In the town of Searsmont
I wonder if any of those who are going to the U.S.A. will think – why countryside, because nearly all the tourists to America dream about visiting Washington, New York, Chicago, and other very big cities and nearly none of them has ever thought of visiting very nice places with quiet peaceful life with their own customs and traditions, where all people know each other and never lock the doors of the houses at night.
I suppose my younger daughter Lena and I were among those very few who spent most of the time during their trip in American countryside.
Our adventure began on July, 12 when our plane landed in a very beautiful airport in the city of Portland, Maine, where we arrived at the invitation of Mr. Michael Bailey, an American educator from a small town of Searsmont which is situated at the distance of twenty minutes drive from another American city of Belfast. I have specially written about driving as the houses are situated far from one another and you must drive even three or four miles to the nearest garbage place trying to get rid of the garbage, not speaking about going shopping or to say better driving shopping as to get to the nearest food store you must drive fifteen or twenty miles there. And when you see this you stop wondering why every member of the American family has got his own car.
So, Mike met us at the airport and it took us two hours to get to his house where we were met by his beautiful wife Debby.
The next day began with our excursion around Searsmont. I couldn’t stop wondering how beautiful clean and well taken care of are the houses, streets and the yards. Here I was introduces to a very interesting person, George, a local connoisseur of old automobiles who devoted his life to restoration of the cars made at the beginning of the previous century and showing them to people. They look beautiful besides all of them are in good condition and they are ready for driving. I was lucky to have a chance of examining one of them.
He wares a T-shirt with the sing “American Heritage”, very proud of American culture and traditions and does his best to preserve them to the next generations.
Having meals is another very interpreting tradition there. It is not an ordinary process of eating but a real rite. As we have been told by Mike and Debby sea food is very popular with the Maines we were also eager to taste lobsters, one of Maine’s wonders. One of Mike’s friends invited us to participate in the process of catching lobsters. We gladly agreed and in the late afternoon were taken to Belfast sea bay where a lot of yachts and motor boats were sailing. The day before I saw a lot of small floaters in the water but didn’t pay attention to them but now it turned out that they were the most important part of our voyage as they showed the catcher where his lobster net was. All of the floaters are of different colors so that other people (what happens but not often) won’t pull the nets of their neighbors out of the water and take the catch.
He knows this bay and part of the Atlantic Ocean with small and large islands like his own flat and the voyage with him was really very pleasant. Besides he told us a lot of very useful and interesting things about the local sea birds, animals and fish.. While traveling we saw some dolphins, a lot of cormorants and even the bird which we can meet only in the North – the Loon. But this time the catch wasn’t good: one lobster and several crabs who tried to escape from the net when it was pulled out of the water.
Debby and Mike bought four good size lobsters at the market and while we were having a sea voyage Debby was preparing a big dinner. When we came back home everything was ready for cooking. I have never thought that cooking and eating lobsters was such an undertaking. First of all they must be boiled in salty water, then put on a special dish. There is a special instrument to crack their shells and a small bowl of warm butter above a burning candle in which you must put each piece of lobster meat before eating it. The apron with the picture of lobster must be tied around your neck and a special piece of cloth must be put on your laps –not to spoil the trousers and for cleaning hands. But it is a real problem to crack the lobster’s shell, so we had to ask Mike to take a hammer and break the shell before eating.
VISITING CELTIC FESTIVAL
A very interesting event worth mentioning here was the Rockland music festival, Celtic celebration in Belfast. A flotilla of boats bobbed at anchor behind the stage at Harbor Park in Rockland where thousands of people eagerly listened to Celtic sack pipes, flutes and drums. Some people were taught how to play the flute, some watched the national Irish competition in throwing metallic masses, and some enjoyed Celtic national cuisine.