Page 1


Jon & Nancy Dawson

Pat GallantCharette: SENIOR POWER!

Also Inside: • Down East Spring Birding Festival • Tapping Into Spring • Saying Goodbye ...and so much more!



Mary, Chris, Ellen, Peter in Iceland

We are HG

Highland Green Residents, Hiking Group Leaders, Travel Club Founders, Bocce League Competitors, Resident Website Coordinator, Cooperative Board and Finance Committee Members



Highland Green is the Northeast’s premier 55+ Active Adult Community and has attracted hundreds of interesting people from 31 different U.S. states and counting. Come explore and meet many remarkable individuals enjoying unique resident-driven dynamic living, unmatched sense of community, and custom homes like nowhere else.




7 Evergreen Circle, Topsham, Maine | 866-854-1200 / 207-725-4549 |


You Tube

Publisher's Note

Fight Back Against Fraud! PUBLISHER

David. S. Nealley


Ellen L. Spooner


Ian J. Marquis


Catherine N. Zub Lois N. Nealley Mark D. Roth Shelagh Talbot


Victor Oboyski Joe Sawyer

David excited about SENIOR POWER!


FREE SHREDDING and Medicine Disposal Events in April, 2018! AARP Maine is once again collaborating with the Maine Sheriff’s Association to host free shredding events and medicine disposal events. Please join us and bring your friends and family! AUGUSTA Saturday, April 28, 2018 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, 125 State Street, Augusta

BANGOR Friday, April 27, 2018 | 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bangor Airport Mall on Union Street

PORTLAND* Saturday, April 28, 2018 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, 36 County Way, Portland

Christine Parker Kimberly Reid Ellie Stengal Tallus Miles Leonard Russell Jim Gorham A. Peter Legendre Judy Legendre Roseanne Bolduc Clyde Tarr Diane Nute Jim Nute Paul Conley Laurie A. Poirier

Senior Power is Maine’s greatest natural resource.


By putting all of the above together most of us understand the value of Senior Power.

In this issue, we have Pat Gallant-Charette of Westbrook, the oldest woman to have ever completed the North Channel swim from Ireland to Scotland and the English Channel. These 21-mile swims are considered among the most difficult in the world. Pat is another great example of Senior Power.

To all of our senior partners, please consider the sentiment shared in the following lyrics of “A Shine On Your Shoes” and spring ahead with Senior Power!

n the last issue we shared stories of both the oldest winner of the CBS reality TV show Survivor, Bob Crowley of South Portland, and Jo Ann Clough of Bangor, who set a new world record for her age (60-69) and weight class (110 pounds) deadlifting 320.6 pounds.


Dr. Len Kaye Jane Margesson Shelagh Talbot Ellen L. Spooner Hunter Howe L​arry Grard LC Van Savage Brad Eden Sheila Grant Paul Weeks Dr. Cathy Genthner Mark D. Roth

As inspirational as the above stories are, when we refer to Senior Power as Maine’s greatest natural resource, we do not limit this to the above literal translation of physical power. Maine benefits from Senior Power, in so many ways.

*The Portland event will also include computer hard drive shredding


For more information email or call Jane at 776-6301. You can also contact us if you would like to request a scam awareness speaker for your group.

87 Hillside Avenue, Bangor, Maine 04401 Phone: (207) 299-5358

Maine has the highest volunteer rate in the country.

Maine Seniors Magazine is published in the State of Maine by Maine Seniors Magazine, L.L.C. in association with Maine Media Consulting, L.L.C. All information herein represents the views of individual writers and their understanding of the issues at hand, and may not represent the views of the Maine Seniors Magazine, its management, or editorial staff. For more information about Maine Seniors Magazine, visit

Maine is considered a very generous state in regard to its philanthropy in spite of the fact that it is in the lower 25 of the states based on wealth.

Concerned you may have been scammed? Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network toll-free 1-877-908-3360.

Shane Wilson

Because of our senior population:



10 issues for $29.95 by making a check, payable to Maine Seniors Magazine. Mail to Maine Seniors Magazine, 87 Hillside Avenue, Bangor, Maine 04401. Recycled paper made in Maine

Maine has a very high value in its health care assets and services relative to its population and income.

Maine supports an inordinate number of non-profits and arts/ music and cultural amenities because of its senior population.

Maine is considered to have the“community fabric” way of life.

Jon and Nancy Dawson exemplify all of the above. I have had the good fortune of knowing them and the good they do. Please enjoy an aptly titled story about this great couple in “Business Leaders with Community Heart and Soul” by Shelagh Talbot.

“When you walk down the street With a happy-go-lucky beat, You'll find a lot in what I'm repeating… When there's a shine on your shoes, There's a melody in your heart, What a wonderful way to start the day!” Cheers!

—David S. Nealley, Publisher

APRIL 2018 • 2

Page 5

APRIL 2018 ISSUE 2 Publisher's Note


5 Prime Mover: Jon & Nancy Dawson

Page 15


15 Prime Mover: Pat Gallant-Charette

How Confident are You in Your Financial Future?


24 Prime Mover: Bob Duchesne


33 Outdoors: Birders Flock Together


41 Sage Lens: More on Living a Longer

& Healthier Life • BY DR. LEN KAYE

45 Just Pondering: Don't Touch


Page 24

47 The MAINE Point: SCORE!

Serving our clients for over 30 years

49 Outdoors: The Canoe Trip

Tom Duff Duff President & BranchTom Manager Tom Duff President & BranchTom Manager Duff President & Branch Manager President & Branch Manager

Page 47


53 A Trail Less Traveled: Tapping into Spring

Joel West Joel WestAdvisor Financial Joel West Financial Joel WestAdvisor Financial Advisor Financial Advisor



55 A Look Back: Childhood Freedom


57 Bucket List: My Bucket List


59 Food for Thought: Pork Tenderloin Medalions


61 From the Porch: Saying Goodbye


63 Special: Her Hills of Daffodils Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Duff & Associates is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.


APRIL 2018 • 4


PRIME MOVER • Jon & Nancy Dawson Jon and Nancy Dawson

1974 was a momentous year for Jon and Nancy. They married, she graduated college and got her realtors license. The newlyweds also took over Country & Coastal, renaming it Dawson Realtors. They purchased an old Victorian rooming house on Broadway in Bangor and turned the first floor into their real estate office. In addition to representing buyers and sellers, Jon taught a very successful real estate licensing course at Bangor High School. “It prompted us to consider becoming a medium-sized business instead of remaining small because there were so many wonderful people we had met that had taken the course,” he explained. “They all came

Jon & Nancy


Original location of Jon and Nancy’s business, on Broadway in Bangor, circa 1974. Contributed photo

Jon and Nancy Dawson first met at the

Jon and Nancy were inducted into the ERA Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, February 2018. Contributed photo

library of the University of Maine in Orono (UMO) when she was a freshman.


e was from Belmont, Massachusetts, seven years older than she, and a grad student working on an MBA. There was instant attraction, but Nancy, a Bangor native, was a very levelheaded young lady. She knew it would take time. After all, she was just embarking on her college career. Jon, although smitten, was patient. One day she and her sister were out and about in their little yellow Volkswagen Bug, putting up signs for their father, who was running for City Council in Bangor. “We were going up Hammond Hill,” Nancy recalled. “And I saw Jon walking down. He saw us, and before I even got home he had called my mother to ask about me.” Shortly after that they started dating. Jon graduated from UMaine with an MBA and joined Country & Coastal Realty in Bangor with partners Bill Baker, Carroll Wilson and Dewey Gosselin. When Nancy and Jon began dating, she often accompanied him to open houses and showings. “I found that I really enjoyed meeting people, and I noticed that if you do things right and you do things well, you could make a lot friends and a good living at the same time,” she smiled. 5 • MAINE SENIORS

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APRIL 2018 • 6


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over to our office to start their real estate careers and many stayed until retirement.” The couple worked very hard over the next seven years to grow their business. With 60 agents in their offices, they had previously joined Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and the national franchise Electronic Realty Associates (ERA), which made a positive difference to their new company. Back in 1975, it gave them a tangible edge over most other realtors, who did not feel it was necessary to join large national groups.“ERA had national and international coverage, with a very strong presence in Maine,” said Jon.“We received great training with top brokers throughout the country. It was all part of our important team building and training & marketing for our agents and their clients.”

Jon and Nancy Dawson meet Jim Jackson at an awards ceremony in Kansas City Missouri. Jackson began the ERA Award for Excellence. Contributed photo


By 1979, ERA had member brokers in all 50 states and the Dawson’s moved their business to 417 Maine Street in Bangor. Ten years later, they acquired the Bradford Agency, which was an Orono real estate and insurance company founded by Richard Bradford in 1953. It was a great fit and a welcome subsidiary. Thirty-five years later ERA Dawson Bradford thrives with 72 Realtors and the company has expanded its offices to accommodate them.

