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Last Updated: Dec 21, 2014 - 3:20:08 AM 

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Down the Road

Restore The Republic - The Home of the Freedom Movement!
Down the Road
The parts of Christmas
If your Christmas is centered on that first part, the birth of Jesus, feel free to let me know that. It would be nice to know that someone's actually is. The fourth part of Christmas is that the long, dark days also seem to bring difficulties, usually money problems. So Christmas sort-of becomes the day we can temporarily set aside those problems and concentrate on at least those two other parts of Christmas, the tree and the gifts, which form the memories of Christmases past. (Think about how many Christmas movies feature those tough times, fictionally lightened by Christmas Day.)
Dec 21, 2014 - 3:20:05 AM

Down the Road
Self survey
I hope the picture of the lawn that you are giving us with the retirement house you're offering us shows a much smaller lawn than ours. I haven't yet seen that picture you sent, but I'm sure the lawn is much too big. I don't mind if the rest of the yard is cluttered with trees and brush, but that lawn needs to be small.
Dec 14, 2014 - 12:20:01 AM

Down the Road
Snow/ice hiking and falling
One other time I fell "but good" was when I had been walking in the Birdsacre woods in Ellsworth. The ground was snow covered, and I stopped to rest a bit while leaning on a branch of a sapling. Suddenly, and I don't recommend this for practice at home, I was sitting down. The bottom part of my anatomy hurt, and my arm that was still clinging to the sapling hurt.
Dec 7, 2014 - 5:46:18 AM

Down the Road
The Beautiful Scenery of My Retirement
For your dreaming times, the Craignair Inn we occasionally visit down along the ocean. Milt Gross Photo

Dec 7, 2014 - 5:03:13 AM

Down the Road
After Thanksgiving -- or instead of it
Then there was this year's -- Thanksgiving without baking a turkey or going out to a nice restaurant for the meal. Thanksgiving at home with no electricity. When it came back on, electricity became our Thanksgiving. The next day, we still haven't dug out the car. We're too busy being thankful -- and enjoying the feeling of power, electric power that is.
Nov 30, 2014 - 12:20:45 AM

Down the Road
Tough spots in Maine's woods
My father and I once got turned around -- not lost -- on a fairly steep cliff on the other side of Tumbledown. We couldn't see where we'd climbed up, but we could see the mountaintop pond and other mountains in the distance. They gave us directions to climb safely back to the trail we had been following before we became adventuresome. Moral of that tale; if you feel adventuresome, spell "adventuresome" ten times and then don't do it.
Nov 23, 2014 - 12:27:54 AM

Down the Road
The Air Force Reserves
On the way home, one of the doors in our aircraft wouldn't stay shut while we were high above somewhere, so we tied it closed with some clothesline. And one of our engines began to lose oil, so our pilot was on the radio trying to find out where the nearest C119 gas station was located. Of course, the radio wasn't functioning correctly, which made the entire trip home kind of scary.
Nov 16, 2014 - 12:20:00 AM

Down the Road
Belfast
Belfast has other advantages besides providing hide-out spots from insurance salesmen. It is not far from Bangor -- which may be an advantage -- or Camden if you like summer crowds or even Augusta if you like to watch politicians at nonwork. It is not near crowded-in-summer Acadia National Park, which is either an advantage or disadvantage depending on your view of Acadia. And it is not that far from Moody Mountain Road in Lincolnville, where there is a 12-foot-tall sign post bearing the names of a dozen places, some of which are even real towns.
Nov 9, 2014 - 3:53:31 AM

Down the Road
The woods
My father and I once wandered off a pasture into the edge of a woods over in Belgrade. We had been in familiar turf; we could see up the field to the road and even to the house. Suddenly we were in strange country, low trees and brush, the only paths those of cattle that had wandered there. Those hoof-made paths wound and zigzagged. A bit frightening, as now we had no idea where we were -- where the farmhouse was.
Nov 2, 2014 - 12:20:17 AM

