Southport Column

Sat, 11/21/2020 - 4:00pm

Thanksgiving is causing this column to be written on Friday afternoon so the publishers can enjoy their holiday without a paper to get out. That fact is nothing new. What is new is the planning for that holiday, which for so many people is a time for family and friends to gather. In the midst of a pandemic, growing wilder by the day, should we gather, and if so, how and where?

One friend has a barn with a heater so is tentatively planning to open the door wide, set up the tables and chairs, and feast at a safe distance from each other. Other friends note that Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday, but it can be celebrated on any day, so they plan to postpone a gathering until the virus either goes away or is under control. Yet other folks see their family as a safe ‘bubble,’ so will proceed with the usual food and festivities.

Since I ordered a turkey early from Browns, the Sherrill family will share the turkey but not the space. Our son in Nobleboro will cook the turkey. One of the grandchildren will drive some of that cooked bird to our house on Southport. I will fill his arms with two pies, which he will transport back to Nobleboro for dessert. Our New Jersey family will stay put. Our daughter will join us from her home in Freeport.

This uncertainty about how to celebrate the day has also uncovered some thoughts about how we should perceive the day. Should it be renamed as Columbus Day has been, to something like “Indigenous Peoples Generosity Day?” Or did the local Indians really participate? What we do know from the first person writings of William Bradford in his book, “The History of Plymouth Plantation” is that the Pilgrims who survived the first year in the new world, “began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty ... All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”

So too, in spite of the pandemic, however and whoever is around the table, we can give thanks for the bounty that we have received, enjoy our surroundings, celebrate the love of family and friends, and continue to wear our masks. Enjoy too, the Thanksgiving figures a customer of our Post Office inserted in the barrels out front.

As we travel around the island and around the area, the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to be merging. Perhaps bolstered by the “Gardens Aglow” scene at the Botanical Gardens, lights and wreaths and garlands of greenery are appearing in many places, brightening the world as the sunlight diminishes. We drove through “Gardens Aglow” last Thursday evening as part of a preview before the official opening. I encourage you all to get a ticket online, fill up your car with people, and settle back for a few minutes of spectacular sights. How better to be safe and to have fun at the same time.

Finally - Southport Fire responded to a woods fire Sunday morning. The fire located 350 feet off the road has probably been smoldering for at least a week. It burned deep into the ground causing dozens of trees to topple as the root systems were compromised. It looked like a tornado had struck. Two dozen firefighters spent three hours getting a hose line out to the scene and shuttling ten thousand gallons of water to extinguish the fire. Approximately a tenth of an acre burnt. Fire was reported by Cooper and Sarah Evello next door neighbors.