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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Summer Begins

Now the summer has transitioned into a completely relaxed vacation mode. All of our summer appointments and responsibilities are behind us. After the anniversary party we returned the next day to Maine. Cindy came with us for a few days, and we enjoyed some classic Maine moments. Unfortunately, Thursday she had to go back to Charleston where the heat index was 115+. Yesterday at 0800 we were 53 degrees! Her trip back was another one of those Cindy airline nightmares. It started out with great promise. Her flight from Owl's Head to Boston on a nine passenger Cessna with Cape Air was delightful. You can see the picture of her entering the "terminal". She greatly enjoyed the views of the Maine coast as she headed south and was able to recognize several familiar spots. Unfortunately, the weather in NY/NJ delayed her flight to Newark for three hours and caused her to miss her flight to Charleston. She spent the night in Terminal C in Newark and was unsuccessful in securing a standby seat at 0905. She eventually found a route through DC and got home just in time to take a shower and go to work.
The campground is now absolutely full and the views of Penobscot Bay are postcard perfect. The other picture shows a lobster boat working in our front yard and a sailboat returning to the Northport Marina which can be seen in the background. I did not compress the picture so this blog may take a bit longer to download. I left it as is so that you could appreciate some of the detail.
Tonight we walked up to the top of the hill to "Papa J's" restaurant for supper. The Dunns joined us and the guys enjoyed the leg of lamb special. It sure is convenient after the meal is complete to just walk downhill to our rigs where we sat outside and enjoyed the view and an after dinner drink. We hope your day was half as good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Anniversary Party

Saturday we enjoyed the 50th wedding anniversary party that Cindy had organized. We had about fifty folks from far and wide (Colorado and Virginia). It was an unusual party in that only a few small groups were previously acquainted. Durelle and I were the only common denominator. Nametags were essential. I brought my camera but soon decided to be a participant rather than a spectator. There were many cameras so perhaps I'll be able to post other pictures later. Above are two that I did take. The story of the cake is truly unusual. In 1960 Estelle Anderson made us the wedding cake as a wedding present. Fifty years later, at age 87, she baked a replica for our golden anniversary. In the current vernacular, how cool is that? The other picture is one of those four generation pictures. David, holding Brielle, and Mark and I constitute four successive generations of Cloutiers. Fortunately each generation is progressively better looking.
On Sunday we returned to the Moorings on the Maine coast. The hectic portions of the summer that forced us to be organized are over and we look forward to just relaxing with friends on the shores of Penobscot Bay. Speaking of friends, the Pecks were camping here when we arrived. We are occupying what was "the Pecks' spot" for many years. This morning I made blueberry pancakes (thanks, Marian). Durelle and Cindy have conjured up a foursome for bridge and all's well with the least our world.
On the blog posting one month ago today I spoke about Tim and Wendy Boucher who are competitive grilling and smoking cooks. I "bemoaned" the fact that several of us had to be Guinea pigs for their recipe development process. Today we learned that they won the New England cook off at the Harpoon Brewery in Vermont and have thus qualified for the Jack Daniels Invitational at Lynchburg. Way to go, Tim and Wendy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wegners and Catalfamos

Friday was a day of mixed images and mixed emotions. The day before the 50th anniversary party was to have been a day of visiting and perhaps a bit of touring with the friends that had traveled from VA and CO to attend the party. Sadly it became the day of Aunt Anna Cloutier's funeral. Anna was the last survivor of a special group made up of my father, his seven siblings and their spouses. A generation has passed. After the funeral we picked up Allen and Joyce Wegner and Phil, Laura and Karin Catalfamo at the inn where they were staying and convoyed to the campground in Brookline, NH. The weather presented us with a steady, but mostly gentle, drizzle, so we sat around under the awning reminiscing. Those two couples, who have been close friends of ours for many years, had never met each other. They soon discovered that they had several common acquaintaces (besides us, of course).
As suppertime approached, the rain increased. We ordered pizza and moved inside the motorhome. The pizza came from a local convenience store and gas station so my expectations were not high. I was particularly worried because the Catalfamos come from long lines of fine Italian cooks AND they grew up in Brooklyn in the early 50's. We were all very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pizzas...really excellent.
Saturday will be the party, so look for more later.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

End of an Era

We all knew it had to happen some day. The old Bounder that had seen 49 states and most of Canada had been an iconic feature of the Moorings since prior to the current ownership. Bill and Edie Johnson were corner stone seasonal campers here before most of us learned how to pronounce Passagassawakeag. The Bounder passed into the capable hands of daughter Jerilyn Johnson who turned the inside into the antithesis of its battered exterior. No one seemed to recall the last time the engine was started. So...after delaying the inevitable as long as possible, Jeri found herself a used Class C, made arrangements to have the Bounder towed, and undertook the onerous task of sorting out the flotsam and jetsam that had accrued over the years. The historic day was Wednesday, the 21st of July 2010. Unfortunately, the Cloutiers were not there to witness the event, and I am indebted to Ann Dunn for the pictures. I'm sure it was an emotional moment as everyone watched the once proud ship make its ignominious retreat up Route 1 on the hook of the wrecker.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Book Signing

