For those of us from away who have chosen to make our home here, there is a process that happens over a period of years that transforms the community from a new home to a home to just home.
You don’t notice it as it happens. You just kind of assume it, the way Cary Grant casually slips on a suit jacket. It is a process in which the faces you see in this community become familiar and then familial.
Over time you realize the teenaged cashier in town is the son or daughter of the guy who plows your driveway; you actually know his ex-wife, the teen’s mom, better because she works at the school your kids attend. Her former father-in-law is your long-serving selectman. Your plow driver’s current brother-in-law is your mechanic. So it goes.
Lincoln County natives, of course, have these institutional memories that go back generations. Transplants learn these connections over time.
Of course we are all connected, but living in a small community really underscores the point. Flip off another driver in Boston and you’ll never see them again. Do that here and you are just as likely to see them later the same day, while you are both picking up your kids from school.
Since this year began, we have printed 46 separate obituaries and service announcements, all related to people with ties to Lincoln County who have left this mortal coil since late last year, and yes, that is an unusually high number, even spread out over three editions.
Every single one of them is a loss for a family and in larger sense, a loss for the rest of us as well.
When people like the late Wiscasset police officer Donnie Smith pass, it leaves a hole in the community. Smith may not have been a household name locally, but ask anyone who knew him and they will tell you how important he was to what they did. He was one of the “glue guys,” the unsung heroes that keep things rolling.
In one form or another, Smith devoted more than 30 years of his life to public service, and we can’t thank him enough for that.
Guys like that make the world go around and we join the families in our community mourning their losses.