I was visiting friends on a farm outside Maine, a picture perfect place with a pond and a winding lane leading to the main road. The Missus and I planned to attend Sunday worship at the town’s perfectly-steepled white frame church. But first, since I’m an early riser, I laced up my walking shoes for a stroll.
By the time I arrived back at the farmhouse, a battered truck was parked in front. At the kitchen table was a crusty – no other word for it – man in overalls, with a shot glass in front of him. The Mister of the house also had a shot glass and a bottle of bourbon in the center of the table. I was introduced and the visitor left.
My friend said his wife died a while back and he’s looking for a new wife. He saw you walk past his farm and hightailed it over to ask if that was our friend walking by and is she single. His wife always worked his cranberry bogs with him and until he marries again he’ll need to hire labor.
A shot of Sunday morning bourbon, a pickup truck outside and inside, a cranberry farmer in overalls, a wife-hunting widower, decades older than me, using his chair by the front window to spot a new arrival. Practical. To the point. I carry that story around with me as proof of my first true Yankee experience and please don’t tell me I’m wrong.
This is not my only Yankee love story. I’m in love with Yankee Magazine. It’s my favorite publication and the first one I read all the way through before passing it along to a neighbor.
I love it in a specific sequence. First I love the covers. Inside, I begin with editor Mel Allen’s letter, then go straight to From Mary’s Farm, then I move to House For Sale and from there, I head back to the front and read every page all the way through. I love the writing, the respect for history, the photos, the covers, the celebrations of all things poetic and prosaic spread out over six New England states.
I imagine life in a cabin in New England. Any state will be fine. Or maybe instead of the country I’ll take a cottage on the main street of some picturesque town. These are dreams born in a sunny Northern California climate, but while many people run toward the sun for vacations, I always want to be packing for fog and rain and weather requiring big puffy jackets.
California friends say, but the snow. How would you deal with all that snow? I don’t have that figured out yet. I guess I’d find someone to shovel it or snow-blow it or somehow move it around just enough to clear a path for me to the source of the nearest diner with pie and coffee.
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Yankee Magazine’s website is New England Today.
Yankee has a TV show, Weekends With Yankee.