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What's a townie?

  • A person who lives in a town and knows most everything that's going on in town.

  • Someone who grew up in a town and never left.

  • a person who lives in a town that has a college or university but does not work at or attend the school. Fights between townies and college kids.

  • Townie, a term used in the Greater Boston area to denote anyone who is a lifelong resident of a specific town, city, or neighborhood.

  • also townee "townsman, one raised in a town," 1827, often opposed to the university students or circus workers who were just passing through, from town + -ie

I am in the house, in the kitchen where I usually work, and I am up to my asshole in alligators (as they say around here even though we don't have alligators) with bills, sorting out payroll filing issues in a never ending phone support tree, and dirty breakfast dishes, and if I am truthful there are probably still some lingering dinner dishes there too, and I can't take it one more moment. So I go for a walk with my dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Twinkle, and when I leave the house I am greeted with warm sunshine and a cool north wind right off of Frenchman Bay that immediately makes me forget that infuriating customer service phone tree which was anything but customer service, my giant pile of bills, and the stinky dishes that I have been avoiding in the sink.

It's finally full spring in Bar Harbor and the apple blossoms are busting, the tulips are perfection, the maple leaves matured from infancy to adulthood in the last week, and I am outside enjoying it all while trying to get Twinkle to poop in a particular spot where I won't have to pick it up when I bump into my delightful friend Ray, who is married to my dear friend Angela. They are my favorites and coincidentally my neighbors from down the street. We hug. Jay gives big hugs because he has just tested negative for Covid, and I am just over my plight of... Covid. We hug with celebration.

We chat animatedly for a few minutes then part. He is ending his walk and I am starting mine.

I haven't walked five minutes when I bump into Bryan and he tells me about his son who had his front teeth knocked out by an accidental full swing of a baseball bat. "Oh, it was terrible when he came right toward me and blood was spilling out of his mouth and he was yelling 'My front teeth are gone!' so I threw him in the car and flew to hospital." The story is harrowing and my whole body feels sick with the imagining when he tells me the teeth are already fixed and then his boss drives by and sees us chatting so we both move on, being the responsible people that we are.

I've just started to take in the sparkle of the ocean, I have arrived at that part of my walk already, and as it comes into view my phone rings. It is my business partner. He is running for office and reluctantly asks me if I am willing to put up a few of his signs. I say "YES!" emphatically, zero hesitation, because I know he will do a really great job at it. I stop by his office, grab the signs and now my hands are full with Twink's leash in one hand and these 4 political signs in the other and I have to make it the mile home like this. I know I will prevail but I worry that we might see another dog and Twinkle will go bonkers barking at the other dog, and the wind will blow and the signs will go everywhere. Various combinations of this have happened to me before, especially when the kids were little, but today I am confident that I will make it.

When I arrive home all in one piece and look at my lawn to figure out where I will put my new signs, I have a revelation. I have never, in all my 47 years, put up a political sign in my yard. I wonder briefly if I am growing up, if I have stopped caring what other people think of my opinions, or if I am finally shedding my middle child stigma because it is so unlike me to take a political position. But then I ask myself, why is this easy for me? I am the biggest middle of the road, let's get along, isn't there a way we can make this work for both parties- kind of person and I realize it's because my friend Stephen is the same way. He is a fiscal conservative, he is brilliant, he's all about making it work, and I realize that's why I like him and that's why I'm willing to put his sign in my front yard.

I am inside now, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, walking up the stairs that need to be swept, hanging the dog leash on the hook, giving Twinkle a cookie for being my favorite walking partner, and I think about how lovely it is to maybe... be a townie. Today I feel like I am connected to the people and the land that surround me and I am so happy (there's that word again), yes HAPPY to be here. Happy to be a part of the sunshine, bills, broken teeth, sneaky dog poops, and Ray and Angela, right here in the middle of the road in Bar Harbor, Maine.


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