by Debbie Walker
I have a question. Well that’s quite the lie! Anyone who knows me is very aware of my many, many questions. After all this is titled I’M JUST CURIOUS!!!
For quite some time I have wondered why someone would rather struggle with the life of losing their hearing and refuse to wear hearing aids. So far I have not heard an excuse that makes sense. I’ve heard a bunch of excuses but I just cannot imagine choosing to not hear well. It’s not safe and you miss some important “people time.”
These same people think nothing of going to the eye doctors for glasses. Some choose contacts for various reasons. This same person will get the glasses and wear them but “no way” on the hearing aids.
Recently I discovered another doctoring field that for some reason isn’t fully used. That’s the foot doctor. (I’m not doing the fancy titles tonight). I have some big, odd feet. I have had reason to go to the foot doctor. The one I was introduced to here in Maine is Dr. Wilkerson, in Oakland. Oh yeah, he and I are good buddies now! I think he finds my warped toes amusing.
They are pretty funny to look at.
I had told Ken about a year ago I was done taking care of his big thick ingrown toe nails. He has diabetes and it is extremely important for a diabetic’s feet to be well taken care of, and I don’t have a foot degree. I made him an appointment with Doc Wilkerson and I delivered him to the office! He’s doing well.
There are a couple of people that I care very much for and they would get around much easier if they could get the right person to help them out. I used to mess with my feet until they bled.
Didn’t help a thing, just put myself in more danger of an infection and any infection is not a good thing to have. If when you call it’s because you got it bleeding, tell the office staff you have an open wound. Don’t put it off.
When your feet hurt, your whole body hurts. It’s just too painful when you have callouses, corns, planter’s something, bunions or other, etc. If you are having pain in your feet don’t put off going. I am pretty sure there is a cause of that pain.
OK I am off the soapbox for tonight. I’m just curious if fear of the unknown keeps some people in pain. Think about those hearing aids and glasses, too!!!
Love hearing from you. Contact me at email@example.com sub. line: feet.
READY TO PICK: Abigail Maxwell recently snapped these ripening blackberries.
Photos by Central Maine Photography staff
Photos by Angela Poulin, Central Maine Photography staff
OK, this is the time of year when I stick out my neck, and defy all the experts when it comes to predicting the upcoming winter – I was right last year and they were wrong. All of the ads on TV and radio this past month or so were reporting a tough and harsh 2016-17 winter for Maine. The one common denominator in all of these brainwashing advertisements is that the sellers were pushing snowblowers, snowmobiles, ridiculously large trucks with plows, home heating materials, etc. Get the drift?
Well, I have come up with something that contradicts even the usually reliable publications on that subject.
As in the past, if you have read this column, I rely more on Mother Nature to provide me with the signs of the impending winter months.
First, we will go to the annual cicada, you know, the little guy you never see that gives off that loud buzzing sound during the hot summer months. Old farmers lore says that from the date you first hear its call, the first killing frost will occur 90 days later, following the full moon. We have a little controversy on that issue this year. Traditionally, you will hear it anywhere from early to late July, bringing the first killing frost in October. This year, with the strong objections from my wife, I have yet to hear one. However, she claims she heard them back around July 15, and continues to insist she has heard them, as recently as last Saturday. Their sound is usually quite distinct. If they have been buzzing, they are extremely faint. My wife has claimed for some time now that I am going deaf, much to the differing opinion of my doctor.
It is called the annual cicada because it makes an appearance yearly, as opposed to the periodical cicada, that you hear about in the news, that occurs in large swarms only every 13 – 17 years.
Cicadas typically live in trees, feeding on sap, and laying their eggs in a slit in the bark.
Cicadas have been featured in literature since the time of Homer’s Iliad, and as motifs in art from the Chinese Shang dynasty. They are also eaten in China, where the nymphs are served deep fried in Shandong cuisine.
But, I’m venturing away from the topic.
The second indicator of what I am believing will be another mild winter is the placement of bee hives. All summer, I have heard reports from various people of them finding the hives in the ground or at the bottom of trees and tree stumps. Many have been stung while mowing their lawns. That is a usual telltale sign of below normal snowfall. When we have winters with higher than normal precipitation, bee hives are usually located higher, sometimes in trees or under eaves of outbuildings.
A third sign is the common yellow onion. My mother told me many years ago you can tell the severity of an upcoming winter by how the onion peels and its strength. The easier it is to peel, and the milder the taste, the more tame the winter. If an onion is really strong, and is difficult to peel, it means a harsh winter. My wife and I have onions with almost every meal, so we have peeled our share, and they have peeled awfully easy this summer.
