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Down the Road

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Down the Road
All stuck up
I survived that hospital stay by watching workmen on a roof outside my window. They were replacing the roof above that roof on which they walked, and I got to watch them. Boy, such excitement. I also rediscovered that there is not much on TV worth watching. I was only too happy to escape and come home. Home is where, if you're feeling a tad weak, you can lie on the sofa instead of a hospital bed and rediscover there is not much worth watching on it. It's also where the cat can scratch -- me -- once in awhile, and I can take limps, since I'm still using those walking poles, outside for awhile.
Feb 7, 2016 - 9:48:08 AM

Down the Road
Walking to walk
Walking! I've done a lot of that in my too-short life, Katahdin (notice, one word, meaning Greatest Mountain...not Mount Katahdin as those new guys like to say and write) a half-dozen times, several trips up Mount Washington, and several high mountains along the Appalachian Trail in Maine. Been there, done dat. Now I'm learning to walk all over again. It's a little hard because I'm leaning on a couple of walking poles that make things a bit easier. No woods walking yet, because everybody -- a doctor or two and Dolores -- think I'll fall in the woods.
Jan 31, 2016 - 7:25:25 AM

Down the Road
Trying to retire
When Dolores visits Hannaford's in Belfast, I wait in the car...too hard to limp fast enough to keep up with her. I've seen these middle age and older guys walking from and to their cars and pickups. I wonder if I had any of these geezers as students when I taught, too many years ago. I also want to introduce Dolores to Wolf Neck State Park down in Freeport. You may know Freeport for L.L.Bean. I know it for Wolf Neck State Park, where there are quiet trails through the woods to the ocean...or there were when I was last there.
Jan 24, 2016 - 1:07:46 AM

Down the Road
Where are the birds?
I have a bird question to ask you, since your column is about birds. Where are they today? Why aren't they showing up as usual? For background, the sky is blue, no wind is blowing, and we're all waiting for that next storm to show up so the sky won't be blue much longer. Now the cat, whose name we change so much I now forget it. It may be "Pest." Or something else. She lies on a cushion that's on a stool that's by the window. Although she is usually asleep, I noticed this morning she spotted both the seagull and raven. Not bad for a cat that's asleep.
Jan 17, 2016 - 12:05:03 AM

Down the Road
A walk worth remembering this new year
My boot heel got caught between two boulders. Kind of an interesting situation, way up above the pond and not far north of the ocean, and I couldn't move. I've tripped on the north side of Baldpate, dropped a blowdown log with sharp branches on my leg west of Long Pond, had a hanging six-inch branch bang me on the head pretty far up on the AT in western Maine, slipped and fell on the ice in the Birds' Acre woods in Ellsworth, and a not enjoyed few more down times I hadn't been expecting.
Jan 10, 2016 - 12:52:42 AM

Down the Road
Replacing those railroad tracks.
The day after Christmas, we took a short drive out Route 7 from Belfast and parked in a parking lot that used to be for passengers getting on the tourist railroad that took them over a bridge and through some woods to Brooks. It is fascinating what the city (or town) of Belfast has done. Rather than talking about future improvements for residents and visitors to enjoy, they are one by one creating them. If I could shout, "Let's hear it for Belfast!" I here would do so.
Dec 27, 2015 - 5:03:34 AM

Down the Road
Oh Christmas
Poor old Santa in his cubicle in the store, where the not yet awake-to-the facts line up to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. But wait! There's a real Christmas story buried just behind all this commotion. Mary and Joseph, with little money, found a stable where she could place their baby. Their baby, remember him, the one who was born in a stall somewhere -- because his parents had no money.
Dec 20, 2015 - 3:15:33 AM

