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Down the Road

Down the Old Maine Road
By Milton M. Gross
May 24, 2015 - 6:17:15 AM

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Recently I read in a book that purports to be philosophy of Buddha but seems to me to be a "how to live successfully" based on modern science. The footnotes are all of modern people and about medical details. I'm pretty sure Buddha did no have that modern medical knowledge, and the book only quotes general statements of his a half-dozen times.

But it stated something I found interesting, that all things in life turn out for the good, even though some things don't appear to be good while they're happening.

So, I thought -- actually thought -- about my own life and things that have happened to me. Many of them turned out, if not good themselves, to be stepping stones to better circumstances.

I came to Maine as a minister and left the ministry because God could not possibly be as awful as were too many ministers. One, I remember, said I was a communist because I don't like playing softball. I'm not quite sure his statement was based on Divine direction, but I am sure that he is no longer in the ministry -- after a deacon in the church in which he was the pastor caught him running around with a woman who was someone else's wife.

Not playing softball didn't mean a lot in my life, but my leaving the ministry after finding too many of "God's leaders" had bad habits did. I left the ministry to avoid that crowd. (I can be "bad" enough without claiming to be God's leader of the flock.)

Leaving was good for me, because after a year of further education, I became a school teacher. It wasn't my academic prowess that landed me my first job but my dog, Brad, a fairly good hunting dog. The superintendent of school leaned out his office window and talked about hunting dogs to me. I was in a convertible with a friend.

"Oh, would you like a job teaching?" the superintendent off-handedly asked.

"Sure," I replied, and I was "in."

Teaching was okay, but I several years later mistakenly accepted a job as principal of a "Christian" school. That was a school where girls' knees were not allowed to show, but where certain -- from the families of the church's powerful -- could act like brats.

I then had a "low" time for a year or two, working in a couple of stores (I'm not suggesting that store workers are in "low" positions. In fact, one store owner sold me my first -- and only shotgun -- 40 years ago. I still have it, although I don't shoot it much, unless you show up as a burglar. I paid $25 for it new, whereas had I waited until today it would have been $425.)

In one store, a shoe store, a woman came in and asked if she could talk to me in a corner of the store. She told me there was a good job waiting for me. Then, nervously, she fled. The store manager chuckled, but in a month I was hired as a news reporter for a weekly in my home town.

News writing was a satisfying career, which lasted until Dolores became seriously ill and I gave up a news position to be with her at night.

Being together for twenty some years -- married -- has been a great experience, a rewarding reason to give up news writing.

Which left me again to figure out how to make a living. In the news position I left, I had been all over Mount Desert Island and hiked most of its trails.

This "low" time -- income wise -- ended when the manager of a tourist bus company phoned me and informed me that since I knew all the trails on the island, I was going to drive a tourist bus for him until I dropped over to leave this life for the next.

For this, I had to live on the island or in the Ellsworth area.

But yet another "low" spot struck and is leading us to another place to live, a place we both like, Searsport. I developed a sore hip, which our doctor said was the hip's wearing out and needing to be replaced. The "bad" hip has also meant my retiring from my "retirement" job of driving a bus, as the manager was afraid I couldn't haul disabled people off the bus in an emergency.

This meant a loss of $2,000/month pay, which also meant that we can no longer afford the mortgage payment on our house.

How's that for a "low" spot. But there is a high spot coming up.

We're selling the house and moving to a really nice apartment in Searsport. (I lived in nearby Swanville while I taught school and became familiar with that area and like it.)

I haven't yet had the hip replaced, but a surgeon in Belfast, who does that surgery a new, more efficient way, will do it this summer. This will be while we're living in Searsport, ten minutes from the hospital.

But -- here's the really good part of this "low." I didn't come to Maine in 1965 to work. I came to have fun, hike, canoe, ride boats from coastal towns, bird hunt, and otherwise enjoy myself. Once we live in Searsport, I'll have time with Dolores to do the things I came to Maine to do. And there is much to do not far from Searsport.

This will be the first place either of us has ever resided in because we chose the place.

The "low" of a worn-out hip is leading to a "high" of being retired and doing those things I find enjoyable....and so does Dolores.

That's why I came to Maine in the first place, to do things I enjoy. Only now I can do them with Dolores.

So maybe Buddha didn't say it or write it. But the book I'm reading did.

"Low" is leading to "high."

I can hardly wait!

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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