Friday, May 31, 2013


Seen here is one of the spans of 295 heading off towards Falmouth. I don't know about your area of the world, but around here, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hitchhiker thumbing on the roads today. I used to do it a lot, every day. As a matter of fact, Dad gave my brother expressed permission to do so. It was how we got to our caddying jobs at Riverside Golf Course. Wow! Have times changed! In this world we live in, can you imagine a parent today suggesting, almost forcing a 13 year old to climb, daily, into total strangers' cars? In all my local experience, I never had an issue with any driver that picked me up. They only asked where we were headed, and once we hit Riverside Street, most golfers who recognized us, pulled over and gave us the final lift. I did make the trip to Western New York one fall. Now, that was a very sketchy trip.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Damage Done

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa! 

Here lies the damage to the lilac spoken of yesterday in my post. I hope I didn't kill it. Elenka made me say this. 

Fire Permit

This looks pretty tame right now, but about 30 minutes before the pile of brush was high and the flames were licking the sky. Finally though, the weather cooperated. It wasn't too dry. It wasn't too wet. It wasn't too windy. I have been waiting for about three weeks for a burn permit, so our garden plans for the summer could move forward. Now, I can sleep easy. However, there was some collateral damage. We have a couple of birdhouses and a lilac tree lining the garden area close to the flames. The homes for our feathered friends and some perennials nearby survived thanks to my watering efforts when the flames went high. I did forget about the lilac tree, for the most part. One side received a bit of a scorching, but will survive. 
And yes, Elenka did bring the damage to my attention.
She's always there for me!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


As far as I'm concerned there will be only one 'Pistol Pete' and you spell it MARAVICH. Cripes, in 4 years at LSU ('66-70), he averaged over 40 points a game, and what he did in the course of the game with that roundball was simply astounding. And that was before the 3 point shot hit the NCAA. He might have averaged 70! He is still the NCAA Division 1 top all time scorer. He was a true magician. Try following the ball when he had it, and you could drive yourself crazy. And yes, all LSU did over his years there was Win, Baby! Win! Win! Win!
So want to get some furniture reupholstered? Try this place on Anderson Street. Want to be wowed? Just Google Maravich and check out some YouTube videos.
With his trademark, those floppy, old socks, he was truly AMAZING on that hardwood!
... and died too young in 1988.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial 2013

April 13, 1944
Boeing B-17
"Hey Moitle!"
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Leonard A. Gallant (front row, far right).

The B-17 was hit by flak and dropped out of formation, with its engine smoking. The crew escaped with chutes deployed and along with the plane disappeared into the clouds over Augsburg, Germany. All, but 2nd Lt. Gallant, were captured and became POWs.  The fate of young Gallant is still shrouded in mystery. In all the time I spent with Grampa, his name was never uttered. My aunts, Mom and grandmother spoke of Buster often to me, but my grandfather just couldn't say his name, I guess. 
The loss of a son in that Good War was just too much.
I am connected to him; I carry his name.
I'm honored!

*This photo has only recently been declassified.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nasty Sky

"Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see."
I. Berlin

Just before the deluge---
I caught this sky on the ride home the other afternoon. Pretty ominous, but it only amounted to an intense, heavy downpour for 20 minutes or so. Then the blanket of grey returned... talk about shades of grey.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Deck Chair

Sadness on the edge of town?
Got big plans for the holiday weekend? I think you might be looking at mine. All I can say is this best not be a harbinger of things to come for my summer. We suffered through one of these a few years back, and it really wasn't too much fun. Oh, and a garden update? It is still piled high with brush and assorted other crap. No break in this weather pattern this past week. Too wet to burn. I'm just happy I'm on this side of the window.
From time to time, I see hints of how depression runs its ugly course.
Saving grace? The holiday is early this year.
When it comes to summer weather, I'm pretty selfish!
"Rain, rain go away..."