Down the Road
Those cats didn't evolve
I have a feeling, just a feeling, that guys such as Darwin and others who insist on evolution were and are looking for a way out. Out from what? From believing that God the Creator made these critters they way they became....I'm not discounting evolution within a species. Sure some dog became a cocker spaniel. But I'll bet that neither Mom nor Dad was a wolf...Let's really play with the extremes of evolution, total evolution. Did a mouse become a cow? No? That's what total evolutionists would have you believe if they could get you to think that little. Well, maybe not from a mouse to a cow, but from some critter to another critter.
Dec 13, 2015 - 4:58:00 AM

Down the Road
Others' Moose tales
Moral of story: when you and moose meet each other, decide which way each of you will jump to miss the other. Missing the other is always a good choice, when you're the person and not the moose. Charlie wasn't sure of that thought process. He was sure that without further pause, Mr., Miss, or Mrs. Moose sneezed, soaking Charlie and parts of the pickup that were nearby.
Dec 6, 2015 - 12:47:34 AM

Down the Road
Was that Thanksgiving?
We're told those Wampanoag walked through the great forest to get to the feast, lugging their deer and other feast stuff to the great feast. (Did the cans of cranberry sauce rattle during that hike?) Things are better today, I think. I walk through the great forest on a trail someone else created, but I do it for pleasure when the weather's warmer than at our November Thanksgiving.Ah, such great memories of relatives fighting and arguing. My brother was always good for a battle. ....Too bad we had no Wampanoag for him to engage in battle. Of course, had we had the Wampanoag for Thanksgiving, they may have won that battle. (That would have taken care of my non-peace-loving brother.)
Nov 29, 2015 - 5:38:12 AM

Down the Road
Moose tales retold
Another moose tale I well remember happened when I was reading the paper after eating breakfast. I remember the tale, but I didn't see the moose that created the tale. This happened in the town of Danforth, where I was principal of the elementary school, which isn't part of the tale but I want you to know that I know where Danforth is. It's right...well, more to the right. It's just up a whole bunch of roads from here.
Nov 22, 2015 - 12:43:46 AM

Down the Road
Tools of the trade - Cameras and Computers
Now I have graduated to a table-top iMac, which can print tales of some repute through our home printer or can send them directly to the publisher. I don't do news now that I'm retired. I send my Down the Road a Piece column to an editor in China. Yup, China. He then sends them to an online paper in Millinocket. Millinocket is about as far as I need to go. The editor can be in China, if he wants, or in Australia from whence he hails, or even in Millinocket. (He's a nice guy, who does write English...or Maineiac or whatever it is that we in the Pine Tree State speak or write.)
Nov 15, 2015 - 2:25:31 AM

Down the Road
The rabid fox
I discovered it had bitten my jeans but not my leg. I tried to relax and headed on home to brag a bit. The next day in school during phys ed class, where I stood wearing my little white shorts and not really taking part in the softball game, other seventh graders approached me to see if I was rabid. I didn't think fast enough, so showed them my unbitten ankle while they waited for me to start foaming at the mouth.
Nov 8, 2015 - 12:18:42 AM

Down the Road
I remember some of those childhood Halloweens down in Pennsylvania, where there was first a Mischief Night followed by Halloween itself. Of course, in my bigoted family, the mischief was blamed on the Boy Scouts. My family was great for placing blame....Up in Bethel, where I first practiced the trade of preaching, we had a late teen, whom we got to know. He never practiced pranks on us, but I toted him here and there for adventures in the forest and along the Appalachian Trail. But he had practiced some kind of evil -- not related to Halloween, because a state trooper told me he was planning to arrest this late teen. I warned the late teen to start behaving, but he must not have. He was arrested.
Nov 1, 2015 - 4:07:11 AM

Down the Road
Getting well enough to be well
The column is under way, but I'm starving. No Dolores. I think it's kind of a tough love deal. Take care of myself. But it's much easier when she's at home taking care of me. I have no idea where she is. The car is outside, so she hasn't driven off and abandoned me in my getting-well crisis. But I'm starved, which I don't think helps the healing process.
Oct 25, 2015 - 12:12:59 AM

