True Stories

283 articles in category True Stories / Subscribe

We are working our way through another one. In fact, it is the first real one we have had for many years. The winter of 20018, brought back the snows and cold that all of us who live in Northern New England have come to both love and hate. Along with the weather of winter comes another famous tradition, cabin fever anxieties.

Cabin fever comes in many forms. The name comes from the necessity of all that live here to stay in their house to stay warm and dry. The days are shorter and the nights seem endless with the below zero wind chills and perpetual humming of our heating systems. Strange things happen to us during this time of year. We become aggravated by the most trivial of things.

For example, I enjoy those little pudding in cup snacks they sell at most grocery stores. I guess this is because I was fed the little jars of custard pudding baby foods when I was little until I was a senior in high school. The only problem is you can never tear off the plastic top on each portion. I understand there are arrows showing where one is supposed to pull but the easy open tabs never open. The company must use the same glue they use to keep the space lab together.

The other day I got so frustrated trying to open my Swiss Miss tapioca pudding cup that I resorted to using my teeth. Needless to say it took a bunch of paper towels and ice to stop the bleeding. I still didn’t get the thing opened. Continue Reading →

There I stood looking up at a white mountain of snow that seemed to reach the sky. The snow was packed tight with pale blue facets in the crevices and the wind whipped a fine spray from the summit like Everest.

I was absolutely awestruck by its size and beauty and I wished like hell it wasn’t in the middle of my driveway. The day after our first major snowstorm began with me trying to open my garage door. It took about half an hour, in sub zero temperatures, of me chipping away at the ice between the bottom of the door and the pavement that had sealed it shut like cement.

When the door finally opened to reveal the spectacular winter vista before me my first thought was how beautiful it all was. It was like that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy’s world turns from black and white to color – except in reverse. The world had been transformed into a glittering white wonderland.

After a few minutes standing there admiring the view of nature in all its splendor I decided I better start my snow blower. Like my garage doors it wouldn’t budge. It was frozen solid to the garage floor. It took me a good 10 minutes heaving it this way and that, like a team of sled dogs trying to break the runners loose, before I was able to budge it and drag it over to the open doorway. Continue Reading →

What happened?

In the past, the Christmas Holiday began after everyone stuffed down their last piece of pumpkin pie and threw out the last remaining pieces of turkey. Perhaps this was because the thought of another turkey sandwich makes us all a bit queasy but this year, the transition did not occur.

In the past there has always been an excitement to the Christmas season. The weekend after the Thanksgiving feast has people throughout our community decorating their homes and apartments. Usually with colored lights, foolish-looking blowups, and various other ways to show everyone they were part of the most important celebration of the year. I am saddened to report I did not see what I thought I would always see.

There is sporadic decorating but nothing like the Christmas Wonderland of holidays past. Driving through York there is still the multitudes of lights ringing in the season but the number of people enjoying the day they turned the lights on seemed to have diminished. In earlier times, in order to enjoy the lighting of the Nubble Light, one would have to arrive early in order to be in the perfect spot when Santa arrived. Not so much this year. I wonder what has happened? Continue Reading →

We are all enjoying a remarkably warm autumn on the coast of Maine. The weather has included late spring temperatures and intermittent rain. Our gardens last longer and the deck furniture we used to store away toward the end of October is staying where it is.

This continuation of summer forces us to mow our lawns. During the past 40 or so years I used to wake up every morning hoping to see a fine carpet of frost covering what would stop growing. This is not happening so every five or seven days I have to take out my mower and complete a job I loved in the spring and now hate during what has to be called a pseudo-fall.

Walking behind my push mower I rounded around an old bush that seems to want to last forever. It is a perennial whose roots have grown large and push up out of the ground. I still run my mower over the roots because the grass around them makes my property look a bit sloppy.

Pushing my sputtering machine away from the roots I felt a prick on the back of my leg. Then I felt as though someone had decided to slice the back of my leg with a razor. The immediate pain did not hurt as much as what it felt like minutes later. Continue Reading →

Iihave an electric cart. The model is a Hurricane and, as there was a hurricane called Floyd blowing at the time that I bought it, I called it Floyd. Floyd takes me to talk to my neighbors. It takes me to garage sales all over the town. Floyd is a great companion to me, he has become a friend.

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Why do I prefer dogs to cats? It’s simple really, dogs have masters while cats have servants. Dogs want to love and please you and give you a wet kiss, while cats want you to please them or to chase and kill birds and small animals.