Down the Road
Rambling while retired
But now I'm thinking about hikes I probably won't and will take in my future after the hip surgery. I probably won't tackle Katahdin again (six climbs are probably enough) but I will likely head up the much smaller Bald Peak in Acadia. It's got all the features of Maine's higher mountains, only in miniature. I probably won't trip on the north side of Baldpate again, but then once was enough. I can find much lower places to trip. There are lots of places we still plan to go, such as the state museum in Augusta and old Fort Western there. You can drive right up to them, and there are no steep, rocky trails inside.
Oct 26, 2014 - 6:35:13 AM

Down the Road
Fall or autumn
Even when they spoke of fall, they couldn't agree when, exactly, it took place. In the 17th and 18th centuries, dictionaries by both Thomas Blount and Samuel Johnson noted that some thought that fall began in August and ended in November, while others contested that it began in September (at the equinox) and ended in December (with the solstice)."
Oct 19, 2014 - 6:12:56 AM

Down the Road
On with retirement
I remember when I used to walk fast on the mountain trails, a nice memory which probably won't be repeated in the near future. I recall the Beehive in Acadia National Park, where I didn't fall hundreds of feet into the ocean but felt like I would; I remember climbing Katahdin six times, which I won't be doing again in the near future; I recall climbing Mount Washington, seeing snow in August and almost losing a teenager who left us at the top and legged it pretty fast for the bottom -- but got turned around until a ranger called us at the top to tell us where the kid was; I remember the slippery leaves on the trail up Mount Batti in Camden, where I slipped back in the day when slipping was no big deal.
Oct 12, 2014 - 12:17:12 AM

Down the Road
The narrow gauge choo choo ride continues
Boothbay Railway Village's narrow gauge property even has a village green, which is where children's activities are held these days. Years ago, most New England towns had greens where villagers could graze their animals and other activities occurred. Boothbay Railway Village also has a variety of buildings from the past, including an old school house, a chapel, a town hall used today by Boothbay residents for town meetings, and an antique auto museum.
Oct 5, 2014 - 12:23:31 AM

Down the Road
The narrow gauge railroad at Boothbay
According to the pamphlet, the standard four-foot 8.5-inches wide track had its origins in Roman soldiers driving two-horse carts. The two horses were a combined width of about four feet. The carts left tracks, and in order not to damage the carts it was important to keep the same width of the road. The standard gauge railroad developed from the width of those roads.
Sep 28, 2014 - 5:45:02 AM

Down the Road
Retiring
I didn't move to Maine in 1965 to work. I came to enjoy the mountains, the trails, the lakes, the ocean, and the outdoors generally. Did I? No. I had to work to be able to live in the Pine Tree State. Been working all that time until now. The worst part about retirement is I won't see my friends on the bus each day. The best part is I won't have to get up at 4 a.m. to see my friends on the bus each day.
Sep 24, 2014 - 7:58:15 AM

Down the Road
Crazy things happen
If you have --or can make up -- the answers to any of these questions, please let me know. I have to dash off and don't have time to dream up the answers. But there must be answers.
Sep 14, 2014 - 12:25:35 AM

Down the Road
Sammy (Wicked) takes over
But her name got changed, when Dolores took her to the veterinarian for an exam. He found no problems, no worms, no fleas, just this four-pound tiger kitten looking up at him as he studied her. "The official prognosis is that she's wicked cute," the vet explained to Dolores.
Sep 7, 2014 - 12:27:48 AM

Down the Road
Sammy moves in
Every other cat or kitten we've taken in spent two or three days hiding somewhere out of sight and finally tiptoeing out to where he or she could keep a better eye on us. One "hid" on the hot water heater in the back kitchen, in plain sight but maybe out of sight in her mind. When she finally came out, she took over for awhile until we all got used to each other.
Aug 31, 2014 - 12:25:23 AM

