Right in the depths of the Great Depression, my folks bought this farm for $658 with a 15-year mortgage. That took courage when things were so desperate. Then voila! Pearl Harbor was attacked and we were at war overnight with hiring calls out to all skills. Pappa landed a job at Hyde Windlass in West Bath. We were suddenly in cash and so was everyone else. I remember Pappa’s check after deductions was $72.50 a week, honest to God.
Then things cooled down, the economy declined, and unemployment rose. Then voila: the Korean War. Same thing … prosperity for awhile. Then voila: the war in Vietnam. Ditto. Then, when things went downhill recently, George Bush and Dick Cheney, in my opinion two of the most accomplished liars in American history, convinced us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and away we went again. It seems likely now that Hussein’s threat was cooked up to give us a reason to attack. Also Iran, Afghanistan, get the picture?
Well, things are not so prosperous around here anymore. Our synod of bishops just met and my efforts to attract a priest to follow me fell on deaf ears. Who would want to go to Maine? We have a debt-free church with an apartment for a priest and/or brothers; a second, earth-sheltered house; and hundreds of feet of Sheepscot River frontage.
Well, Robin is ticked off at the lack of support from the national church. Mind you, I have a faithful few regulars who contribute every week, but it doesn’t come close to even paying for the lawnmower gas. So Robin has gone on Craigslist and offered our secluded land, with many private places for adult sunbathing, for folks to camp overnight.
This has worked out well. No, we are not running a campground. This is church land, nonprofit land. We leave a church offering box out and folks who visit here have shown their appreciation. We invite only adults, preferably couples, and at their own risk. Carry in, carry out. I am jealous of my privacy and our front yard and gardens are off-limits unless we invite you.
An added benefit is that Robin has been cleaning our woods of brush and dead branches to use in our bonfires or the small individual campfires. He is taking very good care of the land.
Weekend campers all disappear around 6 a.m. Sunday and you’d never know anyone was here. Amazing.
(Doug Wright lives over Head Tide Hill in Whitefield. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)