I have written this column before

By David Grima | Mar 22, 2014

The Irish are so fed up of hearing North Americans chattering about “St. Patty’s Day” that some sort of notice was published recently in connection with the airport in Dublin. Apparently the notice informs their NA visitors that in Ireland Patty is short for Patricia. Who knew?

I was at the supermarket on Sunday, where the checkout clerk was chattering cheerfully about how excited she was that the next day was St. Patrick’s Day, her favorite holiday. She said she would love to be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. I told her the Irish don’t do St. Patrick’s Day, not like we do. But she would not be discouraged. She said she would tell them about how we do St. Patrick’s Day in the USA. I told her it rains every day in Ireland. She said she wouldn’t mind. She said the very idea of travel fascinates her. I suggested she try South Thomaston. Even that did not deflate her good spirits.

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This Thursday is supposed to be the beginning of spring. One month later is Easter Sunday and Hitler’s birthday. I bet that would have irritated him. Good.

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Fabulous Bob told me a great story last Friday night, but I have completely forgotten what it was. No use asking him, as his memory is worse than mine. On Monday he cooked corned beef and cabbage, and forgot the cabbage.

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We hear there is some talk of putting businesses in the back of the block which overlooks the Tillson Avenue parking lot, in order to create more space downtown for stores and such. It’s not a new idea, of course, but it has always interested me. About 80 or 90 years ago when I was more or less a newspaper reporter, I was sent to write about a public meeting that was trying to promote this very dea. Somebody must have got a hold of some free government money because they had hired an architect to draw up plans of what this would look like, a plan which I seem to remember featured a road from Tillson Avenue along behind the buildings that front Main Street, over the little piddly brook that spills unnoticed into the harbor, and then connecting to the ferry terminal property. The idea of this road was that it would become a second Main Street, with stores and such thing becoming accessible along it. The rather large fly in the ointment was of course the fact that not all of this route overlooks the potentially scenic parts of Lermond Cove. It overlooks, or is overlooked by, the city sewage farm.

I am told the sewage farm is where it is for a typical reason. Back in the 1970s when federal money was being offered about for communities that wanted to build sewage treatment facilities, Rockland City Council would have none of it. Government money has strings attached was the attitude, apparently. There was money to build the plant up near the city dump, I was told. Nevertheless, in terror of government strings, they refused the money. Later when it became pressingly necessary to actually build a sewage farm the only land they could afford was some piece of trash real estate down on the harbor, which was a part of the Lime City that did not get the respect it has today. And so it came to pass, gentle reader, when the day dawned that people started liking the harbor and valuing waterfront property, lo and behold our fair city was farming its sewage there. And we still do it today.

This means that the dream of opening up a new route along the harbor will likely remain a dream, because who wants to invest in real estate dominated by you-know-what?

There is a ray of hope. Thomaston once also had its sewage farm on its waterfront, and then one day Thomaston got rid of this municipal blight and hid the new one deep in the town’s forested region. Rockland could do something like it too, if we wanted. We could even plant a forest all around the place. Or we could not build a sewage, but send our sewage to Thomaston instead, the way Rockport sends its to Camden. We’d pay them for it of course. If they insist.

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I actually have the feeling I have written this column before, as these opinions seem familiar to me. If so, then I am becoming more and more like my friend Absentia O’Meara of the Bangor Dreadful Views. He really only has four basic columns, which he modifies by altering a few names and then sending them in. Version One is about how he likes to buy knives and flashlights and is in fact addicted to buying them. (I have never once seen him really use a knife for anything, except one that had a bottle opener on it.) Version Two is about how he is so lazy he can’t do anything. (I have proof of this, plus he has been photographed from space in exactly the same chair for 96 hours straight.) Version Three is about him traveling to Florida EVERY year. (Thank godness for small mercies.) Version Four usually has something to do with sports, but I can never read that stuff as it gives me such a rash.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com.

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