Farewell to Grima, for now

Some of you, we know, have looked up with sadness, these past few weeks, at the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street.

Some may even have watched seagulls gathering on rainy day lawns, wondering if these are, in fact, the very bloody-minded “Seagulls of the Apocalypse” long prophesied in the pages of the “Dear Old Courier.”

The towers, of course, are where David Grima, author of the long-running column “Rockland Gothic” was forced to live, much like a 19th century novel outcast (The Phantom of South End?), toiling away despite the depravations brought on by the gulls.

It was from this opposite of an ivory tower that he observed the city and its many foibles with enough humor to avoid angry phone calls to the editor for the most part, but with enough wit to get a few clocks properly set and a few potholes in town filled.

Grima announced he is retiring his quill, concerned that the continued writing of the column might become a chore rather than the joy it was for most of his career.

We are sorry to see him go, and our readers are as well, judging by the phone calls and emails we received in his brief absence from these pages. However, he remains a fixture in the city and can be found wandering the aisles of Hannaford, and it may be that at some point in the future, he sends in some clever epistle once more to grace our pages.

Until that time, we who remain will labor on to bring you something to read each week. We do regret to bring you this news, but be advised that your continued support for the writers of these papers does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Kudos to the Union Fair

We applaud the trustees of the Union Fair for the decision to change the Maine Wild Blueberry Queen competition to the Maine Wild Blueberry Ambassadorship. This is a big change, and it must have been a challenging decision to make. It is absolutely the right one.

In addition to ditching the rule that contestants must be young women, they also opened the contest to people who are married and have children. Now, any high school graduate ages 17 to 22 can enter the contest.

If your immediate reaction to this decision is one of anger, examine your feelings a bit. Are you having a knee-jerk reaction to change? Have you discussed the decision with any of the trustees to understand the reasoning behind their choice?

A thoughtful comment from one board member on our VillageSoup Facebook page explained why he supported the choice, and why it had nothing to do with politics, so-called “woke culture,” or any other buzz-words:

“My name is Ken Keiran. I am a reasonably right leaning conservative… I voted for Trump… I am, however, a Union Fair board member and was a major catalyst in calling for this change. And unless you are one of the handful of people who attended the Blueberry Queen coronation, I suggest you hold back the ‘they ruined it’ comments. It was extremely outdated, unpopular and was not widely supported by the blueberry industry.

“Since it matters not if the spokesperson is male or female, married or single or a mother (and now father) we thought it time to leave the 1950s and try and bring the event into something more reflective of the times we live in.”

While the fair will not have rides this year due to circumstances beyond their control, there will still be plenty of other events, food and fun to be had. (The rides will be back next year.)

Welcome to the 21st century, Union Fair!

Tune in next week for Lobster Appreciation Week

Be sure to pick up copies of The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal next week (Aug. 5) for our special “Lobster Appreciation Week” coverage.

We will have stories and photos from the lobster industry, an update from the Maine Lobster Festival, recipes, a lobster-related crossword, columns and more. This is bound to be a collector’s edition.