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What you see above is the view from Eastport, Maine, looking toward the famed Campobello Island in Canada, yesterday morning. Eastport is where my wife and I have spent most of the past week, on the most unusual and one of the most rewarding parts of our American Futures travels. We've just returned from a long (and very bumpy) small-plane flight back.
This evening our partners at Marketplace had a very nice intro report on Eastport, featuring the 100-year-old Raye's Mustard works -- which has survived far beyond its original business reason for existence, as the Marketplace report explains. We are fans of Raye's and its products -- and will soon conduct, with our colleagues in Atlantic-land and other passers-by, a taste-test of the 20 different mustards we collected at the HQ this week. There are 21 rather than 20 bottles shown below, for cheerleader-pyramid-style symmetry. You will pick out the dupe.
Tomorrow evening Marketplace will have an extended report, and my wife Deb and I will kick off a series of our reports too. Two things are immediately obvious about this town:
First, given how small it is (our beloved Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is more than 100 times as large) how much is going on -- from the community production of The Glass Menagerie we saw on our first night there to the large-scale infrastructure efforts.
Second, how conscious people there are of their community's place on the historic cycle of decline and recovery. A century ago, the town had at least four times as many residents as it does now. Everywhere you go, there is an account of the wharves, the factories, the jobs, the businesses that used to keep the community going.