equator. For those who can't read charts, that means we're about halfway between the equator and the North Pole, between suffocating heat and 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 fact is we're right here in the middle.
That middle position gives us things like a tad 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 an almost day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis, just to determine if we're getting the type of summer days 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 and stories. 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 are coming to realize that if you want a lot of people to sign up for your next 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 see the word “concierge” unless you were reading a novel set in some place from away like Paris or New York. Now we have them calling us from right here in Maine. I guess the times are changing.) 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 their insurance adjusters so they could be properly advised on how heartily they’d be permitted to laugh.
It turns out my concerns were unwarranted. These insurance types we 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 this insurance banquet came forward and said he'd decided to buy everyone in the group a copy of my new CD.
What a great summer!
To show my appreciation I told him I would hang his company's calendar in my neat but not overly ostentatious Portland office.