Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Uncle Finley Surrounded By Family and Friends

I took this photo in the spring of 1969 to show my family and friends down here in Dundalk, Maryland what it was like up there at Katahdin Lodge of Patten, Maine on a typical Sunday afternoon.

Whewee! I luv the sculpted lines of that "Trumpet"—that'd be Triumph 650 Motorcycle to you non-motorcyclists.

That gray clad country gentleman leaning in the doorway is Morris, and the smiling woman on the back of the Triumph 650 Motorcycle is his good wife Marge. Morris and Marge were very close friends to my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha, and the two couples often spent time together.

Morris and Marge, Fin and Marty, and I were all in the Lodge's dining room playing Cribbage and sharing great conversation, when Gary and Cathy Glidden pulled into the dooryard on their motorcycle. They were just stopping by for a quick visit. Gary and Cathy worked at the Lodge during hunting season—Gary as a hunting and fishing guide and Cathy on the housekeeping staff. They wanted to know when they should start working at the Lodge for that upcoming bear hunting season.

That is Cathy back there in the helmet, of coarse, and you can just see Marty's right shoulder there on the other side of Gary.

One of my nephews saw this photo and thought that Fin looked like he was angry at Gary, but it is just a tad bit of a serious talk going on between them there for a minute or two. They were fairly well matched as working partners and had tracked many a wounded bear or deer through the woods together, often at night, and had shown plenty of paying sportsmen good, safe, successful, memorable times in the vast Maine woods.

The TV reception at the Lodge was limited to about two and a half stations. One was always from over in Woodstock, Canada. And the weather had first say on which ones we could tune in to at any time.

No matter. Listening to Fin, Marty and our Mainer friends, like Morris and Marge, tell stories, some true some not so at all, was far better entertainment than TV any day of the week.

I was setting at the Lodge's Cribbage Board and Yahtzee Game adorned dining room table, one friend filled Sunday, when I was hit with an epiphany of life affirming solidation. This was after having to hold onto to the table and my chair at least once or twice to keep from sliding off onto the floor into a puddle of pained, side-splitting, laughter. I had managed to keep it under control though, because it was 35 to 40 miles to the nearest hospital. And not one doctor in between. Can't be bustin' a gut due to overwhelming hilarity way up there in the woods like that.

The epiphany was: Listening to tall tales told well is no more like being an audience member at the Liars Club Yearly Awards Banquet than watching comedy shows on television is.

You are not supposed to "believe anything you hear and only half of what you see" (Joe Stanboni my Dundalk neighbor taught me that back in '66), which truly applies to TV, and telling tall tales, if anything.

I realized on that Cribbage and Yahtzee game playing, tall tale telling Sunday evening in Maine, that tall tales are a direct ancestor of most movies and television shows.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Sundays spent amongst those finest kind of country folk.

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