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Down the Road

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Down the Road
Giving away a $400 film camera
But as I played with it to remind myself of how to operate the Minolta, it dawned on me how heavy it was. That explained to me why all back-in-the-day reporters, including me, had always walked, leaning away from the camera bag. The digital slips into a pants pocket and requires no leaning.
Apr 20, 2014 - 12:20:13 AM

Down the Road
Watching 'er grow
The story springs back into focus, because when we lived in Swanville, Sally wouldn't talk. Well, she talked to us. She just wouldn't talk to her first-grade teacher. As The Middle TV show, only years before that show aired, we had our first teacher-parent conference. Turned out that Sally was shy, which made it also turn out that each time the teacher got her to answer a question in class, we got to buy her a candy bar as a reward.
Apr 13, 2014 - 12:35:28 AM

Down the Road
The hospital (oh great!)
Then in the woods several years ago, my right leg slipped on an old rotten log. The pain came the next day. Friends called me Gimpy because of my limp. A year ago, Dolores told on my leg -- to our family physician. He X-rayed it and said my hip was wearing out -- Uncle Arthur had moved in.
Apr 6, 2014 - 12:30:05 AM

Down the Road
Praying for and agin' mud season
Remember, even if mud season is waiting just outside, those muddy ruts will be frozen the next time you hit that accelerator. The car will bounce over them, especially if you have to turn to get up the circle of the driveway and you don't want to hit the other car that's parked just off the circle. But mud season ain't bad. After all, it's usually above freezing when you drive through mud. That, in Maine, ain't bad.
Mar 30, 2014 - 12:33:10 AM

Down the Road
The problem with self-publishers
I think that of 20 I've read, perhaps one or two have some merit. They have fair to good stories and have been edited by somebody. I have found some riddled with "typos," mistakes in grammar and misspellings. Who "edited" them? Or did those self-publishing companies simply turn a manuscript into a book? They don't care if the manuscript is good or terrible, as long as your check to them doesn't bounce.
Mar 23, 2014 - 12:17:43 AM

Down the Road
Town meeting time
It is no accident that the annual town meeting is planned for March in most towns. After a long, snowy winter, the generally isolated residents of Maine's communities in the past used the town meeting as a social time. Today, it's still usually in the spring -- in time to meet education budgets, which come together later. But I suspect that old after-a-long-snowy-winter reason is still buried somewhere in the "why" it's held in spring.
Mar 21, 2014 - 8:17:22 AM

Down the Road
A new type of gardening
I went online to look at cover crops and found some pretty interesting reading. I also didn't learn some new words, such as macronutrients, micronutrients, leguminous, fabaceae, rhizobial, and a few more. The educational part may be all right, but I'm just looking for a way to make my organic gardening a bit easier. (Maybe next winter after my organic crops are all "in," I'll try to learn what these words mean. When I'm done, I'm fairly sure I'll be all "in.")
Mar 16, 2014 - 12:25:31 AM

Down the Road
More moose tales
One of my more "relaxed" encounters was the fall afternoon I arrived home at our "camp" on the shore of a lake to find a big bull moosey guy standing between the car and the camp. I had two options, well, actually one, and I chose it. I remained sitting in the car to await my turn to cross the yard. (The other option would have been to run for the camp. But Bullwinkle might have decided he liked a good afternoon tag game, especially if he were "it.")
Mar 9, 2014 - 12:20:17 AM

Down the Road
Moose I've met -- and chipmunks
It's one thing to be nervous about a bull moose when he's trotting off ahead of you. It's another thing when a bull moose is walking toward you. I remained motionless, partly because being scared stiff kind of excludes running and partly because there is no way a scared stiff man can outrun a moose.
Feb 23, 2014 - 12:27:33 AM

Down the Road
Ah, those old bus tales
Which is when I, the humble bus driver who knew more about getting buses up the mountain than did the ranger who had never gotten one up any mountain, spoke up. At the moment, we were halfway down the mountain. It was easy. Just shift into low gear, make sure you know where the brake pedal is, and enjoy the ride. I said, "Actually, going up is not a problem. It's going down."
Feb 16, 2014 - 12:33:17 AM