Friday, May 24, 2013

For Lease

Between the Green Elephant and Hallowed Ground is a short stairway that leads to a piece of property that looks down on Congress Street. So let's see. I can stop by and grab a bite off the delicious vegetarian menu at the bistro named the Green Elephant and then venture next door to sample some bodyart at the HG. I wonder if many that sample the vegetarian fare line up for tattoos next door. To me they seem a bit juxtaposed, but then again maybe not. I've done time in one of these establishments. Want to hazard a guess?
Too easy. 
No fair!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Our trees are covered. The blossoms make the apple trees stand out against the rest of the green plastering the backyard. It's always a sweet time around Memorial Day. The weekend is usually spent rototilling and putting our small garden in under a large source of blossoms. Right now, our garden awaits a fire permit, so we can rid the space of a huge pile of brush that has been there since late fall. The last few weeks its either been way too dry to burn, too windy or over the last week or so too wet. I might get a break today. If so, I'll take care of the situation this evening.
If you get a permit, you can burn after 5:30 PM and by midnight all that'll remain will be ashes, a few spent Summer Ale bottles and some wind blown blossoms.
Right now... it's a burning issue in my world.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shells and Stones

I've never been one to collect things. Now, those that love me and even a few others might say I tend to collect junk. In my eyes, that doesn't count. I collected baseball cards once, but ventured off to college, and Mom trashed them. Those classic cards with Williams, Mantle and Mays in classic swing poses gone forever. I collected pennies too, for awhile. I had 4 or 5 of books of slotted cent pieces, many really old ones. Couldn't locate them when I returned from my four years of higher education. Mom? My collection of silver dollars, started by my grandfather and continued by me? Missing in action. These days, I don't walk beaches here or in Florida on vacation collecting shells, sea glass or other trinkets. I've learned my lesson about collections and higher education though.
Kids, don't go off to college!
Stay home and protect your stuff.! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Apple Knot

If I was a professional arborist, I'd probably have a technical name for this bulging area in one of our back apple trees, but for right now, I'll just call it an apple knot. Pretty much, all my life I've grown up around wild apple trees. We have six on our property here, and back on Stevens Avenue we had plenty. Three in straight away centerfield of our homemade diamond in the backyard. If you hit it over those, it was an automatic homerun. No questions asked. Skipper and Leo each did it once, as my memory recalls. There were countless others too scattered about the back fields, that provided ammo at a moment's notice for our homemade applecasters. Stick a small crabapple on the end of a sturdy, but flexible, thin branch, and you were in business. It was all about our apple wars! Whip your stick fast at an opposing buddy in the brush nearby, and it was 'ouch time'. Boy, if you got hit right, they could sting.
Yes, apple wars. They were entertaining as all get-out. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wooden Seats

A service under a bright sun could only improve the product for me. Now if you're looking for a non-denominational chapel among the pines, with ocean breezes wafting nearby for a summer wedding, you could do a lot worse then these warm, wooden pews. Of course, if the worship approached the sixty minute mark, my butt would be paying a high price. Hopefully there would be a lot of up and down. It's always a good thing to be able to 'exercise' a bit during a long service. Even in this warm sun, I'd need something more than 'words of wisdom' to occupy my idle moments. 
Let us pray... for me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Pushing forward is always a good thing. Sometimes it's very hard, especially when you know the outcome is not going to reflect the excitement and original plans that you had conjured up in your head. It's all about when your blueprints go bad and out of control. But always keeping a forward progression is, in the end, a beneficial treatment. And as I tell those that hang with me and those charges under my watch, 'always try to finish strong'. It's the final taste in your mouth that you want. You're still moving forward in your life. It's always a positive outlook when you start your next day on the plus side, because of your last few touches of the day before.
Always attempt to propel yourself forward.
"It's the right thing to do." Wilford Brimley

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Lure

Cruise ship passengers' first steps in the city are here at the Ocean Gateway terminal. The architecture of the building is designed to resemble the prow of a ship and give visitors a few hints of Portland's vast seafaring history. There is an allure to it also. Allure is an interesting word. Defined as "the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating." You might be wondering, why did he go from the design of a pier to a word like allure? The answer lies within the next sentence. We are booked this summer for an exciting cruise aboard the Allure of the Seas, as of right now the largest of the Royal Caribbean ships.
Ah... very warm sun, cigars, sunsets, martinis, night life, scrumptious food, women! 
Ok, scratch that last one.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Service Time

