Thursday, May 31, 2012


They weren't firefighters back then. They were firemen. It didn't take 9/11 to convince me they were brave. We often stopped by the Arbor Street fire station to talk to the firemen and sit on their trucks. We got a tour of the firehouse, checked out the brass fire pole, tried on their helmets and even got to pet and feed the Dalmatian. Yes, they had one visit from time to time. We even got to see them in action many times at local fires. The biggest ones were close by, both within walking distance from the station. There was the huge warehouse general alarm fire, that I first saw through my bedroom window and the infamous Lewis Lumber Co. blaze on Bishop Street, that had Mom packing family photographs and other valuables. The smoky smells of these fires were in the air for days in the neighborhood. Arbor Street was the home of the brave and courageous. We knew that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


They weren't firefighters back then. They were firemen. It didn't take 9/11 to convince me they were brave.


These dandelions have gone by. I don't know which version I detest more. When they're yellow and are scattered across the lawn, they stand out more and need to be removed by my 'local gardener'. Later, it's magical! The snowball effect transpires, seemingly overnight, and it's no problem. You see, my mower seeks no mercy and finds none. I will say this though. How come something so insignificant in the plant world can be constructed so perfectly? Forget stopping to smell the roses today. Take a gander at the poor, passing dandelion. Give it some props!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Atop Iris

It's iris season around here. Our gardens are loaded. I'm in heaven. Every morning, as I head off to work, I get to dwell for a few moments on these purples, reds, yellows and whites. I'm not a floral specialist to any degree, but I think the Iris might be the perfect flower. Let's put it this way, as far as I'm concerned, it is. There you have it. It's official now. Now you can go about the rest of your hectic day and not worry about this. You're welcome!

Monday, May 28, 2012


This day breaks blue, sunny and bright.

Let's just remember...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Roof Lines

Roof lines like these are pretty typical of island life. Dad preferred heading of to the lake when we ventured off on a Sunday as a family. I can remember only one time that Dad tagged along, and we went to the ocean together. One early Sunday, we piled the staion wagon to the roof and headed off to Cumberland to catch the ferry to Chebeague Island. From the ferry to the beach was a tiring walk for little kids, as I remember. Mom and Dad lugged most of the beach gear, but when we arrived at the sand it was beautiful and worth the trip. This particular day, the  beach was loaded horseshoe crabs, big, gray and slow-moving. We marveled that they resembled creatures from the dinosaur era. We spent the morning investigating them, frolicking on the sand and in the cool water. By lunchtime and the dining on egg salad sandwiches with the crunch of sand, the sun had reached its pinnacle in the sky, high and hot. A couple more hours and our day was done. That evening we were all nursing some serious sunburns. Dad, the know-it-all island man, got one so bad he had to take Monday off from work. This was one for the record books. He never took a day off from work. That family outing to the seaside was never repeated and is probably why it remains quite vivid. That and the bad sunburns... Ouch!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Penny Loafer

Saddle shoes, penny loafers? Funny names that we wore on our feet. I wasn't a big Pat Boone fan, but I did pound the playground pavement at St. Joseph's Grammar School in a pair of white bucks. Back somewhere around  sixth grade, they were my pride and joy and I did my due diligence to keep 'em without schoolyard scuffs. Did they impress the girls? I was oblivious if they did. I just thought they looked so cool dangling from the end of my feet. A beat up pair of loafers, without Abe Lincolns I might add, traveled with me through junior high, along with countless pairs of sneakers. When I hit high school, I could not survive in class without my cordovan Bass Weejuns. They were with me everyday, everyplace, every waking hour, it seemed. I wore them out, got the soles replaced, and bought new ones. Feet don't fail me now!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekend Toil

If you want to reap the spoils in August and September, you have to do the time in spring. So this holiday weekend, the garden will be finished. We've tried putting it in before Memorial Day weekend, but it seems to grow slower. As soon as June hits with lots of sun and warm weather, it catches up fast. So, it's really a wash. The job, itself, is fun and some hard work at the same time. Breaking it up through the long weekend makes it easier. We always seem to say, it'll be a bit smaller this summer, but in the end it always about the same size. It's not really big, but with all the flower gardens around here, it'll keep us on our toes for the next three months. Of course, throw in Mr. Groundhog and his family, and you never know what you'll get. Thank goodness for my havahart trap and plenty of places far away to dump the fat critters. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I came upon this scene the other day. If I was one of my fine feathered friends, I would be scratching my head approaching this one. It looks cool and enticing but not very practical. Enticing but not practical. I usually come across a couple of these type items a day in my travels. I think we all do. Sometimes, I just shake my head. At other times, I have to stop and marvel a bit, maybe wonder where this world will be in another 100 years. Grampa was a practical man. A good deal of his world revolved around his workshop in his cellar, where everything was in its place and all items were there for a reason. I like to think I'm a bit of a practical man myself, but I've got some work to do. I better get busy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Door Knob

