Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Luck and Timing
We pulled into the Pumpkin patch RV resort in Bangor, Maine yesterday. As we settled in and caught up on world events, hurricane Irene came to the forefront. I had a boss many years ago who was fond of saying that no matter what other factors went into any given outcome, luck and timing always played a major role. That saying came home to me again today, as it has many times in the past. We have spent almost three months in the interior of Ohio, Vermont and New Hampshire, and now have decided to head to the coast of Maine. While we are 30 miles inland from the sea, our plans were to move to Bar Harbor on the coast the same day that Irene could make landfall there. Luck and timing. So we are going to spend a bit more here while we see what Irene has in mind.
We had a busy day exploring our new home area. We like to check Roadside America for any interesting and dare I say odd things to visit. Today had us visiting two such sites. While there is some debate as to which state can claim Paul Bunyan as their own, Maine also claims to have the largest statue dedicated to Paul. Roadside America indicates that the statue is in a quiet park setting near the Bangor waterfront. We finally managed to find Paul, but he has fallen on hard times. It seems that the park has been abandoned in favor of the expanding hotel and casino. The construction crews are even using him to hold their survey equipment. Clearly the age of lumber no longer drives the Bangor economy, even though log trucks are visible everywhere.
Also, by chance, we ran across a statue of Hannibal Hamlin. The inscription indicated that he was a statesman, diplomat and had represented Maine in Congress. I thought this was interesting, but did not quite get why his statue was in downtown Bangor. I am now embarrassed to say that I had not heard of him or at least did not remember him. As luck would have it, we stopped in an antique/junk store on Main Street. Looking though the old books, I ran across one on Hamlin. I opened it and was a bit shocked to see that he was the first Vice President for Abraham Lincoln. Why did I not know that and why was it not on his statue?
The other must see is in Bucksport, where the grave site of the founder of the town rests. While this might be of interest to Bucksporters, it is on the list because of the strange events surrounding his monument. Jonathan Buck was an important part of the community starting a number of businesses and generally providing support to the other settlers until his death in 1795. Sixty years after his death family and other supporters installed the monument at his grave site. Shortly thereafter a strange image appeared on the granite stone that was shaped like a leg or boot. The legend was that Colonel Buck had condemned an innocent women of witchcraft and ordered her burned at the stake. While the fires consumed her, she placed a curse on him and said she would return to walk on his grave. This received a lot of attention and numerous attempts to remove the image failed. As they say, now the rest of the story-Colonel Buck was not yet born when the last of the witch trials had ended and there is no record of any executions in Maine for witchcraft. Researchers have also found that the legend did not start until after the image appeared on the monument. Those in the know, which now includes myself after the Rock of Ages tour, granite will often show internal flaws after they are cleaned an polished. Since these flaws run deep in the granite, they cannot be cleaned away. Another legend bites the dust.
The rest of today’s touring to follow later.