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In addition to running a business, raising a family (Nancy and Jon have two daughters, Julie and Kate – more on them later), the Dawsons have woven philanthropy and community service into the fabric of their lives. “I come from a family of business people,” Nancy said. “Four generations. They were involved in energy and insurance. They emphasized the importance of community outreach. For example, my great grandfather helped found the Bangor Fuel Society to help those less fortunate keep

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PRIME MOVER • Jon & Nancy Dawson

Just ask for Stillwater

Jon and Nancy join the ERA family in 1976.You can see them left of center in photograph. Contributed photo

their homes warm during Maine winters. My family has always believed in the Golden Rule. We were just brought up that way.” Nancy remembers the many nights her father poured over the city books when he became a Bangor City Councilor, and the many days he spent as a scout leader at Camp Roosevelt.“It was always with the thought that he could make things a little bit better for the community.” Nancy describes her happy childhood in the Fairmount neighborhood of Bangor: “We were so fortunate,” she recalled. “We didn’t have much money but we were loved, well taken care of and were always taught to share and be involved. It was a great



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Healthcare is an affiAvenue liate of Stillwater neighborhoodStillwater with335 lots of families around. There was such a Bangor, Maine 04401 sense of place, a special sense of belonging that was instilled in us DGPLQVWLOOZDWHU#ÀUVWDWODQWLFFRP from the time we were small. All the mothers and grandmothers 207·947·1111 were involved in community-oriented programs to help others, Stillwater even as they raised us.”Healthcare is a sister facility with Ross Manor, affiliated with Rosscare and First Atlantic Healthcare and a member of

Together We’re Stronger Rendering for new office on Maine Street in Bangor in 1979. Contributed photo. Stillwater_BMet_Ad_0811_4c.indd 1

8/23/11 4:27 PM

Jon was an Eagle Scout and his father was very much involved in scouting. Jon currently sits on the Foundation Board of the University of Maine. Together, Jon and Nancy are supporters and boosters of the Eastern Maine Medical Center. In the past, Jon was chair of the board at the Bangor Theological Seminary and Nancy planned fundraisers for Habitat for Humanity Greater Bangor. “We have supported a lot of things that have started and grown over all these years,” Nancy said. “We work hard to ensure that we volunteer our time and resources to make a difference in the community.” Many of the things the Dawson’s have done over the years to help others have been quiet, low key. It’s kind of the Maine way – to be helpful in the background, without fuss, without the need of public applause or recognition. “We just were instilled with that notion of helping from an early age,” Jon pointed out. Nancy concurred. “The people we’ve helped have helped us in turn,” she said. “It’s all a circle and it all comes back around. Especially in Maine, which is just one big neighborhood really!”

Art Supplies Gifts Classes Original Art

The Beyond Excellence Award for ERA Dawson Bradford celebrated the success of its top agents with a cruise through the Caribbean. Contributed photo

Jon and Nancy in front of their new office on Main Street in Bangor in 1979. Contributed photo Nancy Dawson with one of many ERA Top Fifty Realtor awards their company has won over the years. Contributed photo

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APRIL 2018 • 1 0

PRIME MOVER • Jon & Nancy Dawson


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The Dawsons are thrilled as their business moves into the new century. Their daughter Julie Williams, and her husband Brian, acquired the family business and now own and operate ERA Dawson Bradford and Dawson Insurance Agency. After college Julie worked in Washington at the office of U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins in several capacities, eventually becoming Legislative Correspondent regarding healthcare, art, and historic preservation. Since moving back to Maine and joining the family business, she has recruited 26 new real estate agents to the firm, implemented cutting edge technology services for agents and clients, overseen a refresh of the brand, and redesigned the agent training program. Oh, and in her spare time, Julie is raising two boys with her husband and serves as a director for Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Board. In addition, she is a director on the Maine Association of Realtors Board, and the Immediate Past President of the Greater Bangor Association of REALTORS Board. Her husband recently chaired the Gala Committee for the Friends of the Cross Insurance Center, which benefited Habitat for Humanity Greater Bangor, Literacy Volunteers of Bangor, and Good Samaritan Agency. Their daughter, Kate is also part of the ERA Dawson Bradford real estate family. She returned to Maine eight years ago, got her real estate license and is currently a student in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Maine. Kate is also

Jon and Nancy host a yearly summer event celebrating agents successes from the previous year, a chance for agents to get together and bond as a group. Contributed photo

The Dawson family, from left to right: Brian Williams, Julie Williams, Kate Dawson, Nancy and Jon Dawson. Contributed photo

The Dawsons are thrilled as their

business moves into the new century. Their daughter Julie Williams, and her husband Brian, acquired the family business and now own and operate ERA Dawson Bradford and Dawson Insurance Agency. active in the community as a board member for the Mable Wadsworth Center. With offices in Bangor and Orono and their business in good family hands, Jon and Nancy have been able to look to the future with confidence. This past February, they traveled to Las Vegas

to be recognized by their peers. ERA inducted them into its Hall of Fame and ERA Dawson Bradford was recognized for its outstanding customer service. “For the past forty years we’ve been in the top 50 companies for ERA in terms of transactions and production,” Nancy said. “More importantly, we rate at 98 percent for customer service and satisfaction right here in Bangor. It’s been exciting and so worthwhile and continues to be. It is an honor to serve this community.” Malcomb Gladwell, Staff Writer for the New Yorker Magazine, when speaking of successful people posits that all successful folks have one thing in common: "the 10,000-hour rule". If you put in the 10,000 hours working at your craft, you WILL be a success. Jon and Nancy Dawson are certainly a fine example of that, not only in regard to their business, but also their years of heartfelt involvement with their beloved town and state. MSM

APRIL 2018 • 1 2

Bangor Bangor International International Airport Airport Celebrating Celebrating 5050 Years Years ofof Service Service

In 1968, In 1968,

America’s service service men and men women and women during their during last their stoplast onstop on the citythe of Bangor city of Bangor purchased purchased Dow AirDow AirAmerica’s overseas deployment, deployment, and welcomed and welcomed them home themupon hometheir upon their Force Base Force and Base created and created what is what known is knownoverseas return. return. today astoday Bangor as Bangor International International Airport.Airport. In the early In the years, early years, travelerstravelers enjoyedenjoyed service service on Northeast on Northeast Yellowbird Yellowbird jets to Boston jets to Boston Today, people of greater of greater BangorBangor and Central and Central and Eastern and Eastern and New and York. New Because York. Because of its strategic of its strategic locationlocation and 11,440and 11,440- Today, people Mainethe enjoy convenience the convenience of scheduled of scheduled service service by by foot runway, foot runway, it was not it was uncommon not uncommon to see giant to seeBoeing giant Boeing 747 747 Maine enjoy Allegiant, Allegiant, American, American, Delta and Delta United and United to major to hub major cities hub with cities with aircraft aircraft and even andthe even supersonic the supersonic Concorde Concorde on approach on approach to BGR to BGR connections connections to the world. to the In world. 2017, In Bangor 2017, Bangor International International Airport Airport for fueling for fueling or weather or weather diversions. diversions. Over the Over years, thethe years, airport the airport achieved achieved another another record year record with year over with 500,000 over 500,000 passengers passengers continued continued its proud itsservice proud service to our country to our country as the home as theofhome the of the served. served. And BGR And remains BGR remains a vital tech-stop a vital tech-stop for trans-Atlantic for trans-Atlantic st Refueling Air Refueling Wing ofWing the Maine of theAir Maine National Air National Guard. Plus, Guard. Plus, 101st Air101 cargo, charter cargo, charter and corporate and corporate aircraft. aircraft. for nearly forthree nearlydecades, three decades, Maine Troop MaineGreeters Troop Greeters have visited have with visited with

For 50 years, For 50Bangor years, Bangor International International Airport Airport has served has as served a leading as a leading part of Maine’s part of Maine’s transportation transportation infrastructure, infrastructure, an engine an engine for economic for economic development development in our region, in our region, and as an andimportant as an important part of our partcommunity. of our community. Come, Come, fly Bangor, fly Bangor, and help and ushelp celebrate us celebrate 50 years 50ofyears providing of providing convenience… convenience… nonstop nonstop daily. daily. Non-stop Non-stop flights flights to major to hub major cities hubwith cities connections with connections to the world. to the world.



WPME is Moving Frequencies. What Does This Mean for You? Photo by Brian Fitzgerald

On March 7th, 2018 WPME will be moving frequencies from channel 35 to 51.3. If you watch TV for free with an antenna, you may need to rescan your TV to keep watching WPME-TV.

