One of the great truths of life is that things are always better faster stronger in memory.
Years ago winters were always colder. Summers were always hotter. The snow was always deeper.
Tom Brady has some contemporary football fans calling him the greatest quarterback of all time. Especially around these parts, however, you don’t have to look far to find someone taking up for their favorite. If the conversation goes on long enough someone is going to bring up Johnny U and Slingin’ Sammy Baugh.
In some cases, it is just talk. In other cases they are right. Sometimes it really was better years ago.
Sammy Baugh was a hell of a quarterback.
So it is with the late Arthur Dexter. By the end of his days this week, Dexter, who was born in Camden and came to Lincoln County as a career move, was as much a part of this community as the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.
You can see it in the online tributes and personal recollections of his former students, colleagues, and friends. People who last saw him when they were picking up their high school diploma in the 1970s recall him as though they have lost a member of their family.
The fact is, for many of us, Arthur Dexter was a member of the family. Either we associated with him via any one of Lincoln Academy’s far-flung connections or we rubbed elbows with him through one of his various volunteer activities, but he was part of Lincoln County and part of the fabric of our lives.
It says something about the man when the words coming up over and over again after his passing are uniformly positive. He was fair, honest, kind, perceptive, and supportive.
Folks who arrived here after Arthur Dexter retired may have cause to know him from any one of his volunteer activities. People who arrived here in recent years may only know him as an older, grandfatherly figure.
The fact is, Dexter will always be associated with Lincoln Academy and the respect we had for him extended to the office. The two lent each other a certain stature, long after he retired in 1984. Other headmasters have come and gone since, but none are recalled so fondly.
It is said you can tell the kind of life a man lived by the people who mourn him. We think it is probably a good thing they have reserved the school’s Nelson Bailey gymnasium for the event.
They are going to need every seat.