Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Maine people today are not the same as they were when I first came up here in the military in 1961.   Maine people use to be colorful and contrary.  They didn’t much care for outsiders and they were quick to show it with an excluding attitude or curt comment at your expense.   But, this was the charm of the people.  

Every night the TV weather man on channel 8 gave a weather forecast which included the weather at Hannibal’s Crossing (which didn't exist.)   If you asked a Mainer how to get to Ustis he would likely say, ‘You can’t get there from here’ with a heavy Mainer accent.  You could never trust directions or explanations from a Mainer because you never knew if you were being led down the path. 

LL Bean at that time was just a big open warehouse with hunting, fishing and camping items on display.  Bean was open 24 hours a day.  When you walked in the door there was a counter displaying pipes and tobacco and you could fill you pipe from the free displays and walk around smoking while looking at outdoor gear – Bean was not a clothing store as it is today.   

Mainers were a thrifty bunch; it was not unusual to see some Mainer out on a lake with a 30 year old motor on his boat – if he had something new he made it look old so as not to be mistaken for an outsider.   Mainers were hardy: they ignored the bugs and the heat and the snow – especially in front of outsiders who would be frantic swatting away the black flies and midges or shivering in their boots knee deep in snow. 

Down in Weld, Maine there was two grocery stores: The Store and The Other Store.   When you went to The Store it had a wood stove with chairs around it and you felt like you had stepped back in time fifty years…  Actually, you always felt like you were in another time a place when you were in rural Maine

And Mainers Drank MOXIE, a vile drink that taste like it is made from pine pitch.

First known as Moxie Nerve Food it was not originally made in Maine; it began as a patent medicine in 1876 produced by Maine doctor then living in Lowell, Massachusetts.  

A few years later he added soda water and marketed it as a beverage. 

Moxie is designated the official soft drink of Maine and a Moxie Festival is held each summer in Lisbon Falls Maine.   

Maine is now the retirement state for many people from southern New England, but you can still, occasionally, identify a native Mainer because he will be drinking Moxie.  

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. Never had the pleasure of Moxie, but I've a pair of Weejuns that're over 20 years old and my wife has a pair of winter Quoddys that she swears by so I know Maine-ia is good shoe country!

  2. ‘You can’t get there from here’ with a heavy Mainer accent.
    First heard that on the "Bert and I" album. A Mainiac friend from "Porkland" used to play that album a lot when I was stationed at Dow Airplane Patch in Bangah.

  3. Because you mentioned it on bj's blog, I have been raving about Moxie, which I really like. I used to get it in NYC...It is an acquired taste, but I like bitter tastes. The base is gentian root, which is an ancient medicinal herb supposedly good for the nerves and the digestion. So here in the central part of France, people have been drinking a thick yellow alcoholic concoction as a tonic aperatif for centuries. The brand I buy locally is called Salers. I mix it with carbonated water and I suppose it is like Moxie with a kick! I like it straight with a slice of lemon as well. Thanks for the graphics. Gentiane comes from the Massif Central, it grows on the mountain slopes. I can see the region from here on a clear day....It's a pretty cool place, once a huge volcanic system that blew up and now full of hot springs and carbonated springs. All of the various springs supposedly have different health benefits. They are spas now and you actually can get the French Medical system to pay for a treatment there. I was in the spa at Mont d'Or...a fantastic art nouveau glass domed structure and in the heart, where the source of the hot carbonated water comes up, there is still the original Roman spa, preserved. A very wild rugged place. I plan to take a trip there next year again.

  4. I would really like to visit your state of Maine. You make it sound like a wonderful place.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."