Neighborhoods change a lot over the years. Heck, Elenka is still not allowed to drive through her old neighborhood in Jersey. Most of Maine is not that dangerous. This used to be an all service Shell Service Station, as it used to be called. At the corner, there were six, count them 6, gas stations back then. The most expensive gas was found here at the Shell. Beside providing you the expense of the gas, the feller that cleaned your windows and checked your oil was impeccably dressed in brown shirt and pants with the bright yellow piping around the edges. The station was the cleanest of them all too, with every item for sale or ready for use in its place. And unlike many of the other stations, the cord that signaled that a car had just pulled in for attention, with a loud 'ding', always was in working order. 
Today, I'd pull in there for gas; however, I think I'd have to pass on their tattooing and piercing services. 
Besides, in my own mind, I'm famous already. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I came across that ESQUIRE list of 'must reads' for men, "75 Books  Every Man Should Read, the other day. I've got a head start on the collection. Books like: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Dog Soldiers, Things They Carried, The Invisible Man, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Shining, Killer Angels, The Grapes of WrathConfederacy of Dunces, Heart of Darkness, Labyrinths, The Good War, The Brothers Karamazov and quite a few others are already in the 'read' column. Looking ahead, I've got Under the Volcano, As I Lay Dying, The Windup Bird Chronicle, This Boy's Life, Lucky Jim, Autobiography of Malcolm X, Midtnight's Children, Rabbit, Run, Times Arrow, A Sport, A Pastime, The Black Meridian on my 'to do list. Will the reads happen? Maybe... maybe not. I must say, even though a list-hater at heart, I was intrigued to take a glance or two.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I hate lists!
No, not shopping list. I can handle those. I mean lists like the 100 greatest pitchers in MLB history. I came across an alphabetical list the other day of rock & roll songs. I'm not going there! I got to thinking about lists last night watching a Boston TV station after the Boston Bruins improbable comeback to win Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They became the first NHL team to come back from a 3 goal deficit, in the 3rd Period, of a Game 7. For you non-puck lovers, that's a huge deal! The commentators went on to ask the question: what was the greatest comeback in Boston sports history? The Patriots winning the Snow Bowl (thank goodness for the 'tuck rule) on their way to their first Super Bowl? The 2004 Red Sox overcoming a 3 game lead by the dreaded Yankees on their way to their first World Championship since 1918? Or how about DJ  stealing the ball and feeding it to Larry Legend under the basket to beat the hated Pistons? And then last night. Down 4-1 with about 10 minutes to play, this Jekyll and Hyde team came all the way back and won in Overtime. So here I am trying to contemplate this list and make my choice, and what to I stumble across? 
ESQUIRE's List of "75 Books Every Man Should Read".
Sheeeesh! Lists are everywhere! I can't escape them.
That is a STACK of 75 that I might contemplate though. Thank goodness, about half of them I've read already.
And no, I don't do 'Bucket Lists'!
Oh ya, I almost forgot... the Sox beating the Yankees 4 games to 3 and heading off to the World Series.
Got a favorite comeback?
And I'm not talking about, "Your mother's fat too!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Dog

During 4 years of college in western New York, I think I flew back and forth just two times. Most of the rest of my time was spend on buses, mostly 'the dog' (Greyhound). Don't tell anyone, but I kind of enjoyed it. Every trip was an adventure. As I remember, it left the Rochester station about 2 PM and would pull into Boston about 4AM the next morning. I always thought I caught a good cross-section of the world that I could study on those log trips through the night. Through blizzards, surviving buses with faulty heaters, seat 'neighbors' who wanted to yak through the darkness and even some shenanigans that I'm not about to divulge here, I survived to write about it.
Crazy college coeds, sour milk cartons, bus breakdowns, minor accidents, unruly passengers, it was always nice to get home.
And everytime Bob Segers' "Night Moves" comes on the radio, I turn it loud and remember.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Working Wharf

Here I am walking along Widgery Wharf on a Sunday morning. It's, maybe, the most historic piece of property off of Commercial Street. Since the 1700's, it has served the city's waterfront mooring fishing vessels, providing fish and lobsters for local dealers and housing many outlets for fishing industry supplies. The wharf itself has a very narrow path to the end, with a spattering of small colored buildings, and it is dotted with frequent signs that remind any intruders that this is private property and unless you have business down here, among the buildings, stay out. Even on a Sunday morning, just after 7AM, there were stirring figures moving around inside its buildings. I've been around this city for quite a few years, but this was the first time, I think, I had ever set foot on this wharf. Quite an interesting set of buildings.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tree Fork