Pat Gallant-Charette BY CATHY GENTHNER







What do you now do if you are the oldest

female in the world to successfully swim the English Channel? Keep on swimming!


fter successfully swimming the channel on June 17, 2017 at the age of 66, Pat Gallant-Charette, the 67-year old grandmother from Westbrook plans to keep swimming and breaking more records. The September 2018 publication of the Guinness Book of World Records will include her 2017 record swim for the Oldest Woman to Swim the English Channel. Just four weeks before this, she successfully swam the Molokai channel swim in Hawaii. At the age of 65, in 2016, she was nominated for World Open Water Swimmer, Woman of the Year and nominated for Global Marathon Swimmers Federation Solo Swim of the Year for her recordsetting North Channel Swim, between Northern Ireland and Scotland.


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Don’t worry – it’s simple and requires no new equipment or services. After the rescan is complete, you’ll find us on channel 51.3, and we will still deliver all the local programs and shows you’ve grown to love like Dateline, Law & Order, M*A*S*H*, Buy Local, Crustacean Nation: We Are the Maine Red Claws, and more! If you subscribe to cable, this change will not affect you. If you subscribe to satellite, you can watch us over the air or contact your local cable provider.


For more information please visit

Thanks for watching.

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Physician/Medical Provider Visits Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy Skilled Nursing Care Discharge Planning and Education

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newly renovated assisted living apts. with ocean views coming Soon! Call 207-781-4714 ext. 229 for more information and to schedule a tour 191 Foreside Road • Falmouth, Maine • •

PRIME MOVER • Pat Gallant-Charette

“Society makes the elderly think that you can only do so much.

If you feel good, go for it!”

“I was 66 when I broke three world records for swimming. I did the English Channel and I had one of the strongest swims of my life. I could not have done this swim when I was younger,” said Pat Gallant-Charette, of Westbrook.“Society makes the elderly think that you can only do so much. If you feel good, go for it!” She swam across the English Channel—water temperature 50 to 54 degrees—in roughly 18 hours, starting from Dover, England and finishing in Cap Blanc in France. The shortest distance across the channel is 21-miles, but Gallant-Charette most likely swam farther because of ocean currents along with stinging jelly fish. This swim meant the most to her because it is a record she had always wanted to break and her son Tom was on the boat next to her, encouraging her as always. “It is a very inspiring experience to accompany my mom on her swims and I want to make sure I can do everything I can to help her get to the finish line and achieve her goals,” said Tom Gallant, 36. “Her swims have impacted my life in a positive way. There were a lot of doubters throughout the years and she has proven all of them wrong. If you set your mind on your goal and give it 100 percent effort, anything is possible…young or old, never give up!”

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Pat swims the English Channel

It was her son Tom, a member of the Westbrook High School Swim Team, who encouraged her to get into swimming by competing in the 2.4-mile Peaks to Portland race back in 1997 along with him. When he first told her about the race, she expressed that it was a great idea and wished she could join him. Tom told his mother,“You can if you try,” which became a motto for her swims in the future. Both son and mother swam in the race and dedicated it to Pat’s younger brother, Robbie, who died of a fatal heart attack at the age of 34 in 1997. Robbie had won the 2.4 mile-swim twice in the 1980s before his death. Before her Peaks to Portland swim, Gallant-Charette had relatively little swimming experience, except for being on the APRIL 2018 • 1 8


Pat swimming from Molokai Island to Oahu

Westbrook High School Swim Team in the 1960’s. The team and sport were both dramatically different and less structured then, which was over 50 years ago. “We would take a bus to the YMCA in Portland and swim for around 30 minutes, once a week. It wasn’t the kind of competition like we have today,” said Charette-Gallant.“I was a strong swimmer and grew up with six brothers.” Following the Peaks to Portland swim, Gallant-Charette then took on other, longer races including a double crossing of Sebago Lake (12 miles), the Great Chesapeake Bay swim (4.4 miles) and the Strait of Gibraltar swim (9 miles). In 2010, she set the U.S. Women’s record for the fastest swim from Spain to Africa (the Strait of Gibraltar) in three hours and 28 minutes. It was also the fastest time by any person over the age of 50. “I’ve always been a slow swimmer but for marathon swimming, you don’t have to be fast. You just have to be able to get from point A to point B. I am no Michael Phelps—I will never be a 19 • MAINE SENIORS

PRIME MOVER • Pat Gallant-Charette

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443 Main St., Lewiston •

Pat Gallant Charette during her Strait of Gilbraltar swim Photo by Tom Charette

A Retirement Community in Coastal Blue Hill, Maine

fast swimmer. But I am slow and steady. There are a lot of people who can’t swim for 24 hours straight. I don’t fall asleep during those long swims—instead I go into ‘the zone.’ I love the sport and the tranquility of being in the ocean, seeing the stars at night. It is very spiritual.” Pat’s major support comes from the family and she supports them as well. When not swimming for records or training, Gallant-Charette is the full-time baby sitter for her three grandchildren, ages 6, 7 and 9. Her daughter Sarah is a single mother who works full time as a kidney dialysis nurse. Pat enjoys her“second career” of being a grandmother. This winter, she built an ice skating rink for the children, tapped maple trees with them in the spring and made syrup. She routinely takes them on mystery trips to places like the Portland Science Center. She believes she could not have accomplished as much without the support of her husband. “My husband Jim has been very supportive of my swimming endeavors. He was the one who suggested that I attempt the


Our beautiful community, our caring staff, and the services we provide all revolve around our residents. Since 1992, we have been striving to provide a pleasant, safe, and engaging place to call home.

You’ love living here! . Call TODAY 207-518-7430 | | Follow us on APRIL 2018 • 2 0


PRIME MOVER • Pat Gallant-Charette

Photo by Brian Fitzgerald

Pat's grandchildren

“I consider myself a person

who loves to take on a challenge, no matter the age. I have never let my age become a barrier,” said Gallant-Charette.

English Channel many years ago. We got married young...I was 21 and he was 22. He is my soulmate.” Pat worked as an R.N. before retiring from health institutions such as the Barron Center in Portland. She started out as a candy-striper at Maine Medical in Portland and then became a C.N.A. In her 40’s, she earned her B.S. in Nursing from the 21 • MAINE SENIORS

University of Southern Maine and became an R.N. With many of her most prestigious accomplishments occurring after the age of 40, she has been called a late bloomer.

28 miles around Manhattan Island. In August, she has three swims planned including Lake Tahoe (22 miles), Loch Ness in Scotland and Lake Windemere in England.

“I consider myself a person who loves to take on a challenge, no matter the age. I have never let my age become a barrier,” said Gallant-Charette. In fact, at the age of 67, she was one of the models this past January in California who modeled swim suits. Brooke Shields was also there for the shoot.“I was stunned that the swimsuit company would want me because of my age and my weight,” said Gallant-Charette.“It is a very diverse company and they wanted to promote all women.”

“My last marathon swim to complete the Oceans Seven will be Cook Strait in New Zealand in 2019,” she said. “Due to the popularity of this swim, there is a long waiting list. But in the meantime, I will continue marathon swimming in other locations.”

What is next for someone with an impressive list of recordbreaking swims? She plans on continuing as long as there are records to break. In June, she will attempt to swim the

Pat’s advice to others who are in the later years of life and are still up for challenges—“You can, if you try.” MSM If you are interested in following Pat and her swims, check out patgalant.

APRIL 2018 • 2 2

PRIME MOVER • Bob Duchesne



Representative Bob Duchesne is perhaps best

known for his six terms in the Maine House of Representatives, but this is not his only claim to fame.


efore getting involved in politics, Duchesne was also an award-winning radio personality. It is, however, Duchesne’s lifelong passion for bird watching that has allowed him to make additional significant contributions to our state and its efforts to attract more nature-based tourism. Duchesne founded the Maine Birding Trail, authored the official guide to the trail, and helped launch and sustain the Down East Spring Birding Festival, which draws hundreds of visitors to the region annually. Duchesne also operates his own birding guide service in his “spare time,” and presents for numerous naturebased organizations around the state. Duchesne grew up in Franklin, New Hampshire, finding his way to Maine as a government major at Colby College in Waterville. “I never did anything at all with government when I graduated,” he said. “I began a radio career and never looked back, until things happened [to lead me back to government].” Duchesne had been earning money washing dishes in the Colby cafeteria, until, during his sophomore year, a local radio station hired him to DJ. “After watching over somebody’s shoulder for about three nights, they put me on the following weekend,” he recalled. Duchesne continued to work part-time for the radio station until graduating from Colby, and then went full-time, playing “everything from The Beatles to Conway Twitty.” MaritiMe energy rockland 800-333-4489

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Eventually, Duchesne married. He and wife Sandi live on Pushaw Lake in Hudson these days, but in 1978, her career as APRIL 2018 • 2 4


PRIME MOVER • Bob Duchesne

a Russian linguist took the couple to Washington, D.C. where Duchesne DJ’d for a small radio station in Rockville, Maryland. “During that period, our little AM station played a big country station downtown in softball and beat them,” said Duchesne. “While out drinking beer afterwards, I discovered they had an opening.” Weary of the soft rock and pop songs he’d been playing, “all of a sudden, Merle Haggard and Willy Nelson sounded kind of cool and I really got into it.” Duchesne stayed with that station for five years, working every shift except for the“Morning Drive” show.“It seems like every year they would move me around somewhere else. I did have some recognition. I was selected to fill in on the American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsly while he was on vacation. They flew me down and for one weekend I was the voice of American Country Countdown. That was in the days when they recorded a mix on tape and then pressed them on vinyl and that was how they were sent to the stations. I still have those LPs.”

