Using her to chase cows in Cushing

By David Grima | Dec 12, 2013

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my old motor car, which has gone to a better place. It was a dear old tin horse while I had it, but now she’s had it too.

When I bought her seven years ago (seven years ago this very night, Ebenezer,) she was a frisky young thing only 5 years old and I cared for her in a general way, trying to avoid the worst bumps and scrapes the way one does with a more-or-less new car. But by the end I was using her to chase cows in Cushing. If I saw a loose nail in a neighbor’s barn, I would ram it back into place with my front bumper. I would open beer bottles on the hook that used to hold the hood shut. Some of the old junk I had stored in the way-back had become positively organic.

Inspired by a brief brush with organized outdoorsmanship (I was a Cub Scout leader in the Rockland pack when my boys were of a suitable age) I decided to make sure the old girl had everything one could possibly need in case of an emergency. I bought a big blue box and jammed it with stuff like jumper cables, anti-freeze, newspapers, paper towels, a flashlight that died ages ago, a waterproof poncho, bungee cords, a bit of old rope, surgical gloves, surface-to-air anti-missile missiles, a woodstove, etc. You get the drift. In all the years I had her, I only ever used the jumper cables, and the bungee cords which would secure a Christmas tree to the car roof once a year for the perilous journey from the Shop ‘n Save parking lot back to the South End. This ludicrous blue box I hauled around for years, deducting heaven knows what from the car’s already less than brilliant gas mileage.

She was a station wagon because when I bought her I was still occasionally called on to haul around drum sets, bicycles, and other impediments associated with my dear boys. Now they can haul their own stuff around.

There is one story about my car that was never told, however. Do you remember the Great Gale of ‘08 when the wind blew so strong for a full week that it extinguished the candle in the Breakwater Lighthouse? I can now reveal how it was my car that saved the day. I drove her up onto the breakwater and out as far as the end, then tied the steering wheel over to the right with a bungee cord (see above) and left her there circling around and around the light tower with her headlights on for five howling nights in a row. Thus the Rockland light never went out. By the end of the ordeal, however, rust had set in and her tires were torn to shreds.

That’s my story, and I am sticking to it. It only remains for me to say that in all the years I had her, the heaviest thing I ever carried in that car was Emmet Meara.

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It’s getting pretty grim up here in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street. Even the Salvation Army won’t come near the place, and who can blame them?

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Lately we have been reading about the woes and trials of a thing called RSU 13. Apparently RSU 13 has something to do with the conduct of public education in our neck of the woods, although I am somewhat vague on the details. Not too sure what RSU 13 means; it could be something like the serial number on the side of the Starship Enterprise, but I am not really sure. However, whatever it may be it seems that the Starship RSU 13 is riddled with despair, doubt, division, discombobulation and dispute. Let me share with you my own worthless opinions on the subject.

Back in the days when I was a penniless reporter induced (by hypnotism, threats against my life, and the vague promise of wages) to actually attend school board meetings and attempt to write about what they were up to for a living, I developed a very strange relationship to the whole idea. One tried to be straightforward about how one wrote up the stories, but it often seemed to me that all the grown-ups involved with school boards eventually ended up acting (either individually or collectively) as though they were still in junior high. No, that is not quite fair.

What I think I mean is that the atmosphere surrounding school affairs always seemed juiced up with a hormonal imbalance such as we often associate with our younger teens, and that this imbalance was frequently expressed (as it often is with young teens) in overheated and explosive ways. Absurdity was king. Oddly enough it always got worse in the winter when the nights were long and patience was a frayed rope. In comparison to school boards, city council and boards of selectmen seemed almost rational. And that’s saying something. (I hear that in Warren all elected officials must by statute carry a loaded pistol in one boot and a tea-bag in the other.) I blame the media, naturally.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. That’s not too surprising, actually. He can be reached at or he can be ignored altogether.

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