Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Finishing On The High Note

The Maine Lobster Festival is a wonderful way to spend a week in the summer in Maine. Complete with parade, a myriad of activities for all ages and all skill sets, it promotes and boasts the largest single "lobster feed" on the planet. Were I to attempt to put up photos of even a small portion of the goings on...I would be "going on" for way too long. So, with any luck, and with the help of my trusty friends at Geeks on Tour video tutorials for rv'ers and everyone else who needs them, who are responsible for most if not all of the incredible (yea, right) technological advances I have made with this computer of mine, I will attempt to embed my first ever automatically playing slide show from festival. Talk about going on and on- it's darn near a full length feature so if you have the inclination AND the time, give it a whirl! No doubt you will notice a ton of slides from the William Atwood Great International Lobster Crate Race. It's my each-and-every-year favorite part of the festival. While this year's race is not yet posted on their site, I happen to have more than enough shots of the running of the crates (Rockland's version of the Running of the Bulls), and also the falling off of the crates. The old record was 3007 crates run in 50 crate increments without falling into the icy waters of Penobscot Bay. That record held up for 25 years or so they tell me. But this year, the record, which IS included in the Guinness Book of World Records, was broken by a young man from Connecticut, Andrew Bachiochi, the Green Dream Machine as the crowd took to calling him before he took a dive, who ran a most amazing 4, 501 crates before doing a partial back flip into the water just to cool off! I know he could have done more. I just know it.

Lobster Festival Slide Show

It’s been a difficult struggle to decide what to write about and, quite frankly, what to feel about being back in Mid-Coast Maine- Rockland, Thomaston, Camden, Warren. Throw in Belfast if you must. This is where we lived for much of our lives and where we worked at our respective businesses, got involved with our community in every way we could, and enjoyed time with our many friends.

It was a place to call home. A place where no matter where else we went, coming back felt good and safe, known and comfortable. Where the house was just exactly the home we wanted it to be. Where the businesses thrived the way they do when they are nurtured by all your energies. Where we knew every shop keeper and they knew us. It was OUR TOWN- not in a selfish and greedy way, but in the way of total immersion into the lives we were living.

But change is inevitable, and for a host of reasons, we moved on to experience the marvelous adventure of distant places, exotic cultures and new times. In my mind, Rockland was still “home.” But in fact, it no longer is. The house is no longer ours. The commercial buildings have all been sold now. The business interests are gone. And come to find out, in the decade we have been gone, many businesses have folded; friends and places known are new and unknown. New places have popped up. It doesn’t look the same. It doesn’t feel the same. Because it isn’t the same. And coming to that understanding has been a bit more challenging then I would have imagined prior to getting back here.

We did manage to spend some quality time with a few friends that are near and dear to our hearts. Blessings on all of us for that! Being together in the here and now, though, is vitally different than going back into time…and in fact, I think we all realize we cannot do that at all, no matter how often and how hard we might try. You can only go home, if, in fact, you are going home. Our home is on wheels now, so while we are here now, “home” just happens to be passing on through…and we try to find a way to best appreciate that concept as well as the time here. Which is why the Saturday night entertainment at the 2008 Maine Lobster Festival at Harbor Park in downtown Rockland was just what the doctor ordered for a guy that still felt a bit confused about the emotional end of being back here. In typical fashion, the concert went on in the thick of fog. It wasn’t rain! Just the heavy wet night air that is visible in the form of billions of little water droplets against the stage lights on such a night. Entertainment, as always, signed, sealed and delivered by my old pal, Mr. Chuck Kruger, without whom the festival would just plain not be the same. On stage: Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, Jay and the Techniques, and headliner Little Anthony and the Imperials- all original and as great as ever- maybe better. Oldies Music! The one thing that I find I can always go home to! With each number I felt better about being here. “We Built This City”, yes, not on rock-n-roll, but on long hours of planning, follow through and making things better that could be better. As I stood in the concert crowd, moving, grooving, and singing along, it dawned on me that the accomplishments of the past remain with me, no matter that time and circumstances have altered the way things look now. You cannot go back. But you can go forward on the strength of the things you built when you were back there.

So when Jay Proctor DID hit the high note at the end of his ramp (he warned us sometimes he doesn’t always hit it any more) it was the perfect metaphor for leaving tomorrow on a much higher note than I was able to sing when we first pulled into town more than a week ago. And when Little Anthony sang Cloud Nine in the fog that softened the groups image on the stage, things became much clearer than the night air would have you believe. Another Lobster Festival, another visit to Rockland- and maybe, for me, the last one- has given me far more than I could ever have imagined. I preached giving back to the community in every way I knew how when I was HERE, and the equation has once again, as it always does, proven to be true:

In all ways of true meaning in life, They profit most Who serve the best….

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