So, yesterday, Steve and I declared a Writers’ Day Off. We had in our eye the Maine Mineral Museum in Bethel, about which more in the next post.
Prior to hitting the road for Bethel, we hit Governor’s in Waterville for breakfast. We were seated in a booth in the main dining room, and placed our orders. Sometime after that, a man was conducted to the booth behind us. He had a . . . large . . . voice, and told the waitress that he was waiting for a friend.
I think our breakfast arrived before the friend did, but when she did arrive, the big voice came into play, so loud that, honestly, Steve and I couldn’t hold our own conversation, so we did what writers do and listened to theirs.
It started out normally enough, with the Big Voice wanting to know what motivated her to bike miles a day, and swim. Her voice was much softer, but I understood her to say that her parents had left untimely and she wanted to take better care of herself than they had been able to do.
This triggered some reminisces of his own childhood from Big Voice, including the information that his parents, who had moved to Maine from Massachusetts — I want to say Danvers? — were shoe shop workers. When they had arrived, they got the government cheese, and started a garden, and worked hard to make sure they could feed the family. Big Voice said that, being a kid, he’d hated weeding the garden, but it became link between himself and his parents, and now he maintains a garden of his own, and his kids take part.
All very usual, and civilized.
Well, it comes about that the soft-voice friend was looking to run for office in Maine, and was seeking Big Voice’s advice. Which is when things got horrifying.
Because it was quickly revealed that she was running as a Republican, and that Big Voice had been, or perhaps still was, a practicing Republican in the Maine Legislature.
I’m not going to repeat the whole conversation — for one thing, my memory’s not that good. But I will offer choice phrases from the conversation.
“The Lord made us all different for a reason,” Big Voice said at one point, which is actually hopeful — because this sounds like someone who understands diversity and tolerance for differences.
Only, later on, in the course of explaining how easy it was to vote — “If it raises taxes, it’s a NO. How hard is that?” — that he admitted that the NARCAN vote was difficult for him — again, a hopeful comment, indicating that this guy has a conscience. But then he says, more or less, On the one hand these people have done it to themselves. But on the other hand, you don’t know what they’d do with the rest of their lives.
Apparently, we don’t have to consider, when deciding if someone should die, what they may done with their lives previously.
I also learned that the wake-up call for “them” was COVID, when “they” realized that Mills (Janet Mills is our governor) and her government had incredible power over their lives.
Myself, I shudder to think what Maine would have looked like if Paul LePage (defeated by Mills) had been governor during the start of the pandemic.
Also, I learned that “Democrats are violating the natural laws.” Which was alarming, though gravity did still seem to be working from where I sat.
ANYway, we finished our meal, paid the waitress, Steve went out the back door to hit the necessary, and I got up and stepped over to the booth behind.
“I couldn’t help but overhear you,” I told them. “And I wonder who you are?”
Big Voice told me that he was Joel Stetkis, the Maine GOP Chair. The woman gave me a friendly smile, told me her name, and it is totally on me that I forgot it. My plan had been to ask her if she was planning to run for office as a Republican, and if she said yes to ask WHY? But then I remembered that I was having a day off to relax, and I had already heard enough scary, terrifying stuff, so I gave them my card and left.
If you want to read about the fun part of the day, that’s the next post.