They say a good friend is a friend for life.
Paul and I met in a 7th grade Confraternity class. We've been attached to some degree ever since. I really don't know how or why I came across this sheet metal birdhouse, but it rests up back in the fork of an small apple tree. Paul's dad owned a small sheet metal shop near Gorham. Paul worked there, and then took it over for a time when the old man retired. I got a kick out of it when Paul cut the back off of his old Corvair and replaced it with a sheetmetal back, that sort of resembled the rear of a van. When I worked at the cemetery, he often would show up mid-morning, find a quiet, isolated spot down back and sleep till 4 when I got off. My partner at work, Fillinger, who gave everybody at work unique nicknames, called him the 'covered wagon man', and of course it stuck. I must admit though; Paul could make anything out of that metal. When he cut the shop in half and built himself an apartment on one side, much of the furniture was fabricated out of that silver metal, like this small birdhouse. Looks like the roof is in need of a rivet or two. I'll get to that soon. Maybe this is a piece of his handiwork. I just can't recall where I picked it up. 

To all the mommies out there today, enjoy YOUR day!
Elenka, you are an amazing mom!
I think she wants to go to Ken's Place at Pine Point.
Can you say fried clams? 

Saturday, May 11, 2013


It's amazing how one's perspective changes once the days start adding up. I always remember hearing that old cliche 'stop and smell the roses', but I never paid much mind to it. These days, I can stop and read a chapter in a book, for the good part, and not be bothered that I might not be back for a while. When time allows, I like to take lots of detours off the well trodden trail and seek a surprise or two. I am a simple man. I can be entertained by the seemingly unassuming. Sometimes I wonder, if I slow others around me down, while I wander around. I think I do, but I guess that's the price you pay for the company you keep.
Here's my assignment for you today--- find something new, take a short, different path, hold a bit of wonder in your hand for a time.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ecology Walk

Not far from the ocean's edge, you'll find this walkway amid tall spruces and shining white birches. There's a lot peacefulness and quiet nestled here. Close by, you'll even find a open-air chapel bathed in sunlight and a small campground. This is all part of the coastal campus of the Ferry Beach Ecology School. The small institution offers ecological education to elementary and middle school students. Its staff and buildings can teach, feed and house up to 180 kids overnight right on the ocean in Saco, Maine. It's a special secret hidden here close to the surf.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Got four kids in the city begging to go on a summer vacation? What to do? Head to Disneyland? Are you dreaming? With all Dad's assorted extra jobs? Our mom invented 'staycations, but sleeping in tents in the backyard got real old, real fast. So Mom dragged out the old road map, and we headed down Route 1. Our destination was Camden Hills State Park for a week of campfires under the stars, baseball in the big field nearby, hiking Mt. Battie and meeting new friends. Mom secured a large yellow wall tent from neighbors for her and dad, the girls and supplies. Marchin and I threw our sleeping bags into our pup tent and we were happy guys. I can't speak for my brother( he claims he can't remember) or my sister, but the back to back years spending a couple of weeks here were summer highlights for me. A camper like this would have been nice, but it probably would have taken some of the nuances of a week of livin' under the stars away. Not to mention the memories.
"Mom, there are mosquitoes in our tent!"

ps. When Elenka and I first went on a camping trip, I took her here. It poured ALL weekend. Even visiting Camden got old after awhile.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Just a day at the beach!
Whoever came up with that expression knew what they were talking about. Whether it's vacationing in Florida, cruising the Caribbean or just walking along Cresent Beach in Cape Elizabeth, I like to leave footprints. Well, most of the time. Walking along the water's edge, with that ol' sun shining the way,  is an activity I enjoy... a lot. Occasionally, you might even spy me picking up a stray rock or two on my stroll.
Secret time. hahahaha! I get a kick out of signs that read: "Take only pictures."
Am I a bad boy?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


"Please don't disturb the dunes."
I spent the morning and early afternoon at Ferry Beach yesterday. From what I can see, repairing the dunes along southern Maine beaches is a constant struggle. Signs everywhere remind us that they are extremely delicate and to please stay off and let the grasses return. When I hit the beach, the last place I want to 'play' is on the dunes. I've got my hands full with deciding on what  sunscreen number to apply, the lugging of awkward beach chairs, umbrellas and other bags of assorted gotta have junk, bringing lunch with its proper beverages and keeping track of all those scantily clad sights.
Whew! I'm exhausted just planning a trip to the beach. 
Climbing the dunes? I'll leave that to others. 

