Chow for Chow-E

Lauralee Clayton, of Lincolnville, writes about a certain black cat with his own unique history:

A black cat with down-turned ears and a “chewed-up” face was dropped off some years ago on a country road in Lincolnville along with four or five other kittens. “They lived on the streets,” said Ron Rainfrette, who noticed the young cats mostly at night. One kitten stood out, larger, and Ron named him Chow-E.

“Chow-E would visit my home a couple of times a week for years,” said Ron, who already had two cats, Ozzie and Lou-C. “My cats didn’t like other cats visiting but accepted this one because of his size. Early this spring I started to feed Chow-E outside, as you couldn’t get near him.”

Rainfrette started to inch his way toward the cat each day and finally Chow-E rubbed against his legs and a friendship started.

According to Rainfrette, putting an anti-flea preparation on him was a challenge. Persistence paid off.

“After months of work, we now all get along good,” he said.

Rainfrette currently has three inside cats and Chow-E, ears still down at 5 years old, sleeps on the bed, stays around the house and is always up for a good plate of chow.


If you give a moose tall grass

In Thomaston, Trina Johnson encountered something much bigger than a black cat:

“Our usual school day,” she described, begins with taking the new puppy, Radar, out with the children to the wait for the school bus, 7:45 a.m.

“Radar sits and waits for the bus to come and as soon as it leaves he darts back to the house,” she wrote. “But this morning, as we were walking back to the house, something caught my eye. “It was hard not to, since it was so big! Right in front of us in our yard was a moose!”

Trina grabbed Radar, ran in the house, and the moose, we imagine just as startled, ran around the corner of the house to her back yard.

“My first thought was get the camera,” she wrote. “Uh oh, it had the wrong lens. I switched it and onto the back deck I ran. The moose had got into the tall grass on the edge of Route 1 and I thought for sure he was going to run into the road. The school bus was headed by after picking up the kids and he got spooked instead and headed right back to my house.

“I got a couple shots of him as he was running back, and he walked right by me on our back deck. He ran through a path behind our garage, through the front yard, over to the neighbors yard, and across Oyster River Road to the neighbors across the street.

“What excitement. We moved down here from Greenville, so for us, waking up and seeing a moose in our yard was a regular occurrence, but I have never have had one like this in the Midcoast.”


Casual Friday in Hope for scholarships

If one is ever at Hope Elementary School on Friday, one might notice there is always food in the staff room, and that teachers and other employees are probably wearing jeans. The food is there because staff members treat themselves to the end of another week, always striving to have a healthy option. And the jeans are their way of raising money to give a Camden Hills Regional High School senior from Hope a scholarship for post secondary education. To be able to wear jeans, staff members must each pay $1 on Friday, and the money goes into the Scholarship Fund. It is their is way of relaxing a little at the end of the week, and looking to support a Hope student in pursuit of their dreams.


SerfBliss in Camden

The Camden area received an unusual visitor last week, a friend whose only intent was to do good deeds. Camden — Maine — was the 25th state, the halfway point, for James Beck, who has made it his mission to cross the U.S. only to accomplish tasks for those unable to do so. He calls it SerfBliss: Serf: a person in a condition of servitude; bliss: a cause of great joy or happiness. Serfbliss = Happiness through service.

He started on April 1, his 36th birthday, giving away everything he owned, except a laptop, some clothes, portable massage table, and a car. Then, he departed Los Angeles to begin his Pay-It-Forward social experiment. Here’s how it works: James serves one family in every state for three days. Instead of receiving money for his time, he asks the person served to “pay it forward” and serve at least three people, one day each. He is currently creating an open source platform that will track how people fulfill their social commitment to Paying-It-Forward, thereby, as he describes it, “making the ‘pebble in the pond’ or ‘butterfly effect’ trackable, traceable, and measurable.”

In Camden, James arrived to help Marilyn Baer, who chose to give James’ time to others in the community. He worked at the Camden Opera House, passing out fliers in Camden and making phone calls. He then painted the inside of a home for a woman just home from the hospital, raked leaves, painted the high points of a shed for someone who does not like climbing ladders, and setting up the Rockport Opera House for a concert.

In other states, James wrote a speech in Tennessee, taught high school economics in Wyoming, butchered chickens in Connecticut, and, cooked, cleaned, and performed farm chores. A component of the Serfbliss adventure is to see if a person can exist in modern day society through a constant state of charity, giving, not taking.

“Pundits consistently talk about society not being able to sustain itself with current trends and people needing to operate in a different way,” he writes. He decided to “give it a shot. Six months later, everything has evolved beyond imagination. People constantly give to me and I use everything I have to serve others. I don’t really have anything and want for nothing. Best of all, I think I might be the happiest guy on the planet.”

He is originally from northwest Washington, holds a degree in religion, worked in Los Angeles as a massage therapist, and worked with plastic surgery surgeons.


Brooks Brothers on Isle au Haut

Just in case one might be flipping through magazines and come across the fall collection of Brooks Brothers clothiers, that really is the Keeper’s House on Isle au Haut in the background. The granite and brick lighthouse and boathouse on the ocean serve as “striking backdrops for make and female models decked out in the latest cool weather fashions,” according to a press release. A crew of 18 was ferried to the island in June for the shoot. Other shots used were staged in Bar Harbor and at Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard, on MDI.