If you live near Middle Street in Bath, Maine, you’ll easily recognize the lady I’m referring to in today’s blog. If you are not familiar with Middle Street, it would serve you well to broaden your horizons. This lady has the charisma and charm to add an extra dimension to your life with the gift of her friendship.
Her people skills are exceptional and her taste is exquisite. Her home was built in the 1800s and she’s lived in that location for forty plus years. You can walk into any room in her home and the walls literally talk. They are covered with an eclectic arrangement of artwork and behind each piece is a story that triggers a memory. The art work in some rooms carry a theme, but behind the theme is a story that holds meaning and interest in her life.
She didn’t know us from Adam, but she welcomed the General and I into her life and into her home simply based on the fact that we were friends of friends. Actually, the connection she shares with our friends is more intimate than that of a simple friendship. In reality it is more aligned with that of a long-time family member for whom she cares deeply.
In the context of conversation, she shared with us that she had been awakened at 1:30 a.m. on Friday with the ringing of her telephone. The wake up call was a disturbing reality. She intuitively thought the ringing of the telephone in the middle of the night signaled a problem of some kind. You know the kind of thoughts that race through one’s mind when the phone rings like that.
She immediately wondered if something catastrophic had happened to her brother or with her sister. She even had the thought that it might have been one of our friends telephoning her with disturbing news. As she shared the thoughts that ran through her head in the immediacy of the moment, it spoke volumes of the kind of relationship she shares with our friends.
Think about it. If you were in the midst of the kind of panic that is always associated with the ringing of the telephone in the middle of the night, whom would you think was initiating the call and for what purpose? The fact that she thought it might be one of our friends spoke volumes of the level of relationship, love and trust she shares with them.
In the midst of a crisis, you always reach out to the folks with whom you are the closest. It made me feel good that our friends are intuitively on the list of people for whom she has that kind of relationship. I was happy for both them and her. Like I often say, “Birds of a feather flock together”.
As it turned out, the early morning telephone call was from the agency that monitors her alarm system telling her that the battery to her smoke detector was no longer working. One would think that a delayed response might have been advantageous, but I understand the need for the immediate notification. In the event that something catastrophic subsequently happened, the agency would have erred by not immediately notifying the consumer that there was a problem.
Even before meeting us, an invitation had been extended from this dear lady for us to come to her home for steak and lobster. Everyone knows that lobster is the choice of champions when you live in the state of Maine. When it comes to preparing lobster, she was well versed.
She shared that she has been eating lobster since the age of thirteen. In addition, her skillset at preparing it for groups of people goes without saying. Did I mention that the General and I know nothing about lobster? We both grew up in West Texas and seafood isn’t one of the dietary selections that fell into the category of our familiarity. We were totally in uncharted waters (pardon the pun).
With the patience of the Job, she prepared the lobster and provided the tutorial support necessary to teach the General and I how to eat the delicacy before us. The process was second nature to her. I don’t have the words (and I am a man of many words) to adequately describe the culinary experience. It wasn’t just the taste of the lobster; however, that in and of itself would have been more than enough. It also had to do with the social aspects of the evening that placed the experience high on our list of Maine experiences we will always remember. The conversation and the shared time added tremendously to what was already a perfect and deliciously scrumptious experience.
Through the course of several conversations, the lady endearingly mentioned her husband several times. I had the sense that theirs was a wonderful relationship and the only thing he ever denied her was an automatic dishwasher. Of course, while he was still living it was a moot issue. By her own admission, he did all of the cooking and he did all of the dishes. Perhaps that explains how she found the time to collect art and pursue a number of different interests. When he was no longer here, she gifted herself with an automatic dishwasher.
During our Maine experience, the time shared with her was welcomed time. She loves life, focuses on the positive, takes the initiative to reach out to others with a sense of kindness and is surrounded by friends. They say one has to be a friend to have friends. That is second nature to her. She easily provides the gift of friendship to others and in the process her life is filled with purpose and meaning.
It is really strange. Four days ago the General and I only knew two people in the state of Maine. Within that time frame at least seven to eight other people have been added to that mix. Wow! It doesn’t get any better than that. We are grateful to our friends for their gracious hospitality and for taking the initiative of sharing their friends with us. In the process, our lives have been enriched and made better. What better souvenir to take away from Maine than the gift of newfound friendships?
All My Best!