I’ll Remember

Hmm, hmm
Say goodbye
Not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began
Say goodbye
Not knowing how to cry
You taught me that

And I’ll remember
The strength that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember
The way that you saved me
I’ll remember

Inside I was a child
That could not mend a broken wing
Outside I looked for a way
To teach my heart to sing

And I’ll remember
The love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember
The way that you changed me
I’ll remember

I learned
To let go
Of the illusion
That we can possess
I learned to let go
I travel in stillness
And I’ll remember happiness
I’ll remember, hmm

I’ll remember, hmm
And I’ll remember
The love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember
The way that you changed me
I’ll remember (I’ll rememeber)

Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why

I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
Now I finally have a reason why

I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why

I’ll remember (I’ll remember)
Now I’ll never be afraid to cry
And I finally have a reason why

I’ll Remember – Madonna

I remember one day when you dropped me at kindergarten so long ago.
I remember going to Red’s Dairy Freeze.
I remember cookouts in Fort Williams.
I remember riding my coaster on a hill in Fort Williams.
I remember riding into Portland in your pickup.
I remember you rushing me to Dr. Russel when I had a reaction to a bee sting.
I remember sitting on a spare tire while you pulled Cheryl and I with your truck on the frozen lake.
I remember going with you to work on Exchange St.
I remember you picking me up many times when I had no ride.
I remember how hard you worked to make sure we were provided for.
I remember you always had Life Savers in your pocket.
I remember how much you loved Ginger your dog.
I remember helping build your house in Poland Maine.
I remember helping you plow and sand the camp road.
I remember camping at Tumbledown.
I remember how you struggled with cancer, and how I should have been there more for you.
I remember getting angry with you because I didn’t understand your behavior.
I remember watching you decline so quickly once the dementia took over.
I remember how helpless I felt.
I remember living with you and mom in Strong, and how much I wanted to help you.
I remember how much we really did love each other, we just couldn’t find the words.
I remember visiting you at Togus when you jumped out of your chair and hugged me.
I remember how much I regret not making a stronger effort before it was too late.

I remember how much I miss you Dad.

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I Won’t Back Down

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of Hell
But I won’t back down

No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

(I won’t back)
Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)
Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
(I won’t back down)
And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)
Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
(I wont back down)
Hey I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)
Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
(I won’t back down)
Hey I will stand my ground
(I won’t back down)
And I won’t back down
(I won’t back down)
No, I won’t back down
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – I Won’t Back Down

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My father was born on April 28, 1929 and he would have been 88 today. At precisely 12 noon, I buried him. It was a simple ceremony with an honor guard playing taps and the formal flag folding. The young soldiers were very serious and precise, a fine example of the men that represent the best this country has to offer. When the officer presented the flag to me and thanked my father and I for his service on behalf of a grateful nation, I could see true sorrow in his eyes. I will forever be grateful to him and his service in my time of need.

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My father was laid to rest beside many others that paid their dues so we could live a life of freedom and happiness. Safe we are behind the walls of this republic, the foundation set in the founding documents of this country that so many have fought and died for, and many take for granted. Would they feel the same had today been about their father? Would they burn the flag to spite the fallen? I for one believe they have that right BECAUSE of the sacrifice of my father and all the others, and they can choose to exercise that right if they want, but I feel they are misguided.

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My father was never one to follow politics. He had his beliefs and ideals he followed throughout his life, viewpoints about this story or that, but it was always tempered by the feeling that we should all be equal in our treatment of others. Yes he shared opinions of this group or that, sometimes even a little prejudiced in it’s manor, but he was not openly hostile towards others in public as we see on an almost daily basis now from some younger people in this country. These people take protesting too far and approach the border of anarchy. They are not fit to walk the same soil as my father but I would not take away their right to.

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As I walked down this path I felt the crush of sorrow for those who left this world in such a tragic way. Many didn’t even truly understand what they were fighting for, but they did their best for their buddies and us and I will forever be grateful. Freedom is not given, it’s earned. Earned by the sweet of our brows when we work for our pay, when the soil is tilled to grow crops to feed the many, when we help another that can’t help themselves. But the largest payment for our freedom has been paid by the military and the men and women who paid the ultimate price.

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I placed my father in the cold ground today with what was his favorite possession at the end of his life, his Korean War Hat. His mind was so muddled towards the end that a simple hat meant more to him than anything. I protected it for you dad and made sure you got it back. I cant look at that picture without breaking down, without feeling some guilt for not trying harder at the end of his life to have a closer relationship. This was the hardest day of my life and I will spend this evening alone with my dog and reflect on a life now gone and what it meant to me. Goodbye Dad, I’m sorry for everything.