Whether by land, or sea, or somewhere in between, Duchesne is always on the lookout for interesting bird species. Seen here during a biologist visit to a bear's den, Duchesne has served on the state's Environment and Natural Resources Committee during all six of his terms in the legislature, and currently serves as chair of the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

By 1985, Duchesne and his wife were missing life in Maine.“We came up on vacation to drive around and see what the market was doing,” he said.“There was a new radio station in the Bangor area that turned out to be country, so I applied, and I spent 17 years with Q106.5.” The late 80s and into the 90s were a time when a lot of really big country artists were coming onto the music scene, such as Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Country music dominated the ratings in much of the state, and the nation.“I was up for Station of the Year as program director for several years, and four years in a row I was a finalist for the Country Music Association’s Personality of the Year until I won it. There was a big awards show. We didn’t get to go on stage, but I stood in the audience and waved at America from the fifth row with a lot of major country artists of the time who were also winning awards – Patty Loveless announced mine.” To be eligible for the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame, there’s a rule that you have to be playing country for at least 25 years, 25 • MAINE SENIORS


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PRIME MOVER • Bob Duchesne




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“so don’t die,” Duchesne quipped. In addition to being a DJ and program manager, he served on the board of directors for the nonprofit Country Music Broadcasters. “I had been doing national leadership for quite a while, and had great ratings for this radio station, so when it was time to pick a winner in ’95, it was I. There is now a plaque hanging in a downtown Nashville convention center, ignored by millions.” The station was purchased by a major corporation in Atlanta, “and I was not really enjoying the corporate experience of taking orders from Atlanta about what Bangor is going to like, so I decided I needed some time off,” Duchesne said.“It was supposed to be a sabbatical. Instead, I got busy with birds. I had started the Maine Birding Trail and I got really serious about that. And at the time, I was sitting on the couch reading about politics around the state. I thought ‘Sheesh, I can do better than that,’ so I ended up running.” Duchesne served in the legislature from 2005 to 2012.“You can do four terms and then sit one out or change to the other body of the legislature,” he explained. “I didn’t intend to come back but the person who took my place never wanted to do it again so I went back for two more terms. I am not planning to run again. Right now, I should be gathering signatures to get on the ballot – but I’m not.”

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Duchesne has loved birds since childhood. "I remember seeing gold finches on the lawn, so yellow against the lawn, so green, and thinking, 'Oh, that’s cool!'" During his years in, and in between, being a legislator, Duchesne was also building up his birding guide service, strengthening the Maine Birding Trail website and printed materials, participating in birding events around the state, and more. “Bob has been an advocate for nature-based tourism for a number of years, and his knowledge and dedication to birding, in particular, is renowned,” said Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism.“The Maine Birding Trail guide continues to

be one of the most popular brochures distributed at travel shows and at Maine visitor centers. Without Bob’s foresight and input, the guide would not exist.” Duchesne has loved birds since childhood. “I was in first grade, and could barely look out over the window sill to see the birds outside, but I remember seeing gold finches on the lawn, so yellow against the lawn, so green, and thinking, ‘Oh, that’s cool!’ And our library had a big stuffed bird display and I thought, ‘I want to see all of these, even the extinct ones.’ This was completely self-inflicted, because I did not know another birder until I got to college.” The Maine Birding Trail evolved as Duchesne began taking an inventory of good birding destinations around the state. “I led Maine Audubon trips, so I had been exploring with that purpose for at least a decade,” he said. “About the time I got out of radio, there had been a lot of talk of a birding trail because

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PRIME MOVER • Bob Duchesne

As his final term in office winds down, Duchesne is looking forward to more time outdoors, and the

Bob in the House of Representatives

opportunity to sight more birds. hikes, and even cruises to see puffins. “I’ve been involved almost from the first day because I was asked to do a presentation,” Duchesne said. “I went on the very first walk of the very first festival, and ended up accidentally leading it because our guide was deaf, so he could show us the trail but we had to show him the birds. I did it every year after that, as much as they wanted to work me.”

other states were doing it. At the same time, Governor Baldacci was concentrating on nature-based tourism, so it all happened at once.” Duchesne opened his guide service in 2003, and began“working in earnest on the trail. I was getting out of radio, and I wanted a little bit of pocket money. I also wanted to experiment by myself what would work around nature-based tourism,” he said. Duchesne funded his own research, and the Maine Birding Trail website, which he continues to fund today.

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The book, Maine Birding Trail: The Official Guide to More Than 260 Accessible Sites, has been available in paperback since 2009. “I had a goal to make back my investment by publishing a book,” quipped Duchesne.“I would say I’m almost halfway there.” The Down East Spring Birding Festival is one of Maine’s larger events for birders, who are attracted by four days of presentations, 31 • MAINE SENIORS

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Duchesne, who returned to radio until recently as the host of Bob Duchesne’s Wild Maine, and who still writes a birding column for the Bangor Daily News, said he can’t take a lot of credit for Maine’s popularity as a nature-based tourism destination, “but I’ve certainly helped. There’s been an increase in the popularity of birding, anyway. Some baby boomers can’t go climb mountains anymore [so they go birding]. And that’s also dovetailing with outdoor photography. Cameras have gotten bigger; prices have come down. And with all the festivals, and a lot of boat trips that do very well that include birding – we are seeing all of these successes with chasing birds, so overall, whatever happened, including what I did, [birding popularity] is growing.” As his final term in office winds down, Duchesne is looking forward to more time outdoors, and the opportunity to sight more birds.“I enjoy the outdoors altogether,” he said.“For a long time, I did a lot of white water canoeing, but then birding came to dominate my life.” Birders have what’s called a “life list” of all the species they might see in a given state, region, or country. Duchesne is still working on his. “I’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “There are probably around 580 bird species in North America right now. In Maine, I would say it’s possible to get 360 over a lifetime, and I’m probably at 325 right now. I have plans to go and find some more this summer. I’m cutting back on my responsibilities. It’s time to start

working on the bucket list.” Duchesne hopes to visit all of the national parks eventually. “I think Glacier [National Park, in Montana] will be the first one,” he said.“I’ve hit a lot of them already, but there are some I haven’t, and that’s where I’m going. It’s time to do what I put off to run my own birding guide company and be in the legislature. I’ll be camping, hiking and birding, and most of what I’m going to hit this summer are places where I’m doing well enough with my [bird species] life list that I don’t expect to find new ones. I need to get offshore on the Pacific coast and up to Alaska and down to the border in Arizona and Texas to check more species off of my list.” MSM


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shrub-filled fields, streams and lakes, rugged headlands, tidal flats and island nesting grounds. Over 400 bird species have been sighted in Maine, according to festival organizers, and about three-quarters of those species have been seen within the Cobscook Bay area. During the 2015 festival, the solitary sandpiper and the white-winged crossbill were two of the more unusual sightings. Other unique sightings include black-legged kittiwake, great cormorant, gray jay, and American woodcock. During one of my forays, we met a spruce grouse affectionately nicknamed “Bob.”


Flock Together BY SHEILA GRANT

invited to attend a four-day festival of all things feathered two years ago. I needn’t have worried.


he educational, enthusiastic environment provided by organizers and presenters at the annual Down East Spring Birding Festival is contagious. I came away from the long weekend relaxed, happy, wiser in the way of birds, and determined to check off as many of my "life list” species as possible!

It’s no wonder that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has named the festival one of the best in the nation, 33 • MAINE SENIORS

My favorite excursion, though, was the cruise to Machias Seal Island to see Atlantic puffins and handsome black and white razorbills. The island is a research center, with blinds that allow up-close viewing and photography. Staff is friendly and informative. If all that weren’t enough, there’s the very pleasant cruise – complete with seal sightings, and a beach littered with sea glass to explore after disembarking.

e x c e p t i o n a l l o c at i o n

Being a novice birder, I was dubious when

This festival, now in its 15th year, is scheduled to coincide with the spring migration and the breeding season, and includes presentations, boat tours and guided hikes throughout the Cobscook Bay area. The bulk of indoor presentations and displays are hosted at the Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Trescott.

The festival offers something for everyone, every age, and every physical ability. There’s an exhibit area to browse. Presentations include Birding by Ear, Birding Optics, and other tips to help people become better birders, as well as slide shows about various species. Field excursions include short, fairly easy walks as well as longer, more vigorous hikes. There are wee-hour trips and just-before-dusk trips in order to spot or hear a wide variety of species, and to appeal to both the early-bird and night-owl attendees.

