He must have been a decoy

By David Grima | Dec 07, 2017

I am a bit slow in coming to this observation, but all the recent chatter about the Amtrak Downeaster passenger service allegedly coming to Rockland next year has made me think just a little bit harder.

My question is, how does a train that has never traveled further from Boston than Brunswick rate being called the Downeaster? And even if by some miracle they actually do manage to get it as far up as our beloved Lime City, that would still not qualify it as being anywhere near Down East.

One is left to conclude that whoever dreamed up this name for the train service had never actually been to Maine, and was even less conscious of where Down East Maine actually might be.

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According to the Rockland-based Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition, 10 percent of babies born in Knox County are born to mothers who are addicted to opiates; 25 percent of our teenagers use drugs regularly; more than 2,000 people are addicted to opiates in Knox County, but most can’t access treatment; and 90 percent of inmates of our local jail and prison are incarcerated directly or indirectly due to addiction.

Has anyone ever actually attempted to explain this situation? I would suppose some sort of explanation would be helpful, before anyone tried to fix it. Maybe explanations are simply impossible. Humans are so complicated, and after all these years we still do not seem to know how they work. But it is difficult to ignore the possibility that, for a large number of us, something is simply broken.

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Here is a helpless observation from some brilliantly written travel piece that recently appeared in the Austin (Texas) American Statesman. See if you can spot the nonsense it contains, dear reader.

“One of the great things about Maine is that it has so many working lighthouses, and no matter where in the state you are, you’ll probably be able to find one, as we did at Owls Head.”

Yes of course, why only the other day I was admiring the Augusta lighthouse, after having spent a week touring all the lighthouses in Aroostook County. This appears to be a case where the copy editor was either asleep or in the restroom. Or both.

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The Standard-Times of Massachusetts told a story Nov. 29, which was the 40th anniversary of the loss of the fishing vessel Navigator, out of New Bedford, which went down with all hands and cost the lives of four Maine men, whose details I have copied here.

“Richard J. Waldron, 20, Freetown and Thomaston, Maine, crew: Mr. Waldron’s son, Richard Waldron Jr., was born after his death. Mr. Waldron’s name is engraved on a monument, known as the St. George Fishermen Memorial. The five-foot high, black granite memorial tablet is dedicated to eleven fishermen from St. George, Maine, who were lost at sea.

“Dwight Wylie, no age known, Rockland, Maine, crew. Mr. Wylie’s survivors included his sister Edith Anderson.

“LeRoy Wallace Jr., 19, East Freetown and South Thomaston, Maine, crew. Mr. Wallace’s stepfather, Richard W. Neild, also died when the Navigator sank.

“Richard W. Neild, 31, East Freetown, crew. Mr. Neild had lived in Owls Head, Maine. He was survived by his wife, Nancy. Richard Neild’s body was recovered on January 10, 1978, about 90 miles south of Marthas Vineyard.”

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The annual Christmas display at The Green Thumb garden center on Route 17 caught my attention last weekend, while out shopping for a very small tree. The key part of the attraction for me is the fact that, if you stare at the chimney in the cardboard fireplace, you will see Santa’s boots ascending and descending. It’s quite imaginative.

I might arrange for something similar to be installed in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. An old man with a jolly red face and a white beard going up and down the walls of the east tower would surely be quite interesting for passersby of all ages to stand and watch. Where is my dear friend “Santa Claus” O’Meara, late of the Bangor Daily News, when I need him most?

Asleep on his couch, most likely.

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Speaking of Santa, they had a guy dressed in the usual red suit walking around in Walmart the other day. But he must have been a decoy, because the greeter called Barry, who was perched on his stool near the main doors, is so obviously the real Santa.

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Speaking of people who find special things in magical sacks, have you ever stopped to wonder how women ever manage to find anything in their purses?

I have never actually looked inside a woman’s purse, because when I was very small my dad warned me that if I ever even thought about it I would be carried away by demons. He actually was not quite that severe, but I got the strong impression that a man never even glances at the interior of a purse, on pain of something bad happening to him.

Nevertheless, it is fairly obvious even to a man such as me that it is next to possible for a woman to find anything in her purse without several minutes spent rummaging around and saying rude words under her breath. Car keys, lipstick, mints, ammunition – none of it is readily accessible.

The solution, however, is obvious. Purses should be lined with white fabric, rather than the dark stuff currently used, and they need a small light installed inside that comes on, like a car dome light, when the door is open.

There is an additional solution that might also be adopted. Why don’t more women’s clothes have pockets? Men have pockets aplenty and therefore need no handbags. Women have few or no pockets, and are forced to carry their necessities around in an impenetrably darkened bag.

I rest my case.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 08, 2017 16:08

David G: In the olds days when the shipping came from Boston up the coast it was branded as the down east trade winds as they were the prevailing shipping power. It was common practice to sail "downeast" from the west.



Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Dec 07, 2017 15:45

Hi there D G

 

TEXAS: Depending on how one measures, TX has 361/3,359 miles of coast. Now imagine reports from land-locked states!



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 07, 2017 15:16

"But it is difficult to ignore the possibility that, for a large number of us, something is simply broken."   ;(



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