Double sainthood

By David Grima | Jan 28, 2021

Concerning the delays in delivering the mail, as mentioned by one or two irate readers these past few weeks, National Public Radio broadcast a piece last week on this very subject.

The basic explanation given was that the Postal Service has been hit as hard by the Plague as anywhere else, and it has had an effect on the service’s ability to get mail sorted and delivered. It makes sense, I suppose.

Well, that takes care of that.

* * * * *

Speaking of the Plague, I saw on WCSH that the ballroom at the Samoset Resort is going to be used as a vaccination site for our part of the state from Jan. 29 through the end of March. Also being made available is a Bank of America facility in Belfast, said to be a community farther along the coast from here.

It is a relief to hear that plans are actually being made to deliver the vaccine around here. This past weekend, I heard from the first people I know in the whole state who have actually received their first vaccination. They are a couple from Jefferson, which is a smallish rural community supposed to lie in the other direction from Belfast.

* * * * *

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has been under fire for some time these past few months for not showing what some heartless people would like to characterize as “spine” in her dealings with the Forces of Fear that so trouble our nation these days. This brought to mind an interview with her that was conducted by the editorial board of the Dear Ol’ Courier, when she was running for reelection many years ago, probably during President Shrub’s administration.

Remember him?

Believe it or not, the issues current at the time of this interview included how Collins planned to vote on a controversial presidential appointment, although please don’t ask me to remember exactly who, what, when, where or even why.

Collins is a senator who loves to talk a good story about how her decision to run for federal office was inspired by the career of the late Margaret Chase Smith, who also once represented Maine. Smith, you might recall, was brave enough to stand up to Naughty Joe McCarthy back in the 50s when he was manipulating the Forces of Fear during his fraudulent campaign against Reds he falsely claimed were lurking everywhere in the federal government.

When one of us asked Collins how she intended to vote on this particular current appointment, our paragon of senatorial courage and Maine virtue gave the most un-Margaret Chase Smith of all possible answers. Her words were, I believe, “I think the president is entitled to have his pick confirmed.”

“Entitled” was, of course, exactly the wrong word to use, even to the extent of betraying an entirely unconstitutional attitude toward her duties and responsibilities. No president has any such entitlement.

Oh well.

* * * * *

According to a business journal to which I often pay attention, the Lyman-Morse company in Thomaston has been contracted to build some “historically accurate” replacement hands for the 19th-century clock at the Custom House tower in Boston.

The clock hands were last replaced in the 1980s, and I believe the Thomaston company is manufacturing the new hands to be as light as possible, as all the weight of the hands has to be carried by the clock’s mechanism. The idea is that lighter hands will last longer before causing the clock to lose time. Makes sense to me.

Perhaps they should build and install four new hands rather than the traditional two, for it is well known (get ready for it) that many hands make light work.

* * * * *

Speaking of mechanical things, I could be mistaken — it has happened before — but I think a new set of scales was recently installed at the Scale House on Camden Street. At any rate, I drove by several times while some manner of work was being done there. They were either installing a new scale or they weren’t, he said, struggling to remain fair and balanced.

* * * * *

Not long after I mentioned it a month ago, the Help Wanted notice at the closed-up Burger King place at Maverick Square was removed. My hopes that the franchise was bought by a new owner already hiring seem to have been misplaced. In this instance, the word “misplaced” almost certainly means “wrong.” I confess.

* * * * *

I see the struggle over the will of the late artist Robert “Indiana Jones” from Vinalhaven is taking a positively Dickensian turn, with the Maine AG wanting to look into how much of the artist’s estate is being spent on lawyers during arguments in Knox County Probate Court, about what should happen to the multi-million-dollar estate.

It reminds me of the lawsuit in Charles Dickens’ novel “Bleak House,” where the case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce winds its way through the courts at a speed reminiscent of how fast a one-legged turtle could be expected to cross the road. Or, if you prefer, the speed at which the postal service operates when its workers are stricken with Plague.

Anyway, at long last the case is resolved in favor of the plaintiff, but only after the entire amount involved has been spent on the lawyers. Not a penny is left, which means the lawyers miraculously have no objection to the case finally coming to an end.

* * * * *

It is something of a pleasure to realize that we had very little snow in January. This means that snow shoveling efforts, which often occupy much of my winter up here in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street where I am forced to live, have amounted to almost nothing so far this winter.

The one time I arrived home from work expecting to have to dig my way in, I was surprised and delighted to find that a local couple did the job for me.

“We’re retired,” they politely explained. “And we remember how tough it used to be to get home at night and have to shovel our driveway.”

In gratitude I have written to the pope, nominating them for double sainthood.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com.

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