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Kindness of Strangers

Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP

31 Oct 2012 10:22 AM

I recently visited Maine for the Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society (NNECOS) meeting in Rockport, Maine. It was a great group, and I really enjoyed meeting the docs. One of my former fellows is from Maine and in practice there. I just love seeing how she has blossomed, and how she is so successful in her practice. It is definitely a different way of life than I am used to in the DC area.

I was only there for a short time, less than 24 hours. The next day it was pouring down rain, and Maine was fogged in. I had come in on a Cessna. I went to the Rockport airport to leave, and the people there couldn’t have been nicer. The craft store at the airport was only open on Saturdays, and I had a wonderful time buying local crafts, including a Raggedy Ann doll for my six-year-old niece, homemade by the shop owner’s 85-year-old mother. As I was shopping away, the Cape Air agent kept coming in and updating me, eventually saying, “It’s not going to happen.” He suggested that I rent a car; he had called and they only had one left.

All along the way, people were friendly, helpful, and kind and didn’t seem in a rush. I basically hate to drive but decided to make a day of it. On the way to Boston, I stopped in Wiscasset, Maine. I decided to eat lunch at a lobster shack, Sprague’s. I think it was Mr. Sprague that I talked to. He gave me his “secrets” on cooking lobster, saying he and his dog, a black lab, ate lobster every day! I also stopped in another shop and bought a few things. It is hard to describe how peaceful and liberating this day was for me. It’s a good lesson for me to “stop and smell the roses,” which I don’t do very well. It was really made possible by such openness and the kindness of all the people I met that day.

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Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP