and the Bungwistle clan…
There’s a place called Mud Clam Cove….not much more’n a hole the other side of a gut, but fishin’ families h’ve been raisin’ fish flakes, kids, and a bit of a ruckus there for pretty near four hundred years. They say it’s got quite a history, but like many small settlements tucked in among the countless islands and coves between the Kittery Bridge and Quoddy Narrows, where a man with a good breeze to his stern and mind to do so can spit all the way to Canada, it just never got written down.
The fact is, most of the time folks who’ve made their homes there been too busy makin’ a livin’ to worry about dottin’ their i’s n’ crossin’ their t’s, if ya’ know what I mean. Besides, more often than not, there was some pucker-faced preacher from down t’ Massachusetts nosin’ around and writin’ stuff down so there wasn’t much point to doin’ it all over again.
Didn’t matter much ‘ennaway. Hell, if a man could see his reflection in a tidal pool, he knew he’d been born and was alive. If his hair was grey or gone missin’, he was over thirty. If he fell face first into the tidal pool while lookin’ to see if he was alive, and he didn’t move, then he wasn’t. Simple as that.
As far as marriage was concerned, if you said you would and you did, you was. Long as it wasn’t your own sister, nobody much cared.
Goin’ on four hundred years ago, most of the men was just here to fish n’ would go home to England when they got done. Later on they started to settle in, but there weren’t no women around at first to marry ‘ennaways .
‘Course, settlements did get established and towns grew up around the business at hand, whether it was fishin’, farmin’, cuttin’ wood, or buildin’ boats, maybe all of the above. Mud Clam Cove was mostly about fishing, though most of the families farmed and did a little bit of everything else too, just to get by.
The Bungwistle family had been there about as long as anyone, stretchin’ back to the days when a man could walk from island to island on the backs of the fish, so the story went. I don’t really know.
My name is Clarence T. Bungwistle and, in spite of all that, I have the extreme misfortune of being from “away”. Back after the War of 1812, not long before Maine became a state, my great-great-great-great grandfather sailed down to Boston on some business or other. While he was there, he got mixed up with some woman, and forgot to come home. I guess she must have been my great-great-great-great grandmother, but I wouldn’t friggin’ guarantee it.
‘Coupla generations ago, the Bungwistles come back home from down to Boston. My father went to work for one o’ them big companies when he got done goin’ to sea, and they sent him all over the place. I wandered around for awhile myself before comin’ back to Mud Clam Cove, backalong forty years ago or so. ‘Ennaway, that’s how it all started. I got to know kin, n’ I got to know old friends, and the rest is history, …‘cept for the parts they won’t print…. ’n I’m not tellin’ any one those stories either.
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