Christine Parrish posted this Sunday evening on our town’s bulletin board, the LBB:
One of the reasons I love the Lincolnville Bulletin Board is that it is an apolitical community forum of neighbors connecting over a shared value: this place, our home. I care about your cat, your bobcat, your kids and grandparents. I care that we support our local baker and want to know if you need snow tires. I look forward to hearing from our town administrator and always want to hear what Rosey has to say and what Corelyn has seen. I enjoy hearing from you through this forum. It’s like a virtual general store. But I don’t care about your political views. Not here. Not at all. Not in any form. Not here at this place that we look to for community connection and for information and insight about this place we all call home. Please, no.
If you haven’t been following the thread that snuck into that forum over the past week, you can probably guess at it from Christine’s post. Moderator Pat Putnam has been targeted once again with angry messages for trying to do what she’s promised to do: keep the LBB non-political, non-divisive. I admire her every day for her consistency and calm tone. We all should.
MONDAY, Jan. 11
Selectmen meet, 6 p.m., Remote
TUESDAY, Jan. 12
School Committee, 6 p.m., Remote
Library book pickup, 3-6 p.m., Library
Planning Board, 7 p.m., Remote (contact Town Office for link)
THURSDAY, Jan. 14
Conservation Commission, 4 p.m., contact Town for location
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
Jan. 23: Take Out Bean Supper
Yes, we 2,000 plus citizens of Lincolnville have differing political views, views that run from one extreme to the other. But in the end, when we’re up against some seemingly overwhelming problem, we ignore those differences, get out the pots and pans, whip up some food and have a supper. A public supper.
When Jackie and Maurice Watts were both facing cancer diagnoses at the same time, the fire department pulled out all the stops and put on an unforgettable supper for them, raising thousands of dollars along with raising their spirits. It was a collective “thank you” card from the whole town to a couple who had themselves contributed greatly to our community over the years.
We’ve raised money with food to help folks with medical bills, with rebuilding after a fire, for scholarships. When the annual Blueberry Wingding (where pancakes are the draw), was shut down this summer, a curbside bake sale took in some $2,000 and was essentially sold out by 9 a.m.
Cooks gathered to make pies, which Rose Lowell baked, 30 at a time, in her woodfired oven; proceeds from those pies helped fund Move It, the project that turned a ramshackle former schoolhouse into a handsome library. That Library has continued to fund itself with an annual summer picnic where our town’s cooks bring in salads and cookies and dish up pulled pork, straight out of that oven of Rose’s.
Tranquility Grange, an iconic early 20th century building complete with pressed tin ceiling and hand-painted stage curtain, is kept in shape with the money its members raise with summer bean suppers. The word “bean” sneaks into these events as that was the signature dish of earlier days. Today you could substitute “pasta” to be more accurate. Still, the food is all homemade, hearty, and good. The dessert of choice was traditionally pie; today, though pie bakers aren’t in common supply, the dessert table still goes heavily to pie – blueberry, raspberry, custard, chocolate cream, lemon meringue. The wise supper-goer knows to grab his favorite before going through the line of casseroles and salads.
Though 5 p.m. is the publicized starting time, folks start gathering upstairs (Tranquility’s dining room is on the lower level) by 4. You pay at the door and get a paper plate with a number on it. Diners are called by number to start lining up. If you happen to arrive at, say 5:30, you might find the food’s all gone. Or at least, all the custard pie.
A favorite memory of mine is the Tranquility supper when I got to make biscuits with Isabel Maresh on the spot. We brought in ziplock bags of pre-made biscuit mix we’d put together at home, dumped them into big bowls, added milk and went to work. Biscuits hot out of the oven are the way to go, especially when made side by side with Isabel.
The LIA (Lincolnville Improvement Association) used to hold summer suppers at their building near the Beach. Those were especially popular with summer visitors and always featured a ham in addition to the jello salads and macaroni, an item that wasn’t overlooked.
