Up here in Sinclair, Maine at this time of year, it’s all about layers. It’s cold. Heck, let’s call it frigid. The only sign of warmth is the sun, and it wasn’t really helping boost the temperature.
But once you begin to meet the people in this part of the state, the warmth starts to sink in like the melting ice in spring sinks into the lake. These are fantastic, live-life-your-way kind of people. No layers. Only genuine, authentic Mainers, extending their trademark warm welcome. Ah, warmth.
When you head toward Long Lake, you can’t miss Long Lake Sporting Club. It’s a cozy local eatery, a place to grab lunch and talk to some of the denizens of upper Maine. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll run into Reno Voisine.
A woodworker by trade, Reno runs a local Cedar Mill. Reno speaks in an inviting accent, part Maine and part French and part Reno just being Reno. A classic. He’s up for anything and is always anxious to get out on the ice. If you’re lucky to meet Reno, you get the immediate sense that you’d probably follow him anywhere. Reno wore only a fur cap and thick flannel shirt. Hey, temperature is in the nerves of the beholder.
Reno was doing some ice fishing that day and he walked out to the ice fishing shanty he had out on the thick ice. It’s fully stocked with um, a few bottles (“a warm-up”), a rest room, and a place to keep your hands warm. Comfortable. Perfect, in a way that perfection rarely manifests itself.
Above the door of his shanty is a placard that reads, “tankafer.” Reno proudly translated: “Might as well,” he said in that signature accent of his. These are three words that capture him perfectly. He embodies the spirit of “why not?” His entire being seemed dedicated to being relaxed, doing things right the first time, and not letting a whole lot bother him.
He, along with a friend, dug a hole into the ice with amazing dexterity, and pulled out an ice-fishing pole (handmade by Reno, of course) and dipped the line into the hole.
3, 2, 1 …
He pulled a gorgeous Salmon out of the hole, held it up to the shocked and surprised onlookers. He makes it look so easy. Might as well, right?
You may never meet someone like Reno, unless you get to Sinclair. But if you do travel up here, remember: Layers.
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