Guess what? No pictures tonight. I took a couple, but they were not worth sharing. Today did offer an interesting event. Linda Greenlaw is a local gal who grew up on Isle au Haut a few miles off shore of the midcoast of Maine. Several years ago Sebastion Junger wrote "The Perfect Storm". That book identified her as the only female and the best swordfishing boat captain on the coast. Several publishing houses asked her to write her own story. Although she sees herself as a boat captain, she did graduate from Colby College with an English degree. She has since written several best sellers. The latest is "Seaworthy". Coincidently I had written a review of that book for the Charleston Post and Courier, and it appeared in the paper today. At the book signing I gave her a copy. Linda is on the tail end of a two month book tour and was obviously happy to be home among friends. The book signing was held in the Congregational Church in Searsport. The size of the crowd of 350 was a surprise to everyone. She got us started in typical Linda Greenlaw fashion. She observed that she had never done one of these things in a church before. Therefore, she said, "I'll have to tailor my salty fisherman's language and restrict it to phrases like HOLY shit!" She gave an entertaining talk and answered perhaps a dozen questions and then sat down to sign books. It was a well organized and enjoyable afternoon. Our daughter Cindy has always said that she categorized people by whether or not the guy was someone who she would like to have a beer with while sitting on the porch of the Landry cabin in New Harbor. Linda Greenlaw qualifies.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Day on the Water

Today was the windjammer parade in Rockland. Unfortunately, the fog rolled in with the ships so the pictures are not as crisp and colorful as last time. Also, we were further away. Some of the pictures show the breakwater that leads to the Rockland lighthouse. From the end of the breakwater you can almost touch the ships. Rockland is about an hour south of the campground. Meanwhile, about an hour north of the campground, Obama and family arrived on Mount Desert Island. Apparently they did Acadia National Park today. It wasn't a great day for Cadillac Mountain. There is some general cloud cover and frequent morning fog.
Yesterday I had a fun morning. There was a couple, about our age, who were camping in Maine for the first time. He was a long time CIA guy going back to the days when it was the Army Security Agency (ASA). I took the two of them down to the beach at low tide and we harvested about seventy mussels. I explained and demonstrated how to scrub and "debeard" the critters. And I told her how to steam them open with onions, garlic, wine, and oil. She happily reported that they ALL opened. They didn't use pasta, but simply ate them with Italian bread. While we all picked up the mussels, she kept saying,"This is so exciting!"
We are still enjoying our time on the Maine coast. On Tuesday we head to Brookline, NH to spend a few days centered around our 50th anniversary party at the King Phillip Restaurant in Phillipston, MA on the 24th. Actually we were married on 18 June, but logistics set the party date at 24 July.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Arts in the Park"

Today was the last day of the annual mid-summer art festival in Belfast, Maine. So, in spite of annoying showers, we drove down to see what this summer's version had to offer. There were perhaps fifty or so artisans who had some really nice wares on display. There was an excellent four-piece brass band that kept the visitors pleasantly entertained as they wandered around. Of course there were food vendors, too. We each had an English style fish'n chips made with fresh young haddock that was very well done. Because of the rain, we only stayed an hour or so and headed back to the bus. We stayed inside and I read while Durelle had her Red Sox and golf. The weather is a bit dismal, but just as a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work, a bad day on the Maine coast is better than a good day at many other places.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Sparkling Day on Penobscot Bay

I took this shot from the campground on Thursday (yesterday) afternoon. The temperature was 71, the breeze was "fresh", and the sky sported a few puffy clouds that couldn't seem to stay in one spot very long. Inland a hundred yards the temperature was 80 and ten miles inland it was in the 90's.
The Dunns arrived yesterday and they joined us and Jeri for supper. We actually had to move inside to eat because it was breezy and cool! Today Durelle and Jeri went on the Belfast Garden tour and had a fine time and a good lunch at Darby's. I stayed here with the pups, sat in the recliner and read while facing the view you see in the picture...not very energetic, but totally enjoyable.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July

Well, it's the 4th of July weekend. The campground is finally full. We celebrated by having our first lobster feed of the year. Tim and Wendy, Skip and Donna, Dick and Hilda, Paul Poythress and the Cloutiers had a great time. For the past couple of years I have apprenticed under some of the masters of the preparations of steamers and lobsters. Today I was on my own. Even Rick Feyler was under the weather. Everything went great. Although I have established contact with Walt Wagner, our usual supplier, today's lobsters and clams came from Wymans in Stockton Springs. Ten pound and a half hard shells and five pounds of steamers were $130. Both were excellent. Fifteen pounds made for a full pot, but there was plenty of steam from the seawater, and the lobsters cooked up just fine. We even remembered the finger bowl, Ann. The second picture is an unusual rig in the Roth spot. There is a bed and a TV in the loft. There's a ladder up to it which would make the nightly sojourns to the pot a bit problematic. The weather has been just ideal. Yesterday for the Friday Happy Hour I made my mussel dip from mussels I picked up at low tide in the morning. Again, it was quite a hit.