Thursday, March 28, 2013


Forgive the attitude, but I have to say that some of our fine elected legislators - which means we're to blame - seem to think that if they have nothing better to do then they have to come up with a new law.  I mean, they're legislators - but do they have to make laws, whether needed or not?  Such a mind set deserves to be tied to a post and every glop of mud, garbage and cesspool overflow dumped on his/her head for at least a fortnight.  I always wanted to use that word.

This is a prime example of what I am talking about.  It seems that a fine Democrat, no less, has proposed to make I-295 in the southern Maine region, a toll road.  This would be like requiring you to pay $2 to enter your grocery store, get out of your driveway or go to the post office.  Although, in the latter case, it seems that might not be an issue much longer.

First, dozens of toll booths would need to be built at incalculable expense.  Then you need an entire bureaucracy  to run the thing.  Not to mention the constant bother to daily commuters by the thousands who have been using the roadway for years without political meddling.

In response, I am proposing a secret, clandestine, subversive and militant quasi religious force of freedom fighters whose single purpose if to fight the pernicious political practice of gouging the citizenry of our fair state every time they get a chance.  I would tell you what we intend to do but that would be breaking our sacred vow of secrecy.

I will tell you this much, confidentially - I am installing a quick release cover to my septic tank to facilitate the odd last minute midnight "baptism", if you know what I mean, of the most serious offenders.

Who do these bozos in Augusta and Washington, for that matter, think they are?  We the people sent them there to see if they can make our lives better, not to burden us with petty projects and power pandering.

Message to all elected persons:



Friday, March 15, 2013


Some years ago, I was blessed or sentenced - from day to day it was difficult to tell - to live in New Orleans for about two years. We lived in Uptown where there were fewer drive-by shootings rapes and robberies than in the Downtown areas. I guess it could be said, that was the blessing part.

There was another perk that you had to live there to enjoy: there was always some kind of celebration going on. New Orleanians could organize a parade complete with floats and a jazz band for any reason at all. There didn't seem to be a lack of reasons.

I once race-walked in a 10K that began in the French Quarter and ended on the riverside end of Audubon Park. At each major, and some minor crossings, there was a band playing lively jazz. It had a positive effect.

On St. Patrick's Day we decided to visit one of our favorite cafés, Joey K's, on Magazine for breakfast. As a testament to how distracted one can be in a city of constant attractions, we did not know it was St. Patrick's Day. Magazine St. was blocked off for parking, to make way for a parade, so we had to find a place on a side street.

Clay, the owner of the café waited on us and confirmed that there was to be a parade with floats with dozens of Irishmen in tuxedos and tailcoats, green cummerbunds and white sneakers, marching and riding on floats. Over the weekend there will be four parades, he said.

Today's parade will pass in front of the restaurant. Soon, he said, we will have a full house of those tuxedo clad gentlemen drinking milk laced with Irish whiskey with their breakfast. He allowed that some of the gents seemed not to have a tolerance for the milk. For the sake of disambiguation, It was a bit before 8: AM.

It was further explained that these men would throw potatoes and cabbages to the crowds lining the parade route. And yes, there have been injuries.

It will be a quiet day here in Pownal for St. Patrick's Day. No green beer. No Irish whiskey. No boisterous parade. No formal dress. Out of deference to the day, however, I will cook a cabbage with a few Irish potatoes thrown in, demonstrating, I hope beyond a doubt, my spiritual side.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Here we are at the end of another week of this off and on weather that hovers around that point where water turns to ice and ice turns to water.  It's bone cuddling chilly.  It's messy and muddy.  I'm tired of it.

Here's the thing: it seems that I just do not deal with it as I once did.  I want to sit on the deck under the umbrella and have coffee, read the morning paper and watch the birds and red squirrels at the feeders.  I want to sit under that lovely maple at the corner of the house and think about things.  I want to walk in the woods and climb the mountain. Hell, I want to cut the grass!  

I know what it is.  It's SAD.  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Or in plain terms: I'm friggin' tired of this winter.  It will be just the same next winter and the one after that.  

We got a light inch last night.  Hopefully that is all we will have of this latest storm which dumped tons of wet messy snow on much of the mid-section of the nation.  Oh well, it's March.  We ain't done yet.

We have a temporary solution for today, however.  We are going down to the big city of Portland to the annual flower show!  At least we can enjoy some color and smells and a cup of coffee.  We can say things like, "Wouldn't that look nice on the deck?", or , "That would look great in the new garden on the south side, wouldn't it?".