Finally, old faithful, the wooly bear caterpillar. For those who don’t know, old folklore states the wider the red band on a wooly bear, the milder the winter. Usually by now, mid-September, you would have seen many of these fuzzy little creatures. So far, I have seen only one, and the rust-colored band on this particular one was very long, occupying possibly one-half to two-thirds of its body. I’m predicating my prediction on this one sighting, which, scientifically, is a small sample size.
So, with all the evidence presented, I will make a bold prediction that we are facing another mild winter ahead of us. But, I can’t tell you whether it will be as mild as last winter, but relatively speaking, milder than an average Maine winter.
Just don’t tar and feather me if we end up with mounds of snow and below zero temperatures. I can only foretell based on what the natural data suggests.
Oh, WALLS, you did have The Town Line talk-talk ready to send for publication on September 15, but the people of our U.S.A. brought so many memories, good, bad, and ugly of our fateful 9/11, 15 years ago, you told me you just couldn’t send your usual bit of froth with all those sad stories that were told by those who survived that disastrous day or stories of those who are no longer with us. Yes, WALLS, 9/11/2001, may be 15 years ago, but for us who remember it well, it is a day that will forever be another “day-in-infamy.”
Aside from seeing the horror that those in New York City had to live through, my mind turned to my friend Linda, who used to be the manager of East Madison’s Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She lived in a NYC apartment and usually took the subway to the USPS Office in Manhattan, but this 9/11 was a work day that gave her an appreciation of the beautiful blue sky above, so she opted to walk. Yes, she says that God gave her a beautiful day for walking, but chose to give the passengers of the planes’ flying into those towers his word that he had another job for them to do for him. Yes, so many stories were told by their survivors yesterday……and I remembered Linda, WALLS.
That 9/11 occurred when Herb Paradis was conducting theatre tours to New York City. He talked with me about it and said that he wished there was something his touring group could do for a Maine gift to those who risked their lives to comfort others. I suggested Maine apple pies, and so it was. When North Star Orchards asked why I needed so many apples, I told them and, in their own generous way, they donated the apples. This isn’t the end of the story, WALLS.
There was a fire station close to where the tour was staying, so Herb delivered 52 Maine apple pies, and many thanks to the firemen there. Yes, Herb told me that firemen do cry!
So, faithful readers, you have now learned that September 11, 2016, was a day that we could mourn the dead and injured of 15 years ago, but it was a day for Maine to be proud for its expression of caring for our neighbors, even though they are several states away. Lest We Forget, faithful readers, lest we forget.
by Peter Cates
Brief comments on some cds this week.
Randy Newman: The Best of Randy Newman; Warner Archives/Rhino, CD, released 2001.
Singer/songwriter Randy Newman was one major talent emerging in the mid-60s. His songs evoke our glorious and unique American gothic past in all its quirky, sometimes scary, frequently funny individuality, yet connected by our shared bond. Linda Ronstadt scored a hit with his anti-slavery, tongue-in-cheek ballad, Sail Away, Judy Collins with I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today. The late Harry Nilsson devoted an entire LP to such Newman titles as Dayton, Ohio, 1903.
The above contains 21 tunes from his Reprise catalog; they include the two already cited hits, Rednecks, Short People, Dixie Flyer, Louisiana 1927, You’ve Got A Friend In Me, Feels Like Home, Same Girl, I Love L.A., Miami, etc. His voice is on the average side but the lyrics and music more than compensate.
Dvorak and Elgar: Cello Concertos, performed by cellist Maria Kliegel with Michael Halasz conducting the Royal Philharmonic; Naxos 8.550503, CD, recorded November 8-10, 1991.
I commented a few weeks ago already on the Dvorak Cello Concerto via another recording and would like to make a couple of statements on the Elgar. The composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) wrote this piece at the end of World War I. Despite a botched performance and very cool audience response at its first performance, the work would subsequently achieve major stature through performances and recordings by cellists Pablo Casals, Andre Navarra, Anthony Pini, Jacqueline DuPre, Ralph Kirshbaum, Yo Yo Ma and several others. Back in 1983, I attended a magnificent concert featuring Janos Starker playing the Concerto with Sir Alexander Gibson conducting the Houston Symphony during my 16 years of residence there.
The music takes a few patient hearings to appreciate its hidden beauties but will lift its veil through some persistence, having an introspective, melancholy poetry of considerable depth. The Kliegel/Halasz collaboration is quite moving in both works. A nice mid-priced CD.
by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979
Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!
Always glad when I receive the Solon School News to share with you. There is a fall open house and space night on Wednesday, September 21, from 5 – p.m. See the school, visit your child’s classroom, attend a Planetarium Show in the large indoor dome of Northern Stars Planetarium (shows at 5, 5:45, and 6:30 p.m.). Enjoy space snacks, shop at the PTO book fair.
