Regardless of what I do in my life, where I go or what I become, I'll never forget my roots. The lessons I've learned in the backwoods of Maine are irreversible and God sent.
I grew up on a dirt road. As a kid, shoes were optional and playing in the local brook catching salamanders passed our time before we were called in for dinner.
With nothing but our imaginations and the great outdoors, there was plenty of time to daydream and get dirty.
We played manhunt, hide-n-seek and tag all around the local neighborhood. Everyone knew everyone and nobody locked their doors at night.
As a teenager, I began to understand the value of working. If you wanted something, you just kept your feet on the ground and stayed patient. You didn't burn bridges because it would come back and bite you in the ass.
I saw people cut corners and cheat their way to instant gratification; however, at some point they would fail and fall further behind than those who stayed on the straight and narrow path.
As a young adult, I learned to pump my own gas, put the right amount of air in the car tires and check the oil and transmission fluid. I could tell the difference between a bad tire and a cv joint just by the sound the car made; and I knew the difference between a dead battery, a bad alternator and when you needed to buy a new startah.
We didn't point guns at people and having a dead deer draining out in the back yard or being hauled in the back of a pick-em-up truck was normal.
When the grass grew, we mowed the lawn. When it snowed, we shoveled the yard - or at least a pathway so gram woudn't slip and fall.
When the plumbing needed fixing, we called Uncle Pete.
When we needed a mechanic, we called Uncle Percy.
And of course if they weren't available, my cousin lived down the road.
AND if he wasn't available, then we could always ask the neighbor.
Relationship building, hard work and perseverance is built into my blood. I couldn't shake it if I tried. Of course somethings you never want to lose sight of .. growing up in Maine is one of those things.