This door knob seems like a dead ringer for our Coyle Street front inside door. The laced curtain and even the beaded wood recalls an entrance way I traveled through many times. The day after a recent family wedding, we had a gathering on our back porch, before my sisters headed south and west. My sister from Oregon is a good storyteller and has the flair for the dramatic. She retold the story of the day that she first 'saw' Elenka. Notice, I didn't say meet. I had started working in her building and most days walked home or got a ride from my older sister. This day Elenka 'found' me walking, pulled over and as they say the rest is history. Apparently, when we pulled into the driveway, my younger sister ran around through the house 'screaming' something like "There's a girl, in a red car, in the driveway with M-... she's a blonde... Mooooooooom!" I thought it was no big deal. Hey, I got a ride home. As time would tell, it was a turning point in my life, and I didn't even seen it coming! My sister's high-pitched voice level, her facial expressions and her gift of recall had us all in stitches. I'm not the only one in the family, I guess, that can dramatically tell a humorous tale. Smile!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peaks Pilings

These are the wooden pilings that support the ferry dock at Peaks Island. Usually once a summer, we find ourselves aboard a ferry and off to Peaks or sometimes just a cruise to nowhere. Watching the island people board and travel to their island destinations is a treat in itself. Forget about the rising fares that get you to the islands, sit back and wonder what they have in their numerous, mishmash of colored bags or take a gander at their goofy looking dogs sleeping at their feet. Going on the water always provides an interesting afternoon in the sun or below deck and lots of opportunities for subjects for future stories. Sometimes you might even hear some original sea chanties.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fresh Fruit

We use to get our Vermont Casting supplies for our Vigilant wood stove at the Finest Kind store on Commercial Street. I was sad to see it close its doors last fall. These days the only items you'll be able to pick up there are coffee, bagels, muffins and fresh produce. Next door from the just-opened Crema Coffee Company (in the old Finest Kind warehouse), you'll find all the local, fresh produce your mouth might want to get your lips around. Juicy, fuzzy peaches are a sure sign that  summer, around these parts, is well on the way. My sister and her husband, visiting from Oregon, even found themselves stopping by on a long stroll through the Old Port the other morning. The smells, in the early sun,are a treat for your olfactory lobes. Ah, the juice of a fresh peach running down your chin... can you beat it?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two Rings

~ By Author Unknown ~
True love is a sacred flame
That burns eternally,
And none can dim its special glow
Or change its destiny.
True love speaks in tender tones
And hears with gentle ear,
True love gives with open heart
And true love conquers fear.
True love makes no harsh demands
It neither rules nor binds,
And true love holds with gentle hands
The hearts that it entwines.

Together Forever
Donna and Marchin

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sail Away

Anytime's the right time to change course, right the ship and set sail on a new adventure. Sail away on the new waves of your destiny. Don't shy away; be bold. Your future awaits you on the next mighty wave. It's never too late to wait on a dream. Remember calm seas sometimes forecast trouble waters.
Dream BIG!
Anchors aweigh!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fish Art

Go Fish!
That's what I thought of when I glanced a bunch of fish art at a local kids' art show. Let's see. Around the kitchen table on winter nights, we played War, Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Gin Rummy, Penny Ante, Rummy and even a few hands of basic Poker. Mom placed a large bowl of buttered popcorn in the center of the table, and we all manned a piping hot cup of hot chocolate with splotch of marshmallow fluff on top. Mom called the game of the night, and we were off for hours. It was simple. It was always a fun-filled night. Heck, I even played 52 Pick-up with Marchin a couple of times. That's what an older brother does. Sucker!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Life. It's all about keeping in your lanes, playing by the rules and celebrating by just finishing. I see lots analogies  lurking in my daily travels. Sports, games and life. I grew up playing every sport or game I could get my hands on. If it had a ball or a puck or involved any sort of competition, I was game. And I must say, back then, winning was everything. There was no getting around it. All the guys drove this adage into each of our brains. You couldn't really survive with our gang believing anything but. If you wanted to survive and have fun with us, you played to the last out, the last move, the last second. I've grown a bit since then. Some of my friends have not. Me? I still enjoy the game, the hunt, the moves but it isn't close to life or death anymore. I'm not overly competitive these days... just the way I like it. Let's play!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grand Window

This is a window in the old Grand Trunk building. It sits at the bottom of India Street and seems to be vacant at this time. A trip down to see the trains pulling into the Grand Trunk station and a swing over to see if there were any ships docked at the Maine State Pier was quite a treat for us kids and a night on the town for mom and dad. And if the 'natives' in the back seat behaved themselves, the station wagon usually made a sweep out to Scarborough on Route 1 to the Strafford Farms ice cream stand and those cones of strawberry, chocolate, pistachio, vanilla, orange sherbet... mmmmmmm!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Covered Stone

