Two old fat white guys
Ah, Columbus Day! A great American holiday as we gather around the national hearth to celebrate the time when a one-eyed TV detective in a shabby raincoat figured out how the natives tricked us into taking over their continent, and — just one more thing — how they cleverly pinned the blame on themselves.
* * * * *
A terrible thing happened the other day, when my Wallace and Gromit coffee mug slipped from my grasp to plummet hundreds of feet to the foot of the west tower, discombobulating a pair of fat gray squirrels, and shattering into several irreconcilable parts. If you do not know about the Wallace and Gromit characters, the loss of my beloved mug will mean little or nothing to you. If ever you watched a Sherman tank crush your Lone Ranger lunchbox accidentally under its tracks, you will at least understand my suffering. There is nothing to be done about it, other than to reflect sadly upon the fact that I now have one less thing to waste my love on.
* * * * *
Bonelda Lou and Fashionable Bob were holding forth at great length the other evening over the relative merits of Hellman’s mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. Bonelda was all for Hellman’s, and said she once persuaded the owner of the Schooner Fare restaurant on Main Street, Dave Ihrig, to buy a jar of the stuff so she could enjoy her food precisely as she wanted it. Fashionable Bob was brought up as a Miracle Whip boy. As the sun went down in splendor and glory behind the barn, each agreed that if his or her own preferred mayo were to be unavailable as a result of a government shutdown or a similar unthinkable catastrophe, they would grudgingly accept the other person’s preferred mayo as a substitute.
* * * * *
By the way, Schooner Fare was where the Lobsterman’s Restaurant is at the moment, which is where Lily Bistro was before it, and where Amalfi’s was before that. All inside the space of three to six weeks, or so it sometimes seems. I suppose it took longer than that in the real world.
* * * * *
I should like to apologize for apologizing in last week’s article about the article of the week before.
* * * * *
To the east of these ancient concrete towers where I am forced to dwell in solitude at the foot of Mechanic Street are the remains of at least two equally ancient wharves, sticking out raggedly into the harbor. As I have said before, I believe one wharf was constructed there in the 1960s for the purposes of receiving barges loaded to the gills with chicken feed, which was delivered direct to Rockland from the great chicken feed farms of lost Atlantis, pumped ashore and stored in these great towers where I live (rather like cement is pumped today into barges at the wharf next door,) and eventually trucked off to be eaten by chickens on chicken farms all over the Great State of Maine and turned into eggs.
Rather in the manner of the series of ancestral restaurants mentioned above, this chicken wharf behind my towers seems to have been built on the location of an older wharf. It was a railroad wharf, and I am told that the railroad terminal there was in operation around 1871, and therefore predated construction of the railroad station on Pleasant and Union which was put up around 1886. (Modern Rocklanders with no grasp of local history or geography will nevertheless recognize the place I am talking about if I mention that it is now a bar called Trackside.) At one point passenger cars were uncoupled from their railroad engines at the Mechanic Street wharf, loaded aboard special ferries, and sent up the bay to Points East such as Bar Harbor and (possibly) Atlantis.
My information about the railroad wharf and the dates mentioned is taken from John P. Ascher’s book “When The Maine Central Railroad Went To Sea,” a copy of which the author gave me when he published it in 1993. I thought he mentioned Atlantis, but I just cannot find the page where it appears. Nor can I find the photo showing images of the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse carved into the front of the railroad wharf office, so I suppose I made that bit up too. But the rest is true, apparently.
All this detail is given in order that I can say how much I enjoyed watching cormorants (shags as some say) drying their wings in the sunshine last Saturday afternoon as they perched on the old pilings in the water behind my towers where these wharves used to be. Yes, a very long lead into something so very short.
* * * * *
Ah, Columbia Day, when two old fat white guys still wearing short pants like it was summer got into the car and drove up to the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park, ate their sandwiches, and drove back down without ever once actually getting out of the car. It is truly amazing how little the human spirit can aspire to when it puts its mind to it. Later while slumped on Dreadful O’Meara’s deck (yes, it was he) we reminisced about women we have loved but who eventually calculated that it was better not to love us back. Ah, dear St. Columbo, patron saint of useless affections, pray for us now and at the hour we attempt to do that again.
David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at email@example.com.