OKay, this is procrastination of the worst kind. I should be working. But I sat down early this morning with a cup of coffee and the local weekly small town paper. And the NY Times, as well; I went to the store at 7 AM, when it opens, to get the Times; I can't get it delivered here, the way I do at home. But somehow on a summer morning in rural Maine, it is the local paper that holds my interest.
First, a wonderful obituary for Peter Terry, who built my pump house several years ago, to cover an old well we re-activated in order to provide gardening water. Miraculously Peter built the little pump house, which is behind the barn, to match the lines of the barn, the same slant to the roof. He was a lovely man, greatly cherished by his family, and after he was diagnosed some months ago with terminal cancer, he remained at home with hospice care and round-the-clock devotion from his wife and children and grandchildren. Just before I left for Montana two weeks ago, his daughter called me and invited me down to be among those listening as Peter's brother, Brad, a well-known clarinetist, and his protegé, a young Polish pianist, played for Peter, who was listening from his bed. It was a lovely hour, not at all sad despite the circumstances, with great music and with Peter smiling. And now he is gone, as so many good people are, leaving wonderful memories for a lot of people.
When I looked through the photographs on my computer...and did indeed find one of Peter constructing the pump house, with his grandson Will helping....I also found a photo (unfortunately a little blurred; I took it at a party and had either too little light or too much wine, maybe a combination!) of another much-loved local man, too soon gone, Bob Dunning, craftsman extraordinaire, who died very suddenly last fall. I remember him bringing a group of people here last summer as part of a tour he led of "old New England barns"....he described to them the construction of this barn 200+ years ago. Now a wooden covered bridge is to be constructed, lovingly designed by local craftsmen, and it will go over the small river that runs through Pondicherry Park, the wilderness park that enhances this little town through the generosity of landowners who donated the land to make it happen. Canoeists and kayakers will glide under Bob's bridge, some of them I suppose not knowing who he was, but all of them the beneficiaries of his memory.
I suppose it falls into the sublime-to-ridiculous category that I then turned to the local police blotter in the paper, always a source of bemusement because each little notation is a hint at a larger story. For example:
2:10 PM A caller on Beaver Creek Farm Road reported that some guys in a dark blue extended cab Chevy with Florida license plate tried to sell him some food at a very cheap price.
2:37 PM A woman from Walker Street reported that she would be in to the police station to make out a complaint against two neighbors "for going into the house and taking the rabbit and giving it away."
(Could these two incidents be related? We'll never know, but it does invite speculation, and I like to think that both Peter Terry and Bob Dunning would have laughed at that thought).