Down the Road
Route 219 has lots of curves, and as Henrietta took us around one, I saw that the road ahead was totally snow-covered. I hit her brakes, but it was too late to stop, so Henrietta took us off the road down into a field that was also snow-covered. I noticed that she was still moving, and I could see the road not too far away and above us, so I followed the old Maine driver's rule. If the vehicle is still moving, don't take your foot off the gas. We kept going and kept going until bye and bye we were back on the road again, just past the place where the snow ended.
Feb 9, 2014 - 12:30:01 AM

Down the Road
I have met hikers on the Appalachian Trail, their feet encased in heavy looking boots that I think would leave me exhausted should I try a step or two while wearing them. That's hiking. I mean walking, where you can wear basically any comfortable shoe and where you may be walking a mile or seven or eight -- but not over 2,000 miles as an AT hike involves.
Feb 2, 2014 - 12:33:05 AM

Down the Road
The supermarket
The parking lot is also fun. That's where people must have taken an oath to never look before they back up. That's also where people park so close to you, you can't open your door. When I drive my bus through the parking lot, a car or usually SUV is parked where I'm supposed to stop to let people get on the bus.
Jan 26, 2014 - 12:33:31 AM

Down the Road
Those old Belgrade, Maine vacations
We, like E.B. White, did our long-distant traveling in those days by train. From our Paoli, PA home to Philadelphia, then to New York's Penn Station, then to Boston or Portland by Pullman. Waking up after a Pullman night and looking out the window to view evergreen trees whisking past was a delightful other awakening, the now we were in the genuine north country.
Jan 19, 2014 - 12:30:23 AM

Down the Road
May I not have this dance
I believe they were my only two dances, except the time I had old Shep on a leash in the woods near my hometown of Paoli, PA and saw this furry critter coming at us. Thinking it was a bobcat, I braced myself for a thorough clawing. But it turned out to be a rabid fox, and it and I did a strange circular dance there in the deep woods with old Shep on his leash trying to nab Brer Fox. (Shep wasn't a bad dancer.)
Jan 12, 2014 - 12:33:05 AM

Down the Road
Let's get going - what's next
I hope it is to get rid of all the snow that has built up since just before Christmas. The ice seems to have disappeared, and we're back in our house after not having electricity for 3.5 days. But a new snow storm is heading our way tonight with up to eight inches. Another wish is for my editor, who lives in Mongolia and can edit "stuff" for the Millinocket online paper via the internet, to have hot water in winter as well as in summer. Life is apparently pretty primitive there. Plus he has to edit my "stuff." So, here's your wish from me, RP, hot water in winter.
Jan 5, 2014 - 12:35:27 AM

Down the Road
A New Year
Wikepedia states, "Romans originally dedicated New Year's Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings for whom the first month of the year (January) is named. Later, as a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year's Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, and is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church in present day....New Year's Day is probably the world's most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone."
Dec 29, 2013 - 12:33:35 AM

Down the Road
The Christmas newsletter
To our far away friends and relatives: Whom we don't hear from except once a year, when you send your Christmas letters and report on the doings of all those folks we don't know. Glad to hear they're doing well. (Well, we may know some of them.) If this didn't reach you, it's because we don't know how many stamps our dying post office requires for a Christmas letter.
Dec 22, 2013 - 5:23:06 AM

Down the Road
Ye Olde Christmas tree
The history of that famous tree: from a website, "Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness."
Dec 15, 2013 - 12:27:31 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece That black ice
The accidents are bad enough, sometimes deadly. But what always annoyed me are the hassles insurance companies cause. I've never had an insurance-company class accident from ice, black or otherwise, but I've had a couple from people who have run into me. One Massachusetts guy hit me from behind, while I was sitting at a red light in South Paris, which is generally how you're supposed to act when it is red. He apologized and said he didn't know Maine had any red lights.
Dec 8, 2013 - 12:27:00 AM

