By frozen emmet
All right, he isn’t the Most Interesting Man in the World. He doesn’t even drink Dos Equis.
But he is the most interesting man on a dirt road in Jefferson, Maine.
Of course, it is Jefferson Phil. Our boy leads a charmed life, surrounded, somehow, by gorgeous women. I would guess that he is the only man who has toted a 60-pound Dutch oven to the Allagash-in a canoe. He almost drowned a chief justice on another trip.
You know how it is. Some people, like David Grima, never have a decent story to tell. It’s always about his disintegrating vehicles or his trained seagulls. Same old. Not Jefferson Phil. He always has a great story or two, many told at his own expense. While we were freezing our teapots off for the holidays, JP flew (guided by tranquilizers) to Atlanta to visit 80 of his closest relatives (30 percent gorgeous) and bask in 70 degree weather.
Naturally, we all hated and envied him.
But Mother Nature, as is her wont, got even. In spades. JP was on the last plane out of Atlanta last week before it was shut down by an approaching storm. That plane was the last to land at Logan Airport before it, too, was shut down. After an endless bus ride to Portland, he approached his car, frozen in a snowbank in his daughter’s driveway.
He called his daughter, frozen and stranded in Atlanta. She said to start her car, and then use jumper cables to start his. He found the keys and approached daughter’s car.
He called AAA and had to wait half a day before the overtaxed company arrived and started his car. Vroooom. He paid AAA and sat in his car, warming up. A (sometime) dedicated father, he decided to jump his daughter’s car while he was sitting there.
His car stalled. Dead. Both dead.
He called AAA and begged them to come back, for another fee, natch. He got his car started again and left for that famous dirt road in Jefferson. You might know that the electric power on that dirt road in Jefferson fails when the wind goes anywhere above six knots. Naturally, the power was off when he got home. He started a wood stove fire, turned on his kerosene heater and briefly considered setting the furniture on fire. Gradually the Jefferson mansion started to warm up. JP went for a glass of water. The pipes were frozen.
After a long flight and bus ride he had to use the facilities. They were not only frozen, but there was ice in the toilet.
For the 40-plus winters I have spent in Maine, I have heard the stories. Frozen this, burst that. Dead cars, dead animals. Ice on the inside of the window and snow on the bed. When the Samoset opened, I interviewed Judge Paul McDonald in the posh dining room when he retired and had to brush the snow off my notebook. It was blowing through the windows
I have heard and read the Maine winter stories for decades. But I never heard of ice in the toilet before. Leave it to JP.
He was well thawed out by the time he visited Cobb Manor on Sunday for a football extravaganza. Always generous, JP gladly contributed to the steak dinner. He brought three partially-cooked potatoes.
I saw him coming and I had a typically brilliant idea. I took a handful of ice and dropped it into my toilet. When he finally went in there after the long drive from Jefferson, He yelled in surprise.
“There is ice in your toilet,” he said.
“I wanted you to feel at home,” I said.
It’s good to have friends. At least when they are the Most Interesting Man…on a dirt road in Jefferson.