Monday, May 6, 2013


"Here comes the sun king..." off of Abbey Road is resonating this morning, as I look at this wallhanging from the Space Gallery. SPACE is quite a place. It's a small rock venue with a bar on the side, an art gallery featuring some strange stuff hanging about the walls and at times a performance theater. I post this art this morning not because I'm fond of it but because in a odd way it's foretelling today weather, at least inland, away from the water. It's suppose to crack 70 for the first time in 2013 around here. Yipeeeee! We've had a super stretch of comfortable temperatures, but to tell you the truth we really need some rain. The Maine Fire Service has designated today as a "Very High Class 4" threat. See, we need some cool, cool water.
Off to Ferry Beach today, where it's going to be breezy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vintage Vinyl

Standing inside Strange Maine looking out on Congress Street, I'm getting nostalgic. Yes, that feeling overcomes me at times. Strange Maine is a vintage record store right at the top where Forest Avenue intersects Congress. Back in 1957, Ruthie Baker opened Recordland on this main drag, and if you had a 'vinyl obsession' or just needed those just released 45s, you headed here. In the early Sixties, I often did. I stopped there by not necessarily to buy but to check out the latest blitz of new albums from England. Bands like the Animals, the Kinks, the Moody Blues, the Who, and Them were on my radar, while many friends were still stuck on Elvis. I do remember walking into Recordland on a cold, snowy December evening and purchasing the just-released Byrds album "Turn, Turn, Turn" for a girl who I thought was special. I was wrong, but that's a whole other chapter that won't be opened today.

Now, brother Marchin believes strongly that Strange Maine occupies the walls of the former Recordland, but I'm not so sure. It could have been on either side of this shop. I've done some minor investigation but have come up empty. I'm still on it.
Rock n' Roll is here to stay!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Making Music

Here's some sidewalk art. Ya, that cool cat in the middle caught the eyes of those strolling the cement walkways of Congress Street at last evening's First Friday Artwak, but they could strum too. He was playing a mean harmonica under that headgear. Didn't catch the name of this trio, but I am quite sure Mr. Robert Allen Zimmerman never got his start on the streets of Hibbing, Minnesota and the Village in a getup like this.
Say it ain't so, Bob!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Black Buggy

Some days my friends who I spend my days with remind me that I'm a bit old around the edges. Now, I'll grant them that, but I'm also not a relic of the 19th century American West either, like this black buggy. It's in pretty good shape and looks like it could still ferry the young Laura Ingalls to town. Age is a relative thing. Yes, some days I feel old, but most days no. Spending your days with early teens has that special way of rejuvenating the spirit. Some days I look old, but really the mirror, I feel, has been quite fair with me. Some days I eat old, but I like to think that salads help me keep my boyish good looks. Some days I talk old, but I'll let you in on a secret. I get good laughs that way. Some days I think old, but  an old, dried up curmudgeon, I ain't. I'll let others talk that talk. I'll use my energy spryly and keep that glass half full.
I ain't ready for a cane and rest home yet!
Like the forthysia, I can be explosive and oh so energetic!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sidewalk Art

Taking a walk awhile back-
Bull Moose Music is a pretty good place to pick up some music, old or new, cds or vinyl. I like some of the new music of today, and I can get lost for hours in some of the old. If I'm lookin' for some dated cds of yesteryear, I'm headed here. Heading to work the other morning, I came across a station playing the entire Aftermath album by the Stones. 6:30 AM and they've thrown on this rockin' bit of my past. Amazing! When "Think" came on, I thought I'd have to pull over. Without a doubt, my favorite cut of this recording, especially when played at full volume. Bill Wyman's bass work knocks me out every time and rockets me back to the Nelson's kitchen... and yes, I found myself humming it all day. 
"Think, think, think back baby..." 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Theme Day: Creative Artisan

Today, May 1, 2013 is Theme Day across the CDP (citydailyphotoblog) community. The artist, depicted here, is working on a velociraptor mold. If you recall, they had quite a prominent role in the movie Jurassic Park back a few years. It is quite amazing, to me, to watch him work the intricate pieces together. 
Like mother, like son.