But putting on a public supper for some 100-150 people is a lot of work. The women who organized them (yes, they were all women) knew the drill, and they passed it down, back in the day, mother to daughter. Peg Miller remembered traveling to March Town Meeting as a little girl, often by sleigh, from her home a mile up VanCycle Road to Tranquility, with her mother’s pot of beans tucked in amongst the blankets. Town Meeting in those days always featured a noon meal, prepared by the women downstairs while the men debated town affairs upstairs.
At some point, perhaps after there’d been two or three benefit suppers in a year, and perhaps because the matriarchs were getting old and tired, somebody had the bright idea of a “supperless supper” to help out with some cause (which I can no longer remember). Why not just solicit donations from our neighbors? I think there was even a door-to-door effort to ask folks to help out. That would have been awhile back as well, when there were still recognizable parts of town with someone (a woman) willing to marshall her neighbors for a cause.
And it worked for awhile. Until it was hard to find anyone willing to canvas the neighborhood. That marked the eventual fall of the Community Birthday Calendar.
Remember the Community Birthday Calendar? Some of us still mourn its demise. For some 50 years (the last one was the 63rd issue) it had been a fund-raiser for the fire department. Eventually, they gave it up and Jackie Watts, wife of the fire chief, Maurice, brought it over to the Historical Society which continued it for another 15 years or so. When the fire department was doing it there was a woman in each neighborhood who went around getting her neighbors’ orders. You know, how many calendars, any names to add (babies born, new spouses?) any names to delete (a divorce, a death, a disownment)? The calendars would have been $5, then went up to $10 each and every birthday listed was $.50. There were folks who ordered several calendars to send out as Christmas presents to their far-flung offspring, bringing them a bit of home.
Facebook’s birthday announcements replaced that little box – January 11, let’s say and the names of our townspeople celebrating that day. Some of us consulted that calendar every day to see who we should call with a “happy birthday, I saw you on the calendar!”
Bringing a warm casserole over to the grieving widow(er) or new mother (I still remember every bit of food kind friends and neighbors brought by after Wally died, and even recall a chicken-and-the-fixings dinner a friend delivered when one of my babies was born) is the nicest way to say “I care about you.” Though on-line Meal Trains let us organize our food gifts, it takes a bit away from spontaneously knocking on the door with a just-out-of-the-oven chicken pot pie.
And thanks to Go Fund Me we can donate money, anonymously or not, with a couple of clicks, sitting alone at our computer. All that’s missing is the human contact, the fun of working side by side in the Grange dining room setting up a public supper.
So, to get to the point. Once again, the Historical Society’s Beach Schoolhouse Renovation Project is holding a take-out, curbside public supper, similar to November’s Take-out Chili meal. Much as we’d love to set the tables in our building’s dining room (that would be 33 Beach Road, known to many as the Lincolnville Improvement Association or LIA building) and invite everyone in to sit down together, eat and talk, we can’t do that yet.
This month we’re planning an old-fashioned baked bean supper with a homemade biscuit, coleslaw and a cookie. As we did in November, we’ll have your meal packed in a bag with your pre-ordered choices; pick it up and pay between 1 and 3 p.m. on January 23 with a January 24 snow date at 33 Beach Road. Each meal is $10, with a choice of beans with bacon or vegetarian, a regular biscuit or gluten free, and same for cookies. Order by emailing or calling Chris Leary, 585-261-4890; orders should be in by Wednesday, Jan. 20.
When we’re finally cleared to work side by side again, I’ll happily join in making biscuits in the Grange kitchen. Isabel, are you in?
On the agenda for Tuesday’s Selectmen’s meeting are discussions of broadband, consideration of doing the annual Town Meeting via referendum ballot, as well as a discussion of availability of the Selectmen’s meeting packet. Join the meeting via Zoom at 6 p.m.
Don’t forget to license your dog for 2021, either in person at the Town Office or online.
The school committee meets Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. to address extending Wednesday teacher professional days. Get the Zoom link here.