Training to be old ... deer fence .... an ambitious meal

This Week in Lincolnville: Bearing Down on Eighty

. . . counting, counting, counting
Mon, 05/03/2021 - 11:30am

    . . .5, 6, 7 . . .

    Counting starts early these days, first thing, after letting Fritz out to pee. Back to the bedroom where the exercise stuff is set up. Don’t be thinking Peloton or free weights; more like a rolled-up towel, a rubber beach ball, a leather belt, a green stretch strap. It’s the last week of my physical therapy program before knee surgery.

    The exercises are simple; there’s no sweat involved or heart pounding. Low key, not weight-bearing (I have a bad knee after all), designed to keep the muscles that hold that knee together doing their job even as the joint itself is incompetent. You just do them and count . . . s-l-o-w-l-y.

    This isn’t the first PT I’ve been prescribed for various injuries over the years, but it’s the first time I’ve actually followed through and done the prescribed exercises at home, every day, twice a day. Squeeze the ball between your knees. Press your knee down on that towel. Lift the leg. Step back against the strap. Three sets, twenty times each.

    . . . 8, 9, 10  . . .

    So boring. And so anxious to get doing something more productive, I’d either rush through them – 12345678910. There. Done. Or skip them entirely, until the next PT session where I’d unconvincingly lie to the therapist, assuring him/her I’d done them religiously. They must get that a lot.

    . . . 11, 12, 13 . . .

    But this time I’m really up against it. At 40 or 50, even 60 there was plenty of time to get back in shape, to get those muscles working again. And they did. Neck surgery, rotator cuff repair, an out of whack back: a few weeks of hauling kids around, digging in the garden, shoveling snow, just plain living and the body remembered what it was supposed to do.

    Barely a week away from 78 though, I’m not so cocky. Or sure. I’m not liking this sitting around, envious of the joggers and walkers that go by my house, missing walks to the shore, strolls around the Camden harbor or through Belfast’s Front Street Shipyard, my daily walk to Maplewood Cemetery and back, checking up on the neighbors’ projects, listening to the cardinals, spotting turkey and deer.

    . . . 14, 15, 16 . . .

    I’ll do everything I can to get back that freedom, including the twice daily half hour of boring and repetitive exercises. Surprisingly, they no longer are boring, but more meditative, as if my brain has accepted this new routine as something to embrace, not fight against. I think a lot about what growing old means to us, the Boomers, the War Babies, the Depression-era kids.

    We’ve been training for growing old all our lives, haven’t we? As little children we may have been slightly repelled by our old relatives, the ones who were liable to wipe away the sticky jelly on our chins with a spit-dampened hanky, the overly-powdered old women with their soft, fleshly arms and enveloping bosoms. The old men with hair growing out of their ears. At the same time, we knew we were the light of their lives. Those grandmas and grandpas may have paid more attention to us than our busy parents, bringing treats and toys, enthralled with everything we did.

    Teens, twenties we were invincible, our bodies growing stronger, we girls gradually becoming aware of our sexuality, while the boys could think of little else. And likely most of us were looking at our parents with a critical eye, seeing for the first time their feet of clay. And those were the years our beloved grandparents began exiting the stage, becoming mostly warm memories, figures in family photos, the subject of those stories that start “remember the way Grandpa always. . . ?”

    . . . 17, 18, 19 . . .

    I was 34 the first time my body failed me, and I was shocked. Couldn’t believe it. Me, a strong woman who’d born two children, dug up sod for gardens, was on her feet working from dawn to bed was laid low. A ruptured disk in my neck, surgery in Portland, reduced to being bathed by Margaret, my best friend, too weak to get in the tub by myself. I suspect each of us has such a moment and it may come earlier or later than mine, the time that we learn we’re not invincible.

    It wasn’t enough to make me cautious. Hardly. Had another baby (improbably conceived in the midst of the neck surgery saga), dug up more rocks, carried 100-pound sacks of grain (today grain comes in 50-pound bags and I have to use a wheelbarrow), hefted calves around, pounded in fence posts, ground grain, churned butter. Etc.

    Lincolnville’s treasure is its old people. And its children, its teens and everyone in between. Because we’re a small town, there aren’t that many of us to rub up against. Larger towns, urban/suburban areas with so much larger populations seem more likely to group together by age or education or financial status. Like finds like.

    Yes, even in our small towns we do tend to socialize with, identify with our peers.

    If you have a baby you probably relate best to other parents of little ones. School pulls together families in all sorts of activities, and retired folks flock together. But there are also lots of chances for these groups to interact. And there are the many multi-generational families in our town, younger ones actively looking after their elders, cousins keeping track of each other. We’re more liable to know, really know, the people we work for or who work for us; this doesn’t happen in a lot of places.

    . . . 20, 21, 22 . . .

    When Wally and I bought the house at the top of Sleepy Hollow in 1970, me 26 and he 30, the first people we met were old, like a couple of generations older than us. Myra and Lou Polan, New Yorkers who’d settled at the end of Chester Dean Road; Carl Carlson, born and raised at Ducktrap, a guy with a nearly unintelligible Maine accent; Vonnie Frohock Stone and her sidekick Ruth Wade who taught me lots about my new hometown. Stories I’ve never repeated, if you can believe that.

