This Week in Lincolnville: Starting to Talk to Him
That last snow taught me what I didn’t know. For example, snow blowers aren’t the magic machines I imagined them to be. I’d managed to clean up the whole driveway and paths to henhouse and bird feeders without a hitch after the first blizzard, the foot and a half of fluffy, dry snow that fell a few weeks ago. But, surprise, my snow blower won’t go through a foot of heavy, wet snow; it wanted to ride up and over it. Parking a car up near the road just guarantees it’ll get plowed in. And yes, Wally always wanted the vehicles parked well back in the driveway, and yes, now that he’s gone I can do things my way. Only, damn, he was right about that. And most other things, too.
So, push the machine forward a couple of feet through that heavy stuff, back up, forward again. Finally, after the first swath is complete, turn around and this time, take a mere 6 inches on the next round, just like mowing a lawn for the first time in late June. The other morning, with thanks to the friend who plowed away most of the ridge, I finally got the car out and a place to park it cleared off, but not the path to the henhouse. That offends my new-found need for tidiness, a need that would surprise the man who lived with my clutter for so long. Now I want clean counters, swept floors, neat paths through the snow. I hardly know myself.
I’m starting to talk to Wally, right out loud. Mostly along the lines of, where are you….why did you have to go ….. you’re not coming back, are you? Woke up in the middle of the night, reached over and stroked his cheek….only it was a dream and it wasn’t the right man…. Yipes! Then I was awake….for heavens sake, I thought in the morning, remembering how vividly I felt my hand on that cheek, if you’re going to start coming back to me in my dreams, at least make sure it’s you!
Wally’s been gone seven weeks, more than double the longest time we’ve been separated in all our years together. And of course, it’s on track to stretch to infinity; he will never again be next to me at the meat counter, picking out a nice steak, or standing behind me at Subway ordering a sandwich. The fact that we were one of those “joined at the hip” retired couples doesn’t help my present situation much. We shopped together, read the morning paper together, ate all our meals together – what were we thinking?
Living our lives is all. He retired from teaching nearly 18 years ago, and one of his first days off the job set the tone. I headed out in the car on some errand, and returned an hour or two later to find him standing in the driveway.
“Why are you coming back from that direction?” he asked.
Uh oh, this didn’t bode well for his retirement years. We told the story many times, laughing about it. And in fact, we each did plenty of things on our own, but more often than not, we headed out together.
The worst part is not just the empty house, his empty chair, the quiet loom: at times it feels as if all purpose is gone, as if he was my purpose. Yet I’m busy from dawn to dark, from 4 a.m. feeding the dog-building the fires-feeding the cat-making the coffee to evening’s glass of wine-TV news-dinner-bed. In between, a long penciled To Do list, all for me. Walk the dog, get in the car once every day and go somewhere, clean out something – pantry, closet, freezer, talk to another human being. Do those things every day. It does help.
Where do the dead go? When the things that mattered to him – keeping his own personal can of WD-40 handy, the mushrooms he brought home and I dried, his hunting gear, lots of things that only he knew the significance of – remain, but the man they belonged to is gone, gone forever. Time and events, in the wider world and in our own family, have already moved beyond his knowing. That’s hard to get my head around.
Yet the seeds of next summer’s garden are already up. Tiny onions, leeks, shallots, celery, peppers, herbs, lettuce and flowers are sprouting under grow lights. I’m quite excited at plans for a family garden. I’ll actually be adding more space to an already large garden, seemingly pretty crazy for a woman who basically has to feed only herself. But with a boisterous family of grandchildren just up the road, we’re planning on growing most of the vegetables we’ll all need.
But it’s more than that. Most of the garden has been turned into raised beds over the years, with only a part, up by the road, left in conventional rows. Wally rototilled it every year for corn, dry beans and potatoes. I’ve had my eye on that plot for a long time, had other ideas for it, but I didn’t always get my way. Not hardly. We each guarded our own personal spaces, and generally didn’t infringe on the other. That plot was one of his.
Anyway, the front garden won’t be rototilled this year. So this spring, though it still only exists on the paper I plotted it on, a new garden will appear. Concentric beds bordered by grassy paths (exactly the width of the mower), with a bed of annuals along the roadside. Wally loved flowers in the vegetable garden, especially the poppies that seed themselves everywhere. He could never bring himself to pull them out. Down the middle is (in my mind’s eye) a single long bed, surrounded by the path, filled with all the witchy and unmanageable herbs I can find: tansy, angelica, lovage, mugwort, sage, sweet cicely, borage and in the spaces between, poppies of all kinds. And resting underneath this tangle, feeding it, will be the ashes that wait in the front room. He always said, “Put me in the garden.” So I will.
MONDAY, MAR. 20
Selectmen meet, 6 p.m., Town Office
TUESDAY, MAR. 21
Healthy Cooking Class, 3-5 p.m., Community Building
School Committee budget workshop, 5:30 p.m., LCS Room C-1
Library Book Group, 6 p.m., Library
WEDNESDAY, MAR. 22
Yoga, 6:30 p.m., United Christian Church Parish Hall, 18 Searsmont Rd.