Down the Road
Those wonderful graveyards
A grave marker I'll probably never forget was in a tiny cemetery over in western Maine between Weld Corner on Route 142 and Coos Canyon in Byron on Route 17. The gravel road was called the Byron Road. On our way to climb Tumbledown Mountain, my father, mother, and I noticed a tiny graveyard on the north side of the road. We stopped and wandered through several people's final resting place.
Dec 1, 2013 - 12:25:08 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece: Ah, Thanksgiving
Of course, there were no Hannaford or Shaw's supermarkets, so there were no turkey TV dinners for that first Thanksgiving. I've often wondered how those first Pilgrims got along without the wonderful supermarkets that supply Big Butterball. I'll bet they wouldn't have been quite so thankful had they known what they were missing because supermarkets hadn't been invented yet.
Nov 24, 2013 - 12:27:11 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece: Writing ain't no picnic
Every writer needs an editor. In the newsroom, an editor fixed my so-called news stories to make them readable. At home, where I now am pecking away, Dolores reads my stuff to make it readable. If she can't understand a sentence or whatever else I wrote, I rewrite it until she can. If she's not available, I do it the risky way, I edit it myself.
Nov 17, 2013 - 12:27:02 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece Tales of Subarus (only some rusty)
The next day, Sally was safe and sound. Who in Massachusetts would steal anything from an old Subaru with Maine tags identifying her as being from yonder woods way up north?
Nov 10, 2013 - 1:15:26 AM

Down the Road
Getting theyah from heah
It's getting to be that time of year again, when many of us are planning that Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other miserable-cold-weather trip to relatives or to places that have nothing to do with relatives -- but most of our plans are about getting to Grandma's house, or someone else's. So, about getting there (theyah in Maineiac) from here (heah in Maineiac), read my non-expert advise...a story thrown in, of course.
Nov 3, 2013 - 4:17:23 AM

Down the Road
Ghosts, goblins, and Halloween candy
Unfortunately one reason Halloween has changed a lot is because some nasty people went from prank to crime. At least I think it was a crime when some no good unhappy villain type placed razor blades in candy. Now towns and churches host Halloween parties to keep the trick or treaters from either getting those criminally placed razor blades or themselves becoming pranksters of the worst kind. (I don't think toilet paper is the worst kind....just a real nuisance to remove.)
Oct 27, 2013 - 12:24:21 AM

Down the Road
Those fall chores
Today, I had to spray with the "full" hose nozzle to clean some leftover kitty stuff off the bottom of the kitty litter box. I turned the water on, aimed the nozzle, and nothing came out. I fooled with the nozzle. Nothing happened -- almost as bad as Congress getting things done. As when I think about Congress' "work," a few religious words leave my used-to-be-Presbyterian lips. Checked the thing that holds the hoses. Saw water spurting out from somewhere. Aha, the spigot at the house was working. Unwound all the hose until I found the spurting spot. I saw flat, sharply angled pieces of hose just beyond that. Straightened them out with more ex-Presbyterian words. Then I saw more of those kinks, fixed them and saw more.
Oct 20, 2013 - 12:37:28 AM

Down the Road
Critters big and small
Almost every day I see deer in Bar Harbor, generally a mom crossing the road then stopping to wait for one or two skippers to cross the road behind her. I haven't decided if these deer have trained themselves and their young 'uns to watch for traffic before crossing or if they just cross and hope for the best. This year I'm seeing many porcupines, most dead from having been hit by vehicles.
Oct 13, 2013 - 12:27:20 AM

Down the Road
Why wouldn't the new well pump work?
So I did what all home-grown home-repair guys do. Nothing, because I was too busy for three days, working, doing some writing, not killing the cat for always being in the way, and other important home-grown home-repair guy stuff. Finally I had a break in my retirement schedule. I had already phoned our electrician to get him to check the wiring the plumber had done to give us dribbly water. But that break came, and I descended into my favorite cellar, ours, the one that Dolores hates because its a cellar.
Oct 6, 2013 - 12:27:24 AM

Down the Road
Photographs of the Week: Milt and Delores Love Maine

Oct 6, 2013 - 12:02:43 AM

Down the Road
When the well pump goes
The long and short and dirty and clean of it is that the town fathers had to direct the town water department to clean Long Pond from which most people in Southwest Harbor drunk, like it or not. They cleaned it by adding stuff -- hereafter called gunk -- so they would have something to clean. Then they built this huge facility to clean the formerly-clean-but-now-gunked-up lake water so folks could have a sip.
Sep 29, 2013 - 12:30:26 AM

