You can say a lot of things about Maine, but one of them is not that it is ever boring. In part, this is due to our relationship with nature. It is home to the lakes, forests and coastal access so cherished by us and those “from away” as tourists are known.
Wildlife is in abundance and often we are confronted by it in the form of moose, deer and the occasional bear. However, on occasion, species not common to our neck of the woods have also been sighted.
Years ago, my wife and I lived in central Maine in the city of Bangor. Our families, however, lived in Massachusetts. So on the occasions when time and money allowed, we would make the drive south to visit. We owned an old Nash Ambassador that had more miles on it then the two of us combined, so we endured the additional risk of not making it at all. On occasion, since we sometimes left shortly after I got off work, I would recline in the passenger seat while my wife drove.
It was on one such trip that my wife suddenly said, “Bob, I see a lot of flashing lights up ahead.” I am not sure if at this time she had yet applied to get here Maine driver’s license, so this could have been part of her cause for concern.
“Just slow down and follow the other traffic” I said. “There has probably been an accident.”
Her next statement was, “Bob, there are elephants on the highway.”
Now I have to admit that it was with some skepticism that I returned to an upright position, and, sure enough, there were three elephants on the highway. As we watched, we saw troopers and others trying to move both the elephants and traffic. One elephant was in the median and one off on the right berm. The third was still in the road and therefore was attracting the most attention.
I could just imagine what was running through the trooper’ mind:
“Dispatch, this is 12. I have a 10-33 in progress. Over.”
“Roger 12. What is the nature of the emergency? Over.”
“Dispatch, make that a 10-54, livestock in highway. Over.”
“Roger 12. What assistance is requested? Over”
“Dispatch, um, I don’t know. I just know that I have one damn big @$#*&@ elephant about five feet from me and he is looking at me like I am a peanut. Over.”
We never did find out how they resolved the problem, as shortly thereafter, we were routed around them and on our way again. We learned later that the elephants were being transported to a wild animal farm in New Hampshire.
Through the years, we have had our share of “wildlife” experiences, like the time I was chased by a peacock, or when my wife was bitten in the stomach by a burro in a petting zoo. But I don’t think we have ever experienced anything quite as bizarre as the elephants.
So, you can understand why, whenever we pass a “Maine, The Way Life Should Be” sign, I think that instead maybe it should read, “Maine, The Way Life Is. Deal With It.”