Sunday, December 30, 2012


When I retired from the Navy my military background didn't translate to a civilian job.  I had to retrain or begin working manual labor at age 42.   My wife and I decided that we would both attend college and major in education.   As there was no GI Bill available for me at that time, the only way this was possible was to down-scale our life style.  

We bought a house in the woods in north-western Maine for $9,999 (the sellers came down one dollar.)   It was an old, run down – but structurally sound 1832 farmhouse at the end of a two mile dirt road.   The house had been used off and on as a hunting camp for over forty years and there was no electricity, running water or sewerage.   We had to let our Chevy van go but kept the motorcycle which was paid for.  We worked on the house over the summer to make it livable.  

The garden was our second year

When we started school in the spring we were heating with wood, hauling water from the creek behind the house for drinking, cooking and bathing.   At night we would come home, gather standing dead wood from the woods in front of the house, start the fire , cook supper and then zip up in sleeping bags to study by lamp light for our classes.  

The old house and our winter transportation

During that first year Dave Mallett played at the commons area at the university, and my wife and I attended.   We were immediately hooked.   Dave Mallett is the quintessential Mainer and his music speaks to life in rural Maine.  

Four years later  (still living in the farmhouse - much improved, but still without lights, water or plumbingto celebrate our graduation we made reservations for dinner  at a historic, in-home restaurant in a village 25 miles north of the college.   We were surprised when we arrived that Dave Mallet had been booked to play.   There were only twelve guest and Dave played for us in the small living room while we guest sat in the few chairs and on the floor – a very intimate setting.

The day we pulled out for Alaska in our new Toyota truck I had a cassette of Dave Mallett cued for his rendition of North to Alaska

North to Alaska

Four years later we vacationed back in Maine, traveling up to Bangor and then to Bar Harbor.   Our first night in Bar Harbor we went to a bar and restaurant and Dave Mallett was entertaining.    

We left Alaska after teaching for nine years in the Eskimo and Indian villages, and as we crossed the border into Canada they were playing Dave Mallett on the PBS radio station.  

After living for six years in Kentucky we returned to Maine.  In that first September we attended the Common Ground Fair, and that night Dave Mallett was playing.   We have seen him a half a dozen time since then at small performances around Maine

Most of Mallett’s songs are about Maine; however, after Obama was elected President Dave released this song: This is Where the North Meets South. 

It is a song of hope and healing – a new beginning for the country – but unfortunately it didn’t evolve.

 the Ol'Buzzard


  1. Love the music and love this story!

    BTW, you didn't look like a buzzard at all back in the day.

  2. It's so interesting how throughout life we keep crossing paths with certain people as if were some sort of destiny.
    I love you story here Buzz.

  3. That is a most excellent adventure. Thoroughly enjoyed it.


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