Down the Road
The first walk
Fernald's Neck Preserve is 328 acres of quiet woods and trails. That's big enough to satisfy even me -- even though my after-hospital walking will be a bit limited. "Fernald's Neck was protected for conservation in 1969, when local residents, among them the late Charles Chatfield of Rockport, raised funds and formed a corporation in partnership with The Nature Conservancy to purchase 285 acres....At the parking area, ("arear" in Maineiac) we saw across the lake the cliffs of Camden Hills State Park, the one from where the woman was pushed or fell a century ago. That view was awe inspiring. We walked some, down one path to a large boulder at the lake's edge and another through deeper woods.
Oct 18, 2015 - 7:07:40 AM

Down the Road
The hospital fun
I spent three weeks in ye olde hospital. No pain at all. I could look out the window in daytime and watch workmen replacing roof shingles. Or I could watch pretty dumb daytime TV. Or I could irritate the nurses with my care. They were a good bunch. Daytime TV is great as long as you don't watch it. Generally the Belfast hospital treated me well. I had no complaints. If you have to be in a hospital, choose the Belfast one.
Oct 11, 2015 - 3:20:12 AM

Down the Road
Too many unfavorite moose
I think it was that young bull rather than the one that swam across a pond toward me that may have been my unfavorite, or the one that stood near our camp in Brooks so I didn't dare get out of the car, no the one that stared in my dining room window and watched me eat breakfast. Nor any of the others.
Sep 13, 2015 - 8:25:55 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece - Buck Fever
I remember deer hunting with the late Clarence and Jim. Jim set the pace by racing through the woods. Not only could I have not held my rifle still enough to shoot the woods itself, but my rasping breath probably either scared any deer within a mile fleeing or had them rolling in the woods laughing. I never got buck fever. Well, there was that time atop a low mountain near Songo Pond, when I in the midst of a deer hunt came face to antlered face with one. He stared at me, and said, "You wouldn't shoot a harmless buck, would you?"
Sep 6, 2015 - 4:45:30 AM

Down the Road
Down that (late) summer Road a Piece
Melanoma occurred a few years ago. All my time in Maine since my little-noted arrival in 1965, I've worn shorts in summer. I used to often also go without a shirt. In the canoe, in the garden, on the trail, on the mountaintops when they were warm enough. Why wear a shirt, you just have to launder it. Then in the early 1990s, I found out why I should wear a shirt in summer. I looked in the mirror and saw this horrible dark shape. Dolores looked too and declared it a horrible dark shape. About that time a hospital ran a free cancer-seeking clinic, so we attended. After telling me three times she didn't want to alarm me, so scaring me to death, the doctor announced that the horrible dark shape was melanoma, skin cancer.
Aug 30, 2015 - 4:50:24 AM

Down the Road
There's no place like the Maine woods
The trails in the Maine side of the White Mountain National Forest I enjoyed. But I had to leave the car at a certain spot, where a gully ended the driving. Which was okay, because walking several trails in there, usually by myself, was scenic and relaxing. (I can't describe those trails exactly at this moment, because Miss Cat is busy sleeping on page 10 of the Gazatteer.)
Aug 23, 2015 - 6:57:26 AM

Down the Road
In the good old summer time.
During our Maine vacations, summers were a bit cooler. I recall driving my great aunt's 1952 Plymouth here and there, like up to Baxter State Park. We drove that trip into the park on the dirt park road until we reached Katahdin Stream Campground and climbed the big mountain the next day. A ranger told me several years ago, the park had never had a dirt perimeter road. Either my memory got sideswiped by a trotting moose or she was too young to remember.
Aug 16, 2015 - 8:12:24 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road in a wheelchair
Anyway, back to the non-title of this week's blabbing on-and-on, about the wheelchair and I. Today Dolores insisted that we take it with us in the car and I would ride in it during our afternoon walk in a Belfast park. She brought the Scion hatchback to the door, then pushed me in the wheelchair out to the car, I got up and leaned on one of my hiking poles to help steady the old guy. I also grabbed the nearest handle to the wheelchair. She grabbed the other handle. We both heaved and hahed, not heave-ho as in the movies, but heave-hah as when your half of the wheelchair weighs about 345 pounds.
Aug 2, 2015 - 7:22:57 AM