Down the Road
Milt Gross Book Review: "Standing on Principal" by Frank Vetro
One outcome of what happened was clear in that by the end of the book, Vetro had still not been returned to his previous administration position and had excepted a teaching position that was on a much lower scale. I would not recommend Standing on Principal for its writing or literary value, but I do recommend it for its apparently true story of justice gone wrong. The writer was definitely wronged, according to the book.
Aug 31, 2014 - 12:05:40 AM

Down the Road
The old Twombly farm
How things change over the years! "Tom" e-mailed me recently that he had purchased the farm in Belgrade that had once belonged to the Twombly family. He also sent me photos of how the farm looked when he purchased it, run down and not at all like the Twombly farm I remembered from my childhood.
Aug 24, 2014 - 12:23:14 AM

Down the Road
A whole bunch of literary yesteryears
Guys, if you're open to some real adventure, encourage your spouse to go to the recycling center by herself. Mine did, the other day, and came back with 13 volumes dating from 1848 until I'm not sure when. I'll probably read all of them except the 1848 copy of Vanity Fair, which is in too tender a condition for actual reading. The print is very fine and the book cover in precarious condition.
Aug 17, 2014 - 12:20:01 AM

Down the Road
Trip to Maine long ago
A dozen or so miles out on a country road (Route 135) we came to her farmhouse, an old cape held up by a six-foot stone balanced on end in the center of the basement. (During our second or third year, my father and I found Katahdin on a map. We went there, camping, during Maine's frigid August evenings and seeing our first moose. It was that mountain, woods, and moose experience that locked me into loving the Pine Tree State.)
Aug 10, 2014 - 12:33:30 AM

Down the Road
Moose tales
I have found tales (not tails) about moose to be favorites of both Maine residents and visitors to our moose-populated state. My two most recent moose sightings were both in or bordering Acadia National Park, both from a road. So if you're scouting for the big, dumb beasties, my advice is to stay right on the roads, unless you enjoy puckerbrushing. (But puckerbrushing can be noisy, which tends to cause moose to puckerbrush away from where you're puckerbrushing.)
Aug 3, 2014 - 6:30:53 AM

Down the Road
Flying years
The things that stick to my mind the most are what I did with my family. I remember a number of hikes with the kids. They may have been highlights. I remember the youngest, Scottie, riding the shoulder seat-pack and yanking at trees as we climbed Saddleback. I remember us all atop Baldpate. I remember looking at slides and asking the kids which mountain this was, and their reply, "Baldpate, of course." We had climbed that one several times.
Jul 27, 2014 - 4:17:07 AM

Down the Road
Growing old
I also feel old when people hold doors open for me at stores and restaurants. I explain to them that this is why I carry the walking stick. Not that I need it, but it gets people to open doors for me. They understand and chuckle, but I see in their eyes they're glad they're not getting old. What a surprise they have coming!
Jul 20, 2014 - 3:27:04 AM

Down the Road
Those cute wily fox
My friend had the rabies shots. I had none, because my hot long jeans kept his mouth away from my tender white leg. But I missed my chance in gym class the next day, when we were all outside playing baseball. The other kids had heard about Brer's attempting to bite me and wanted to know if I had rabies. I missed the chance to slobber at them.
Jul 13, 2014 - 2:27:17 AM

Down the Road
Nonindependence Night
Why the fireworks? Is it because the U.S. declared independence from Great Britain with a lot of shooting? Perhaps. But in reality the shooting was only the means to an end. The end was the independence from English taxes and English control. I believe it was the Declaration of Independence that we should be celebrating -- done on paper by a group of men around a table or in uncomfortable chairs in Philadelphia. I have never read of any fireworks in that room.
Jul 6, 2014 - 2:23:09 AM

Down the Road
Camping in the old Swanville camp
One of my bus passengers, whose name is not Lucy except for in this column, lives in Bar Harbor and has a camp in Swanville. Lucy built her camp on borrowed property about 20 years ago, and though living in Bar Harbor, finds her way several times a year to her camp. Where she stays and relaxes, although the camp has no electricity, running water, or septic system.
Jun 29, 2014 - 1:55:10 AM

