Just returned from a week's vacation noted:"It...

A COLLEAGUE

September 28, 1993

A COLLEAGUE just returned from a week's vacation noted:

"It is indeed a very small world.

"There we were in the northern-most portion of Vermont, in the land dubbed by former Sen. George Aiken as the Northeast Kingdom, when we stopped at a highway information station to pick up some local brochures and maps.

"As we did so, another couple wandered in and asked, 'Are you from Maryland? We're from Salisbury.' All of us bemoaned the fact that we were a week too early for the changing of the autumn leaves and went our separate ways.

"Later that day, we reached the town of Newport, a few miles from the Canadian border. Lo and behold, at a delightful roadside gift shop -- selling made-in-Vermont quilts, bean soup mixes and hot sauces (but no Ben and Jerry's ice cream) -- another couple piped up that they, too, were from Maryland. And from the Eastern Shore, too.

"Well, just barely on the Eastern Shore. They hailed from Kent Island. Another amiable chat about the love of our mutual home state followed. Then we parted.

"These two encounters whetted our appetite. We kept looking for a Grand Finale. But nowhere in Sherbrooke, Canada, could we find another Marylander that day. Guess the rest of them were still wandering around the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont."

* * *

Another colleague, also in New England the same week, adds this postscript:

"I'm beginning to think that the parking lot at L. L. Bean in Freeport, Maine, is a crossroads of the Western world.

"This is the third time I have visited the famous, round-the-clock store and the third time I have encountered someone I knew. This time it was a former member of The Sun's staff, who emigrated to Maine a couple of years ago.

"And the first mate of the windjammer on which we sailed was from Westminster. He had served as a crew member on the Pride of Baltimore for two years.

"Sure enough, the Pride itself sailed by us under full canvas on her way back to Baltimore from the Great Lakes."

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