I saw Lawrence Nash the other day. Remember Lawrence? He was a county commissioner for quite a while until Roger Moody beat him out. Kind of funny because Lawrence was on the board of selectmen that hired Roger to be town manager in Camden, and then Roger took Lawrence’s job at the county. Lawrence also might be remembered for not knowing where he lived. Seems shortly after he moved to Union, he tried to vote in Camden and it didn’t work out too well. I know how he felt because even after all these years of living other places in the Midcoast, I still consider Camden my home.

So Lawrence starts every greeting with “When are you going to write another article about Camden?” Well the answer would be now and the subject would be Lawrence. When I was growing up in Camden, Lawrence ran Nash’s Market on Main Street. I would tell you what is there now for a reference but businesses change so often these days, there could be something completely different in that location by the time this hits the press. I think the Camden Deli is the latest tenant. Lawrence has complained about all he has to do ever since I can remember. As a kid going in the store Lawrence would go on and on about all he had to do to just keep the store going. To this day, it’s the same thing. But Nash’s Market was an institution. It had been there for years and at the time I just assumed it would be there forever. I assumed that all the stores on Main Street and Elm Street would be there forever. That’s just the way it was. Today it seems we wonder how long a new venture will last instead of assuming it will last forever. That, to me, is one of the biggest changes in Camden and probably all of downtown USA.

Lawrence is a person that doesn’t seem to really be in the present, but relates to all things in the past. We’ve had some great talks about the old days, the present days, but very little talk about the future. One could probably make a case that he sold the store at the right place and the right time, but I think an equal case could be made that it would be a unique business in downtown Camden if it were still there today. Of course if the store were still there, Lawrence would be absolutely impossible to deal with because he would go on and on even worse than he does now about how hard he works. Nevertheless, Lawrence cares. He cares enough to get involved. When I was chairman of the Knox County Budget Committee and Lawrence was a commissioner, I knew he cared but quite honestly, I thought he was living in the past. I’ve shared my thoughts with him on that many times and he never denies my position. Caring and getting involved are things that people don’t do much anymore and I admire Lawrence for doing both. He recently told me he wants to be on the Knox County Budget Committee and I’m sure if he makes it, he’ll bring the same caring and involvement to that position as he has to all others. I rarely agree with his position, but I admire his caring and involvement.

Lawrence and I worked together at the Snow Bowl for several winters over the years and always had a lot of fun. Lawrence was as dependable as the day was long, worked hard and always told you the next day how hard he worked the day before. His days of running with Ted Hanley and Dick Carey are legendary in the Camden pub scene, and quite frankly I thought he was way too old to be acting like that, but he seemed to always come out of it OK.

There’s no way I can write a story about Lawrence and not mention the women. I have now mentioned the women, so that validates the story. I’m not going to say anymore. Nothing about the gun shots in Union. Nothing about the money that’s gone. Nothing about the court settlements. None of that. If I hadn’t mentioned the women, the story would have been hollow and I know that deep down inside Lawrence would not want me to write a hollow story. The other thing I admire about Lawrence is that he doesn’t take himself seriously. The world in general could use more of that.

Don’t ask me why, but I think the world of the guy. There is no reasonable explanation for how I feel. I’ve asked his sister about this and she can’t explain it. His brother-in-law feels the same way. If you know his sister, you understand. If you don’t know who she is, I’m certainly not going to divulge her identity here. But we all wonder about Lawrence. We wonder why we like him and wonder what in the world we would ever do without him. Curious. Yep. That’s the word for Lawrence. Curious. According to dictionary.com the definition is: arousing or exciting speculation, interest, or attention through being inexplicable or highly unusual; odd; strange: a curious sort of person; a curious scene.

That would be Lawrence.

P.S. If there’s anything else I can do for you buddy, just ask.

Bill Packard lives in Union.