Down the Road
Photographs of the week: Scenes from Maine

Sep 29, 2013 - 12:02:27 AM

Down the Road
Owls Head Transportation Museum, driving, flying in "the day"
So we aimed our Toyota toward the Owls Head Transportation Museum to see how those in the past got there -- or to wherever they were getting. We went in and met the young man selling tickets, $10 for adults, $8 for old duffers such as obviously he thought I was as that's what I paid..A good sized museum, which entertained Dolores and I for about 45 minutes through the car and old airplane sections.
Sep 22, 2013 - 12:42:03 AM

Down the Road
When computers drive you nuts
Computers are great! Except for when they don't do as they're told. As in yesterday and today's outburst of misbehavior. It misbehaved until I called it a Windows, then it smartened up and behaved. I sent out a couple of things to a person I didn't really know. One came back, and this morning that recipient sent me an e-mail, saying one of the e-mails hadn't arrived... But the important thing to remember from all this computer-and-e-mail-driven nonsense is how great computers are.... Except when they don't work.
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:20:16 AM

Down the Road
Walks, hikes, and wikes
I recall several good hikes, that mostly involved climbing steep trails that ended with gorgeous views of distant country. I'll never forget taking the kids up Saddleback, the long uphill with the dome summit. The Owl in Baxter State Park provided a real climb -- definitely a hike or climb, not a walk -- which ended basically atop a narrow piece of geography from which we looked down on the majestic lower slopes of Katahdin's northwest side.
Sep 8, 2013 - 12:47:07 AM

Down the Road
Maine's ugliest drives
Ellsworth's High Street rates right down there, perhaps the lowest on my list of ugly drives. Partly that's because all traffic, including the about three million tourist vehicles that visit Acadia National Park each year, is forced to go through Ellsworth to get where they're going. A half-century ago someone thought of putting a bypass around our unfair city, such as other busy towns enjoy, but the idea was put on hold -- and is still holding. It may be that the town business owners think that all those people stuck in traffic will stop at their stores.
Sep 1, 2013 - 8:45:21 PM

Down the Road
Maine railroads
I don't know why trains fascinate people. They do fascinate me for whatever reason, and they have from my childhood with my father, brother, and uncles working for various railroads. I also recall our family walking the half mile to the Paoli, PA train station, the end of the line for local trains from Philadelphia and the first stop from Philadelphia for express trains to the west. We would sit on a bank above the tracks and watch those trains come, stop, and go.
Aug 25, 2013 - 12:47:18 AM

Down the Road
The Open Ocean
I mentioned my brother-in-law and his wife's GPS, because John set it to record our outward bound trip to Marlboro Beach. But -- here comes my fun -- tricking a GPS is indeed fun. We went back up to Route 1, where Dolores told them of an ice-cream stand, Jordans, if we turned right. Of course, the GPS was in her scratchy voice instructing John to turn left -- home, you New York tourists, you. Home in the woods west of Ellsworth is left. "No, no," said Dolores to the scratchy-voice lady. "We want ice cream. We're going right."
Aug 18, 2013 - 12:17:08 AM

Down the Road
After the 'glory moment'
Yesterday I saw a man, who two years ago had hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from George to Katahdin in Maine, walking along a sidewalk in our town. During his hike, I followed some of his postings somewhere on the internet. When he returned home and to his job, he appeared happy, actually triumphant. I noticed for awhile he was walking with a woman friend, apparently a romantic venture. But yesterday he looked sad, perhaps depressed.
Aug 11, 2013 - 12:17:11 AM

Down the Road
Campin' in the old campgrounds, Part Two
One of the finest camping stories I ever heard was from my late father, who may or may not be accurately defined as my forefather. When he was in his twenties, he had a buddy who, like so many Republicans and Tea Partyers today, always carried his pistol when he went camping -- in case they were attacked by Democrats, I would guess.
Aug 4, 2013 - 1:23:59 AM

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