Exceptional People

I’m sitting in Carlisle PA tonight, and I will continue to Maine tomorrow and take a couple days off to rest and have my truck serviced. I always look forward to these brief respites back in the state of my birth. Even with all my travels it still feels like home.

In my lifetime to date I have met many people. Most are but a small blip in the movie reel running through my mind. Past coworkers and acquaintances left in the wake of time, some I thought were friends that have faded away. Lonely as I am, I was reminded recently that all is not lost, there are some exceptional people left in this world.

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This is the TA truck stop in Commerce GA that I stayed at two nights ago. It’s not far from Atlanta where I picked up my return load to PA. As I’ve said before I generally choose TA stops due to their cleanliness and amenities. It’s been about five months since I was last here, and I went to the same restaurant as the last visit. Only a “Chain” restaurant but I like to treat myself once a week just to keep it interesting.

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When I go out to eat I always sit at the bar for two reasons. I don’t feel the need to take a table that would serve many and I find the service faster at the bar. As I walk in I see the same young woman working that I remember from my last visit. When I sat down I could see the look of recognition in her eyes.

Mary is her name and she remembered me from my blog and the photographs I showed her on my last visit. I must admit I was a little stunned she remembered as most people in the service industry meet so many people It’s hard to remember a face after so long. They were not very busy and I showed her some more of my recent photo’s and blog posts.

When I told her of my fathers passing, and she read a few posts I had written about it, I could see genuine sadness in her eyes. It’s hard to explain how I felt right then, but I guess it borders on an understanding of how she was brought up, what her outlook on life is, what makes her an exceptional person. You might say, “How could you possibly know that in the moment”, but I say you can.

I think when you first meet someone there is a period of time when there is no mask, no false bravado or fake niceties. We tend to fall back on our upbringing and the lessons taught in being polite in society. I find this most evident in the south where family is still the most important part of the culture. Parents still take a greater hand in the raising of their children, instead of allowing teachers and modern culture impress ideals in young minds we may not agree with.

Church groups and an etiquette of modesty are more often the norm, not the look at me mentality that rules the airwaves and drunken clubs downtown. I may not be a religious person, but I can see the effect of that upbringing and the type of people it produces. I prefer them, to speak the truth, instead of the loose and free lifestyle of many younger people, or the bitter and angry middle aged souls that feel the world owes them something. I have felt the pull of that bitterness many times in the last few years but I am fighting with all my will to escape from it’s grasp.

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As I walk Vinny on a dusty patch of grass I start to think about other exceptional people from my past. Mr Lowell my high school Asst Principal, Mr Mason my Jr high science teacher, and of course my parents. The person I am today is due in part to the things they taught me as a young boy. Some I remember well, some come back to me in a given situation, but all were vital to the stable and productive person I hope I have become. And to Mary’s mother I say thank you, you did a great job!


Thank You 

How about getting off of these antibiotics
How about stopping eating when I’m filled up
How about them transparent dangling carrots
How about that ever elusive kudo

Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How about me not blaming you for everything
How about me enjoying the moment for once
How about how good it feels to finally forgive you
How about grieving it all one at a time


The moment I let go of it was
The moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it was
The moment I touched down

How about no longer being masochistic
How about remembering your divinity
How about unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How about not equating death with stopping


Thank You – Alanis Morissette

When I was young and selfish I had no use for thankfulness. I had the world by the balls, one single squeeze and my will would come to pass. My mind was unbridled by the stupidity of foolish adults, unclouded with the brutality of realism. I knew what must be done and no one was going to stop me.

And then I woke up…

Thank you dad for being the man you were, even though I was to blind to see the wisdom of your words. You never backed down from your responsibilities no matter what. You were a great man and I didn’t deserve you.

Thank you mom for the strength you have shown throughout your life. Even with all that you have endured your steadfast manor and positive attitude are a reflection of the well rounded person I am striving to imitate.

Thank you Cheryl my sister for taking such good care of our mother. I’m so happy she has your help in the most vulnerable time of her life when the help of family is at it’s greatest need. I respect you greatly, even if you wont talk to me.

Thank you Greg my brother for all the times you stuck up for me as a child, all the days you made time for me, even when I got in the way. Though we have grown apart to some degree, I always look forward to your calls and our limited time together. You will always be with me.

