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One Woman's Opinion

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Maine Coastal and Harbor Cruise, Part 2

by Mary Wakefield Buxton

Urbanna, Va.— “Never again will I fly economy class!” I hissed to Chip as we departed our packed plane in Portland. We were waiting to exit, crammed with the rest of the passengers moving inch by inch down the aisle, carry-on luggage jammed against our legs, and in front of me the lady’s pony tail swinging across my face. Whoever designs airplanes should be hanged and quartered.

It was midnight. I thought I was done with Dante’s Inferno but another layer awaited. Our motel. My husband had points on his credit card for a “free night.” We would pay, however, because nothing is ever free.

We were picked up by the motel shuttle service which, of course, was the last van to show up. I thought we were a sad pair of old people standing on the curb after hours at Portland airport awaiting our free transportation. I could write a comedy just based on the look of hope springing eternal on my husband’s face as he searched the deserted road for some sign of our approaching free shuttle.

By 1 a.m. we were at the motel and I had collapsed on my “free” bed. One would have thought I would have immediately slept at such late hour. But the window wouldn’t open; I suppose those who design motels worry guests might desperately heave themselves out the windows in fits of despair if the windows opened? Then the AC was too cold, trucks and motorcycles roared by, bed covering was too heavy, pillows too full and, the worst of all, I had forgotten to pack my bedroom slippers.

There are few horrors in life worse than walking in one’s bare feet on one’s free motel’s carpet. But I finally remembered I had socks in my luggage and after ferreting a pair from my stuffed suitcase, that problem was alleviated.

The cranky lady from Virginia who, after finally falling asleep at 6 a.m. was abruptly awakened at 8 a.m. by a hacking cough of what sounded like a dying man’s last gasp on Earth. It was only husband recovering from what he called a belated case of “airplane-i-tis.” Relieved to hear he would survive, our ship embarked at 10:30 a.m. at the Portland dock. I dressed to prepare for our “free” breakfast.

The breakfast room was yet another layer of Dante’s Inferno. The eight-story motel had a teeny tiny breakfast room teeming with hordes of starving people. One poor woman was on duty to take care of the throngs that attacked coffee urns, juice bars, pancake maker, toaster, bun cabinet and hot food dispenser. Darwin’s Law of Survival of the Fittest prevailed and the largest and rudest guests got immediate service while polite ladies from Virginia were pushed asunder.

All tables and chairs were taken, but I found a stool facing a narrow bar in an annex in which I sat surrounded with a bevy of millennials who were “plugged in” to earphones. This was not such a bad idea because a tableful of screaming toddlers was directly behind us.

I stared at my fluffy spoonful of instant scrambled eggs on a paper plate served with a plastic fork. A plastic cup of “orange juice” accompanied the gourmet feast. It did not, however, taste like orange juice. It tasted like orange water that someone had plopped an orange flavor pill into it to make it more appealing. It did not.

Chip was kind enough to bring me a paper cup of hot tea in which a sad teabag was drowning in cold water. I had not the heart to complain to the poor woman about the cold water who was trying to clean up the slopped pancake center. She was obviously overworked. I gave up hot tea, which was disastrous because I am not overly pleasant without morning tea.

“Don’t ever take me back to that motel chain!” I snapped as we entered the taxi (which took a very long time to pick us up) to take us to our ship. By the time we reached the ship, we were the last passengers to check in. But the ship was adorable nestled at mooring behind a string of smart red and black tugboats. She glistened in the morning sun as if she had just been scrubbed from bow to stern. All signs of yesterday’s storm had passed and the sun reigned in a vibrant blue sky.

The captain greeted us as we boarded ship to a chorus of seagulls along the wharf adding their cheerful welcome. A week of heaven awaited us! The good news is all those who suffer do not suffer in vain! There is an eventual end to suffering!

A heavenly blast from the good ship “Independence” filled the air and instantly thrilled my bare arms with a rash of goosebumps. We were off to our first port of call. Bar Harbor, Maine, here we come! (Continued next week)


Note: Mary Wakefield Buxton will be signing copies of her books at the Sentinel table both Friday and Saturday during the Urbanna Oyster Festival.

posted 11.01.2018

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