“Voiced discussions at busy Stonington Café…”

Maine islanders preparing for cold winters,
Voiced discussions at busy Stonington Café,
Stirring spoons ringing in coffee mugs, PEX*
Versus copper water pipes. Dozen opinions,
One right answer: cold enough, hard winds
Blowing, it all freezes to solid ice. Butter on
Fried blueberry muffins, omelet with all the
Fixins.’ Who’s hauling traps last time this
Season? Hunting during Thanksgiving? Back
To frozen pipes: insulation, heat-tapes, heat-
Guns and torches can thaw copper pipes but
Not plastic, freeze-resistant PEX.

When two opinions collided across tables,
Heavy silence reigned, more coffee slurping,
Egg eating, bacon chewing. Aside from “Let
Me warm up your coffee,” waitress gave
Opposing corners wide berth. Thing is about
Stonington, most of Isle au Haut, everyone
Knows everyone, grandchildren, trucks and
Boats they drive. Yes, they have heated
Arguments, friends will let it subside – or
It will last for months. “Re-plumbing whole
House with PEX, running along baseboards
At the floor, using hot and cold manifolds.”
Hearing that, main dining room went silent.

“Friendships forged like iron, breakfast at Stonington Café.”

As men and women get older, even Mainers,
Can’t do everything for themselves. It’s fact
Of life, concerns greater than copper versus
PEX. It’s dignity, humility, realization: time,
Winter, and bone-deep aches take their toll,
Working boats, farming, electrical, plumbing,
Constant wear on hands and backs. Moment
Not thinking: cuts, burns, finger-tip amputated,
Arthritis sets in sooner than it should. “I’ll be
Over after lunch, bring my tools.” Last slups
Of coffee, handshakes, friendships forged
Like iron, breakfast at Stonington Café.

*PEX –  cross-linked polyethylene pipe manufactured using extrusion
method. It’s available in flexible coils, various colors, including standard
grey. Learn something new every day. Thanks for reading. 

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