I can't believe they want $13 to get in this year.  Another American tradition of paying for the privilege of viewing demonstration gardens staged by dozens of garden stores and greenhouses, all of them wanting to sell you stuff for your gardens.  The man from Mars would say they should pay me to come see their presentations.  After all, it it were not good for business it wouldn't be happening.

It is enjoyable, however, and restful and a great photo opportunity as well.  So, it's something to do, and we're going to do it.  Maybe I'll see you there.  We can smile and say it's wonderful.  We can talk about the beautiful creations set out for our enjoyment.  We can say it was good to see each other.   But let's have an agreement NOT to mention the weather.  That's really why we're there, you know.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013



Champions of the practice of raping and pillaging.  The Olympic gold medalists for chopping down every tree they ever saw.  

Yes, they were amazing navigators and sailors.  Yes they traveled thousands of miles across open seas.  They came, they saw and they disappeared. They left a some scratches and a few artifacts of interest to students of such things, and that's all.  The Sons of Norway can whoop and holler all they want, but their storied ancestors were a scruffy  lot, not given to elevating the cultural station of those they met on the way to the mall.  Unless, that is, you think a credit card has something to do with culture.

Lately, it seems there is a renewed interest in the Viking era.  At least among TV producers.  I watched a brief segment the other night of THE VIKINGS and was amazed at the gratuitous killing and stylized grunge depicted in the piece.  Beards, hair and costume that seemed to me to have been carefully prepared before the shoot to comply with historical accuracy (excuse me, but there is not much on which to base anything in such detail)  and audience appeal, of course.  It's all about perception.  

Well, are we supposed to really believe those people looked like that?  I suppose that is the "Hollywood" effect.  Those people could make Hell seem like a "neat" weekend destination.  A reality retreat that's guaranteed to make you want to come back soon, ya hear?.

But really, it's hard to believe that it was much different for anyone around the turn of the 1st millennium AD.  You can read as much as you will, but a thousand years ago was not yesterday, and whatever was accomplished by the Vikings, or anyone else during that age, has to be judged by those standards not by the standards we would impose today.  So I didn't mean what I said?  Listen: I am ecstatic that I was not then.  

I couldn't have survived five minutes, I am sure. There I go again.  Standards change.  So, maybe I would have made it as a Viking?  It's a moot point.  Who cares?  I only know one thing for sure: I don't want any history passed on to me to be concocted by Hollywood or their kissing cousins, TV producers.  

Too bad there are no iPhone videos to reveal what those guys really looked like and what they really did.  I'm not that happy that too many such documents actually exist to reveal what we are really like to our descendants a thousand years hence.  If, that is, there is a thousand years hence.

Alas, what others now or then think of me or you, for that matter, is none of our business.  So carry on the best you can and look your best, if you can.  Neatness probably counts. ( I'll take a pass on that one. ) Try not to be so violent and warlike.  That's hard to hide from those who dig up your bones, excavate your dwellings, imagine your long boats and fast cars. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


I remember waking up on my 60th birthday thinking, "Well that was easy.  I just had to wake up and I am 60 years old!"  That was then - this is now and it is 21 years later.

That day seems a lifetime ago.  It wash't easy for me.  It was the first time in my life that I really felt old.  Not old and decrepit but not young or even middle aged anymore.  It got my attention.

I do not plan to use these pages to complain - much.  I only want to find the voice of an octogenarian who actually believes this is that part that Browning referred to when he said, "The best is yet to be..."  I like being old.  However, I purely don't give a damn for the physical limitations that inevitably accompany the aging process.  You want to be old, then pardoner, you better buckle on your sword and shield, because there's a battle raging and you are needed on the front lines.  It's your battle.  It's my battle.

Luck has a lot to do with how well we age.  Attitude has more to do with it.   Luck is easy.  You either have some or you don't.  Attitude is all work but the payoff is pure gold.  I am a naturally pessimistic, sarcastic, naysaying curmudgeon.  I know this so I work on keeping those urges in the background and it wold seem that I am getting better at doing that.  Old dogs can learn.

So, I hope we all can enjoy a measure of good luck, good food and good company as we move into this best part of life.  Watch your step.   Stay in touch.  Laugh a lot.  Why not?

Jerry Henderson