Eyeballing a dozen or 15 maps of my Facebook friends, two things struck me.
We get around, but we’ve never been to Maine.
What data can be gathered by cursory glances at a dozen or 15 Kansans’ Maps of States I’ve Visited and none of us have been to Maine? What conclusions drawn? Assumptions made?
My first (assumption) for the sake of this discussion, is this data pool is indicative of the larger Kansas universe. I suspect many, if not most Kansans, have never been to Maine.
If it looks like a duck...
Why not? First, Maine is a long ways off. Way the hell and gone up there by Canada in the North Atlantic, it’s the furthest state away from Kansas in the lower 48. It’s halfway to Iceland.
If Kansas is Flyover Country to them, chalk up Maine as Out of Sight, Out of Mind Country to us.
Then there are the strange sounding place names. Mattawamkeag? Caratunk? The name, “Maine,” is probably a nautical term which refers to the region being a mainland, separate from the many surrounding islands. I read that on the Internet, so it must be true.
Legit, but not as romantic as the People of the South Wind.
Maybe Kansans need a specific reason to go there and we just haven’t stumbled across it yet.
The closest I’ve been (in physical proximity) to Maine is Boston. But I’ve traveled there in my head and heart through fiction and popular culture.
Andy DuFresne redeeming at Shawshank. Ramius and Ryan sailing the Red October up the Penobscot River. Hawkeye Pierce pining away for Crabapple Cove. Frannie Goldsmith and Harold Lauder, sole survivors of Ogunquit, bound for the Stovington Plague Center (Stephen King’s caps.) Tim McGraw crooning, “Portland, Maine, I don’t know where that is.”
Don’t sweat it, Tim. Neither do many of us Kansans.
I’ve never been to Maine. But I’ve been to Oklahoma (apologies to 3 Dog Night.)
Which leads me to ponder whether the opposite is true? Is there a balance to the universe? A yin-yang of Internet time wasters? When Mainers click on the states they’ve visited, do they have a rectangular hole smack in the middle of the country?
Somewhere in a college town in Maine, is there a blogger approaching the precipice of middle age, discerning similar patterns within the maps of a dozen or 15 of his or her Facebook friends?
Maybe an enterprising CVB can work up some organized reciprocity. Send a dozen or 15 rugged individualist bootstrappers from God’s Country to Maine for a week in exchange for an equal number of Downeasters. (With cash considerations and a flinty Yankee to be named later.)
The official song of the state of Maine is called, “State of Maine Song.” While one can offer a compelling argument that the songwriters could have extended the song title brainstorm session another half hour or 45 minutes, the lyrics are poetry:
“Should fate unkind send us to roam, the scent of fragrant pines, the tang of salty sea will call us home.”
Seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.