I am glad they let us go

By David Grima | Feb 07, 2019

As darkness fell a little after five on Monday evening, there were three teenage girls sitting on the public library back steps, none of whom was wearing a coat or seemed to feel the lack of one.

This was not spring, although we did see temperatures rise into the 50s that day. And the truth is, that although there are still several people to be seen wearing short pants around the Lime City, this is now the middle of winter. We have as far to go as we have already come.

* * * * *

My longtime friend and inspiration Lord Prez Trumpleton was in town the other day, and after exchanging a few pleasantries we went off to Sandy Beach below the railway line in the South End so he could rehearse his State of the Union address.

He said he had tried to rehearse it in front of the Lady Malaria, but she had run away and locked herself into a White House bathroom formerly used by Thomas Jefferson. So we went down to the beach, the old boy and me.

“The State of the Onion is very, very good,” he began, as three seagulls got up and flew away. I settled back to enjoy listening to the Prez in fine form.

As I listened, rapt with wonder at his mellifluous delivery and closely reasoned arguments, I found myself wondering about The Wall he once promised to build for me, but which he has so far omitted to do.

One thing, I told myself, is that if he had actually built that 10-mile high wall along the Canadian border, none of those poor people in the Midwest would have frozen to death in that nasty polar weather last week.

* * * * *

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join a tour of the Maine State Prison in a town near here. Among our stops was a residential unit (known as a pod, as if the inmates were whales) set aside exclusively for prisoners who are veterans. The guards there are recruited from the prison’s officers who are also veterans.

Several of us asked questions, and among the more interesting answers was this, that there are prison inmates in this pod who have served in almost all of the armed forces, but there are no veterans of the Coast Guard.

I knew they were a clean-living lot, those Coasties, but this seems to show the evidence.

* * * * *

According to a book borrowed from the city library, the car brand name Hyundai simply means “modern.” It is a Korean word, also used in Vietnamese and Chinese.

I had assumed it meant something like “chariot of heavenly ease and celestial comfort, with dragons under the hood,” but apparently not.

* * * * *

Meanwhile in the world of Rockland politics, people were out in force at the dump last Saturday morning, gathering signatures on a petition to have a recent city zoning amendment placed on a public ballot for possible repeal.

Whenever I get this close to politics without actually falling in, I get so excited I can hardly breathe. It feels almost as if I am listening to Lord Trumpleton, who has often kept me spellbound with his political theories for minutes at a time.

* * * * *

Fabulous Bob turned 70 the other day. As I told him with some irritation, a lot of us lost a great deal of money on this.

* * * * *

Sadly, another of our old friends has just passed on. I only ever knew him as Skip, and we used to see each other regularly at breakfast at the Famous ‘Keag Store in South Thomaston, Sunday mornings; he with his wife, Eileen, and ourselves being Bonelda, Uncle Ed and myself.

Skip would often ask for information about my life in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. I was always glad to supply details, no matter how creatively. He would just grin.

Genuinely friendly and rarely complaining, despite his ailments, Skip was a fixture of our Sunday mornings for years. You know how it goes. You never bother to actually keep tabs on how long you’ve known someone until one day you find yourself wondering how long it’s been, and in the end you just give up trying to figure it out and decide you are just glad it was so.

Turns out his name was George Lambertson, and he was 84. What a nice guy.

* * * * *

I understand the ice rink that was recently installed on the grass down at Lobfest Park can also do duty as a wading pool.

* * * * *

For reasons unknown, last Friday night I reached for my Atlas of Great Britain and began trying to figure out the route of the bicycle trip my classmate Malcom Fray and I took during the summer when we were 15. This was some considerable time ago.

I remember cashing in 25 pounds in post office savings certificates that I had owned since I was born so I could buy a bike, an item considered quite necessary for a bike trip in those long-ago days. We took maps and a few clean socks, and planned to eat and sleep at Youth Hostels.

Either my memory is terminally deficient (possible), or else we must have cycled well over 150 miles that week, and not all of it was on the flat. Examining the atlas and tracing such of the route as I can now recall, I was frankly amazed that our parents let us roam so far, often along main highways as well as country lanes.

They must have been insane, but I am glad they let us go.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 08, 2019 15:12

Your parents were probably glad you were exploring and out of trouble. Today, however, with increase of cars and crime, perhaps she would have tied you to the bedpost. Now that is an image! Love your reads and love from AZ and sunshine!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:)

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