Last Saturday night, a couple hundred of your friends and neighbors gathered together for a hometown church supper.
It was advertised to begin at 5 p.m., and of course, at 4:30, folks started walking through the basement door of the Congregational Church.
No one counted the number of dinner guests. No one required them to pay. As they came in, a pair of ladies sat at a card table greeting them with big smiles as they glanced at a glass jar that quickly filled up with cash and checks.
Inside the hall, friends found friends, neighbors found neighbors. Strangers found smiling faces and, within minutes, the strangers were strangers no more.
They were treated with a pair of buffet lines featuring a mile or so of pasta (gluten-free or not) and buckets of red sauce (meatless or not).
As guests gabbed and gossiped, chewing over topics like the Patriots and the coming storm, others helped cook, serve and clean up.
Barclay Shepherd, the retired Navy physician (and Woodchuck supreme) presided over the punch. He promised it was not spiked, but can you always trust a sailor around a punch bowl? Sorry, in this case, you could. No spike this time.
Big Ralph Smith, the boss of Boat House Bistro, donated the sauce. He even threw in a box of Parmesan cheese, just in case.
Dessert was a pair of substantial sheet cakes inscribed with the Latin phrase "Semper Paratus" ("Always Ready”).
In case you missed the memo, the dinner was a fundraiser to help our furloughed friends at the Boothbay Harbor Coast Guard station.
Saturday’s spaghetti supper raised more than $6,000 for them. Separate community efforts included help from the Boothbay Y, the Harbor Theater, and developer Paul Coulombe.
It was a local reaction as our high flying political leaders in Washington, D.C., used the Coasties' paychecks as a chip in their political poker game. For nearly a month, our leaders(?) shut down the government, furloughing some 800,000 federal workers.
Here in Boothbay, a couple of dozen of those furloughed federal workers wear the proud uniform of the Coast Guard. And, with no paycheck, their household bills pile up.
As neighbors said grace before sharing a traditional church supper, these Coast Guardsmen and women were “on station,” ready to sail onto the darkened sea. To them, Semper Paratus is more than a Latin phrase on a cake. To those who wear the uniform, it represents a sacred duty.
Although our political leaders have turned their back on government workers, including our local Coast Guard detachment, our community opened its arms (and wallets) to show we have not, and will not forget their service and sacrifice.
And now, for something different.
My cell phone dinged last week and brought me a cryptic text which read: “Of course I was included. What did you expect?”
In case you didn’t figure it out already, it was the lovely, snow-covered and very chilly Ms. Pigette. She called to let me know that she was pleased that Lisa Kristoff, the perceptive arts editor of the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper, mentioned her name first in last week’s review of Bob Crink’s portrait show at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.
For those from away, Ms. P holds up a mailbox on Route 27, about a mile from the famous Boothbay roundabout.
Ms. Pigette explained: “The photographer wanted to showcase 22 of our most beautiful, sophisticated and accomplished women. Why would he not include Moi?”
“Of course, the committee placed my portrait in the most prominent place in the whole beautiful library building — standing alone, on an easel, no less — at the entrance where all patrons could pause and admire it.”
(NOTE: Library staffers have moved Ms. P's photo to the conference room so she could be alongside the rest of the stunning portraits of local women).
I asked Ms. Kristoff why she thought Ms. P was included. “You can’t have a show like this without Ms. Pigette, at least, that was what Bob (Crink) felt,” Kristoff said with a chuckle.
Crink explained. “Three of the women told me to include Ms. Pigette,” said Crink. “She is the greeter for our peninsula. We couldn’t have a show like this without including her,” he said.
In her review, Kristoff set the show’s tone. “Each portrait reveals a little something about the subject’s nature — playful, soulful, dynamic, strong, reflective, confident. The beauty within and without each of the women has been captured by this photographer’s eye and camera,” she wrote.
“I couldn’t have said it better,” said Ms. P. “What did you expect? Chopped (chicken) liver?”
Then she added a P.S. “Tell the brave (and unpaid) men and women of the Coast Guard that Ms. Pigette loves them, too."