Bean Boots, Ripples and Claws Oct21


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Bean Boots, Ripples and Claws

I had no idea that Freeport, Maine was home to L.L. Bean before we arrived. Our campground was pretty rural, adjacent to a farm that shared the coastline of Casco Bay with us. We got there on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend so it was pretty quiet that first night, but we were forewarned by the staff that they were completely booked for the other 2 nights. We made sure to enjoy the peacefulness while it lasted.

Outside the massive flagship L.L. Bean store

Outside the massive flagship L.L. Bean store

That first night Allison performed her cooking challenge for the Bitten Word, so we enjoyed crab toasts with lemon aioli and a movie from Red Box.

We could see just a peak of the water through the trees from our campsite as the sun was setting. The cows actually had a better view than us that night, but we didn’t begrudge them for long. We had a plan to kayak in the bay the next afternoon. Since cow hooves would never be able to hold a paddle, it was easy to stay in our grateful place. Oh how good it is to be eating crab toasts, to be us and not cows with a view.


Before this year there had been just a few fleeting moments in my life when I actually said out loud or at least clearly in my head to myself, “I could die right now, knowing that I’ve felt truly deep happiness.” Aware that I’d reached the very center of something elusive, I thought about dying.

I don’t think I’m alone in that, but why? Maybe I feared I’d never get there again since genuine happiness had been a little hard for me – why not go out on a high? Or maybe I thought I should step aside to be sure to leave plenty more on the world’s happiness plate for other people to experience. How sad if it turned out there was not enough to go around and there I was trying to hide the happiness smeared all over my cheeks. Like corn on the cob dripping in butter or ribs smothered in BBQ sauce, happiness was so delicious, but hard to eat without leaving messy evidence of your indulgence.

New quick-dry outfit from L.L. Bean

New quick-dry L.L. Bean outfit

The food metaphor here is no accident. Eating and drinking have been my “go to” source of happiness for as long as I can remember. There’s a fullness there and that’s obviously what my psyche is after. Duh, it’s not rocket science. But music equals happiness, nature equals happiness, rafting equals happiness and kayaking equals happiness too. I’m learning all kinds of new equations this year – a new happiness math. I’m still chasing that full feeling every day, and still using food and drink far too often, but I’m also learning the difference in how it feels to fill up my heart and soul rather than my belly.

I have a long, long, long way to go. I kinda think I’ll be working on this my entire life, but I can celebrate moments like these – where happiness equals kayaking instead of a bottle of wine with brie.

I got to go to sleep that night feeling a little more like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting – like I’d taken a break from mopping up gravy with my biscuit to solve some impossible algorithm of happy. But it was short-lived, since the next night we signed up to chow down at a quintessential Maine Lobster Bake on the farm.

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Sporting our mason jar wine glasses - a tip Aunt Joy and Uncle Earl

Sporting our mason jar wine glasses with lids – a very valuable RVing tip from Aunt Joy and Uncle Earl

To our credit we did only order one meal, a full surf and turf, to share. Allison got her lobsta and clams, while I got to gnaw on the steak. It was plenty of food, made better by the entire bottle of wine that we carried in our special white-trash glasses. Shit, what can I say?! Happiness is a crafty bitch – she got so many outfits. Sometimes she wears diamond studded tiara-lids and antenna like a damn lobsta!

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Happiness is a red thing with big claws

Happiness is a red thing with big claws

After the lobsta bake we hurried back to the RV to grab our outdoor chairs and headed into town as fast as we could. L.L. Bean sponsors free concerts every Saturday night during the summer months for the town of Freeport. God love them. That night it was Joshua Radin. What a phenomenal way to end an algorithmically, kayaky-lobstery, incredibly happy weekend. Bless you Freeport – you mattered in our lives.

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