Folks, this week I want to tell you about my friend Charlie. In last week’s scribblin’s, I had wished him well, as sickness had taken him down. Well, my friend Charlie Herrick passed on Thursday of last week. After the battle he waged against his illness, I feel relief that at least he is not in pain anymore, but sadness too, as he will be missed by many.
I want to tell you more about how he lived. I know every small town has its share of what I would call characters. I’m not sure if it’s because of the culture around us or the independent thought process a lot of us have, but I have always felt that we here in Maine have more than our share. My man Charlie fit that mold to a T.
Charlie was self-employed as a restaurant owner, a partner in the popular local restaurant Schooner Landing. Charlie and his longtime friend and business partner, Scott Folsom, bought the business out of a bankruptcy auction nearly 20 years ago. They built the business into one of the most popular places to hang out and enjoy the beauty of the Damariscotta River while socializing with friends on a beautiful summer day in Maine.
Charlie was a generous soul, always one to lend a hand, open his business to a fundraiser for someone in need, or make a donation to a cause. His Schooner Landing gave a place to many a musician, and a few wannabes like me, to sing and make music and memories, whether it was a blues festival’s grand finish to a weekend of music that featured national acts, such as Jason Ricci, one of the best harmonica players in the world, or legendary blues pianist Victor Wainwright, to hosting just a plain old open mic on a Thursday night.
Charlie was never anything but Charlie, happy, enjoying the moment, and loving life. Schooner hosted events like a pirate festival. Whoever heard of a pirate festival before Schooner did it? I can just see Charlie now, laughing at all the little kids dressed as pirates and maybe raisin’ an eye, and a grin, to the pirate ladies in their “unusual” costumes.
How many of us always look forward to the annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival that is almost a passage into fall for us locals, down at “The Schooner?” With music and oysters and probably the best oyster stew ever made, it has become a season finale with friends to enjoy the passing of another summah!
Charlie was way more than just a businessman; he was a dad to three lovely daughters. “Charlie’s angels,” we used to call them. He would laugh and proceed to tell you a story about one of the girls’ latest adventures. When one of the “angels,” later in life, blessed him with a son-in-law and grandchildren, he was just so proud and pleased. He loved being “Grampy Chas.”
Charlie loved a story. I don’t know if I ever met anyone who loved a story more, especially if it had some color to it! I have to ask, how many of us have heard a joke and couldn’t wait to share it with him? I know for me it was it was always fun times, as he would just crack up. I always felt that he missed his true calling in life as a stand-up comic. Boy could he tell a joke!
I always loved getting his take on just about any issue or subject, be it one of his favorite pastimes, golf, or the politics of the day. He loved a discussion. Some who know him best might say he loved to debate, and it really didn’t matter what the topic was. Charlie often sat in with myself or Bobby Whear to host our local cable show “Wuzzup,” seen each Thursday, as we would go over the latest edition of The Lincoln County News and offer our take on any particular story.
Charlie had moved to the Damariscotta area about 20 years ago to pursue a new adventure and, after becoming single, to maybe restart life. If there was ever a place that was custom-made for Charlie, I believe it was Damariscotta. He loved the people, the beauty, and the other eating establishments that he would visit often, not caring that they might have been his competition.
He met the love of his life, a beautiful lady with a beautiful voice, Ms. Katrina, and much to everyone’s surprise, he made her Mrs. Herrick. I knew he was really happy when he told me how they would turn up the music at home and dance by themselves. What a romantic! In fact, they had so much fun in Jamaica one time that Charlie had to come home for triple bypass! We never let him forget that!
I hope all his friends will join me at The 1812 Farm, Saturday, Jan. 12 from 2-5 p.m. We’ll say “Goodbye, old friend. We loved you lots, laughed with you always, and we’ll meet again someday.” Your buddy, Larry.
Yankee Pride Transport