Joe’s Journal

Of lottery and lyrics

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 7:00am

As expected, the garden, the yard, and the back deck are snow-covered. What did you expect, Grasshopper? We live in the Great State of Maine. Do you expect palm trees in January?

One thing I did not expect was that the old faithful snow shovel somehow seemed heavier than it was when I put it away last spring. It must have something to do with the green comet scheduled to visit us in a week or two.

Although someone purchased the Mega Million Lottery winning ticket at the Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, it looks like no one has fessed up to winning the $1.3 (gulp) billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot. Last week, I confessed I did not win it, much to the dismay of my friends who would cheer with me, not to mention the dozens of relatives I have never met who are sure I couldn’t wait to buy them a new house.

Several faithful readers stopped me at Hannaford’s grocery to tell me they also fantasized about what they might do if they hit the jackpot.

What about you? What would you do if you hit the jackpot?

Note that the total prize was $1.348 (gulp) billion if you accepted the easy annual payment plan. If you took the cash option, you would only collect $723.5 million.

Would you opt for the cash? I thought so. Me too.

So, let’s play a mind game. What would you do if you hit the jackpot? Would you do something for your family, your friends, or the community? Heaven knows our community needs housing. My old pal, Ms. Pigette, tells me that she sees a long stream of cars driving into town every morning. Many of our businesses need workers, but there are few places in town for them to live.

The Boothbay Region Health Center could always use a big fat donation, as could the food bank.

The boards governing our local schools are dancing around as they try to determine whether to ask the voters to spend lots of new tax dollars to upgrade the facilities. And, hint, hint, it sure wouldn’t hurt to give the teachers and staff a raise either.

Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library is one of the most iconic buildings in town, but it sure could use an upgrade. If I won the huge jackpot, I would write them a big fat check.

If you are a believer, I’ll bet your church would love to find a big check on their Sunday collection plate.

These are just a few ideas that seem to morph out of my keyboard on a day when I would rather watch football than shovel more snow.

So, what about you? What would you do if you bought a winning lottery ticket? Tonight, after dinner, why not talk it over with your family? Let me know at Your ideas might make a good column.

Another subject

Those of you who still inhabit my generation remember the great folk music scare of the 1960s. It was a time when every college kid wanted to play the guitar, sing ancient English tunes and Vietnam protest ditties and, hopefully, attract girls.

The folk music stars of that era now inhabit the obituary columns marking a time of passing for my generation. Dave Crosby was the latest to leave us. His work with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young brought us anthems that still ring in our cortex when something triggers our fading memories. One of the most riveting was recorded by Crosby and CSNY. It was Neil Young’s tune, “Ohio.” It chronicled the terrible 1970 tragedy at Kent State University.

That tune, and the event, had a visceral impact on us all, more than those written and sung by stars like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, PPM, Bob Gibson, Phil Ochs, dozens of trios/quartets with matching shirts, and my personal favorite, the late great, Judy Henske.

For me, “Ohio” was, and is, the tune that marked the era.

I arrived in Boothbay Harbor in the summer of 1965 to sing with a matching shirt group at the old Rendezvous on Southport. We had a wonderful time.
A year or two later, after a trip to the former Republic of South Vietnam, I became haunted by another tune, “Suzanne” written by Leonard Cohen and recorded by Judy Collins.

It told the story of a woman named Suzanne who lived by a river. That was about the time I fell for an East Boothbay woman named Susan who lived by the Damariscotta River.

All this happened more than a half century ago. Those of us who can still remember, remember those times, those lyrics, and those tunes.