In a world gone mad with violence and gunfire, with police and high school students shooting people and being shot, it is oddly encouraging to see that the standoff at the Trade Winds Inn last Sunday involved nothing more lethal than a guy from Bangor with a severe case of cabin fever and a walking stick.

Not even sure the walking stick was loaded.

* * * * *

Other people had better things to do with their Sunday, which was certainly a damp and cheerless day.

For example, a small party gathered out of doors halfway up Mechanic Street with an umbrella and barbecue grill, to enjoy some sledding and sliding on the icy slope down to Snow Marine Park.

* * * * *

The editor of The Curious-Gazette entertained us last week with an old tale about towns that once upon a time discouraged vagrants by padlocking them in a Tramp Chair, which was basically a chair-shaped ironwork cage on wheels.

Such things are a true report.

I remember perusing “Doc” Billington’s extensive picture postcard collection some time ago, and coming across one from about a hundred years before showing a Tramp Chair that was kept as a fascinating relic at The Samoset.

* * * * *

This being the week of St. Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of the first time a girl proposed to me.

I was walking home at lunchtime with Jeanette Duval, rather a pretty thing with short platinum blond hair and an engaging smile. As we reached the point where out routes separated, she turned to me and said (I remember it clearly) “You will marry me, won’t you?”

“Of course I will,” I replied. Then we continued on our separate ways home.

We were 7 years old.

* * * * *

I see that the former Christian Science church at the corner of Broadway and Rankin Street appears to be enjoying a new lease on life.

As far as I know, the place was last used as the HQ for the local Red Cross chapter, but even that was many years ago. Then, a few months back, I saw that new wooden clapboards of a rather robust thickness had been installed, and suddenly there were signs of the place being occupied.

Whoever is there, and whatever they are there for, I wish them well.

* * * * *

Pretty soon it will be a year since downtown Cushing’s entire commercial center burned and was closed.

Broad Cove Market (the ex-Fales’ Store) caught fire last Easter Sunday, and has been silent as the grave ever since. I suppose the whole town has since got used to going elsewhere for its groceries, but I am sure it is a pity.

There is a historical photo of the store at the local hospital, with a note saying it was believed to have been the oldest continuously operated store in Maine at the time, or something like that.

This I might have mentioned before. If so, please forgive me. I try to keep my notes straight, and strike out items I have used.

* * * * *

Speaking of old buildings in Rockland, back in late November a dormer window was installed in the roof of 421 Main St., overlooking the inland side of the street. This indicates internal activity and occupation, I suppose.

I have always had an interest in the old buildings on Main Street, and used to sneak around them, upstairs and down, when I was a real newspaperman, trying to find out what was what and where it was. This new set of windows in the roof at 421 gives me hope that life continues to be restored to our downtown, as it becomes a more desirable address and ever more interesting.

* * * * *

I am fascinated by the committee that forms a small, but no doubt invaluable, part of town government over on Vinalhaven. I believe it is called the Rising Sea Level Committee, or something like that.

I imagine they are more concerned than most of us about what the effects of higher sea levels will be, given that they live right in the middle of it.

Not sure how long this committee has been hard at work on the problem, but I would think it has already considered, and then moved past, the two obvious solutions to the problem.

The first solution involves simply ignoring it.

We are still at this stage over here on the mainland, under the fearless leadership of our beloved Lord Prez Trumpleton, who has demonstrated convincingly that the whole idea is a hoax perpetrated on us by the Evil Chinese.

Or possibly it is the Russians? I think the FBI is investigating the difference.

Anyway, the next solution the committee must have considered is a bit more sophisticated, and was last tried out on the English coast a few years before the Norman invasion.

It involves an honest admission that the water is indeed rising, and then some person in authority delivers stern and increasingly loud commands for the water to retreat. King Canute is well known for having not succeeded, but at least he tried.

Possibly Lord Trumpleton ought to take heed of Canute’s delicate position? Maybe so. I must suggest it to him next time he is up.

I hear that a plan to raise the entire island on stilts has also been discarded because they don’t have enough lumber over there. Just where the plans are right this minute, I am not sure. No doubt all will be revealed in these pages as time goes by.

All in all, the discovery that this committee is quietly trying to save the island from inundation by rising sea levels has inclined me to keep a careful watch on the place.

Just as Sarah Palin (a jolly soul) told us she would keep an eye on the wily Russians from her house in Alaska, I have a good view of Vinalhaven across the bay from the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

If ever I wake up some day and the island is gone, I will be sure to raise the alarm.