August 26, 2000

Monson, ME 5 Miles Hiked Today 2049 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

First signs of fallHere is a story that sums up the trail and how we all ought to treat on another:

I got to town about 10:30 needing to do a few things, the most important of which was fix my boots. I planned on buying some nails, borrowing a hammer from the Pie Lady (where I am staying), glueing the soles, and then hammering some nails into the lugs to hold them on (like cobbler's do). I couldn't find any nails at the general store, but was referred next door to a hardware store still in preparation.

I met the proprietor, Tim Anderson, as he was coming out and I asked about the nails. He said that he didn't have any there (the store isn't fully stocked yet) but if I would come by his house, he would fix me up and give me a hand with the boots. I told him I'd come by after I grabbed a bite of lunch.

About 2:00 I walked up to his garage/fix it shop where he was having a cold one with two friends. He took a look at my boots, grabbed some jars of nails and we went to work. For an hour-and-a-half we glued and nailed my boots. In that time we had a couple of beers and talked about the trail and his family.

The Pie Lady'sTim has raised six kids here in Monson and has two grandkids. He is in the International Guard in Bangor, ME and is ready to retire. I learned that the reason he wants to open a hardware store is so that maybe he will start a process of revitalization that will keep people in Monson and ebb the flow out. Its a nice town with good values, so why not raise families here, he says. So he's doing something about it.

When all was said and done, I tried to offer him some money. No good. So I tried to offer him my time in that I could help him set up his shop. No good. In line with his belief in not charging hikers for rides to Bangor in the morning because he's going there anyway, he figures "If a man is walking right out of his boots, I figure you gotta help him out." In the end, the payment he recommended was this: if I'm thinking of vacationing in this direction, I have to stay in Monson to support the town. That's it, for 90 minutes of his Saturday afternoon lunch time (he never would eat his lunch with me there, even though I told him to go ahead and he knew I had eaten alread), good conversation, nails, and a cold beer.

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