Sue sent me a note saying it would be easier to draw up a list of all the streets in Rockland that don’t have potholes, rather than trying to describe where the potholes actually are. It’s probably true.

Things have become so bad that you can (once again) see the old cobblestones that used to pave Main Street peeking through the cheap broken surface.

And as was so easily predicted last year, some of the fancy-pants granite slices they put across Main Street to create trendy pedestrian crosswalks have begun to find a level that is quite independent of the rest of the road surface. Quite ridiculous.

* * * * *

Who would have thought the foolishness involved in arguing about licensing tables and chairs at the corner of Park and Main would return to the public agenda yet again? All of us, I suppose.

Now some brilliant individual thinks we should allow all business to bid on having tables and chairs at this place. Only a mind ravaged by some kind of defunct Byzantine practice could seriously propose this for even a moment. Oh, let’s allow the Mexican restaurant at the bottom of Main Street to bid on being allowed to serve lunch outdoors at the top of the street.

Not that the Mexican eatery has asked to do this, of course, but I am just illustrating the general witlessness involved in asking businesses that are not adjacent to the square in question to try and get permission to serve food there.

I realize I often exaggerate when trying to make a point, and I end up using strong words and odd ideas. I am not a trained intellectual who argues with arguments made of fine silk woven seamlessly into a shimmering piece of desirable reason. I am only a leftover newspaperman who argues with bits of old rope and straw that I have had to use many times, and so I need to use a lot of that stuff if anything I am trying to say is ever going to hang together for a minute.

But I think you get my drift, rough as it is.

* * * * *

Speaking of food, I believe the photo on the op-ed page last week showing a cargo aircraft and a truck was in fact a picture of lobsters being shipped from Owls Head by air for about the first time. There are several photos in the newspaper’s archives (or there were when I was on the payroll) showing this. Local lobsters started flying just after the war. Before that they had to walk or drive, just like the rest of us.

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Sitting up here in the west grain tower last week, staring down grimly at the South End after dark, I could hear a clicking and rolling sound floating up on the wind from over toward the gas station.

Sure enough it was the Skateboard Kid who lives in the neighborhood. He is often out there practicing, though not so much in the winter. The weather must have been just not quite awful enough to stop him getting out of doors to start working out again.

I take that as a good sign, that the weather is getting to be not quite so awful as it has been lately.

Skateboard Kid has a habit of tapping the tip of his board twice on the pavement before he throws it down and jumps aboard. This was the clicking sound I could hear. I don’t know if this is for luck, or if it makes sure there is no dirt on the board. Maybe both. It’s kind of hard to ask questions when you live up so high off the street.

You end up seeing more, but perhaps knowing less, in the long run.

* * * * *

Until last Sunday night I had never watched an opera. I am fond of many songs from various operas, but I had never sat down and watched something end to end.

An invitation to a dwelling on State Street (in the other half of the South End, which consists of at least three halves and four or five distinct places) arrived here in the east tower above Mechanic Street on Saturday at dusk, in an envelope taped to the wing of an exhausted sparrow that had fought against the cold to reach me only to expire with a frozen gasp as I read the message.

I was asked over to watch a Spanish film from 1986 called “El Amor Brujo," or “Love the Magician," more or less an opera based on a ballet with music by Manuel de Falla. (Now, there are people around here called Faller, but I don’t think they’re much related.)

So I went and saw it Sunday night, after the regular dark had darkened everything in reliable gothic gloom. It might not have been an opera, I suppose. It might have been a ballet. It might have been a dance or even an illusion. How could I tell, poor soul, who had never seen such a thing before?

Then it was back through the dark streets and over the road to the towers, up the west side of the north tower by rope and vine, and then to bed.

* * * * *

I remembered to “put my clocks forward” early this Sunday morning. Did you?

In my case I had to wake up at 2 a.m. and repaint all the little sundial arrows around the edge of the Great Tower, moving them on a whole hour. It was arduous and even possibly absurd work, but it kept my mind off the cold.

Now let’s see how long it takes for the keeper of the South End Clock on Water and Main to remember to do the same thing. In past years it has typically taken weeks for them to remember to add or subtract the necessary hour.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at, or by using tired sparrows.