Maine's Humor:
Taking the Weather Personally

By Wil Langford

I have lived in Maine for almost twenty
years and in that time have come to
appreciate Maine humor. There’s
no shortage of people who make
a living in the Maine humor business
with its share of punsters, storytellers,
jokesters, and raconteurs. Some of
the funniest people I have met, though,
are the ones who aren’t working at
being funny.

A lot of the humor has to do with the weather and the elegant misery we
residents endure due to a capricious climate that has more looks than a quick
change artist. Why is Maine weather so much different than the rest of the
country? We are connected, geographically, but it still seems to take longer for
summer to find us than any other state, with the possible exception of Alaska.  
For instance, as I write this it is June 21st, the summer solstice, and yet last night
I slept under two quilts!

Speaking of that elegant misery, one winter’s day I was walking past the Bangor
Library and an elderly gentleman was walking toward me. We had been
enjoying one of those long stretches of gray cloudy weather that goes on for
days and sometimes even weeks in the winter, as the Eagles song, “Desperado”
says, “It’s hard to tell the night time from the day.”

The elderly curmudgeon was bundled up in a heavy winter coat and a heavy
hat with ear muffs. All that was visible was his red lined face, but that was
enough to tell me that he was not a happy man. The scowl on his face and the
way his shoulders were hunched as he pushed his way up the sidewalk made
me think, “Here is a man who has mastered suffering.”

Just as we reached each other, the clouds parted and a small sliver of sunlight
appeared above us and was quickly gone. He stopped and scowled at the sky
then a wicked gleam shone in his eye as he said to me, “About once a week they
give you a little squirt of sunshine, whether you need it or not.” Then he
continued to trudge up the sidewalk.

Until our chance meeting I had never thought of taking the weather personally,
but I couldn’t help but chuckle as I walked away. Some people take it
personally while others have a picturesque way of describing it that is equally
as humorous.

While out walking up Hog Hill Rd., one windy winter’s day, I chanced to meet
Ron Lennon, our town’s official snow plower. He stopped his truck and we
began to chat as best we could with the wind whistling and whipping up
clouds of snow from the tops of the drifts.

“You know,” Ron said as snow blew into my face and down the neck of my
coat, “It always has been wicked windy up here. There is a nice view from the
top of the meadow and I suppose someone will build a house there, someday.
But I’ll tell you what, I pity the poor b——-d because it’s so windy here it will
take three men and a small boy to hold a bearskin over a keyhole when this
wind gets going.”

Sounds a little like a scene from Charlie Chaplin’s movie the “Goldrush,”
doesn’t it? It certainly paints an interesting and humorous picture, unless of
course, you happen to be one of the men or the small boy. The way Ron said
that made me wonder if he had ever actually had that experience, but another
thing I have learned in Maine is that sometimes it is better to wonder about
something than to ask a personal question. Especially when the snow is
blowing down your neck and up your sleeves and the answer may be one of
those half hour explanations to a simple question.

Like I said before, it seems Maine is always a little behind the rest of the
country, even though we are connected to it. In these days of instant
communication, overnight delivery, and real time news, Maine is still lagging
behind the other states in another important weather category, global warming.
I know temperature extremes are supposed to be indicative of global warming
so it would seem that having to sleep under two quilts in June would be
evidence of global warming in Maine, but the truth is that people have had to
sleep under two quilts in almost every month of the year for as far back as
anyone can remember here. It is just the way it is. That is why I think a little
global warming may not be such a bad idea for Maine.

The only problem is that we aren’t getting our share. I blame the bureaucrats in
Washington for that. I am thinking of circulating a petition to send to our
representatives in Washington asking our government to send us some global
warming, not a lot you understand, maybe just a little squirt once a week,
whether we need it or not.

About the author:

Wil Langford was born in Providence, Rhode Island and moved to Maine
twenty years ago to raise his daughter in a less stressful environment.  Wil has
worked at many jobs including as a carpenter, hypnotherapist,  fiber artist,
metaphysician, and father.  He is the author of "
Your Loved Ones, Your Self," and
teaches workshops based on his book and understanding of human nature.  
When he isn't reading or teaching you can usually find him outdoors, kayaking,
hiking, or spending time with his grandson.
Subscribe Today -- It's Free!
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Wil Langford
Click here to get your
FREE subscription to
The Heart of New England
weekly newsletter (and get
your free desktop

Bring the heart of
New England into your
home with beautiful,
affordable, high-quality
New England prints.
Visit our
New England Art Gallery

Click here for more about
Life in New England
Home ~ Life in New England ~ Recipes ~ Garden ~ Travel ~ B&B/Inns ~ Made in New England ~ Events ~ Marketplace ~ Site Map ~ About/Contact Us
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
Contact| The Heart of New England HOME | Search

Click Here to Get Your FREE Weekly Newsletter Today!