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and Yankee Magazine listed it as an Editor’s Choice event in 2014. The Cobscook Bay area offers the broadest variety of birding habitats on the East Coast, including boreal and northern hardwood forest, bogs, fresh- and salt-water marches, grassy and

APRIL 2018 • 3 4



migration and all the things that make this a great place,” he said. Birding has gained in popularity nationwide in recent years, with birding festivals becoming popular and effective economic boosters in many locations. With birding also gaining in popularity in Maine, thanks in large part to the efforts of Maine Birding Trail founder Bob Duchesne, the Down East Spring Birding Festival seeks to benefit the region economically, as well as raising environmental awareness and enjoyment.

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popular and effective economic boosters in many locations.

Hikes around Quoddy Head State Park and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge are also popular. There are even international excursions to Campobello and the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. Drawing tourism dollars Down East

The festival, hosted by the CCLC and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge,“began as a collaboration between the Cobscook Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and those interested in birding and wildlife,” said Maurry Mills, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stationed at the refuge, and one of the founding organizers of the festival. “The local chamber of commerce goal was to bring more people to the Down


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East region in the shoulder seasons. The founders saw a unique opportunity with the spring migration and diversity of habitat offered in our region. Our goal is to highlight the incredible spring

“The festival is an excellent kickoff to the area’s summer tourist season and directly benefits businesses in Washington and [Canada’s] Charlotte counties,” said Jeanne Guisinger, festival coordinator. “With what’s known in economic terms as the ‘multiplier effect,’ every new dollar spent by visitors at a local business stays here and has the opportunity to multiply in impact. An influx of tourism dollars can benefit the whole community over time. Birders stay in area hotels, eat in restaurants, fuel up and get snacks at gas stations, and shop at gift stores. Furthermore, they see the incredible beauty and wildlife of the region and are likely to return and infuse more dollars into the economy.”

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The festival has grown over the years, allowing organizers to grow the events, opportunities and resources for participants. “We have increased in participation, drawing visitors from all over the country,” Guisinger said.“The festival has become a national draw. People are realizing what a unique and special gem we have here in Washington County. Participants come from as far as Texas and Oregon, and we still get a big draw from New England and other parts of Maine.” About 200 people attend each year, and are “really struck by the diverse habitat of our region,” said Guisinger. “They really appreciate the fact that we have expert guides with local knowledge, and of course, the boat trips to see the Atlantic puffins are always quite popular.” While many participants are visiting the region for the first time, others return year after year and enjoy the comradery of getting together with other birders, Mills said, adding, “The spring migration offers world-class birding. People just love the opportunity to see the birds we have here.”


Most of the presentations and guided hikes are included in the registration fee, with add-on experiences offered for an additional cost. Proceeds go back into the nonprofit festival, which depends on an army of volunteers for its success. “We have a dynamic Planning Committee of birders, educators, wildlife experts, and local land trust representatives,” says Guisinger. “Planning Committee members draw on their rich networks to invite presenters and guides.” Food for two group meals at CCLC is prepared by local volunteers, as well. “We offer two meals and encourage attendees to patronize local establishments for the rest of the weekend,” she says. Efforts are also made to get the next generation involved in birding, and to make this a family outing opportunity. “The festival is a multi-generational event,” she said. “We encourage young people to get involved with birding, and in fact, we offer free registration to children under 12. In addition, we work with local schools to engage the students in programming leading up to the festival.”

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APRIL 2018 • 3 8


The festival is a win-win for organizers, participants, and the community, said Daphne Loring, retreats and community programming coordinator for the CCLC, which serves as festival headquarters and handles event administrative support. “The Cobscook Community Learning Center takes great pride in cohosting the Down East Spring Birding Festival with Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. We live in such a unique and ecologically rich place, and we love sharing and celebrating it with others,” she said, adding, “the participation among area businesses and community volunteers is a testament to the community strength of this festival." MSM This year’s Down East Spring Birding Festival dates are May 25 to 28. For more information and the 2018 schedule of events, contact the CCLC at 733-2233 or visit

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OK, and here is the real kicker.

Alcohol consumption in moderation may be the key to living past 90.

More on Living

What about exercise? Increasingly it appears that very modest exercise regimens can make a big difference in well-being. Small amounts of movement added to your daily life style can be just what the doctor ordered. One study found that just 15 minutes a day of exercise was all that was needed (like a brisk walk for example) to pay dividends. In fact, those that exercised just 15 minutes a day reduced their risk of early death by an impressive 22% compared to non-exercisers. Another study found just two days a week of exercise can also lower your risk of premature death. Still other researchers at McMaster University found that you really just need to break a sweat for only 60 seconds as a result of a workout to impact positively on your health and well-being.


Periodically, I share with readers the latest research-based advice on how to grow old gracefully. I try to draw the recommendations from discoveries based in science.


And what about the relationship between particular personality types and extended life. The research on this is fascinating. The Georgia Centenarian Study found centenarians (the 100 year olds) were less neurotic but more likely to reflect qualities that emphasize feelings of competence and extraversion. The researchers suggested that the long lived tend to have robust temperaments which may help them to adapt effectively to the challenges of later life. Even crankiness was seen to be potentially adaptive, perhaps more so, believe it or not, than cheerfulness. Why you ask? Well, worried people may be more likely to spot troubling personal health issues that arise and not

Life is good here.

Jamie Hogan

ell here is my next installment. Once again, I need to say that the one thing we have little control over are the benefits that come from having good genes and I am not referring to Levis or Wranglers here. If a long life runs in your family thank your lucky stars. But once again, the possibility of extending your years by participating in the benefits that come from some good habits and behaviors across your lifespan are noteworthy.

The importance of moderation in what we do seems to be the key for promoting health and fitness. Research suggests, for example, that keeping your weight in a healthy range is preferred to dieting which may result in increased cardiac stress. One study of women over 50 found that dieting and losing more than 10 pounds and then gaining it back at least three times resulted in them being three and half times more likely to experience cardiac death than those who maintained a more stable weight.

So let’s get started. First of all the argument has recently been made that we should get rid of all those lists of things to do to live a long life. The coauthor of The Longevity Project at the University of California, Riverside, Professor Howard Friedman does not believe in selfhelp lists that tell you to do this and not do that. He argues that if lists of do’s and don’ts were so effective then more of us would be healthy. Instead he thinks we should be more spontaneous, doing what you want when you want, in moderation of course.

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put off tending to symptoms of potentially serious health issues by seeing a professional more promptly. That doesn’t mean it is cool to lose your cool on a regular basis. Chronic stress and aggravation is not a good thing. Research confirms that chronic stress can put your heart at risk including raising your blood pressure and leading to obesity. OK, and here is the real kicker. Alcohol consumption in moderation may be the key to living past 90. In fact, in a recent study by University of California researchers, it was found that consuming two glasses of beer or wine a day led to an 18% reduction in premature death. That was better than the 11% reduction in premature death risk in people who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day. I wonder what the added benefit would be of jogging daily with a glass of chablis in hand! Something to ponder. MSM

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How about sitting in your doctor’s office. A sign on the wall reads, “Watch out there are germs about.” How about waking up after an operation. The surgeon peers down. “Waldo, the surgery went off without a hitch. And, we managed to kill 99.9% of the bacteria. Unfortunately, the .1% is real nasty, even life-threatening.” Bugger.


My favorite: Hand-shaking. When someone thrusts a hand out, I shudder wondering where that germ- infused hand’s been. No doubt, unmentionable places. A New York Times article, “An Arsenal of Sanitizers for a Nation of Germophiles” related,“Health specialists say more than 90% of all infectious illnesses are spread by the hands.” Hmm, anyone for bowing to each other?


A Washington Post piece,“Where are You Most Likely to Pick Up Germs?” highlighted restaurants. Get this, the biggest culprit, menus. “Why? Because many people touch them … There are probably a hundred times more bacteria on the menu than on a typical toilet seat.” Oh, my. Try asking the harried waitress to read the selections.


Remember when your folks told you, “Don’t touch?” Their admonition paved the way for a generation of germophiles.


Well, got to run. Wal-Mart’s having a sale on orange HazMat suits. MSM

s kids, our only fear concerned the dreaded “cooties,” those imaginary body lice attaching on to us. Yuck.

