Wet blanket.

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JULY 2, 2009
Summers in Maine are short, but this year’s seems exceptionally so. I called the National Weather Service in Gray this afternoon to get the grim figures. According to the agent I spoke with, in June we only had three cloud-free days, and the temperature never broke the 80 degree mark. And then there was the rain — lots of rain — 8.5 inches of rain, nearly two and a half times what is normal for the month. Sad to say, but July is following in June’s footsteps.

I couldn’t take one more day of sitting inside, staring at my computer screen all day, so camera in hand, I set out for Old Orchard Beach to see what was happening in that seaside resort town. I usually avoid going there in the summer because it gets so packed with people, and it’s impossible to find parking. As I drove along East Grand Ave., motel after motel sported Vacancy signs. Parking spots were abundant as only a handful of tourists braved the rain and walked through downtown. Normally on a July 4th weekend the beach would be wall-to-wall with sunbathers, but it looked more like a winter scene.

I snapped a shot of one of the vendors at Bill’s Pizza, situated a stone’s throw from the beach and the amusement park, as she stared out across the street, nary a customer in sight. Upon inquiry, I learned that on a typical summer day the shop sells 400 pizzas — today it was 20. With all the challenges we’ve been facing in this tough economy, does Mother Nature really have to pile on the misery? So many of the businesses in OOB are seasonal, depending on a few months to earn the bulk of their income. There are no government bailouts for this sector of the economy, though.

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