Here are a few things I think I think...
*gentle spring rain is fun to walk in (even if it's just bringing out the trash)
*fried clams, one in a while, are a good thing (there's a trip to Ken's in my future)
*with the struggling Sox, gonna make a long summer (I've got to find a new hobby)
*patterns make life easy (I need to find more)
*Fridays are mighty fine (heck, most days are)
*love Mad Men (and I don't mind the intro w/ men falling)
*I like designing new sections of our yard (sometimes I drive E- crazy)
*I enjoy being anonymous (it's not all about me... well, sometimes)
*Heidi Klum is still single (ah, I can dream...)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rock Pile

The Department of Public Works has been doing some road work along our property frontage. In so doing, they exposed plenty of rocks of all shapes and sizes. Saturday, we got the lawn tractor out and hooked up the trailer and lugged three loads up back. You know, really, I've never met a rock I didn't like. We'll find a home for these and others. I've climbed Mt. Washington in NH and Katahdin here in Maine, but I'm really at home playing around in the backyard, making a wall or lining a garden with stones this size. I'll work on this rock pile this summer. It'll be a fun-filled day. Hopefully, it'll be the closest I get to doing 'hard time'.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tulip Garden

Happy Mothers' Day!
The tulip garden on Bedford Street is filled with brilliant colors, the apple trees in the backyard are covered with blossoms and the aromas of spring are constant. If it's mid-May, it's time to pay homage to Mom's everywhere. White or Pink? I remember at St. Joseph's Church the tradition was the men wore white carnations if their mom was alive and pink if she had passed. Just about every suited gent carried a flower in his lapel. I thought that was quite cool. I wanted one too.
Moms everywhere... enjoy your day!
I'm cooking mussels in the sun. That's my plan.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wood Grain

Some people see patterns in wood grain. Others can look at intricate designs and see faces peeking out at them. They actually claim it can drive them crazy. Now, I sometimes see ulterior designs and motives in people and their actions and this can be downright unsettling at times. For the most part though, I look for patterns and designs that help me make my way through this complicated world. I'll seek out  missing pieces of my jig-saw puzzled life and attempt to make my coming days smooth sailing. Would you rather do that or look for a cyclops' eye in this grain? I hope you're not shopping for wallpaper or floor tile this weekend. Have a stress-free, simple weekend ahead.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Three Horses

These three horses were found in a wet field the other day. I've had few interactions with horses other than instances with my camera these days and back aways stopping and watching them in snowy fields near home. I was on a  horse's back once in my life for a brief run around a field. A return equine engagement never reared its head, and I'm pretty ok with that. I know of many younger faces whose eyes light up with excitement with even the mention of the words like: horse, horse riding lessons or spending time working at a boarding barn. Me? I'll continue to admire them from afar. Giddy up!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I had to smile a bit last night. I read a poem written by a friend, and it contained this word 'listen' many times. It was a poem about taking a drive with her dad and realizing everything he had shared with her in his stories. For me, it recalled most every phone call I ever got from my dad. I'd pick up the ringing phone, and the voice on the other end always chimed, "Listen... It was never "Hello M-", "Hi M-", "How are you M-" Our conversation, just about always, began this way, "Listen... And it wasn't just me. My brother and sisters would often joke around, when we got together, about these opening lines in phone calls. We still do. I'm chuckling right now, as I write these lines. I guess it was just his way to get a conversation moving. Sometimes, the information he was passing along was very important, but mostly it was just his unique way to let us know it was him on the other end of the line. I miss those words these days. Maybe that's why I like to tell stories.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gone @83

Many things, indeed, look better than this barn at 83.

Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)
Where the Wild Things Are

If he's in heaven or someplace else...
"now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!" 

Great read for J- and me. And I do believe he never went to bed frightened. Brave lad!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Looking Down

Lines, squares, rectangles and other geometric shapes fill my world. On Stevens Avenue the next door house's backyard was fenced in and for good reason. No, there was no mad dog barking all night or threatening to rip my heart out. The guy living was in construction and piled excess cinder blocks outback. During the day when he was at work, the gang and I would climb over the fence and get busy. It was out real life Lego World. We'd build forts and mazes out of the seemingly endless blocks of concrete. Of course, when he finally figured out what we were doing, he went straight to Mom, and we were told in no uncertain terms that his backyard was off limits as our playground. Stacking the blocks up that high was very dangerous, he said. And I guess it was. The danger and this guy's threatening words were enough to keep us kids away, right? Wrong! He caught us a few more times, but we were over the fence and well gone before he got off his back porch. Kids today!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blossom Time