Nowadays, we think of the famous germophiles Howard Hughes and The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper. Then, there’s the rest of us, germ freaks battling the world of bacteria. Those cunning critters swirl around us like sharks on a feeding frenzy; and they want US. To point, a piece said, “We’ve become a nation obsessed with germs.” Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a petri dish. I’ve thought about leaving my house wearing a face mask, latex gloves, and a starched white lab coat. It’s not exactly the “cultured” look I want to portray. Germ-zapping products such as Clorox and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Softsoap Antibacterial, and air purifiers are the weapons of choice. Our germ paranoia manifests itself in many ways. We spray everything in sight that looks suspicious including gym


Do you need information to help your loved ones (or yourself) age well? equipment and grocery cart handles. Hey, I’ve checked Amazon to see if they carry Lysol holsters, similar to those worn by cowpokes of the old West. We learn to place our reusable grocery bags on the kitchen floor, not the counter. We flush the public toilet with our foot. We avoid salad bars. We let others punch the elevator floor button. We anguish over our cruise ship vacation. We sift through beach sand mindful of discarded diapers and drug-related needles. It gets worse. How about standing in line at the pharmacy with other sick folks. I found this cartoon: A man in the Cold and Flu section studies the many choices, handling box after box. An employee, with a sly grin, says, “You know, it’s only sick people who are in this aisle touching stuff.”

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THE MAINE POINT  Across the county, there are more than 10,000 volunteer mentors with SCORE who have gone through a rigorous training program in order to serve small business clients. In Maine, there are more than 130 SCORE volunteers and when I sat down with two long-term mentors, Kathleen O’Donnell and Tom Leonhardt, it was clear through their passion and dedication, that SCORE is worthy of its fine reputation.

Mentors Dick Miller and Kathleen O'Donnell reviewing the business plan of a SCORE client they share.

Kathleen mentors for-profit business hopefuls, and she explained to me some of the parameters of the SCORE process. “Our goal is to help people maximize their potential by exploring ideas and offering insights by drawing on our own considerable experience,” she said. “We are not formal consultants so we aren’t going to actually write your business plan, but we will help you think through the upsides and pitfalls to make your plan the best it can be.” Kathleen also mentioned that SCORE mentors will even accompany their clients to meet with a bank loan officer to secure funding for their business. In other cases, SCORE can help clients seek what is known as“crowd funding,” a mechanism for internet-based fundraising.

SCORE! Expert Mentors to Help You Realize Your Small Business Dreams BY JANE MARGESSON

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We know that the desire may be strong to create an endowment that will keep your dream, your legacy, alive for years to come. We can help make that happen. The Catholic Foundation of Maine administers over 112 endowments that support Catholic ministries in the State of Maine. If you wish to give to any of them or open your own in memory of a loved one, or for a special purpose, please contact the Foundation in confidence. Charitable gift annuities, gifts of life insurance, stocks, proceeds from a retirement account, and real estate may also be given to the endowments as well as outright bequests. For more information, please call Elizabeth Badger, Executive Director, at (207) 321-7820 or email


In Maine, SCORE mentors range in

age from 20 and 30-year olds to volunteers in their 80’s, and the

SCORE Maine District estimates that 25-35 percent of their clients are over the age of 50. Maine businesses she has helped nourish including a wonderful quarterly journal for photographers, a tea-infused honey business and an online site which sells ladies handbags. To get started, simply visit or call 1-800-6340245. “Starting a small business or non-profit can be so exciting,” said Tom. “We are here to listen and learn so we can work together to encourage your dream and make it work!” MSM

Tom manages non-profit accounts for SCORE Maine, and he talked about the efforts of the organization to match clients with the best mentor for their specific needs. “We hope that when people interested in a non-profit business model contact us that they are doing so at the beginning stages of their business design, but we can help no matter where you are in the process,” he explained. “We will find just the right mentor who not only meets your business needs, but is as good a fit as we can find for your personality.”

Come Home to Lakewood...

In Maine, SCORE mentors range in age from 20 and 30-year olds to volunteers in their 80’s, and the SCORE Maine District estimates that 25-35 percent of their clients are over the age of 50. SCORE mentors are available across the state and while they prefer to meet clients in person, they are happy to connect by telephone, email or even through a video chat service if that is more convenient. With hundreds of new client requests coming in each month, SCORE is also looking for new volunteers.

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I asked Kathleen and Tom if there is any business that is outside of SCORE’s purview. “As long as it is legal, we can work with you,” Kathleen said. She described the range of some of the

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APRIL 2018 • 4 8



The van looks like a 4 x 4 in a mud rally. Tom and I have been hanging onto it to keep our balance, leaving

desperate-looking streaks all over it. The driver’s seat and floor look like a gravel pit.

Then the van sinks in up to the floorboards. I try to open the driver’s door. Pushing with all my strength I squeeze out and immediately fall on my rear! Sitting there, I realize that the gravel road between the bottom of the hill and the river is six inches of gravel on top of bottomless wet clay. The van is buried up to the hubs. e rim




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Tom takes the shovel. He slogs around to the passenger side and starts shoveling vigorously. I get some of Tom’s tree limbs, stick a couple branches under the tires on the left side, and then move around to the right side. We shove branches under the right-side tires. The moment of truth has arrived. Tom wades to the front of the car, experimenting a bit before assuming a pushing position. I lurch to the driver’s door and yank on it. The door slides through the mud and opens enough for me to squeeze in. I try to minimize the amount of dirt I’m bringing in the car, but it’s impossible. I start the engine.


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I still have a three-foot, plastic shovel in the back of the van from winter. I get it out of the back and start shoveling, trying to find the bottom of the tires. Tom heads into the woods and returns in about ten minutes with a generous armload of dead tree limbs. He drops the limbs at the foot of the hill and gamely wades into the mud beside me. By now I have pretty well shoveled out under the driver’s side.

Dr W ea ea m ve r

The hill is washed out. It looks suspicious. I get out of the van and walk down the hill, checking the road for firmness. Tom joins me. The hill is fine. We see that the road ends about 100 feet from the bottom of the hill at a grassy spot where the river makes a lazy turn.

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e’re planning a canoe day trip on the Narraguagus River. Our basic plan is a run that will only take us half a day. We’d like to spend a little more time on the river. Pouring over the Gazeteer as the waitress pours us more coffee, we find a take-out spot that looks promising.

I find a turn-off that looks right, according to the map. It takes us up a hill, through a blueberry field, and then down to the river. I start down the hill. But I stop.



Saturday morning, a little after 7 a.m., Tom and I arrive at the Airline Snack Bar and head inside armed with a Maine Gazetteer. This is the 80’s—no cell phones or GPS.

We head out to find this spot. I’m in the lead in the family minivan. It’s my Gazeteer, and my van is the drop-off vehicle for this trip. Tom follows in his pickup with his canoe on top.


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I get back in the van and ease gradually down the hill. No problem! I relax at the bottom and take my foot off the brake, letting the van roll out to the riverbank and the lovely spot to land our canoe.

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I gently drop into reverse and try to start the drive wheels moving backward as gently as possible. Tom pushes. The wheels spin. I try to add power as gently as possible. The van oozes back about a foot. I take my foot off the gas, then try again. Spinning tires but no backward progress. I turn off the engine. We inspect. The sticks that were under the tires have disappeared.

“What happened?” she asks quietly. “Well, I got kind of stuck where we were going to take out,” I explain. “It took Tom and me awhile to get the car out.” “Then…” Gig begins. She walks to the window and looks at the driveway. “Oh, my!” she says. There sits her mini-van, solidly caked in mud up to the beltline, with plenty of smears above that where Tom and I had leaned on the car.

“We need bigger sticks,” Tom comments. I shovel under the wheels, which are once again buried to the hubs. Tom brings back a couple five-foot long branches and puts one behind each front tire.

“I’ll wash it tomorrow,” I promise.

We try again, and again get about a foot of backwards progress. The long sticks don’t disappear in the mud, but they’re pretty well buried. This time I get two more long branches and put them under the car while Tom shovels.

“You’d better.” That’s as close as Gig comes to getting mad at me. Somehow I managed to marry a woman who never loses her temper. I try not to test that trait, but I did the day of the Narraguagus canoe trip.

We repeat this process several times. I’d gotten about two car lengths into the goo. Back up until the wheels spin. Shovel. Insert more branches. Back up another foot or so. Repeat.

She even let me go canoeing with Tom again. With her van!


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I grab handfuls of sand from the road and try to rub the slick clay off the tire treads. Established 2011

The van looks like a 4 x 4 in a mud rally. Tom and I have been hanging onto it to keep our balance, leaving desperate-looking streaks all over it. The driver’s seat and floor look like a gravel pit.

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But we’re making progress. Slow, dirty, sweaty progress.

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Finally the rear wheels reach terra firma at the foot of the hill. Three more dig-and-push sessions, and we’re out! Tom and I stand, admiring the scene. It’s almost noon.

