Dysart’s truck stop is familiar to many growers and shippers in our industry. In 2000, Dysart’s published its first cookbook in memory of Dave Dysart who died a year previously with all proceeds benefiting cancer charities. In 2010 a second cookbook was published. They are available at either of their locations in Bangor. These cookbooks provide great reading as well as being sold to raise funds for a purpose we all support. And speaking of great reading, here is a short essay from the 2010 book, Cooking With Dysart’s, Stories and Recipes From Over 40 Years:
Normand R. Lajoie was just being served his lunch special when I sat down at the trucker’s table to have a chat with him. His rosy face and crisp salmon dress shirt helped him stand out amongst the sea of navy and grey, but did nothing compared to the attention he was getting from the Dysart’s staff that day.
“When you come here with a legend, you get better service,” joked Lajoie’s friend who joined us a few minutes later. “All the girls come over and give him a kiss on the cheek. I am hoping for a little peck one of these days.
”Everyone here knows Lajoie as “Super Frog”, who got his name from the illuminated frog that perched on the top of his tractor-trailer for as long as anyone can remember. He was here when Dave Dysart cleared the bushes to make room for the fuel area, and can recall and re-tell hundreds of stories since then.
Lajoie hails from Cyr Plantation, (near Van Buren) where he took over his family’s potato farm at the age of 17. He began hauling the spuds all around the state shortly after. Fifty-six years later, and only a day before we met for lunch, Lajoie proudly received the award of “Farm Family of the Year” from the Maine Potato Board.
He shared many of the stories you will read about, along with excessively detailed stories of each of his 8 children and 28 grandchildren. Just when I felt I had enough information to crash any family wedding, he called me back. “Oh jeeze” he said, “Don’t forget to mention my wife Maxine. We’ve been married 52 years and she has been the backbone behind it all.”
This book was written by Allison Frazier and photographs are by Mary Dysart Hartt. The essay super frog is printed here with permission.