Our nephew Thomas cautioned us, a snow storm was coming and we might want to leave a day early for Christmas in Maine. But we had things to do on Christmas Eve and chose to take a chance. On Christmas morning, it was raining in Boston, nothing to worry about. But aware it was snowing heavily north of the city, we called to see if the bus was running. “Yes,” said Greyhound customer service, “but the bus is sold out.” Sold out? We couldn’t believe it. So many people traveling on Christmas morning? “Get to the station early,” he said, “they always keep a few seats.” So we hastily packed up and called Lyft. The car arrived within a few minutes, its driver a cheery Jamaican in a Santa suit complete with white beard. On the way to South Station, the rain turned to snow.
When we got there, the Greyhound ticket counter was empty. Suddenly a helpful young man appeared out of nowhere and efficiently processed our tickets, saying, “ There’s plenty of room. I fail to understand why they like to say the bus is sold out?” In fact, there was hardly anyone on the bus. A tired-looking family from San Diego and an even more exhausted woman who’d spent five days crossing the US on Greyhound and the last ten hours in the chilly bus terminal. She was scared of flying. What we do to celebrate Christmas!
By the time we left the bus station it was a whiteout. The windshield wipers were encased with ice. The driver didn’t dare to stop to clean them off because the visibility was so low. He was such a cautious driver that there was no need for concern. The only stop before our destination was Portsmouth, where the bus stop is halfway up a steep hill. Stopping was no problem, but the driver tried for several minutes to get traction to continue up the hill before giving up and backing all the way down to the flat ground before finally making it back up the hill. We gave him a round of applause.Finally, two hours late, we arrived in Kennebunk. Thanks to our Lyft driver, the attendant at the bus station, and of course the bus driver, these three (wise) men got us there.
We arrived in time to work on a puzzle and eat delicious appetizers prepared by Allison and her daughter Isabelle. After the meal, course, the dogs had to be walked The sky had cleared, the moon shone on the new snow and frozen ponds. As Billie Holiday sang, “Oh, what a little moonlight can do!” It was a wonderful day with the Wiggins family and with full stomachs, we retired to our Lodge down the street.
The next morning we woke to dazzling sunlight and blue skies, the fresh snow sparkling like diamonds, the evergreens bowing under their heavy white load. To add to the spectacle, the ice storm from a few days before had encased the hardwoods with a thick coating. The sun’s rays broke into miniature rainbows on the ice. It really was a sight to behold. Perhaps being absent from such winter scenes for so long had some bearing on our wonder of it all.
After having lunch with the family, thanking our hosts Thomas and Allison, and wishing everyone Happy New Year, we headed down to the train station. We hadn’t taken the Downeaster before, and we were impressed. It was on time, clean, well organized and we had a buffet car. And our senior discount made it a real give away. Little towns and countryside that we sped through were mesmerizing in this winter wonderland.
The temperatures have continued to drop further through the week. When we got up this morning, it was 4F ( -15.6 C). On my way back from working out at the YMCA at midday it had risen to a balmy 12F ( -11C). I fantasize about Maharashtra’s Shiroda Beach with temps in the mid-80s (around 29C), just a little more than a week away!