mountains

Fear! The Rock

 

spruce

The boys and I were skiing like Jean Claude Killy, maneuvering the knolls of Spruce Mt Ski Slope. We all had conglomerated at the top of the slope. One of the boys took charge at the moment. Ok I’m going first, everyone follow me, ok? We are going to hit the “Rock”. Being only a ten year old at the time the Rock seemed like a very scary thing to do. I can remember the bigger kids hitting the Rock and flying the distance of Lucien’s Field. Some boys tried to do tricks in the air but the skis back in those days had the cable that went around the backside of the ski boot and snap down binding on the front above your toe. The problem was the attachment point on the back of your heel. Sometimes the spring would wear out and the boot was not secure enough on the ski. When a lad would jump the spring would let go and you would either eat snow or have a yard sale. The Yard Sale, is when you lose everything on you. You lose skis, boots, hat, goggles, poles and your dignity. You might as well sell everything.

Here we go, Ron starting at the front of the pack of boys. Yahoo is heard from all the skiers, I’m still thinking I am Jean Claude Killy, or Billy the Kid. We get down into a tuck, lowering our resistance. More speed! someone hollers out. We are cruising now and the Rock is getting close. Fooosh! One skier makes it across the top of the “Rock”. The other boys ahead of me are mid air when Warren, The manager of the hill hollers out my name. Hey You! Pointing a finger at me, I’m watching him as I was in mid air. Being the wise arse I was back in the day, I try to do a Daffy Duck. My ski pops off and I said my first swear word ever. Oh CRAP! I really think I shit my pants at this moment. The ground I hit was frozen ice, my body just kept tumbling down to the Flats of the Orchard Trail. I lie there, still for a moment, lungs only partially functioning. Standing above me holler my name was Warren. I thought I was seeing a beautiful Movie Star, Marilyn Monroe above me, kissing life back to me. Things were not so foggy now, I coughed, standing upright above me was Warren. “You are coming down to the Barn right now,” he stated sternly. “In an emergency sled,” like it was a threat of some kind. I was wrapped up real cozy in a felt blanket, donated from the local paper mill. Warren put his finger in my face and told me sternly. “YOU ARE BANNED FOR THE SEASON,”. I was so devastated, my friends were all going to be able to ski, I was to be stuck watching,” I LOVE LUCY,” or “GILLIGANS ISLAND,” all day.

The “Rock” was destroyed or pushed into the bushes after these adventures. Just remember that taking chances do have consequences. Sometimes an exciting result can happen if things go your way. Warren was a real person and the kids and I skied the small mountain day and night during the winter month. I’m sure most children of these local communities have stories just like I depicted in this story. Memories are etched forever. Here is a link to the slope that still does exist. Rope tows. http://sprucemountain.org   D.H.Bilodeau 2016

Henry Richardson

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We met Henry Richardson back when I was a child. My father and I was looking for a place to build a camp and was checking out the back roads in our area. My dad, I recall, spoke up and said who the heck is that in the middle of the road? I looked in amazement but also very bewildered by a man blocking the road.  The man was very scruffy looking with a long beard and was wearing overalls. He was holding a pitch fork and  was waving it around in a very aggressive stance towards us. My dad applied the brakes and we came to a halt a short distance from this man. I’m not sure why but my father started beeping the horn which only seemed to makes this man angry. I could hear him hollering from about twenty feet away . I was not sure to run or hide, I was really getting scared . My father rolled down the window and said to the man. What are you doing blocking the road? The man spoke up and told us his name was Henry Richardson and he owned all the woods around here and we better get out of here now or we are going to have pitch fork holes in our tires. My father spoke back to him with a soft voice. Sir, We are only riding around looking for some land to purchase for a hunting camp. Henry replied, today is not the day, so get out of here. I’m thinking how can one person be so angry at the world and hate people so much. My father continued to talk with this man. Henry finally calmed down and started talking with us a little more. We found out that he was a veteran from the Korean war and had lived out here in the woods all his life . He was tattered by the thought an enemy could cause him so much mental duress. Today we call this PTSD, but he never went to a doctor to prove otherwise. He had survived living off the land and managed quite well considering. Not too many people had ever ventured this far into the woods, we were only a two of them. I noticed that he walked with a limp and his face was deformed slightly. I found out he was shot at many times when in the war and suffered greatly from these injuries, never going to a doctor after the war to help him with the pain. He seemed like a very lonely person for what I could tell. The last parting words from Henry when we left was please don’t tell anyone that I live out here. I want to live the rest of my life in solitude. My father and I both nodded and we continued our search, maybe this would be the day we found some land. One thing for sure is never judge a person by what they look like or what they have been through. You just never know what people have been witness to, or what their background is, but that doesn’t make them a bad person. Good day Everyone, I’m going out searching for something. I just never know where I’ll end up.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Maine As I Know It

