goose flotilla .... flipping pancakes ..... a memorial service

This Week in Lincolnville: Beach Report

...seeing life with a quieter mind
Sun, 08/11/2019 - 5:00pm

She rose out of the sea right on time about 5:40 a.m., and once again I was there along with two or three other solitary watchers. She rises a bit south of Blue Hill and Cadillac as they appear on our horizon this time of year. I learned how sunrise moves throughout the seasons from Barb Yatseyvitch, who tracked the sun from her perch on Sherman’s Point. Of course it isn’t the sun that’s moving, but rather, according to Google, “the Earth is rotating about its axis at the same time it revolves about the Sun, causing sunrise and sunset to appear in different places, depending on the time of year.”

I tried putting that explanation in my own words, but realized my grasp of astronomy is too weak to venture there. In fact, it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve noticed that the moon moves all over the sky in what appears to be an indiscernible pattern. Sure, I knew about the phases of the moon, and even have a rudimentary understanding of why, but am still in the dark about where to find it on any given night.

The minutes before actual sunrise, for anyone there to see it, are fraught with drama; the show is about to begin, but when?

The moment when she finally breaks the line of the horizon in a blaze too bright for eyes holds everyone transfixed, “everyone” being the passersby who are momentarily dazzled by the wonder of a new day. In my capacity as the town’s official Beach cleaner it’s an event I see many times every summer, though I generally miss actual sunrise as it occurs behind the trees of Ducktrap Road where I’m usually walking with Fritz.


MONDAY, Aug. 12

Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

Selectmen meet, 6 p.m., Town Office


Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Office


Soup Café, Noon-1 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

Conservation Commission, 4 p.m., Town Office

LIA meets, 5:30 potluck followed by program, LIA Building, 33 Beach Road

FRIDAY, Aug. 16

Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road


Indoor Flea Market, 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

Intro to Pickleball and Open Play, 8-10 a.m., LCS Outdoor Courts, 523 Hope Road


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 706-3896.

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 open M-W-F, 1-4 p.m.

Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road

Life – my life anyway – goes better according to a schedule. Up by 4:30, out the door with the dog as soon as there’s enough light to be seen, walk to Maplewood Cemetery and back, then down to the Beach for the morning’s trash pick-up. Most days the sun’s already well above the horizon.

Where once I was perpetually on edge, always poised for the next thing, antsy when stopped at a light or sitting through an endless meeting, always needing to get to someplace else, even if it was only getting home to start dinner, now I’m calm, willing to wait, to stand and look, to watch. I’m reluctant to lay this change in my temperament on the loss, two and a half years ago of Wally, but in fact it dates to then.

Grief is a brain-changer, I’ve decided. A trauma for sure, as concentration goes out the window and I have no idea if it ever comes back, as if whatever mattered before doesn’t any more. It’s a profound change that’s got me observing the world I travel through every day.

Now, as I stand in the morning looking at the water out across the Bay to Cadillac and Blue Hill I see, in my mind’s eye, the canoes that once traveled to our shores, to the mouth of Frohock and of Ducktrap Streams.

The People of the Dawn – the Abenaki – who came for the clams and the birds and fish, for the sweet grass that grew where today’s Atlantic Highway runs over the buried marshland. We know they came here by the trash they left behind – deep layers of clam shells, broken pottery bits, the flakes and cores of rhyolite and the broken tools they discarded. You can pick up this rock at Ducktrap, blackish with white spots; it was a prime rock for flaking into stone tools.

Come by the Schoolhouse Museum at 33 Beach Road some afternoon (M-W-F, 1-4 p.m.) to see the artifacts archaeologist Harbour Mitchell found on our shores.

The Beach, our beach if you live in Lincolnville, is a treasure if you can see beyond the crowds that set up camp every sunny summer day. Or least lay out a towel and call it home. Now that I’m living with grandchildren upstairs I’ve “gone to the Beach” more times this summer than in all the years I was raising their fathers. We never went to the Beach; too crowded we’d say. Ducktrap was our preferred spot, where it never felt crowded even when the small parking area was full. You could spread out, find a private-feeling place to perch.

Our boys grew up throwing rocks and hunting for sand dollars on the way-out sand bar at low tide. They learned to swim in the channel where the Ducktrap Stream flows into the Bay. Back and forth in that cold water until we were confident they wouldn’t sink. We always got there before noon on the Fourth to stake out our favorite picnic spot under the trees, building a fire pit for hot dogs and on one memorable day, to roast a goat on a spit.

But now I’m learning to like the Beach, even on those packed-to-the-gills afternoons, as long as it’s low tide that is. And even discovering it after hours. Remember the Fourth this year? My friend and I perched on the edge of the cannon to watch the fireworks, practically under the tent with the band. Hundreds, maybe a thousand people sat enthralled by the show that night. Other nights ice cream beckons, and we’ve ended several evenings sitting on a bench, he with black raspberry and me with mint chocolate chip.

