Summer 2019

Wiscasset: Working in the heat!

Sat, 07/20/2019 - 5:45pm

    “Humidity and me are not friends.”

    A sweat bead ran down Wiscasset Transfer Station Superintendent Ron Lear’s right temple Saturday morning as the station opened for a day the National Weather Service predicted would hit 95F in Lincoln County and feel like 100-plus. He’d already been there an hour.

    Lear and the rest of the staff had two strategies to beat the heat: Drinking a lot of the water the town provides them in five-gallon holders; and taking turns on indoor and outdoor tasks. Someone might be on corrugated cardboard inside the station after being outside with the recycling bins, Lear explained. Those interviewed were taking the heat in stride.

    “Summer in Maine,” attendant David Flynn shrugged and said. Then he resumed sweeping with a push broom in front of a bin of brush. After work, the Wiscasset man planned to go home and cool off at the pool. He also planned to work on the pontoon boat he’s been “rehabbing” and take it out on the water Sunday, either in Wiscasset or Damariscotta.

    By midday Saturday, station staff had made some shade with cardboard and a wooden wardrobe, all discards. “Recycling,” Lear said, smiling under the cardboard.

    At Ames True Value Supply in the end of the store where staff bring out animal feed and set out shavings, it was a two-fan day – four-foot fans, that is. Those help a lot, employee Dylan Jones said.

    Usually, there’s one, but on hotter days like Saturday, two are used, Ames co-owner Jeff Averill said. He wasn’t sure yet how or if the heat would help determine the busiest time that day. People might shop early or wait until it’s hotter and cool off in the store’s air conditioning, he said. “You never know.”

    Employee Ronnie Cromwell likes both water and Gatorade on a day that hot. “And when I get a second I like to sneak inside to the air conditioning.”

    Red’s Eats co-owner Deb Gagnon said the heat always worries her, “for the staff and our guests.”

    “Today, as we do every day, we will be passing out umbrellas and cups of ice water to our guests in line. The staff will take turns or help each other to pass out ice water,” Gagnon replied to an email of questions from the Wiscasset Newspaper Saturday morning. “I also purchased ice pops.  I have those frozen and ready to be passed out today, along with watermelon.”
    Early afternoon at the famous food stand, staff member Casey Colby smiled at each customer as she made a round along the line with the pops and a pair of scissors to snip them open. Kara Bergeron, 13, of Granville, Ohio picked a lime pop; brother A.J, 9, blue; and their sister Annabelle, 10, strawberry.
    “Good. Good service,” A.J. Bergeron said about the free treat he was enjoying under the sun and amid the red and white umbrellas fellow customers all around him were holding. 
    Behind the Bergerons in line, Rochester, New York’s Chris Larson was glad to have one of the umbrellas. He and wife Cathy Larson were taking turns sitting in the shade, on their first visit to Red’s Eats. What got them to stop and get in line on such a hot day, after driving past the stand many other times? The place they were staying in nearby Damariscotta was going to be ready in a couple of hours, so they had time.  
    “I’m looking forward to the lobster roll, ” he said, smiling.
    Moments later, Colby passed back by with a tray for guests’ empty cups and pop holders.
    The staff had on neck wraps Gagnon said co-worker Lori Munson made for all of them. “These are kept in a small tub of ice and then tied around our necks to keep us cool.”
    Gagnon added, the staff would probably call her a broken record for telling them,  "Drink water, drink water.”