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Born and raised in the State of Maine. Most people often associate this State with Downeast Maine and the coastal region. Everyone know’s the fact we are quite famous for our lobsters and clams. There is some really great places away from the coast that people do not hear about. This State is beautiful with the country area’s as well. The northern part of the State is where a lot of crops are grown, especially Northern Maine, in the County they say. Towns like Van Buren, Houlton, Caribou, New Sweden. The central part of the State is more populated with local farmers growing crops and tending to their milking cows. pic 2

Some of the jobs that I encounter growing up include working in these farms. I picked chickens out of the barns and put them in cages to be shipped out for processing. I also worked for a big company which most of the eggs this part of the country come from. Decoster’s Egg farms. The company has been bought out since. Many of young kids in this area worked these egg farms. I also could be seen working in the local cemetery’s digging graves. We would get two dollars an hour, not bad pay for a young kid.

Maine has a huge history of papermaking. Big companies like Verso, IP, Wausau, Sappi, New Page, Boise Cascade, Champion, Bucksport, Otis Mill, Georgia Pacific. These mills employed many of people throughout history. Loggers, and many of businesses that support these companies.

Shoe shops, woolen mills also were a larger part of the community. Lewiston and its Bates Mill employed thousands. You should do a search on Bates Mill. It was amazing the size of this cooperation during the day. Many of the buildings stand today in Lewiston and are a site to witness. pic 5

Maine has many of beautiful rivers and Lakes that pass through the State. You can see many of fisherman along the banks or out in powerboats trying to catch a salmon, brook trout, browns, bass, and many other species of fish. Fly fishing is very big here. LLBean company in Freeport, Maine is one company that has supplied the outdoor enthusiast for many years. Hunting is also very big in this State. Whitetail deer are plentiful also Maine Black bear, and Moose. You have to have a permit for moose. Turkey’s are plentiful also and many of hunters take advantage of this season. pic 4

Maine also is a great place in the winter. There is many ski area’s that are very popular. Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Saddleback Mountain are some . You really can find just about anything to do in this State if you have the time. I have lived here just about all my life and at this moment I couldn’t think of any other place I would rather live. I have traveled to my workplace many times without even meeting one car. I like the easy life and the country. Maine the way life should be. Enjoy your day everyone. pic 3

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

My Little Stretch of Country

liverThe area where I live is such a nice quaint place that everyone should get a taste of the country living I have enjoyed. The area is surrounded by three lakes so fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting are real big in this region. The town consist of one Library, two convenient stores, Fire station, and  a few churches. There is not a lot of excitement in this region but this is what I have been accustomed to. The local landfill is a place for local’s to gather and chat. Hey how is so and so? I’m glad your brother is doing better. Small talk, but this is a place to bump into maybe some old co-workers from the paper mills.

There is one major road that passes through our community which is Route 4. The road is better than any other in our region so that tourist can make it to their Northern destinations on their weekend getaways. I am just plain happy to live where I do. I can grab a fishing pole and go down to the local boat landing, or find a stream that enters her. Life here is simple. The way life should be right? I could not stand living in a city in this stage in my life, not to say that I haven’t lived the city life. I lived in Phoenix, Arizona as a young man. One would give up their current life in their hectic lives if only giving a chance. I remember when I graduated tech school. The companies I interviewed with were in the tech triangle in California and one guy stated this to me. Sir, Are you prepared to drive two hours to work everyday in bumper to bumper traffic and to have an apartment which cost you 1000 a month? I came home from that interviewed and re-evaluated. I could move back to the East Coast and have more for the money and wouldn’t have to travel in bumper to bumper traffic. I moved back to the East Coast and have enjoyed every minute.

Sometimes you have to re-evaluate. Is this stressful life worth it or not. I’m glad I was wise enough at a young age to think out of the bottle sort of speak.

I can hear the loons this morning down at the lake, the barred owl made his appearance last night. The eagles are nesting in the tall pines near the lake.  The best part today around here is free fishing for anyone that doesn’t have a license. Life really is important- I’m going to the landfill this morning to go see my neighbors. See ya, Enjoy the day.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Country Boy Not County Boy

Country-Feeling

 

I was born in a small town in Maine and have lived most of my life in the country. I played in the cow pastures, dodging the cow patties in the summer time to avoid the squish through your toes. I played in the pine woods with the abundance of needles on the ground. There was nothing like the smell of silage in the summer time as you pass by in your mom and dad’s non-air conditioned car.