Students will be able to enter a raffle to win a space-related door prize.
Solon Elementary School has a very active PTO, which has provided lots of special activities and items for the students over the years. Please consider joining the PTO. For information, contact PTO President Alicia Golden or the school.
The PTO generally meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. They are sponsoring a book fair during the week of September 19-23 to promote reading in the school. Students will be able to visit the book fair and purchase books, and the fair will be open to parents during open house on September 21. The proceeds from the book fair will be used for new books for the classrooms and the library.
Remember to send in your Box Tops for Education labels! Every boxtop helps the PTO rai8e money for school activities.
The PTO is looking for new parents to join them. They look forward to new members from the new families.
A message from the principal says, “Because I also serve as the Pre-K-5 principal at CCS and Garret Schenck, I am not at the Solon School fulltime. I will be there Thursday mornings, mid-day on Wednesdays, and Tueday and Friday afternoons. The school secretary Mrs. Lisa Weese can help parents with any issues they may have and can help you make contact with me if you wish to.”
Mrs. Debby Haynie continues to serve as the lead teach and will help handle discipline issues. They are pleased to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students again this year under the district’s community eligibility program. Students can buy milk or juice for snack or to go with a cold lunch if they wish for 30 cents.
Again this year the students will have healthy snacks provided through a Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Grant Program. Those will be available five days a week this year.
Please contact them if you have any questions.
Also, there is a raffle with tickets being sold at the Thrift Shop. The items can be seen in the thrift store and tickets are ($1 or 6 for $5). The drawing will be at the dinner on November 12.
The Lending Library at the Embden Community Center is open any time the Thrift Shop is open.
There will be a Musical Variety Show at the Solon Congregational Church on Saturday, September 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. A light buffet will be served. Admission is by donation.
On Sunday, September 18, Dan Schall will be making his annual trip to the North Anson Congregational Church to deliver a wonderful message and share his beautiful voice with all who attend. I heartily recommend you to attend, he is very inspiring.
Percy’s memoir leaves you with these words: “Lord thank you for another day, Within this life of mine, Give me the strength to live it well, Whatever I may find. Bestow from your abundance, Whatever I may lack To use the hours wisely, For I cannot have them back. Lord thank you for another day, In which to make amends For little slights or petty words, Inflicted on my friends. For sometimes losing patience, With problems that I find, For seeing faults in other lives, But not the ones in mine. Lord thank you for another chance, In which to try to be A little more deserving Of the gifts You’ve given me. For yesterday is over, And tomorrow’s far away, And I remain committed, To the good I do today!” (words by Grace E. Easley).
by Milt Huntington
I’ve pulled off a lot of April Fool jokes in my day and always took sadistic pleasure in tricking my family members and friends. The best April Fool joke of all, however, was the one my friends orchestrated for me.
My wife and I were scheduled to attend a political event in Portland one night and were running a little late. We dashed into our hotel, frantically changed from casual to evening attire, and headed out to a nearby home for a pre-event cocktail party with friends.
I had changed clothing a little too frantically, as it developed, because I was wearing a dark suit and bright yellow socks. My dear friends were quick to let me know that I was fashionably incorrect. After some good-natured ribbing, my host got serious and insisted I borrow properly colored socks from him. My wife and other companions joined the chorus and became (I thought) a little too preoccupied with the stupid socks.
It got to the point where I stubbornly refused to change into basic black. When they became increasingly insistent, I got my back up, pulled off one lonely sock and replaced it with one borrowed black one – and that was that!
We arrived at the political event, donned our name tags and proceeded to circulate through the crowded gathering. Although the room was dimly lit, the very first person with whom I smoozed asked about my socks. Puzzled though I was that the socks were even visible, I patiently explained my stubbornness and silly insistence by wearing socks of many colors.
I moved on through the crowd and soon encountered Maine Sen. William Cohen for whom the fundraiser was staged. He immediately asked: “Milt, what’s the story with your socks?”
Chagrined, I repeated the whole chain of events on how it happened I wore socks of different colors–boring though the whole incident had rapidly become.
Senator Cohen then introduced me to a Congressman from California and a number of other dignitaries, each of whom were chomping at the bit to quiz me about the darn socks. Can you possibly imagine how boring it was to waste a whole evening at a cocktail party talking about your stupid mismatched socks!
When the evening came to a merciful end, I tore off my nametag and read on it what one of my so-called friends had written there: “Hello! My name is Milt. Ask me about my socks!”
Milt Huntington is the author of “A Lifetime of Laughter” and “Things That Make You Grin.”
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