All rested from our nap and early bedtime the day before, we were up early (but not before the sun—even at 6:00 a.m. it was fully up and shining). We piled into the car and set off for Quoddy Head State Park. We stood at the easternmost point in the United States and looked across a channel to Canada. So, we’ve now been to the easternmost point and the southernmost point of our fair country.
We then hiked to the coast, through thickets of fir trees that smelled like Christmas, and I knew what Sandy meant about the air smelling so clean. It was crisp and perfect, the most perfect air, clear and piney. And then the trail would break out from the trees and we’d look down onto waves crashing into brown and gray cliffs, and there were artists perched with their easels and watercolors, and we passed at least eight of them, and the cliffs were such that you too felt the urge to paint or to cry or something, they were that lovely. The twisting scraggly trees clinging to their tops, the perfect blue of the water, the diving gulls, the roar and the quiet and the salt and the sun that was warm but not hot.
We stopped for a picnic lunch in the shade and then drove to another park for another hike with another stunning view.
Dinner found Jesse and I eating at a seafood joint called Ruth and Wimpy’s, which featured Wilbur, a giant lobster statue out front. We ate shrimp rolls and French fries and surprisingly good cole slaw. Afterward, we met back up with Evelyn and Dad for blueberry milkshakes at a snack bar called Jordan’s.
Jordan’s was a sprawling little establishment that sold fried seafood and all varieties of soft serve ice cream. That night, it hosted a classic car “cruise in” and a local band called the Kayla Wass Band. The presumed Kayla wore a purple shirt and a glittery black vest and sang country songs rather well while a motley bunch of older couples danced on a shiny hardwood floor. A serious-looking man wearing green suspenders danced the box step with a white-haired woman, and we watched them move across the dance floor, deftly avoiding another white-haired couple holding onto one another and looking almost equally serious.
The sun set and the air grew colder. We put on our jackets and sat on top of a blue picnic table, looking through the large open windows to the dancers, who were bathed in warm light. A group behind us lit candles on a sheet cake and sang “Happy Birthday.”
Some people Evelyn knows shun Jordan’s, or if they visit they might describe the evening as “slumming it.” The crowd there that night was certainly a wholly different one than had been at the jazz concert. There were more potbellies and bad hairstyles, more overweight people and tattoos. But we felt comfortable there, arms crossed against the nip in the air, waving away wandering bugs, watching Kayla belt it out. As it got later, Evelyn and Dad, who had driven separately from us, went back home while we stayed for a few more songs.
Just before we left, I looked at Jesse and said, on a whim, “We should dance,” and he looked at me like I was crazy but then got this determined grinny look and pulled me onto the dance floor, and Kayla sang “The Rose” and we slow danced like we were at prom or something, only the breeze came in and the warm yellow lights were such a beautiful contrast to the gray dusky night outside the white building, and there was still a line for milkshakes and dipped cones and I tried to memorize it all, the magic of it, the way the light felt, the slight embarrassment of it, dancing with those strangers around us, noticing them but not noticing them. The song ended, and we drove away from Jordan’s, the night stretching out in front of us, the darkening road, the lights of Jordan’s fading behind us.