I remember hitch hiking at 10 years old almost every weekend to visit my friend. The people in town would pick you up and usually you always knew who they were. Hey aren’t you Norman’s boy? The kids and I in the neighborhood could pick up a game of ball and holler down the street to any other kids who wanted to play. There was many of times we would get called in the summer to pick chickens in the local farms during the summer. This was a process of snatching the chickens and placing them into cages to be shipped off to a market somewhere. We were country boys and girls!

Most of the kids in around where I grew up also had to help with the wood. I remember my dad borrowed a Farmall tractor from the neighbor. This had a large circular saw blade that was powered off the power take off. That was a monster of a machine but it would cut some firewood. The stacking of the wood was not the fun part. We always did what we had too in the country. When we talk about being from the country and not the county it means by location. The northern part of the state or town’s like Van Burean, New Sweden, Houlton, those are Northern towns and it is called the County. The north is even different than here in the foothills or central Maine. The business is potato’s in the County and all the family work to bring in the crops. Kids are let out of school to help the family’s bring in the spuds.

I have loved being in the country and not living in the city. I did however spend 3 years living out west. I went to school in Phoenix, Arizona and also lived in Lake Tahoe. I did love both of these locations but it was not country living. I received my diploma and booked it back to the East Coast and settled back to the location I grew up. Most people I have grown up with have gone there own way or moved out of state. The country living has really been so peaceful and I highly recommend this lifestyle to anyone. We do not go out a lot but have come accustomed to watching wildlife for our entertainment. Most time for me, personally, is preparing things for the next winter. I will keep my country over living in a city any day. It is ironic that both of our children live in the largest city in Maine. Maybe when they get older they will realize how serene living in the country really is.

I will move on in time and enjoy every bit of the country living I have selected. I am not a farmer but could enjoy that kind of living if someone else was doing the work. Enjoy the day folks. I have a nuthatch on the tree I have to view. I have been waiting for the Barred Owl to come back into the neighborhood.  Come on big dog, come inside, it is raining outside.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Boar In The West Virginian Mountains

imagesIZ4J5S7IThere was movement behind that tree, Trudy did you see anything?  We had been hiking for awhile now and looking for wild boar in the mountains of West Virginia. We had planned this trip for two years and saved up enough money to go to a hunting camp led by Mike Seymour and his entourage. Mike was a well known outdoorsman and had many television shows on the outdoor channel. We contacted him late December and wanted to book for the first of May of the upcoming year. The date was set and Trudy and I was so excited that we finally had enough vacations where we worked and money to take this incredible trip.

Again, a noise from within the woods. I swear Trudy there is something lurking in the woods about 30 meters ahead. I cannot quite make it out. Get your rifle loaded and take the safety off. It might be the big boar that we could trophy on. Ok honey, everything is set here on my rifle. We walked further toward the noise and we saw movement.

I was walking ahead of Trudy and I kept telling her to take baby steps and to keep watching the woods for anything that moves. I took one more step and heard a loud noise and something feeling like my back was hit by a freight truck. I fell to the ground and the light started to dim. I kept trying to reach out for something to hold onto but nothing was there.

Trudy had slipped on a rock and accidently discharged the rifle into her boyfriends backside. Trudy had known exactly what had happened at the moment. She was screaming and shaking all over. There was no one in the woods to help her with him. As she approached her boyfriend a loud screech came from within the woods. Frightened by this sound she was frozen in place. She cocked her rifle to make sure it was ready incase something came after her. She could tell that her boyfriend was still breathing and maybe she could save him. There was blood all over the place.

Trudy looked out and fast approaching was the biggest wild boar she had ever seen. Not that she had seen any before, but had looked at a lot of magazines to know this was one of trophy size. She raised her rifle and tried to calm herself down enough to get a shot at the boar. She pulled the trigger and the animal was dispatched. Trudy looked again and could see no movement from the boar. She now attended to her boyfriend . He was moaning which was a good sign and looked her boyfriend over for what wounds she had inflicted. There was bleeding on his rear-end. She pulled his trousers down and found that the bullet had stuck his buttocks. He was going to live but have one heck of a sore butt. She shook him and he opened his eyes. Honey can you hear me? Yes, what the heck just happened? I shot you Trudy replied, right in the ass. Honey, you have to try and get up, I have something to show you. Trudy helped him to his feet and she pointed in the direction of the boar. Right there next to that pine tree. Oh my god! that is a monster boar. I know Honey, I think it is of trophy size. Even though he was hurting a smile came to his face.

Trudy helped her boyfriend get off the mountain and asked Mike Seymour and his gang to assist in getting the boar off the hill.  The boar weighed in at 325 lbs and was the largest in West Virginia history giving Trudy the trophy was the West Virginia Fish and Game Department. There was a picture in the Fish and Game magazine showing the large wild boar she had shot.

Her boyfriend made a quick recovery and was so excited that they got their chance to hunt the West Virginia mountains for wild boar.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014