Thank you Kathy my sister for all the times you took care of Cheryl and I when we were kids. Even though I don’t remember much about those years I know you were a caring and steady hand when mom needed the help. For your efforts you should hold your head up high and remember your brother is thinking of you.

Thank you David my brother for the fun times we had when I moved to Dallas to get to know you. Even though you decided to move away from the family and broke off contact many years ago, I hope you are doing well. I will come looking for you again soon.

Thank you John my brother in law. You are the only person in my life that has treated me the same no matter what. Through all the years I could count on you to help me when I needed it the most, and you always treated me with respect even if you didn’t agree with my lifestyle. That says alot about you and I have nothing but respect for you to.

Thank you Sheldon and Dave, Ryan and Alex, Andy and Scott and all the other outstanding people I work with. This company has been nothing but kind and generous to me in my time of need. They have bent over backwards to accommodate my situation with my folks without hesitation and I am in their debt. Now I may be able to repay that kindness to some degree in the near future and I wholeheartedly embrace the challenge. More on that as it unfolds!

Thank you to all the friends I have made in the blog world. Your encouragement and support has helped me open up more in the last 2 years than I have in the 50 before! It truly has been a blessing to “Unload” all of this from my mind and gain a better perspective.

And lastly, Thank you to me for realizing it was time to embrace who I am. No more hiding behind false bravado, trying to fit in with people I didn’t really agree with, living a lifestyle that led only to grief and sadness. Thank you for coming to terms with all the pain, some self inflicted, that I have been living with and realizing it’s really all part of what makes me who I am. I now like who I am. Understanding I can’t fix all I have done, just strive to be a better person with the time I have left, make a difference that is worthy of the gifts that were given to me. I am the Weird Guy With The Dog and I am happy about it!

The Happiness Clause

I think we are all born with a life contract of sorts, replete with all the things that could happen to us in a lifetime. From the length of our lifespan to our quality of health, our disposition to our empathy for others all wrapped up in triplicate. But, like all contracts, in the fine print is the addendum, stipulations and clauses.

When we are young, we only glance at the contract. All we see are the platitudes like “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and other such quotes. We rush through everyday life with a selfish and single minded purpose, the mindset of immaturity governs the day. We fail to understand the complexities of our deal, the interactions that our daily decisions make on the totality of our existence. We don’t see the results of our actions on our lives and those we care about, sometimes until it’s too late. Such is the folly of youth.

As we mature we start to see the effect of our decisions on our lives and those around us. We start to realize how we neglected some of the most important people in our lives due to our blind trust in our ability to comprehend the impact we have on others. As we reread the contract we start to understand more of what it means to be an upstanding person, how foolish we were to think we had it all figured out. Hopefully we discover our mistakes before it’s to late. Sometimes, we fail miserably.

I am one of those miserable failures. I neglected my relationship with my father until it was too late, now I have to live with it. I think I could have recovered the lost time if I had put more effort into closing the rift between us, if I had been more of an adult than I was. Yes, I was struggling with my addictions, but that’s no excuse for my pushing him away when he wanted to improve our relationship. I shut the door on a time we could have both used the support only family can give, and I will die with that guilt.

Because I’m no quitter, I must accept my mistakes and move on. As I read my contract I see the “Happiness Clause” in the fine print. It says for me to find happiness I must understand what in my life is the most fulfilling, what brings me the most joy. I feel most people think happiness will be found in retirement after working their entire lives to build some sort of nest egg. They may see a home paid for, vacations overseas, golfing in the tropical sun and other such pursuits.

I will never have any retirement savings, no home or land, no nest egg. I can cry and bemoan my situation, or I can stop and realize I’m still better off than many, I still have enough time to make amends and achieve some sort of balance between the mistakes of my past and the time I have left. I have the opportunity to fill the remainder of my time on this earth with the happiness I feel when out in nature.

The majesty of a brilliant sunrise, the feel of a cool breeze on my skin. The gental sway of the tide as it imposes it’s will on the meager tether of my future sailboat anchored in a secluded bay. The simple understanding and friendship between a man and his dog as they while away the afternoon in the shade of a tree. The feel of a moment captured in a photograph, forever caught and brought back to life with each viewing.

My Happiness Clause can be appeased by accepting what has happened and focusing my will on what will be the best use of my remaining time. Only through diligence and persistence can one achieve a fulfilling life, understanding that it’s the simple things that can bring the most pleasure, the most reward. I hope that when we die, all the bad memories of our lives stay here, only the good ones go with us. Many people believe there is another life after this one, and if that’s true I hope I’m right. If I am, my father will wake up with all the joy and happiness he felt in this life, nothing of the hardships and pain he suffered, and I can think of nothing in this world I want more.

