We started off New Year’s Day with bright, sunny weather, which brightened the outlook for us Maine people for a fresh new start in 2021. Then, around 8 a.m., as I went out on the porch and got a quart of cracked corn for the turkeys, I was greeted with the wonderful sound of “gobble, gobble” from the three large male turkeys wishing me a happy new year and thanking me for their fine breakfast of cracked corn.
The large bird feeders were full of blue jays and cardinals. Both suet feeders had three large woodpeckers on them and they were working hard on the fresh white suet. This past week I had filled the two suet feeders three times.
The two tube feeders were also busy, with five or more birds on them. The chickadees were darting back and forth to the evergreens with bills full of black oil sunflower seeds.
Then, to my delight, the ground was bare once again and there were six large squirrels under the large maple tree eating all the maple seeds that had fallen to the ground and were still accessible to them. Once the ground is covered with snow, the squirrels will start coming to the bird feeders for easy food. My wife used to say they are God’s animals and we have to share some of the birdseed with them.
Now, as the leaves are off the trees, I can see from my kitchen window across the back field. A new home is being built and I can hear the sound of hammers and saws as the framework of the house is being put up.
Times are changing here in the Round Top area. Even the former home of Rowland Gilbert, next to our home, has been sold and a new business is moving in for the new year. Even the Damariscotta Bank & Trust has been sold and now is the home of Bangor Savings Bank, with its new sign. So we see a number of changes have taken place here in our town of Damariscotta in the year of 2020 and new businesses are coming to Main Street.
So many of our close friends have passed away in 2020. Many were classmates and lodge brothers and sisters of the past 40 years. I have come to recognize that I am part of the older generation. I have also become a great-grandfather for the third time.
My son, Robert C. Dodge, is a Masonic brother in Connecticut and has just been installed as junior warden of his lodge. I am so pleased that he enjoys being a Masonic lodge brother. He holds dual membership with the Alna-Anchor Masonic Lodge here in Damariscotta, where he was raised as a Masonic brother as a young man.
On Dec. 31, 2020, around 8:30 a.m., I walked into the Hannaford Supermarket. As I entered, I was greeted with a large display of fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds. I had a flashback in my mind. How wonderful it is that our area has such a wide and plentiful supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from.
My mind flashed back to the 1940s, when I was a young boy and would often go with my parents to shop at Pierce’s or at the Atlantic & Pacific, A&P. Tires and the weather conditions were very different in the wintertime. The road conditions were very different. We often had 1 or 2 inches of packed snow on our highway surface and we often had to use chains on our tires to creep along the ice-covered highways. Trucks that hauled groceries, such as vegetables, fresh fruit, and canned goods, were not well insulated from the cold, harsh winters. It was a great treat to get fresh oranges, grapefruits, or tangerines.
Bananas came in long, green bunches. My mother would bring the green bananas home and put them in a dark place or a chest of drawers to ripen them. They were often very scarce. One would never see a whole pineapple on display in the winter months or even a watermelon or cantaloupe. Times have changed and we must count our blessings for all we have today.
One event I will always remember. As you entered the A&P grocery store from Main Street, on your left side as you opened the door you were greeted by the wonderful aroma of fresh-ground coffee beans. Coffee came in 1-pound bags with whole coffee beans. So you would have to open the bag and pour the beans into the coffee grinder and hold the empty bag under the outlet to refill it again with the ground coffee. The same was true with all the grocery stores in the town of Damariscotta. What wonderful memories as a boy growing up in our town.
Even cookies came in large cardboard boxes. The store owners would place a special glass cover on the top of the box when opened and they were sold by the pound. Even dried fruits came by the barrel and were sold by the pound. Biscuits were made by the National Biscuit Co., known by the brand name Nabisco. My sister and I enjoyed the pink-and-white marshmallow cookie covered with coconut and the chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies. These are wonderful childhood memories.
Please stay safe for the new year. Wear your mask, keep a safe distance, and keep out of crowds.
P.S. To my dislike, I just had a large Cooper’s hawk kill one of my mourning doves and as I looked out the kitchen window, he was picking it apart. It was a good thing it was Sunday, for I had second thoughts. Well, God created this bird and he has to make a living and eat too. Things may not always go the way you want, but everything has a purpose in everyday life here on Round Top. The time was 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3.