Those of you who watch football know about the short segment of the pre-game show where they play videos of players being blown out of their cleats, followed by the panel chanting in unison: “HE GOT JACKED UP!”

There is another definition where an individual becomes very excited or enthusiastic. In my case it was about a pile of old dirt. I found an ancient pile of leaves which years ago had been piled up in a driveway and had a plastic tarp placed over it weighed down by a pair of bricks. Now these decades later what remained was a half pickup load of very fine black compost and the two bricks. All that was left of the blue tarp were a handful of blue fibers. I could not wait to shovel that fine stuff into the back of my pickup.


I took a moment to realize what was taking place. I was very excited about a pile of dirt. This would not have been the case in my younger years. Such is the state of play for an old GROUNDKEEPER.

On the way back to the Grass Ranch I stopped by the gas station/convenience store. There landscapers from as far away as Owls Head gathered around the bed of my truck to savor the fine decay. It was opined that this stuff would command a good price if one was to sell it. All agreed it was the “Finest Kind.”

Black gold. Photo by Glenn Billington

Just as I was about to leave a very rare Harley Davidson sports bike glided in and its rider dismounted.


This was a very rare Harley Davidson sports bike. No windshield, no bags, no roll bars, no radio, nothing but engine and wheels in a very sleek form. An XR1200 from 2009 in mint condition. I had never seen one of these before. Orange and black; what’s not to like?

XR 1200 Harley Davidson. Photo by Glenn Billington

I made it back to the Grass Ranch and spread the black gold neatly over the crusty patch of clay near the clothesline. Then, just as my stepson Bob the landscaper showed me, I spread the premium grass seed over the compost. With the back of my lawn rake I raked the seed into the mix and covered it with straw.

Recently on a Saturday I ran into Cliff Christianson at the Rockland Dump. It was great catching up with him. We began a conversation about the old Senter Cranes store where Cliff had worked for years. I asked him about the old Post Office and Custom House. One thing led to another and he told me he knew where there were parts of the giant castle in a back yard nearby.


In about ten minutes time we were looking at two or three great lengths of granite with smooth sides and quarry faced sides. He thought they might have been one of the old sets of steps. I said we should have them hauled out and placed end to end in the grassy area of the Custom House parking lot, back where they came from, making nice benches to sit on.

Custom House parts Photo by Glenn Billington

Think about it…

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

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