Coming Home

By Joe Talbot Jr. | May 24, 2018

I left Camden on February 22, 1960 for what I imagined would be the rest of my life. I had dreams of grandeur, just like every other 20-year old. I was off to explore new horizons, to experience life in a different climate, a larger place, filled with action, different people with totally opposite views about living. Now, 58 years later, I’m currently hunkered down a mere stone’s throw from whence I left, and the action I sought after was realized and I’m one of the few people I’ve met over the years that can say from the heart, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I became a true vagabond, always looking for more of life to taste. If I took the time to list all of the things I’ve done, I would bore you to tears, yet I meant what I said, I wouldn’t change a thing. I was in the Air Force for four years; I was a fire fighter in Sacramento, Calif.; I was an insurance agent off and on for 20 years; I was a deputy sheriff in Ormsby Co., Nev.; a salesman for Hotel Management School; an off-road race announcer for the Mint 400 in Las Vegas, Nev.; a sales manager for Husky-Dualmatic in Longmont, Colo.; owned my own four-wheel drive center business in Boulder, Colo.; a director of development for the Bank of Boulder, Colo. and on and on and on. Whew! Makes me tired just putting this into words. And at this juncture I was in my mid 30s. This only describes the beginning!

But you know what? I always came home to wander into Janet McKay’s Drug Store to find out the latest news. Then after that, I would come in to see Sam Jones behind the same counter for the latest.

Along the way I married the love of my life, and brought three children into the world. After loosing her to breast cancer, 26 years later, I met the Lord’s gift to me and married Sharon, and we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary in June of this year. Sharon & I lived aboard a 51 foot Pilot House ketch for five years, sailing from California to Maine. We lived on the Big Island, Hawaii, for a year, Charleston S.C. for almost two, and traveled in a motor home for two years from Maine to California and back. And still I checked into Camden every one to three years, to get the latest. Sharon & I have moved back to Maine seven times in the 30 years we’ve been married, three times to Port Clyde. We gave up the hunt four years ago, and we cried “uncle” and we have no plans to search for a place we like better than Midcoast Maine. Why? Because there is no better place. Period!

Camden has the absolute most beautiful harbor, carefully tended by Mt. Battie, and just behind that, which can be easily seen from 50 miles out on the ocean, lies Megunticook Mountain and the surrounding hills. You can travel eastward, westward, and south-westward, and there are countless lakes, ponds, and streams. The homes around Camden are like out of a movie, the queen of which is no doubt in my mind, Norumbega. The utter chaos of the pressing tourists in downtown in the summer, and the resulting gridlock from Hannaford’s to the Whitehall Inn is only a mere annoyance compared to the beauty of the spring flowers, green lawns, very little humidity, warm afternoons, followed by the most spectacular show of the fall leaves turning everything into God’s majestic painting for us all to enjoy. Then comes the snow, and everything turns to another scale of gorgeous. Skiing, skating, ice fishing, shoveling, (oops that’s a slip) plowing, (another slip) and the reason we all complain about, the cold runs the show till June. But would I trade that for traffic? Heck no! Not on your life! Winters are a special gift that we need to remember what I said a few issues back. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

Aside from mother nature and the astounding beauty engulfing us all, think about this. We have the best, absolutely the best seafood on the planet. We have what few others can only dream about. Wasses hot dogs! Even in a blizzard, I’ve seen up to 15 people standing in line with the snow coming in sideways and actually enjoy the conversation with the other “dog addicts.” And It’s only nine miles away from the Village Green South, and 18 miles away, north.

A lady by the name of Anna Libby invented the lobster roll. I know that because I used to live in the apartment above the Megunticook Fish & Game Association Club House at the Fish Hatchery. With a ridiculously small amount of change, I could take exactly 61 steps to her lobster-roll stand. Her lobbies loved her too. She was one of the sweetest old ladies on the planet, second only to my grandmother, (Nannie) Cooper. She made the best doughnuts south of the moon. She made them fresh every day, and sold them to many stores around the Camden area. They were a very rare plain cake doughnut that would melt in your mouth, and be like granite the next day. The drug stores and coffee shops would pay you a nickel to take one off their hands. No joke! I used to walk home from school to our house on Pearl Street and go in and get a fix two or three times a week. She would make me a “doughnut man” and I would sit and chat with her at the kitchen table over a glass of milk. I always marveled at the fact that it was really special to come home. Those were the days.

Joe Talbot is a former columnist for Peterson Publications’ “Off Road Magazine” and “Four Wheeler Magazine.” He lives in Belfast.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 24, 2018 16:42

Well done and now I crave for a doughnut!

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