We was just laughing about that
LET us consider another aspect of the presidential election year: One of the experts was telling us about the increasing importance of television in wooing the voter, but he said nothing about the intrusion of the New Hampshire primaries into the innocent and quiet delight of a down-Maine winter. Our television is preempted by the multitudinous jokers who spend their money to reach the stout and hearty New Hampshireman and his stouter spouse. I believe New Hampshire does have a television station, but the geography of the state is such that signals skip, so the eager candidate must use our Maine stations, which beam across the line considerately.
One of our Maine stations, WMTW-TV, actually transmits from the summit of Mt. Washington, but the offices and studios are in Maine. Two others are based in Portland, and the three of them take care of NBC, ABC, and CBS. So come time for the New Hampshire primary hoopla, these three stations begin the assault on the Granite-headed State electorate, and willy-nilly we poor Mainers get the grief - which I assure all creatures great and small we have done nothing whatever to deserve.
There's nothing just like it in politics or TV elsewhere. True, our politics in Maine are as odd and comical as those in other states, and our TV is no better, but there is a time and a season, and we set our own pace. When the New Hampshire pot begins to boil, I am always surprised. Well - it was a good year and pleasant to think on. The wotsome garden was good, and I got the turnips threshed in season. Beans stacked. Larder and freezer goodied to the hilt. Taxes paid. Now let winter draw on! The last hunting accident has been investigated, and the evenings come early. Cooler weather, and a full woodbox by a cheerful fire. Boots off, feet up, the ''sofy'' cooperative, and let's see what the TV offers to lull the slack before supper. With those three channels, we have good choice. ''Barney Miller,'' ''Family Feud,'' and ''Merv Griffin.'' All, as you find if you switch about, larded with the same repetitive commercials about Lilt , Tide, Polident, Crispies, cruises, and insurance about which ''. . . no salesman will call.'' Just the right piffle to await ''. . . chops are on the table!'' And it is a sad evening in our mellow Maine mood when our innocent doldrum is interrupted by the first burst of campaign bombardment of the New Hampshire electorate.
With dancing girls, fanfare, brass band, fireworks, patent necktie, and fancy forensics, somebody we never heard of before appears to assure us he is the only qualified genius to be our next president. Out of said mood in which circumstances have lulled me, I rouse up thinking our TV station has lost its marbles - out of context the commercial is like Mother Goose at a Phi Beta Kappa ceremony. But as the expert said, money makes the TV politician, and our Maine stations are taking in the stuff. You can't blame them, but if you try to remonstrate you get an answering service. After that, the first drop becomes the flood, and until the New Hampshire caper runs its course, any Maine television viewer longs for the good old days of Lilt, Tide, Polident, Crispies, cruises, and insurance about which no salesman will call.
The only bright spot I have noticed in all this is the recurrence of an interstate joke. This year it was being told on Mondale or Glenn - take your choice. Seems the candidate took a wrong turn of the road and crossed the line into Maine. He came to a store in Gilead, where men were sitting about, and thinking he was still in New Hampshire he walked in with outstretched hand and said, ''Hello, I'm Walter Mondale - I'm running for president, you know.''
One of the men said, ''Eyah - we know. We was just sittin' hee-yeh laughing 'bout that.''