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Given the delay, we decide that the half-day canoe run makes sense after all. We head back to the bridge over the Narraguagus near the Snack Bar to drop off my van. I make sure to leave it in a prominent position to entertain travelers. The canoeing part of the trip is uneventful. I get home in Bangor around five. I had rinsed off up to the knees and elbows when we were on the river, but I was pretty dirty. I didn’t realize how much gravel and clay I’d gotten in my hair. Gig, my darling wife, comes in from the kitchen. Her smile turns into a frown. 51 • MAINE SENIORS

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Tapping into Spring STORY BY BRAD EDEN

Collecting sap and making maple syrup is a sweet tradition here in Maine. With some effort anyone can do it.


ike many of you I was brought up pouring Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup on my pancakes and waffles. Tasty stuff for sure, but it doesn’t compare to the natural maple syrup produced in Maine and the northeast. For years I helped a friend collect sap and process the syrup, in exchange for bottles of the homemade delight. We also enjoy Vermont and New Hampshire syrup bought in charming little jugs, but none as delectable as that Maine elixir in a simple mason jar. You may have noticed that trees along roadsides have been growing buckets and strings of tubing through March. Now is the time we get to enjoy the fruits of that labor. The size of a maple syrup operation can be someone’s backyard, a few sugar maples, a fire pit, and a kitchen stove. Or it can be a huge sugar bush (stand of maple trees) with a labyrinth of tubes that intertwines for miles, and delivers the sap via gravity to the sugar shack (building where the processing takes place). Inside are huge evaporators used to boil off excess water using wood as the heat source. That’s why those shacks smell so sweet and smoky and wonderful. Weather determines the amount of sap flow, with cold nights and sunny days in the 40’s really opening the dikes in many of the trees found in our Maine woods; specifically the sugar, silver and red Maples with the most sought after being the sugar maple. A hole is drilled into the tree around four feet from the base and a spile and hook (a tap) is tapped in. Multiple taps can be put into a tree, about one for every eight to ten inches of diameter. Usually 53 • MAINE SENIORS

a five-gallon galvanized or plastic bucket is hung from each hook with a cover to keep out debris like twigs and bugs. The sap needs to be collected daily, sometimes twice, especially if conditions are optimum, otherwise the precious liquid will overflow the bucket. Many people use a snowmobile or an ATV with large plastic containers strapped on to collect the sap. It takes around 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup, so collecting sap is a laborious operation. The collected sap can’t linger for too long in temps over freezing or it can go bad so the processing should be immediate and ongoing.

Weather determines the amount of sap flow, with cold nights and sunny days in the 40’s really opening the dikes in many of the trees found

in our Maine woods.

The classic method for making homegrown maple syrup is to construct a simple rock or cinder block hearth using wood as the heat source. Some people use portable propane burners and even gas grills. It’s basically a process of boiling the sap until you are left with the sweet reward. It’s best to use a large and shallow stainless steel pan. The larger the surface area of the boiling sap, the quicker the water will evaporate. You keep adding the sap to the pan as it boils down. This first step is best done outdoors since the boil off can be sticky and messy inside a kitchen. When

it appears to be boiled down and has taken on a slight amber color its time to transfer it to a smaller pot and bring it to the kitchen stove to finish it off. Keep a sharp eye on this final boil; you don’t want to burn the syrup. Boil the remaining sap until it takes on the viscosity of watery syrup (It will thicken upon cooling). Water boils at 212 degrees and sugar higher so using a candy thermometer, boil until it reads 218 degrees and then pull it off the stove. There will be sediment, so now you will need to filter the finished warm syrup before it is placed in sterilized mason jars or bottles with caps. For small batches, coffee filters will suffice. Let it cool and then refrigerate. It will keep for a couple months. The results from a backyard operation simply can’t be replicated commercially. Regardless if you make your own maple syrup or buy it from a Maine producer it will no doubt make its way on top of snow cones, ice cream and cereal, as well as your waffles, pancakes and French toast. A tasty harbinger of spring in Maine. MSM

APRIL 2018 • 5 4



The children of today would be surprised by the amount of freedom we had. We were lucky. Darn lucky.

Childhood Freedom BY LARRY GRARD


Prior to reading further, know this: The following is not a work of fiction.

Truly, I cannot remember ever seeing a parent at any of our pickup games, whether they were on the sandlot, the outdoor basketball court or the football field. We knew true freedom. We made up our own games sometimes, and improvised. We were allowed to be creative, without adult interference. Only when one of my sisters dragged us off the field at dusk were we forced to call it a day.

Out with the OLD, in with the NEW.

t is, rather, a tiny snapshot of Rockwellian America in a quintessential setting – the All-American town of Winslow, Maine in the 1950s.

Younger brother David and I were among the many street urchins of the time. We roamed free as birds in an area perhaps 50 yards on either side of the high school football field. There were few if any daycare centers, so if childcare was needed, the call went out to high school girls. There was little if any need for that among the group we played with, however. During the summer months, we played sandlot baseball – true sandlot baseball – in a sandlot beside the old high school (now the junior high), where a parking lot is now located. Most of us were younger than 10 years old, although on occasion, older kids joined in. Anyone who could hit the ball over the fence separating the sandlot from the football field got a home run. Then, a skinny kid would have to make his way through the locked gate to retrieve the ball. 55 • MAINE SENIORS

Sometimes, we’d stray onto the football field for a game of football. But the local constable, Norman Marcia, had something to say about that. He’d get out of his police cruiser, and unceremoniously kick us off the field. That field was for varsity games, after all, and the town didn’t need us digging it up. Sometimes, we’d test Norman, and get back on the field. He’d come right back and evict us again, and that would be the end of us pretending that we were high school stars, playing before a big crowd. As we got a big older, our parents bought us bicycles, which made roaming the town even easier. We’d stick baseball cards to the spokes of the wheels, to let the other kids know we were coming. Nary a helmet in sight.

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Just beyond the southern area of our “field of play,” there was a tiny store on the Clinton Avenue hill that sold soda, candy and ice cream. My mother insisted we go supervised on those excursions, so one of the older sisters would accompany us. Sometimes, we’d get a colored stick, which entitled the user to a free Popsicle. We dreaded going back to school in the fall because it marked the end of our carefree summer.


Halloween was the holiday that most excited us. Again, no adult supervision – a situation unthinkable today. We’d take out full-sized shopping bags and bring them home full. Long

before people put razor blades in apples, we happily collected homemade popcorn balls, fudge, candy apples and other delectable treats. During the winter months, the Winslow street urchins played basketball in big barns – the McMahon barn on Halifax Street and the LaVerdiere barn (the same LaVerdieres who owned the drug store chain) on the Cushman Road. We never stopped playing ball. Little did we know, but we were the last generation that would enjoy this kind of precious freedom. Children having the freedom we enjoyed is less likely today because of some of the dangers in modern day society, and because daycare is a necessity for working families. The children of today would be surprised by the amount of freedom we had. We were lucky. Darn lucky.


APRIL 2018 • 5 6



I had always wanted to visit Greece, see the Parthenon, the Acropolis, eat wonderful Greek food, and so my wife and I spent almost

two weeks in Greece in June 2015.


My Bucket List But about three and one-half years ago I decided that I wanted to do some things I had never done. I wanted to challenge myself physically and, at the same time, get myself into better shape. So, for one, I began to swim in earnest. I had always wanted to become a proficient endurance swimmer so I started out with limited goals, swimming a few laps without stopping, swimming ten laps with frequent rest stops, and then increasing my distance and decreasing the number of rest stops. Eventually I swam a mile and have repeated this several times. This was when I first


I had always wanted to visit Greece, see the Parthenon, the Acropolis, eat wonderful Greek food, and so my wife and I spent almost two weeks in Greece in June 2015. While traveling to various places over the years, I’ve swum in the Adriatic, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic; the next item on the list is to swim in the Caribbean and the Pacific. What else is on my list? Living in the northeast for 50 years, regretfully, I have never seen the views from the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and Sugarloaf in Maine, so those are items I am eager to add to my list. I also would love to spend a month in the South of France frequenting local cafes, talking to the local folks in my fractured French, exploring the beaches (maybe not so reasonable). I’d like to visit Sicily and Capri in Italy and return to Venice and Florence, travel to Ireland and Scotland; these are what I hope to add to my bucket and hope to achieve. Only time will tell. MSM

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I didn’t know very much about bucket lists until I saw the movie of that name with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, and then, I never gave it much thought as it pertained to me.


So, some of the items on my bucket list, like swimming, are those that I’ve already accomplished or are those that are in process. I also have wanted to do some hiking, not just on flat terrain, but on mountain trails that I could reasonably handle considering that I am 71 and don’t have the stamina I had when I was 40. I began hiking with a younger friend, did a couple of 6.5-7 mile hikes with relative success and with less soreness than I had expected. My goal now is to continue to hike and to do the


hen I stopped working eight years ago, I had some ideas about what I’d like to do in my retirement, but I had never even entertained the idea of a bucket list.

considered making a bucket list -- those activities, like endurance swimming, that I had a good chance of achieving, and those that might be considered a stretch.

