It has been known for Maine residents to make snide allusions to our state slogan, "Maine. The way life should be". Such comments are usually made when we find ourselves trying to find our car under a mountain of snow or trying to start a generator in a blizzard. But yesterday I found myself thinking of our slogan with nary a touch of cynicism.
When we bought Blue Skye, the sellers told us that the appliances were all old and ready for the knacker's yard. And so it was that one by one, dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves and freezers all ended their days trundling up the drive in the back of our pickup on the way to the dump. But not the enormous Maytag washer and dryer in the basement. These gentle giants have run many times daily for twelve years now. A few years ago I stuffed an enormous comforter in the washer. It was well beyond anything sensible to try and wash and the machine baulked. I found the file given to me by the last owners and discovered that the machine had been purchased in Waldoboro 25 years ago. It was not with a great deal of confidence that I telephoned the number to discover that the Maytag guy was still in business. I told him that I had "a complaint". "Really?" he said. I told him that my 25 year old washing machine had stopped working. I thought he'd laugh and tell me to go soak my head. "I'll come have a look" he said. "OK" I said, getting a pencil, when can you come?" "I can come now, if you like" he said. In about 20 minutes he arrived and in about 10 minutes the machine was sloshing away as usual. Yesterday, a few thousand loads of laundry later, my dryer started making a screechy sound. I called the Maytag guy." I wondered if his phone had rung since I called the last time because he seemed to know who I was right away. "It's the dryer" I said. "It's doing this" and I imitated the sound. "Well, I've got to come out that way today so I'll call in". In less than 15 minutes his car pulled into the driveway. And in less time than that, a pile of coins and a mountain of fluff were placed without comment on the top of the dryer and a new wheel doodad was installed and the dryer purred to life. "You're a genius" I murmured. "Naw," he said. "I used to have one of these." I wanted to ask how it had died, but it seemed a bit personal somehow, so I just said, "Well, thanks again". No doubt the next owners will look at these antique appliances (and the wooden counter tops in the kitchen amongst many other things) and replace them with acres of stainless steel and granite and Maine will be a little less like life as it should be.