Out of the blue, because I had done a favour for someone, I was offered a puppy. I was sitting and talking to the person’s sister when a black Labrador wandered into the room. It came across to me and sat on my left foot. I stroked her and the woman said: “I see she knows you like dogs”.

I told her that my mother always had a dog but I wasn’t keen on them, as they were always small and snappy. Then, as we were talking, a very young puppy wobbled its way in, saw that its mother was sitting on my left foot and sat on right foot. The woman said: “She obviously likes and trusts you. I have sold the rest of the litter, would you like to have her? You can have her for helping my sister.” Continue Reading →

There are homeowner, rental and condo owning people. This is very close to red wine vs. white wine people without the talent of fixing things involved. I’ve owned a home for the past 40 years and I clearly understand a hammer is not my best friend. Since I have no choice, I do my best to keep the house standing.

The other day my wife and I were enjoying a quiet evening of TV and some wine. The evening couldn’t have been more relaxing. This almost Zen-like mode came to an abrupt end when we heard our first chirp. I knew exactly what it was because it happens every time the batteries in our smoke alarms run out.

I told my wife to relax and then proceeded to get a 9-volt battery from our large kitchen drawer. Everyone on this planet has one of these drawers that contain everything one could ever need and some stuff you will never use. Actually I was proud of myself because I actually had a 9-volt battery that was still in date.

I then proudly brought the battery to our TV room, opened the side of the smoke alarm, replaced the battery and then poured my wife and I a second glass of wine. A few minutes later we heard another chirp. I was confused and my wife gave me that, “really” look that I’ve grown accustomed to. Continue Reading →

Cchristmas is a magical time of year, especially for a 6-year old girl. In her eyes everyone can see a more than special sparkle in the knowledge of being a good girl all year long, in order to receive that special present.

My wife and I lost that special window through the eyes of a child when my daughter grew up and became a beautiful woman with a beautiful life. Six years ago she gave us a remarkable granddaughter whose love of life was exceptional to the point where everyone she came in contact with had to smile.

This year my daughter gave my wife the task of buying the special doll for our granddaughter. Weeks before, she would hint to us about the doll with the specific knowledge, it would be under her tree on Christmas Day.

That special day came and we all met in a small town around Boston to open all of my grandchildren’s special presents. Since my daughter married, this became a very special tradition for all of us. My granddaughter knew the size of the box that would contain her special doll. She was patient allowing everyone to open one present at a time.

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Tthis is the time of year everyone seems to slow down. For the past few months all we’ve thought about was preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting out to the shopping areas, in order to show how much you love someone by how much you spend on them.

The Christmas rush is over, the New Years Eve celebration is a hangover you want to forget, and all you have left is to figure out where you are heading into the future before it happens. The election of 2016 seems to have lasted forever. In fact, it feels as though it is still going on.

Our nation is split in two with political ideologies having little conversation in order to lead our nation to a better place. People supporting Donald Trump believe America will be made great again. Those who lost are in fear our future will be defined by where we were in the past versus where we should be in our future.

The weather cooperated this year by laying down a thick white blanket of snow displaying a kind of clean slate. This new whiteboard has the tendency to sweep away the dust of the past.

I have a favorite saying that fits perfectly during this time of reflection. I am in no way taking credit for it and have no concept as to where I picked it up. However, it fits and it always goes to the front of my mind during this time of year which defines the new. Continue Reading →

Eevery morning it’s my job to make the coffee before my wife joins me for some breakfast and conversation. This has been a tradition in our marriage ever since it began over thirty-one years ago. While I was getting the coffee pot ready, I noticed a large jar next to the coffee machine.

It must have had a gallon capacity but was only a quarter filled by some kind of yellowish liquid. The liquid was brewing because its surface was covered with tiny bubbles. When my wife came downstairs to join me for breakfast I asked what this newest of inhabitant of our kitchen counter was.

She told me it was a starter cake. Not having a clue as to what a starter cake is supposed to be, I asked for an explanation. She told me that she received the starter liquid from her sister. She explained that every time one made the cake they would have enough left to give the extra mix to two other people who wanted to make their own Christmas cake.

These people would then make their cakes and have a couple of starter liquids to give to other people, so the same cake starter would spread around our known universe. This intrigued the hell out of me because I wondered where the starter cake liquid had been and where it was destined to go. Continue Reading →