Down the Road
Saving the turtle
The jeweler also told me he picks up snappers -- brave guy -- by touching their noses with something besides his finger, and when they pull their nose in they are somehow paralyzed. He then just picks them up and moves them.
Jun 22, 2014 - 10:25:29 PM

Down the Road
Bent over with stress but still standing

Jun 18, 2014 - 12:02:48 AM

Down the Road
Wolves in Maine?
According to a Bangor Daily News article, a "photograph of a wolflike animal purportedly was taken in the Gorham area in October. However, a state wildlife biologist, while agreeing the animal resembles a wolf, is "very skeptical" the scene was photographed in that part of Maine during the fall, suggesting - because of the vegetation and plant matter - that the locale looks more like Oregon."
Jun 15, 2014 - 6:20:37 AM

Down the Road
Obtaining raw milk
One of those dairies I think is buying their milk is Stonyfield Farms, a New Hampshire company that specializes in organic milk. I think their buying milk from these turned-loose-upon-the-dairy-industry Moo Milk farmers fits right in, because we used to buy Stonyfield Farms milk before Moo Milk came along and we gave it a try.
Jun 8, 2014 - 12:30:02 AM

Down the Road
Pretty good bear tale
A bus driver told me that while he was driving said bus down the Acadia National Park Loop Road south of the Jordan Pond restaurant in the middle of the park, he spotted a black bear crossing the road ahead and going into the woods. A passenger wanted to get a picture of the bear, so he stopped the bus. She got off and followed the bear into the woods. The bear, however, didn't like being followed, so he turned and followed the tourist back to the bus -- at a run.
Jun 1, 2014 - 12:35:55 AM

Down the Road
Canoeing and tipping over
My oldest son, then in his early teens, wanted to canoe on Daicey Pond in Baxter during a birthday getaway for him. He was in the canoe, and I was on the dock, when I asked him if he wanted any instructions. "No!" he informed dear old Dad. Dear old Dad then pushed the canoe away from the dock, and dear old Dad stood and chuckled
May 25, 2014 - 12:25:31 AM

Down the Road
Pay what you can, deah
These electronic machines respond to your phone call, when the person you're trying to reach isn't there. In the case of employees, they usually aren't there. But a short time later Dolores received a call from the hospital. She actually talked to a live person -- which tempted her to drop the phone and jump up and down for glee. The caller told her they didn't have a plan. "Pay what you can, deah, " was the payment plan the caller suggested. Sounds like a good plan. We will.
May 18, 2014 - 1:25:14 AM

Down the Road
The owls didn't call his name
Those owls have dined on two or three of our past cats, when the cats got out at night and wouldn't come when we called them. And when, as cats do so well, they walked away from us keeping just far enough away that we couldn't catch them.
May 11, 2014 - 12:35:07 AM

Down the Road
Getting there more scenic than being there
For "my" section, some ten miles west of Monson, we followed the secondary Blanchard Road west about five miles from Route 6 and 15 as it enters Monson from the south. At Blanchard, a tiny village near a bridge over the Piscataquis River, we turned right onto the Taylor Road that runs along Breakneck Ridge. The river races through a steep notch north of the road. The monitor's approach to the AT is a very rocky, very steep down hill (very steep uphill coming out) old woods road.
May 4, 2014 - 7:52:07 AM

Down the Road
That once-a-year Maine Appalachian Trail Club meeting
But I hate to admit that more of my enjoyment came from driving to and from the annual meeting. And I learned that, despite my wanting to find new routes from Ellsworth to Farmington, there don't seem to be any. In that learning was that future plans should avoid driving Route 137, which is longer, with more complicated turns, and at this time of year still full of winter's bumps.
Apr 27, 2014 - 12:25:25 AM

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

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