Chimney Pond hike on Mt. Katahdin; doing the entire hike to the top is not really reasonable for my 71-year-old body with two balky knees; however, getting to Chimney Pond is reasonable.

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Featured Recipe PORK TENDERLOIN MEDALLIONS WITH ORANGE-BALSAMIC GLAZE INGREDIENTS:  1-1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin  2 tbsp. olive oil  2 tbsp. butter  2 cups orange juice  2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar  Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste) DIRECTIONS:

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Orange Balsamic Glaze “If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.”



hat would you select if you were to limit yourself to only one kind of meat for the rest of your life? Certainly not pork! Right? Too many issues with pork—fatty; tough, dry, and tasteless. Pork has received a lot of bad press over the years and numerous myths abound regarding its effects on our health. So, let’s take a closer look and debunk the two most popular of these myths. For example: Myth #1: Pork is high in fat.

Actually, particular cuts of pork, like tenderloin and center cut chops, are lower in overall fat than top sirloin steak and


have less saturated fat and fewer calories. Pork is also an excellent source of protein and potassium and is low in sodium. Myth #2: Pork can be dry and tough. Complaints here usually are the result of overcooking the pork. So, cook the pork until it is just done or, as with most meats, it will become dry, tough and tasteless.

1. If necessary, use a sharp knife to remove silver skin (muscle tissue) and excess fat from tenderloin by lifting, pulling gently, and cutting it away from tenderloin. Then, slice tenderloin into 3/4 inch medallions (rounds).


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2. Season medallions on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic (to taste). 3. Using a 10 inch-skillet, cook medallions over high heat in olive oil and butter until they are browned on both sides (approximately 1 minute per side). 4. Immediately reduce heat-add orange juice and balsamic vinegar, stir well and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. 5. Remove medallions from skillet and keep warm.

Hopefully, this information has diminished any doubts you may have regarding pork and will encourage you to add more pork dishes to your dinner menus or, if you do not eat pork based on any of the above, perhaps you’ll give it a try. Since the United States ranks 3rd in the world in annual pork consumption, somebody out there must be listening.

6. Increase heat and boil liquid until it reduces and thickens, stirring constantly. Taste, as you may want to add more salt or pepper.

Try this recipe. It takes less than twenty minutes, uses relatively few ingredients, and yields pork tenderloins that are tender, juicy, and really delicious. MSM

9. Enjoy!

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7. Reduce heat and return medallions to skillet turning each once to coat with glaze. 8. Serve.

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APRIL 2018 • 6 0



Places are transitions, friends in another form. We develop deep attachments to them, memory anchors, solid foundations to our changing lives. How about the heart-wrenching selling of your camp which has been in the family for 63 years? How about the selling of all the homes owned, moving on? I remember one home; the day of the closing, I walked through the fir trees surrounding the property, strolled on my favorite trail in the adjacent state forest, and opened the screen door to my playhouse called Grayfeathers, tucked into a hollow, hidden away on the second acre. As I drove off, I glanced back, one more time. It hurt, I felt no compulsion to charge on.



When we think backward in time, our thoughts turn toward those significant transitions along our journey through the beats of life.


he most painful part of those transitions, the finality of the farewell. Samuel Butler said, “I can generally bear the separation, but I don’t like the leave-taking.

When you think about this, life is one big transition, connected by a series of meaningful stages, beginning with our youth. During our carefree childhood, we form relationships with a slew of kids. Friendships form and wane as quickly. The parting feels like a gentle bruising of sorts, not a major event on the “missing” scale. Perhaps the innocence of youth acts like a protective barrier against the leaving. We charge on. High school and college are transitions, similar in time frames, four years each with pleasing acquaintances, close chums, and special friends. Then, in a blink of a long moment, we take final exams and graduate, coupled with fleeting farewells, done and gone. We charge on. The workplace beckons, careers develop with successes and failures. During this time, we marry, raise families, and save for our sons’ and daughters’ college and our retirement. Life marches on, much too fast, the transitions many. We tackle the burden and the joy of life.


Neighbors are transitions. A distinguished retired, roguish professor and his precious wife lived across the street from my house. Coffee in hand, I loved visiting them. What great fun engaging in verbal gymnastics, trying to annoy this intelligent, cantankerous entomology professor. I seldom won but relished the battle of wits with the Big Swede. One early June morning, I worked in the yard. I looked up to see the professor and his wife approach, holding hands. I suspected they’d come to tell me they were leaving, time and age drawing them to family in a distant state. It was never the same without them. No charging on at all, just a dead battery. Old friends are a transition. In Officer Aircraft School, I made a new buddy. For 47 years, we stayed in touch, visiting and exchanging Christmas cards and e-mails. For the last 13 years of his life, he battled prostate cancer. I admired his attitude and resolve. Last summer, he passed on. Life lost, a deep emotional transition. Pets are transitions. One memory haunts me. I’d spent years foraging through the woods with my first dog, my beloved Chauncey, a black and white Springer spaniel. Then his time came, to leave. I’ll never forget, turning out of the driveway, him lying in the backseat, dying. I realized he’d never run free in the woods again, swim in the pool, gleefully greet me at the door and lick my face. My grief overwhelmed me, delving far into my insides. A strong ingredient of saying goodbye is the sense of sadness that accompanies it. That leaving, like a deep scar, remains with me, forever. I guess I’m a sentimental leaver. The totality of all these transitions, some troublesome, take a

toll on us. We struggle to cope. An article in“Psychology Today” about life’s transitions said, “Realize that change is inherent in life—that no one ‘s life ever stands completely still. People enter your world and leave it, material possessions come and go … No one ever gets through life without undergoing some type of change, so when it happens, don’t fight it.” Aging is a transition. Doesn’t it seem like yesterday when you reached 60, retired a few years later, signed up for Medicare, downsized to a retirement community, traveled, made new friends, and hoped for good health. How the years go by. Dying is another transition, the final one. Thomas Mann said,“A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.” To point, for two decades, Donald Murray wrote a column for the Boston Globe, first called Over 60 and renamed Now and Then. On occasion, he wrote about his adored wife, Minnie Mae. As her health declined, he’d share his insightful feelings and expressed his vulnerability, over her eventual leaving. Lois Duncan in “Leavetaking,” I never thought it would be paradise I walked a rugged pathway from the start No ugliness was hidden from my eyes Nor life’s pain a stranger to my heart And yet the earth sprang beneath my feet And summer winds were gentle to my hair I breathed upon the dusk and found it sweet I breathed upon the dawn and found her fair I know gray moors where shadow mists lie furled, Sun bright streams and night skies rich with stars For all its faults I have so loved this world And found it beautiful despite its scars. Though Angels sing of glorious greater still I leave in sadness much against my will. I’d like to think that transitional sadness from saying goodbye comes from a life well-lived, the gratifying feeling that accompanies friends made, families raised, careers embraced, places endeared, pets loved, and so much more. As seniors, we look back on all these inevitable transitions with heartfelt reflection, and think forward with hope, for more to come. MSM

APRIL 2018 • 6 2


Her Hills of Daffodils A friend brought daffodils one dark, chilly day Which I put on the table in a long, bright array Of thin wintry sunshine. That remarkable sight Caused that dark, cold room to fill with daylight. But the best thing those sweet flowers did that day Was to pull my mind back to old Aprils and Mays When Mrs. Vaughn's daffodils again were reborn In the rot of old leaves and buried acorn. Mrs. Vaughn's old home at the base of steep slopes Fringed thick with birch, and pine petticoats Those hills 'round her home were dark from the trees No sun could get through, no summer's sweet breeze. But one fall, years back, as a very young bride She’d stood gazing up at those hills, wide-eyed And thought "Those old hills can’t stand there so dark "The only bright things on them is the birch bark. I so want to brighten those slopes in some way.” So she bought new bulbs at the plant shop that day She came home with them, thousands! all carried in pails, She grabbed an old trowel, tied her hair in pigtails And trudged up those hills. Her mission was clear; Those dark hills would brighten the spring of next year.

And then the spring came and everyone gasped When they looked at those hills. They just could not grasp What their eyes were seeing. The sight was superb The dark hills were covered with blooms and song bird. I'll never forget what Mrs. Vaughan did To redress those gloomed hills, make them splendid!

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The sight of those blooms on my table that day Did more than just brighten my home with display Of velvety yellow. And that dizzying bouquet! It dazzled my soul on that cold, wintry day. They made me remember that sight, now quite old In my memory; dark woods with spots of pure gold, Tall hills thickly covered, dense with tall trees The ground heavily covered with soft, spongy leaves And a young dreamy bride hauling stout pails Of daffodil bulbs, her hair in pigtails, So the gift of those blooms that day I recalled The sight of those hills of my youth; therewithal And I've learned now there's nothing can chase winter's chills Like the sight of a gift from a friend; daffodils.


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April 2018 Maine Seniors Magazine  
April 2018 Maine Seniors Magazine