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Small town connections

“Do you know everyone?” It is a question my youngest daughter has often asked me and for good reason.

Every time we go some place, I tend to run into somebody who I either know as a friend, or from work. Oftentimes, it is someone who knows me from my job at the newspaper and has a story idea to pitch to me.

It doesn’t matter where we go — the grocery store, the movies, the dairy bar or the park — I am almost guaranteed to run into someone. And of course those run-ins can often turn into lengthy conversations about things my children have zero interest in like the score of last night’s football game or the hot topic of discussion at the town council.

I just chalk it up to the charm of living in a small town.

It doesn’t just happen here in town either. We took a family trip to Florida a few years back and met up with two sets of friends that happened to live in that area. My daughter was quick to point out that even in Florida, there were people that I knew.

The trend was further put to the test last summer when we decided to take a quick day trip to Eastport. My wife and I had never been there before and wanted to get to the ocean, so we packed up the car and headed down U.S. Route 1 for a long and winding drive through a multitude of small towns.

Surely there would not be anyone I would run into in Eastport and I confidently proclaimed to my youngest daughter, Olivia, that there was absolutely zero chance I would run into someone I knew. So confident was I that I even bet her a trip to the dairy bar for anything she wanted. 

I lost that bet.

Sure enough, coming out of a small candy shop along the town’s Main Street, I hear a voice from across the street say “Joe? Is that you?” Sure enough, there was Hodgdon resident Ron Murray, who I met through covering Hodgdon athletic teams, who just happened to be in that area shopping. 

Ron had once served as the announcer at Hodgdon basketball games and has a very distinct voice that I instantly recognized and I knew I was busted. My youngest then turned to me and said, “See, I told you. I’ll take a cotton candy sundae with marshmallow sauce and whipped cream.”

Joseph Cyr is the assistant editor for The Star-Herald, Aroostook Republican, Houlton Pioneer Times and St. John Valley Times, plus websites TheCounty.ME and He can be reached at (207) 532-2281 or via email at

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