Jackman’s Dilemma

Here’s a bit of small talk on small towns. Small-town America. Iconic phrase, conjuring rural state of Maine population centers. I’ve been rereading Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street about a young woman interested in remaking a small rural town in Minnesota in the early 20th century. Carol’s focus is cultural. She’s a former St. Paul librarian, initially hopeful of elevating the quality of social and cultural life by encouraging artistic and intellectual pursuits in some small town. Her own hopeful is a medical man in the town of Gopher Prairie and she is the glamour he’s hungry for, encouraging her to marry and come home with him to work the town into something wonderful through her inspiration.

“Come on. Come to Gopher Prairie. Show us. Make the town — well — make it artistic. It’s mighty pretty, but I’ll admit we aren’t any too darn artistic. Probably the lumber-yard isn’t as sumptuous as all these Greek temples. But go to it! Make us change!”

Sinclair Lewis is careful early to show Carol’s waxing, waning, waxing interest in town transformation.

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hidden life

The tree stands among a tall grove of white pine above a white lake. Resting lightly in winter, the pine reports once like a gunshot in the deep settled cold. Then, quiet is here, snow-filled silence. But next, from far upslope near the road, the distant buzz of the chipper drifts down through snowy woodland. Passing through trees comes the jingling of winch chains and great chain-dressed wheels, mixed with the gunning of a skidder. Jingling on this twitch trail cut by loggers late last week, the big skidder rumbles right down to the pine. Halting, wafting blue smoke and fumes, the skidder looses a logger.

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fellowship and fairydust

A bit of off-topic horn-tooting to let you know about FELLOWSHIP AND FAIRYDUST. They publish fan fiction and essays about the fantastic.

Finrod Finds Men is from the opening of  THE UNION OF ELVES AND MEN.

The beautiful image by Elena Kukanova depicts Finrod Felegund teaching Men through song in the elvish discovery of Eru’s other children. I wrote the first draft of the four volume book over 25 years ago.

Johnny’s Bridge receives new history

johnny’s bridge has new origins

For an example of town column news content, here’s something on “Johnny’s Bridge,” mentioned elsewhere among pages I’ve written on Maine. This is a change not in the name itself but of the history of Johnny’s Bridge. Thankfully the name remains! Newcomers have sometimes changed place names in some of our communities, made now historic transitions from, for example, Mud Pond to Starlight Pond. And some newcomers would rather have their family name, say on a road, or have some other quirky designation in place of an old settler’s name. While Bean’s Corner is still locally known as such, those “from away” may not realize this and may use the Atlas name: East Be. East Be is in fact a hamlet, so no harm done.

Johnny’s Bridge, on the other hand, has itself been replaced, rebuilt a few times, most recently last year. And still, the name remains.

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the town column

main street

The Town Column is an intimate news item found in local weeklies, historically, across the nation. Relevant, in print, it’s fortunate to have town columns continue in the age of digitization. Rural community is greatly supported by the continuing institution of the local weekly. It informs us, but also defends all other communal institutions through reportage of everything from schools, town management, churches, clubs and societies, businesses, and local entertainment. But the town columns referred to in this Green and Blue House entry are, additionally, the cozy-news source, the one that makes the reader especially welcome and participating as an individual.

In our local are many columns, each representing rural town-news, towns associated in our territorial school district.

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Thanks to the Sun Journal

Bissonnette Plumbing works unfreezing pipes

It’s said Old Age is meant to dissolve “earthly desires.” Here’s a short list of things not numbered among these desires: food, raiment (remember that word?), shelter, warmth. Kindness. Generosity. Friendship. Peace. Puppies. All these are not earthly desires, but eternal qualities, heaven’s grant.

Lately the Sun Journal’s daily issues include front-page stories about the mundane mishaps of Extreme Cold. Currently we experience in Maine nightly temps below 0°F.

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