When I was 14, the local radio station—with 50,000 watts of power—broadcast from neighboring Presque Isle, Maine. I found one DJ, whose name is lost to memory, quite exciting. One summer afternoon, the he put […]
University of Maine is refusing to cooperate with the RIAA, which wants the names of students accused of downloading music, presumably from file-sharing sites. I say good for the home state and University of Maine system. […]
It’s Saturday, and that means baked beans throughout Northern Maine. Most grocery stores sell fresh-baked beans (no canned stuff) and bread hot from the oven. It’s longstanding tradition with roots going back to the Pilgrims/Puritans. The tradition mingles with another: Bean-hole Beans.
Early Massachusetts settlers adopted the Native American tradition of baking beans in pots buried in the ground. For the religious folk, beans baked overnight would feed people on the Sabbath, the day of rest, which started on Saturday evening. The Puritans adapted Native bean recipes, also replacing—or rather changing—corn bread for brown bread. Nearly 400 hundred years later, throughout much of Maine, the tradition of Saturday night baked beans is steadfastly observed, with family replacing religion.
My quote of the year (so far) goes to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, explaining why the state isn’t cracking down on illegal immigrants working on dairy farms: “I respect the laws of the United States, of course. But the cows have to be milked”.
The governor is quoted in a New York Times story about Vermont’s massive exodus of young people. One result is a worker shortage that makes it hard for businesses to justify staying in the state or simply expanding operations. Fewer jobs mean more young people looking elsewhere for work. Fewer young workers mean fewer businesses offering jobs. Pick a term: Negative feedback loop, perpetual motion machine, or the economic equivalent of song, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket“.
I am in a storytelling mood, and so here comes another one. I swear, by all people precious to me, that this is a true story and not a tall tale. I have to say it, because you, the reader, might not believe the account or the accuracy of my memory.
My dad first took me camping when I was seven years old. Where I’m from, camping had nothing to do with RVs or tidy, civilized campgrounds, or at least when I was a kid. My dad, uncle and their crew—about 10 men—headed deep into the woods along the Crown of Maine, or Aroostook, west of an area better known as the St. John Valley.