Goodbye, Andy

The passing of Andy Rooney last week saddened many, as the end of a long era closed for a man who said in October he would not be retiring. “But I’m not retiring,” he was quoted. “Writers don’t retire, and I’ll always be a writer.”

Rooney’s wit was markedly of a time in America when a dry, erudite sense of humor was something to be cultivated. He accomplished that with style, right up until the end.

Willard Wight, owner of P.G. Willey and Willey’s Wharf on Camden Harbor, remembers when Rooney came to visit Penobscot Bay as a guest aboard the 48-foot sloop of his good friends Walter and Betsy Cronkite. He and Rooney would sit on the back step of the office overlooking the harbor, and Rooney would quiz Willard on just about everything he took in, and then some, about Camden, its history, people, even the tower on Mt. Battie.

“Later that night we all went to the Sail Loft in Rockport for dinner,” said Willard. “And he was able to spit back everything I had told him to the rest of the group. He was a real personable guy, a really intelligent person, a real reporter. He took mental note of all we talked about and remembered it.”

Walter Cronkite died July 17, 2009, at age 92, and his friend, Andy Rooney, two years later on Nov. 5, he, too, at age 92. They are both missed. And that’s the way it is.

No Shave November in Hope

The average man will spend 140 days of his life shaving. The male staff members at Hope Elementary School are taking back some of that time for a good cause. November has been designated No Shave November, a national movement that began in 2003 to raise awareness of prostate cancer, a condition that affects one out of six men and is the second most common cancer in men. In support of the cause, they will not shave for the entire month of November. Some of them will choose not to shave a goatee or mustache while others will grow a full beard.

Appleton filmmaker honored

David Wright of Appleton was part of the team receiving the award for Best Cinematography at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Wyoming for work on the BBC/Discovery series “Life: Challenges of Life.” Sharing the award with Wright were the BBC Natural History Unit, Discovery Channel, Open University, SKAI & BBC Worldwide Rod Clarke, Kevin Flay, Alastair MacEwen, Peter Nearhos, and Simon Werry. Since 1991, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival has produced a biennial industry conference that draws 650 media professionals, writers, leading scientists and conservationists. Internationally recognized as the premier event of its genre, the festival’s competition honors top films selected from over 800 category entries.

From the humble Farmer

My friend stopped in Sanford, the one in Florida, and had new belts put on the motor of his huge motor home. He only went a few miles before the belts came off and the engine overheated. A patient, resigned soul, he sat by the road and calmly waited for the shop to send down a crew to fix the problem. Obviously, someone at that shop didn’t know what he/she was doing. Wouldn’t you have to believe that top management heard about it by the end of the day?

Should we suspect that as a result of inconveniencing a customer someone was severely reprimanded or fired?

On another economic level of society, a man went to a bank to make his yearly payment on his safe deposit box that contains his grandfather’s watch. He has a dormant checking account with that bank. For a few years he’s used that checking account to pay the $10, $15 and now $25 yearly box fee. The pleasant young man behind the counter was unsure of how to process such an unusual and difficult transaction. Indeed, he messed with it so long that the customer said he’d be back and went across town and talked with friends who provide his Internet service. Hooray. By the time he returned the young bank man had been able to deduct the $25 from the checking account and pay off the box fee for another year.

You might not believe this, but a month later the customer received a notice that it was time for his $20 payment on a $100 overdraft loan that had kicked in when he withdrew $25 from his checking account to pay for his box fee and another $25 to pay for the withdrawal. In other words, one might easily suspect that the young bank clerk had pushed an extra button.

A couple of telephone calls were enough to correct the problem, the customer was told. He now has $17 and a few cents in his dormant checking account and the extra $25 and the $100 overdraft kick-in and attendant 17 percent or so interest were confined to the flames of the Memory Hole, he was told.

Obviously, an employee at that bank didn’t know what he was doing. Wouldn’t you have to believe that top management heard about it by the end of the day?

Should we suspect that as a result of his adroit financial manipulation the young man is now the bank’s vice president?

Who knew?

The call that went out last week via the Black Cat for any spare manual typewriters that food columnist Betty Heald might use for a project drew a surprising response. Those typewriters are not, in fact, relics. Well, OK, they are relics, but they have not been consigned to the dump. Mary on North Haven has one Betty can borrow (for a long time, forever), as does Trudy, and Steve (though, the latter is in the newsroom, and should the power go out, he might need to use it again). Nancy walked her old traveling manual typewriter into the Camden office to leave for Betty. For how long? Suffice to say, if the power goes out in Camden, there is now a resident manual typewriter to work on.

Thank you all for your generosity! Between the four offers, Betty is now in business.