Library Presentation and Concert, 7 p.m., Library
THURSDAY, MAR. 23
Soup Café, noon-1p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road
SUNDAY, March 26
“Music and Reflection in the Lenten Season”, 4 p.m., United Christian Church
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church
Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays, 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 763-4343.
Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated
Schoolhouse Museum is closed for the season; call Connie Parker for a special appointment, 789-5984.
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m.; Good News Club, Tuesdays, LCS, 3-4:30
Crossroads Community Church, 11 a.m. Worship
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service
Mar. 27: Deadline for Little League/Softball/Baseball registration
Mar. 28: Second Healthy Cooking Class
April 5: Easter card-making class
May 1: Deadline to return nomination papers to Town Office
Nomination papers for the Tuesday, June 13, 2017 election of Municipal Officers are available at the Lincolnville Town Office, 493 Hope Road. This year there are two three-year terms for Selectman, two three-year terms for School Committee, one one-year terms for the Five Town CSD School Committee, three three-year terms and one one-year term for Budget Committee .
Getting on the ballot for one of these positions is easy, Nomination papers must be signed by not less than 25 or more than 100 registered Lincolnville voters. Then return the papers to the Town Office by 5 p.m. May 1.
The special School Committee budget workshop planned for last week had to be rescheduled until Tuesday, March 21, 5:30 p.m. in LCS room C-1.
Chess is big this year at LCS. With a Chess Team and a Chess Club, and early morning chess games it’s a big deal with a lot of kids, and surprisingly, many of them are in the primary grades. The Chess Team (Abby Hise, Addy Harbaugh, Awnin Oxley, Liana Talty, Bryson Hise, Noah Seliger, Thomas Pickford, Ward Morrison and Zachary Egeland) competed in its first ever State Chess Championship at the University of Maine; out of nine teams LCS finished first, far ahead of the second place finisher. Five of the Lincolnville players had three wins, including a second grader.
We have a kindergartner and first grader in our family, and have been hearing a lot about chess lately. Now when they come running into the house they’re likely to run for the chess board, bypassing the computer, the dog, and other enticements. So where does all this chess excitement come from? Probably from Ron Hise, who started the program at LCS, and from Bruce Haffner who meets with the Chess Club after school, both in LCS and Hope school, volunteers regularly in classrooms to share his love of chess, and even meets enthusiastic students early in the morning, before school starts. Chess teaches calculation and creativity, good skills for everyone to learn. The kids participating were each given a chess set of their own so they could play at home. And they do!
All are invited to join the book group meeting at the Library Tuesday, March 21, 6 p.m. “A Man Called Ove ” by Swedish author Fredrik Backman is the book of the month, the story of a grumpy, yet lovable old man and the boisterous young family that moves in next door. All are welcome to join in the discussion.
The Library Presentation for March will be held this Wednesday, the 22nd, 7 p.m. Youngtown Poet Paul McFarland will be reading and Windfern Duo playing. Call Rosey Gerry to reserve a seat -- $10 each – 975-5432.
Kyla Quigley will be holding a yoga class in the Parish Hall at United Christian Church, 18 Searsmont Road, on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:45 p.m. beginning this week. Bring your own mat.
Music and Reflection for the Season of Lent will be held Sunday, March 26, 4 p.m. at the United Christian Church. The forty-five minute program will include seasonal music, selected readings, and moments of quiet reflection. Music will be provided by violinist Caleb Edwards with Pat Shannon reading. The church is handicapped accessible. Free-will donation. All welcome.
Looking for a Webmaster
The Lincolnville Historical Society needs help with its website, specifically, we need a webmaster. Take a look at our site to get an idea of what we have and what we need. We’d love to find a volunteer, but will consider other options. Contact me, Diane, 789-5987.
LBB Post of the Week
Along with a lot of speculation about the source of various booms heard around town – suggestions included an earthquake, house settling into the frost, the ice on the ponds cracking, baby boomers, somebody setting off a cannon – there was also a thread to do with mail delivery. Or specifically, outgoing mail apparently being ignored by the carrier. One carrier responded with a number of possibilities that could lead to the problem, but best of all, she suggested going down to the Beach Post Office for an answer. That got me thinking about how critical we’ve become of others and how easily offended we can be.
Imagine sometime in the not too distant future when mail and basically all other deliveries are made not by a human being, who may make an occasional mistake, but by a programmed drone. That’s a prediction that’s pretty widespread. So instead of a friendly guy who carries packages up to your door, and has treats in his pocket for your dog, someone who will investigate when he sees mail piling up in your box, we’ll have a soulless machine darting from house to house, efficiently dropping off the mail with never a nod or a “hi” or a wave. Be careful what you wish for!
Fox on Coleman
Liz Hand wrote from her window on Coleman Pond: “Last night Annie brought over one of Rose's pizzas to the cottage, and we were eating it when I spied a fox trotting on the pond. I'm sure he was the same one I heard last month, and also saw his tracks, but this is the first time I saw HIM. He looked healthy, with a beautiful brush. We grabbed binoculars and watched as he walked onto the little rocky point across from the cottage, then proceeded to cross the entire lake, breaking into a lope as he got out into the open. Both Annie and I think of foxes as our totem animals, so maybe that's what drew him out in the open. Or maybe he just heard that Rose's pizza was on the menu!”