Down the Road
National Park
Now you folks in Millinocket and that area feel bad that the mills have closed. But those mills are not coming back. If all those folk in Europe had decided that America would not provide anything good for them, I'll bet they would have stayed in Europe. I suspect not many of their descendants wish they were living in Europe. I'm sure the park will not grab adjoining or nearby land. I'm sure the park will not try to interfere with your lives and your making a living. I'm sure the park will bring visitors and money to your area. I'm guessing some of you will even enjoy a national park in your area.
Jul 26, 2015 - 8:43:14 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road and Up the Trail
I think the park rangers used the correct response in citing him for his alleged illegal actions. If he knew about it, it's too bad this "causey" guy didn't let the plans for a party atop the mountain be known to the park rangers. The rangers would have stopped all the ruckus before it occurred. Allegedly, this guy "ran" along the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. I doubt that he actually "ran" a lot of it. For example, I'm pretty sure he didn't "run" up the boulders on the Appalachian Trail, the Hunt Trail in the park, just above timberline. There are metal assistance rungs -- for the hiker to grab and pull him or herself up over those boulders.
Jul 19, 2015 - 6:40:20 AM

Down the Road
Down the (Searsport) Rud a Piece
We moved here because, when I taught school in Thorndike, I lived in Swanville and got to know the area from Searsport to Camden. Until I have a faulty hip replaced at the Belfast hospital, our "sport" is taking photos, many of which become our iMac screen savers. Once that new hip is in place, we plan to do a lot of walking on the many trails in the region.
Jul 12, 2015 - 6:56:15 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece to... I forget where
Then we headed out John Street in search of a back way back to Belfast and Searsport to avoid once more driving through Camden. After a few right turns, we somehow found ourselves back on John Street, heading back to Route 1. (Mind you, I wasn't lost, just a bit confused. Maineiacs, even imported ones like me, never get lost. Just turned around.) After driving through busy Campden again, we headed toward Belfast on Route 52.
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:06:56 AM

Down the Road
Down the Searsport Road a Piece
We're settling in at our new "rent" in Searsport, an apartment about a half-mile off the nearest road, Routes 1 and 3. I used to live in Swanville a hundred or so years ago, while I was teaching in Thorndike. That's how I got to know the area. Belfast, about five miles away, has a nice system of parks within the city. Yesterday we stopped at one of them and watched a white cruise ship docked at the town dock. We know nothing about the "American Glory," except it made a peaceful background as we visited one of the city's parks.
Jun 28, 2015 - 9:55:46 PM

Down the Road
Down the Same Old Road
Years later at a ministers' conference, another minister declared that I was a communist because I didn't like softball. He was half right. I didn't like softball. But I loved volleyball, which apparently didn't prevent me from being a communist. (Volleyball didn't require any skills, just jump up and down and holler and take an occasional swat at the ball as it went flying past my ball-avoiding head.) I may have -- actually not -- been a communist, but it was that preacher who said I was who a few years ago was caught "running around" (without a ball) with a deacon's wife. I don't know what happened to the wife, but the preacher ended up leaving the state -- and I hope the ministry.
Jun 20, 2015 - 8:17:30 PM

Down the Road
One of two phones that didn't work, but now do -- we hope.
I spent two and a-half hours on the phone at the cable company's somewhere-in-the-South headquarters, trying to get what was broke fixed. That was yesterday. Today it got fixed. Turned out that one of the "boxes" chuck full of electronic signals and circuits was worn out.
Jun 14, 2015 - 1:27:10 AM