Suite Madame Blue

Time after time I sit and I wait for your call
I know I’m a fool but why can I say
Whatever the price I’ll pay for you,
Madame Blue

Once long ago, a word from your lips and the world turned around
But somehow you’ve changed, you’re so far away
I long for the past and dream of the days with you,
Madame Blue

Suite Madame Blue, gaze in your looking glass
You’re not a child anymore
Suite Madame Blue, the future is all but past
Dressed in your jewels, you made your own rules
You conquered the world and more, heaven’s door


America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America
America, America, America, America

Red white and blue, gaze in your looking glass
You’re not a child anymore
Red, white, and blue, the future is all but past
So lift up your heart, make a new start
And lead us away from here

Suite Madame Blue – Styx

My short time on this earth has taught me anything of real value comes at a price, nothing is free. It’s also taught me that time is fleeting, every moment of your life is to be cherished not squandered. When I look out over the vast stretches of Madame Blue, I see more than open ocean, seagulls and dolphins. More than the morning sun as it struggles to break free of Poseidon’s grasp. More than the foreboding feeling as waves grow tall with the setting sun, and the darkness once again takes control. I see my past being washed away in the wake of my sailboat. Each bad memory fading from view as I trim my sails and and stay true to the decided course.

It’s been just over a decade since I walked away from the lifestyle that held me in a prison of doubt and fear, a way of life fraught with anxiety and sadness. I feel I have grown more in that time then in all the time before. With a clear head I have looked at all the things I couldn’t see in my youth through the eyes of an outsider of sorts. No longer clouded by drugs I find I can play God with my past, slowly discarding the mistakes and fleshing out the real person that lies within. I feel an urgency to get my life in order before the future is past again. If you’ve never been in that place you can’t possibly understand the willpower it takes to turn away from the hold it has on you. I will never go back.

The passing of my father has shown me how much I still have to learn, how much I overlooked. Like many John Wayne characters, my father did not sit with me and teach me about life lessons he had learned, it was not his way. Instead he taught by example, though it took his death for me to see it. When I think of my struggles, then look to his past, I see no comparison. My fathers past was much more devastating than anything I have been through, yet he stayed strong and steady until the end. In his last days of life I watched his hold on this world slowly slip from his grasp, his body slowly melt away a little more each day. Even when he slipped into a coma, no food or water for over 8 days, he would not give up. My father was the strongest man I have ever known, and I will try to live up to his example.

I look to my future with hope for a change, thanks in large part to the lessons I have learned from both my parents. The sum of my experiences and the steadfast will both my father and mother have shown gives me the strength to carry on each day, the will to make my dream a reality in the near future. When my father is buried, his flag will come with me on my boat as a symbol of what it means to be a man, his lessons not lost on me. He will be with me in every storm, sunny day, distant anchorage and marina. I will remember how he never gave up, never backed down. Though his back was bowed with the burdens he carried, he gladly put that yoke on each morning and made his way through life with few complaints. I will do my best to become half the man he was.






The War Is Finally Over



Carl Arthur Pierce, age 87, passed away at the Androscoggin Hospice House in Auburn, on February 10, 2017, after a long period of declining health. During his illness he had resided at Togus, and Coastal Manor in Yarmouth.

Carl was born in Portland on April 28, 1929, the second child of Chester “Chet” Pierce and Florence “Flossie” (Caldwell) Pierce. He grew up in the Riverton area, and attended Portland schools. At age 16, he began working at the S.D. Warren paper mill in Westbrook. Carl had a fondness for motorcycles in his youth, and drove his two Harley’s throughout Maine and New Mexico. He saw action in the Korean War, before being honorably discharged.

img_8239-largeHe was a Portland firefighter, at the Central Station, for 15 years. He was also a skilled finish carpenter, and very knowledgeable about many aspects of building construction. He worked many construction and remodeling jobs in and around Portland, notably in the Old Port. Later, he worked at Jordan Marsh and the Barron Center. Carl was a trusted employee and had a strong work ethic. He took good care of his family.

Carl had a son, Michael, from his first marriage. On June 2, 1962, he married Betty A. Grover (Thurlow), and gained three stepchildren as well. Carl loved children, and treated his stepchildren as his own. They all loved him as their “Dad”. Carl and Betty had two more children together. They were married for 54 years.