Driving by Randall's Orchard the other morning, I just had to stop. Sometimes, I'm pulled by forces I don't understand.
If I keep driving or passing by I get this feeling that to stop might change my day... maybe change a piece of me forever. This doesn't happen all the time. Every once in a while, usually when I'm alone. Is it spiritual? I don't know. I don't like regrets. I'll avoid them at all costs. If I'm superstitious at all it about events like this. Go figure. Anyway, I stopped and left the car by the roadside. It wasn't an easy trek. The field ahead was laden with water, left over from the recent rainy days. Walking among the these small trees, the strong aroma was almost over-coming. I could have stayed there for hours... ok, just a few minutes, but you get the idea. It smelled so wonderfully fresh! Yes, I exaggerate at times but mostly for effect.
Regrets? I've had a few.
I don't like them!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not Street

It's an alleyway not a street. Looking down towards Wharf Street from above on Fore Street, we see shadows, fire escapes and lots of bricks. It's early morning in the city. Not many inhabitants are stirring. It's a Sunday, that day of rest. The sun is pretty active, a few stray cats too, but that's about it for now. To be alone is a nice place to be. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I'm not a loner. I'm not a hermit. I don't think I'd do very well in solitary confinement. However, my sister  did dub my third floor bedroom growing up, with the orange, batik curtain covering the window, the monastery. I know what you're thinking. I will pass this along right away... she never heard any monastic chants coming from above her room.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nature's Way

Nature makes her way. There's no getting  around this fact. Whether it's a cellar flooding in a spring storm, two beautiful maples falling apart over the years or the invasive vine attacking the large pine tree, nature will end up doing her thing. She gets her way. Done deal. Put up a feeble iron fence near Bedford Park, across from the Law School and this is what you encounter. It's already being pushed out towards the sidewalk. Often she is slow and plodding, but in the end she always gets her way. Want to test her?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Silver Seating

Growing up, I watched a lot of football, soccer and lacrosse games at the old Portland Stadium. I even saw a few concerts there. One Sunday afternoon, I saw the Bobby Fuller Four here singing a few of their hits, especially "I Fought the Law". As I remember the day, I also ran into Peggy and sis Linda that afternoon and was asked if I wanted to go to a concert at City Hall, featuring in their first US appearance a band called Jethro Tull with a young flautist named Ian Anderson. To tell you the truth, now my memory gets cloudy here, was it the pending music or the company that had me agreeing to go? I'll never tell. Whichever it was, the night, the music, the company was all fabulous. And the front row center seats were just an added benefit. To be that close, to feel the sweat flying off the musicians, it was a night filed in the memory bank. At one point in the concert, a phone on a piano rang and someone called out it was a call for Mike Nelson of the old TV show Sea Hunt. Out tramped Anderson in scuba gear, threw off the mask and flippers and burst into Aqualung.
"Sitting on a park bench..."
It was a night!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shadow Escape

Last Sunday morning was one bright, sunny dawn. It was yellow on yellow, at least here on Free Street. Usually, I don't appreciate a painted brick wall, but this one works. When I came upon this wall, it reminded me of that moment in the Wizard of Oz when the film changes from black and white to color. Pow! Very nice! Get the camera! I will also pass along, at this time, that no poppies were involved in the taking of this photo. I'll be looking at this shot a lot all day today. Another rainy spring outing here in southern Maine today.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Twice is nice!

This is a look at the side of Margaritas Mexican Restaurant on Brown Street and the backside of a large building that faces Congress Street. I enjoy a Mexican meal every once in a while, but it better be quite mild. I'm a pretty sensitive guy, you see. How sensitive? There are certain brands of mustard and ketchup that are very difficult for me. Often times, I attempt to inform friends that I'm a pretty sensitive guy. Funny. All I hear is high-pitched laughter. The last time I stopped here for dinner, before the Saw Doctors, I had a Blue-Cheese Bacon Burger. Not Mexican fare but quite scrumptious!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Theme Day: Bakeries

Whoops! It's May 1, and that means it's Theme Day across the CDP(citydailyphoto) community. Here's my 'take' on the theme. And yes, it's true, I temporarily forgot that it was the First. So, you get 2 today!

Old 'n New

This is a look at the side of Margaritas Mexican Restaurant on Brown Street and the backside of a large building that faces Congress Street. I enjoy a Mexican meal every once in a while, but it better be quite mild. I'm a pretty sensitive guy, you see. How sensitive? There are certain brands of mustard and ketchup that are very difficult for me. Often times, I attempt to inform friends that I'm a pretty sensitive guy. Funny. All I hear is high-pitched laughter. The last time I stopped here for dinner, before the Saw Doctors, I had a Blue-Cheese Bacon Burger. Not Mexican fare but quite scrumptious!
Happy May Day!