    . . . 23, 24, 25 . . .

    As we added a milk cow and a couple of pigs to our two acre “farm”, we met contemporaries like Jud and Judith Butterman, Nancy Holbert, Rene and Joan Carol Baker (with their own menagerie up in the Center), Arlene and Jeff Leighton, Dale and Taylor Mudge, Judie and Andy Hazen on High Street, Ann and Ric McKittrick with eventually four boys even as we stopped at three. Margaret Page, striking out alone with two boys to raise.


    Note: if there is no link to a remote meeting, contact the Town Office  or 763-3555 to get it

    MONDAY, May 3

    School Committee, 6 p.m., Remote

    TUESDAY, May 4

    School Photo Day

    Harbor Committee, TBD

    WEDNESDAY, May 5

    Library book pick-up, 3-6 p.m.

    THURSDAY, May 6

    Recreation Committee, TBD

    Special Town Meeting, 6 p.m., Outdoors behind school

    SATURDAY, May 8

    Library book pickup, 9 a.m.-noon, Library


    AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at noon, Norton Pond/Breezemere Bandstand

    Lincolnville Community Library, curbside pickup Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.

    Soup Café, cancelled through the pandemic

    Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987

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

    United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m. via Zoom


    June 15: Eighth grade graduation

    . . . 26, 27, 29 . . .

    As we worked, some twenty of us, through most of Sunday assembling the Historical Society’s BBQ take-out meals it was pretty obvious most of us were on the north side of 70. Maskless, all of us fully vaccinated, we shared stories that, in an earlier time, would have side-lined most of us. Several had knee and hip replacement stories to share with me, there were heart procedures to dissect – valves, pacemakers, etc. – shoulder rebuilds, a fractured pelvis, cataract surgery, a couple of other gimpy knees, both on one person. You name it.

    Yes, we were an old bunch, but still ticking.

    . . . 30!

    And according to Matt at Belfast’s Therapy Partners, my new best friends, a stretch is worthless if it isn’t 30 seconds long. Three times. That’s three for the hamstrings, three for the calves and three for the quads.


    A special town meeting will be held this Thursday, May 6, at 6 p.m. outdoors behind the school at 523 Hope Road, to act on two articles. One to see if the Town will authorize disposal of the surplus Town-owned Fire Department air tank refill system and to deposit the proceeds into the Fire Truck Reserve Fund. And the other to dispose of the F.D.’s surplus John Deere lawn tractor, proceeds also to go to the Truck Fund.


    The first week in May has traditionally been designated Spirit Week. This year Monday is Pajama Day, then Twinning Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday ,Thursday is Decade Day and then Formal Friday. Students may bring a small contributions for P.A.W.S Animal Shelter, this year’s fund-raiser.

    You may notice work going on in front of the school where a fence is being erected around the school garden. Last year it was decimated by hungry deer! The school is looking for folks who’d like to start seedlings at home to be transplanted in the school garden. Sign up with this form.

    Also LCS has posted a job for a full-time custodian. Read details in the Lynx Newsletter. As usual, the newsletter contains interesting articles for parents on topics like Anxiety and School.


    Betty Ingalls, Lincolnville’s oldest resident and holder of the Boston Post Cane,  passed away recently at the age of 104. My fondest memory of Betty is seeing her on her riding mower into her 90s, taking care of her big, grandchildren and many friends.

    Word has come that Dorothy McLaren, who along with her husband David, lived in Lincolnville for many years, has passed away. In 2016 she returned to New Jersey to be near family.

    BBQ for the Schoolhouse

    This past week-end the group working to raise money for the Beach Schoolhouse restoration/repairs put on its most ambitious take-out meal yet: a BBQ featuring 100# each of three meats (ribs, brisket and pulled pork) baked beans, cole slaw, cornbread and cookies. The logistics of cooking all that meat included an all-day Saturday, all night and into Sunday for Andy Young who provided the equipment and know-how, as well as the staying power to baby-sit the cooking and smoking meat throughout Saturday night.

    Half a dozen men arrived early Saturday to massage spicy rubs into pork shoulders, ribs, and beef briskets under Andy’s direction. Meanwhile another team of women gathered at Chris Leary’s house to fix the beans, enticed with a promise of Mimosas and lots of laughs.

    Sunday morning tubs of coleslaw arrived from Rick’s Lobster Shack along with pans of cornbread from Dot’s. Throughout the week-end bags of homemade cookies had piled up as well. Add in a little cup of BBQ sauce and each of the 150 pre-ordered meals had to include eight different items.

    All it took for the 20 some volunteers who came by Sunday morning was to assemble all those things into containers slipped into pre-labeled bags which were then set out on tables, alphabetically arranged of course, so people could drive up, pay and get their order. Special thanks and appreciation to Chris Leary who pulled the whole thing together. She’ll tell you she hasn’t lived here long enough to know that many people or to “get” the goings on, but she’s wrong. She’s a wonderful organizer, enthusiastic and makes it fun for everyone. And yes Chris, you do know lots of us. 

    A great day was had by all, and the Lincolnville Historical Society is some $3,500 closer to its goal of bringing their old building back into shape!