In 1969, Carl, along with Betty, began to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was baptized some time after his wife. He made many good friends through his association with the Witnesses, and the Bible truths he learned brought him comfort and hope. Though he later ceased active participation, he never stopped believing what he had been taught, and he remained supportive of his family’s efforts for the rest of his life.

dad-gingerHe loved animals of all kinds, and used his carpentry skills to build many barns, pens, and cages to house all of the family’s numerous pets. He and Betty enjoyed feeding the birds and other wildlife on their property. They never turned away a stray cat, and adopted many cats and dogs over the years. He was especially fond of his last dog, a Chow Chow named Ginger, who went everywhere with him.

Carl was a homebody, but he did enjoy several trips with his family to Prince Edward Island in Canada, and also Florida. He liked his pickup trucks and classic country music.

Carl was predeceased by his parents and his older brother Donald. He is survived by his wife Betty of New Gloucester, his stepson David J. Albert of Texas, his stepdaughter Kathleen L. (Albert) Fortman and her husband John of Wiscasset, his stepson Gregory C. Grover and his wife Jodi of Raymond, his daughter Cheryl A. (Pierce) Stringer and her husband William “Ed” of New Gloucester, his son John D. Pierce of Bangor, his sister Evelyn Roberts of Portland, and several nieces and nephews.

There will be no funeral services. Family and friends are invited to a gathering at the Stringer home on Sunday, February 26, from 1:00PM on.

If friends desire, to honor Carl’s great love for animals, donations can be made in his memory to an animal shelter of your choice.

Goodbye Dad, you will always be with me.

Melancholy Hideaway

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When you spend many hours and even days alone you have uninterrupted time to think, time to ponder questions of value to the betterment of your life. Conclusions are reached, decisions made without distractions, clear is my mind in the early morning mist. And yet, somethings are still dim in the light of day no matter the effort.

This last week has been a roller coaster of trials in my mind. I finally procured a bed at a nursing home for my father that was much closer to the family, and alot more “homey” in the hopes of improving his quality of life for however much time he has left. All was well for 2 days until he had an outburst of anger and violence that led to his being removed to a local hospital, something I wrote about in my last post.

I now sit in my truck 1500 miles away, unable to sleep due to the stress of the week. There were some questions as to whether the nursing home would take him back or if I would have to find another place for him. My effort to give him a better quality of life was crumbling before me, my attempt at doing the right thing clouded by uncertainty. Today they said they would take him back on Monday, Maybe I will sleep tonight.

As I lay back in my melancholy hideaway I cant help but feel a great need to separate myself from the world. I close the privacy curtain and allow myself to feel free from the strife of my burden, free to let my mind roam to the open sea that I so desperately long for. Visions of sunrises with nothing but my dog and a seagull for company, a sunset with the soft sway as swells gently lull me into a blissful slumber.

I know that the things I do for my parents are the calling I was born to, the truest form of giving I can hope to accomplish in my life. I do this not out of a hope for notice but because it is the right thing to do. I will go to my grave knowing I did my best to give my folks the support they need at the most vulnerable time of their lives, a time when they have to relinquish some control over their well being to those who care most for them. I will not fail them in this en devour.

I gladly put my life on hold, my dreams of a life on the water can wait. NOTHING in this world is more important the commitment of a person to their parents, for without them we would not be here to dream. My time will come, my dreams will be fulfilled. My melancholy hideaway will change from the cab of this truck to the cockpit of my future sailboat on the open sea.

My dream of freedom from the modern society will never be quashed, only delayed. My goal of self sufficiency is not unattainable. I will achieve my ultimate goal, it’s just a matter of time.



Lately, Seems I’ve Been Chasing What Times Resolved

That line is from my favorite song and it holds even more meaning to me today. I’m going to see my father at the psychiatric ward in a major hospital in Maine. 

He has been brought here twice in the last week from a nursing home I finally got him placed in due to violent outbursts. His dementia has taken over almost all rational thought, and paranoia has moved in. 

He feels trapped by locked doors and nobody is going to stop him from leaving. Last night he started throwing things, got hold of a cane and threatened staff so he had to be removed by police and an ambulance. 

This morning at the hospital he became violent again and had to be physically restrained and sedated. This may end up being the balance of his life on this earth…drugged to the point of compliance, halfway between life and death.

My relationship with my father has been strained, even hostile at times, but he’s my father and I will protect him as best I can till the end, I will not dessert him.

As I sit in his room wathching him sleep I feel the enormity of my loss, the depth of his suffering. It’s now to late to have a real relationship with him, time has resolved that hope.It’s almost time to say goodbye.