It’s funny, those nights, spotting the cigarette butts, the crumpled napkins, and candy wrappers, knowing that in just a few hours I’ll be picking them all up. To date this year, starting in May, I’ve picked up 3,185 butts and fished 1,873 returnable bottles and cans out of the barrels, most days emptying four or five of the five trash barrels.

Four restaurants compete for diners with Chez Michel open a more leisurely four days a week this year, the Pound open for lunch and dinner every day but Wednesday, the Pub for dinner all but Tuesday, and McLaughlin’s Lobster Shack open every day from 11:30 on except Tuesday when they have a limited menu at their Wheelhouse bar.

Rick McLaughlin has the longest history at the Beach, as he grew up working in his parents’ Lobster Pound. We sometimes meet mornings when I’m walking the parking lot with my little bucket, and he commiserates with me, recalling how he started as a young kid picking up butts outside the Pound. This past week-end for the 14th time the Lincolnville Improvement Association, L.I.A., put on its scholarship fundraiser, the Blueberry Wingding at Rick’s Lobster Shack.

In the midst of prepping lobsters and coleslaw, cornbread and clams for the daily summer rush, Rick makes room for dozens of LIA members putting on a blueberry pancake breakfast.

Folks descend on the place at 6 a.m., setting up tables for baked goods and white elephants, making coffee, pouring juice, and mixing pancake batter. There’s the kitchen crew: three pancake flippers, someone to mix the batter, a meat (bacon and sausage) person, someone to keep the batter dispenser and blueberry cups filled, another someone to fill the plates, two or three “runners” to come into the kitchen with orders, many waiters, busboys, money takers, raffle ticket sellers, coffee and juice guys, a syrup lady, a couple of dishwashers.

You’d be surprised how many jobs get filled to serve that breakfast to 400-plus guests.

By the end of the morning – 10:30 takes a long time coming when you start at 7 – everyone’s ready for a nap.

I should add that while there were many younger helpers (often the visiting offspring of LIA members) the core group are gray heads. Like so many things that happen in our town it’s the older folks with the time to pull them off.

The oldest worker is 92 – that would be Andy Andrews, and he supervises the loading of all the tables and tubs of stuff stored at the LIA and delivers it down to Rick’s that morning. His crew are no spring chickens either, all over 70, a couple are in their 80s. They erect pop-ups, set up tables and griddles, haul in jugs of syrup and other assorted gear.

The Wingding brings in around $6,000, and it all goes out in scholarships to Lincolnville high school students going on to higher education. Last year the LIA awarded five $1,200 scholarships, their most ever.

A big part of the Wingding are the raffle prizes donated by local businesses. Thanks to their generosity and to all of the community coming out and eating blueberry pancakes on the seawall on a gorgeous August morning, the Wingding remains as popular as when it first started.

And then it’s the next day. Sunday’s a quiet day with nobody rushing off to work. Busy Atlantic Highway is blissfully quiet. A flock of some 18 Canada geese wheel around overhead, flying low directly toward me, as I stand stock still, waiting, trash bag forgotten at my feet, to watch them land at the water’s edge.


Librarian Elizabeth Eudy writes: “The next book discussion will be Tuesday, August 20, 6 p.m. Everyone is invited and welcomed to drop in and take part. No commitment required, just come any month the selection interests you. We usually meet the third Tuesday of the month, but may reschedule from time to time. 

“This month's selection is "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones about a happy succesful couple finding their life turned upside down when the husband is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a horrible crime his wife knows he did not commit. 

There are almost two weeks left to read the book and we welcome your participation and insights.

Lincolnville Improvement Association

The LIA meets this Thursday, Aug. 15 at their building at 33 Beach Road. The 5:30 p.m. potluck will be followed by me, Diane O’Brien, talking on “Half of Every Couple; when death ends marriage”, the book that’s a compilation of 52 Penbay Pilot columns. All welcome.

Indoor Flea Market

This Saturday, August 17 the Lincolnville Center Indoor Flea Market opens its doors at 8 a.m. with breakfast goodies to eat and many vendors with a wide range of things for sale. This month only the market will close at noon rather than 1 p.m. as there will be a memorial gathering at 2 p.m. at the church and community.

Grange Supper

Tranquility Grange, 2171 Belfast Road, Lincolnville, is holding a public supper on Saturday, August 17, 5-6 p.m. with a menu featuring homemade baked beans, casseroles, salads and desserts. Adults, $10; 5-12 year olds, $5; under 5 and over 90, free. Proceeds benefit the Grange Restoration Fund. For more information contact Rosey Winslow, 763-3343.

Wayne Harwood

A memorial service for Wayne, who grew up in Lincolnville Center, will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, August 17 at the United Christian Church.