Down the Road
Down the just-moved Road about 30 miles from where we were
Nor do I recall how Mike, one of their nine kids, and I became friends. What I do remember is Mike helping me onto Little Guy, who was anything but little. Looking back, I think he stood about 16 hands tall, a hand, I believe being four inches in length. He was a giant to me with Mike teaching me how to ride. Little Guy and I rode all through the woods, which I'm guessing must have been about 20 acres or so between Suburbia and the Great Valley. The Great Valley had once been farms, and there still were some. But Suburbia was quickly moving in to where the farms had been.
Jun 9, 2015 - 4:56:35 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road some distance
Summer in Maine I find interesting, unlike the hot summers of my childhood in suburban Philadelphia, where it would become hot and stay that way. I remember standing in the back yard as a kid, dreaming of our annual August trip to Maine. It was okay in Maine in the daytime, not as hot as Pennsylvania but hot enough to be comfortable. It was the evenings when things turned arctic. On would go the sweaters and even jackets to stay warm. This, if I remember, was part of the fun....different than Pennsylvania.
May 31, 2015 - 6:38:10 AM

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

Down the Road
State parks opening, a sign spring has arrived
I saw a letter to the editor today, encouraging us all to go up and visit Peaks Kenny State Park a few miles north of Dover Foxcroft. I've never been there, largely because it's pretty far from our home, about 70 miles I believe without measuring the miles in the Gazetteer. That map says we can picnic, camp, and otherwise enjoy the park alongside Sebec Lake, another place we haven't visited. In western Maine, we've never visited the tiny Range Pond State Park, but we've been to Sebago Lake State Park and even ridden the river boat there. When we lived in South Paris, we spent much time on the trails of the White Mountain National Forest, but that's not a state park.
May 17, 2015 - 8:35:17 AM

Down the Road
Down the Road a Piece -- with critters
In Acadia National Park, there are trails and paved walks where evidence of beaver action is all around. There are felled trees nearby, and if it's near water, their round homes are starting to be visible. I've stood and watched beaver, usually not at work but at swim. They come right along, as long as they are unaware of our presence. But when they learn we're watching, there is a quick, loud slap of their tales on the water, and they disappear.
May 9, 2015 - 9:28:10 PM

Down the Road
Down the muddy Road a Piece
I came to Maine to have fun, to enjoy places such as Baxter State Park. I've been there over a half-dozen times, climbed Katahdin (note: not Mt. Katahdin, as "Katahdin" means the greatest mountain) six times. The first time with a family I met just below timberline. I accompanied them to the summit and down again below tree line. It was a shocking revelation, that there is that much rock, open space, and cold air blowing around up there.
May 3, 2015 - 12:05:32 AM

Down the Road
Down the Religious Road a Piece
Martin Luther, 10 November 1483 -- 18 February 1546, was "a German friar, priest and professor of theology who was a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his (Luther's) Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.
Apr 26, 2015 - 7:05:34 AM

Down the Road
"Putting them down"
I knew these pets loved us, but I never realized how deeply we loved them. Most of our cats were carried off by a neighborhood owl while outside. At least that's what we thought, because we had seen the owl hanging around in the trees. It's tough, opening the door and stepping out to find your pets and not find them.
Apr 19, 2015 - 6:18:51 PM

Down the Road
Getting ready for spring and some walks
A year or so after Dolores underwent two brain operations at Massachusetts General Hospital for a couple of brain aneurysms, one which was leaking and one which was about to leak, I took her for a walk at Great Head in Acadia. We were walking south and we came to a dozen-foot-high cliff we needed to go down. She had never done much trail hiking before I met her. I kind of guided her down, a new adventure for her. I had forgotten her limitations both from her lack of hiking experience and her still recovering from the brain operations. But she made it down okay, and we continued our walk to Sand Beach.
Apr 13, 2015 - 8:22:30 PM

Down the Road
Easter -- spring is here
The biblical Easter story is a wonderful story, especially for people like me who believe it. Jesus rising from the dead, communicating with his followers, and finally rising into the sky. As far as I know, Christianity is the only religion that has such an optimistic story.
Apr 6, 2015 - 9:04:34 AM

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