OKAY.  I am deaf.  I have these expensive instruments in my ears that people get rich selling, but they are only a patch, not a cure for a damned thing.  What’s this about? I got this movie in the English language with French and Spanish subtitles. NO ENGLISH!  I tried about 15 minutes of it and didn’t catch a single goddamned word!  All of these people were mumbling into their armpits.  If I were king, it would be a prison offense to even think of marketing any movie with English actors without English subtitles in the USA. What level of arrogance is this? It is common practice for American movies to have English subtitles. AND I hasten to add, there are English actors who can actually ENUNCIATE.  But of course, I have the same problem with children and breathy voiced women. Did I mention that I am hearing impaired?  I’m going to bed and read. At least I can imagine good enunciation.

Most of the fiery maples are gone now.  Poplar and Ash.  But the later oaks and shrubs are coming into an unusual display of deep and misty hues.  I kept saying to myself, I’ve taken enough of these pictures.  Enough!  But just today on a brief trip to North Yarmouth, I was simply amazed – arrested – stopped in my tracks.  Out comes the iPhone and through the windshield again (a few water spots notwithstanding) as I drove home I found these scenes that I shall always remember as the brightest spot in an otherwise dreary afternoon.  Within a mile of the house mists were settling into the woods and the colors were softened and deepened in the fading light.  I hope you enjoy them.  JH


It’s dark and rainy. It was dark and rainy yesterday before noon and then sunny and dry. It doesn’t look that hopeful today. It has also been a slow morning. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I just thought I’d have more going on by now and I don’t. The next thing I know it’s noon and I feel the distinct urgings of hunger, or rather a lunch time habit.

I decided to pull out the little container of spicy collard greens I made the other evening and eat some cold with a cold biscuit. Don’t bother trying to understand. It’s a childhood memory. A southern childhood memory at that. There I am lying in bed in Baton Rouge one evening, telling my father that I was hungry and he brings to me, in bed, a cold biscuit with cold turnip greens in it and I thought it was like candy. I am certain he felt it would cure me of ever asking for food so late in the evening again. I found out later it was a favorite of his. I didn’t know such a thing was done. He seemed delighted that I liked it. I am not sure, but I think we sort of bonded then and there.

Collards grow well in Maine. They really come into their own in the cooler late season, even into frosts. Here’s how to fix them:

Pick a nice bunch about 3 inches at the stems and strip the leafy greens from the stems. Wash them well. Boil a big pot of water and immerse the greens for a minute or two. This “blanching” removes any bitterness that might be characteristic of some of the older leaves. Drain. Lay the wet collards on a large cutting board and with a chef’s knife cut the greens cross ways into bite sized portions. In a large saucier pan or skillet or pot or whatever you like that has a cover, place a large chopped white onion along with a little olive oil. Purists will insist on bacon grease or salt pork, and I don’t have a problem with that but I was in a hurry. When the onion becomes limp and just before transparency, dump in the chopped greens, some black pepper, a little salt, a small minced really hot dried red pepper or a dash of grounded cayenne. I used some Tabasco Chipotle sauce as well. That stuff is wonderful on anything anywhere. Add some liquid. The blanching water will do or just water or stock. I also add a T or so of some kind of vinegar.  It takes things o another more stable orbit.  Cover and cook until tender. Taste for seasoning and heat.

You really want to live do this as well. Corn bread:

Mix together 1C flour, 1C yellow stone ground corn meal, 1T baking powder, 1t salt. In a measuring cup pour in 1C milk, 1/3 C maple syrup, 1/4 C melted shortening (olive oil can be used), two eggs. Whisk together well and pour into the dry stuff and mix well but do not beat.

Pour into about a dozen muffin cups, or one greased 10″ pan and put into a 450? oven on a middle or slightly higher rack and bake for about 15 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown.

You don’t really need anything else to eat but this combination goes well with pork chops, ham, even hotdogs. Don’t eat them all. Leftovers cold with a cold biscuit or piece of corn bread is the best treat. But I already said that.

Perhaps this the last of the foliage pictures this season. After all, how many different “poses” can Autumn accomplish? She is a veritable yoga master. Ruth and I are on the way to St. Mary’s in Lewiston for her weekly blood check. I commented how likely it was that the color will have passed its peak. To our pleasant surprise we found the drive spectacular.

Again I am holding my little Lumix in one hand and pointing out the windshield and hoping for – something.

Yes, I know these photos will not stand the test of great enlargement or a critical eye as there was a whole lot of shaking going on, and the windshield was dusty as well. But specially for those of you who live outside the area, it may provide another glimpse into the more or less rural byway situation here in Maine, during a spectacular fall color season.

To you who are my neighbors here in Maine, I ask your forgiveness for this redundancy.

I probably need to rest my eyes after such a workout. Don’t you agree?

Jerry Henderson


From Ruth’s window in the hospital overlooking Bates College.

It was a busy day for the owner and CEO of the GRIN ‘N BEAR IT TAXI CO LLC.

All over Cumberland County and on time at each stop. Thing is, the fall colors have come out with the cooler temperatures in banging shades of every warm color known to the rainbow. Against the azure sky and bright sunshine the contrast was stunning.

All these photos were one handed, on the fly shots through the windshield so it is exactly what I saw. No careful framing. No second takes. One shot photo opps. It is what it is. What a travesty it would be to pass by such beauty without noticing. Even better, I didn’t have to get on a bus and be herded about with 60 other “peepers” from one restaurant to the next one. A favorite phrase in our house when someone asks about the location of a doctor’s office or other destination is, “It’s just down the road”. I can say that some of the most beautiful color this fall has been, “just down the road”. And also, through the windshield.


At 3:PM today, I noticed that my shadow is 11 feet long on level ground.  All around me the light seemed slanted.  There was a slight bight in the air, not so much as to draw blood but just to make sure you don’t get too cocky.  Fall is entrenched.  No turning back.

My god why would I want to go back?  I have been there.  I can’t wait to see what forward looks like.  My shadow will get longer until the winter solstice.  I’ll be sure to report.  Slanting light is what gives character to this season, and you know it.  Moody light.  Penetrating light. Texture emphasizing light.  The little prism that hangs in my south window picks it up and scatters it in unusual places, coming in, as it does these days, at such a low angle.

Why does any of this matter?  Perhaps it does not.  But for me, it is the predictability of the whole thing. It’ll be here again next year.  That feels right and gives me some sense of place and belonging.  It is a same time next year kind of event, but without Allan Alda and Ellen Burstyn complicating things with that delightful affair of theirs.  I haven’t seen that in years.  Is it time for a reprise?

I’ll not soon forget standing in my yard at noon on a sunny December 21st when I first took up residence near the 45th parallel and saw my shadow extending several yards away.  There’s a quality to that light: bright yet distant.  That’s it, of course.  The sun is as far from us as it can be in this cycle of astronomical events.  The living universe making itself known.  I just stood there and wondered, “Where am I”?  Long shadows, where I came from, are a morning and evening phenomenon only.  I relished the moment, and still do.

Now fall colors are plentiful.  Evenings call for a sweater and perhaps a wind shell as well. My mind is focused on supper while the spheres above move inexorably in their orbital travels.  I think it’s pepperoni pizza tonight.

It befalls the lot of all of us, at one time or another, to find ourselves in someone’s waiting room.  Perhaps that of a doctor, a dentist, a land surveyor or auto repair shop.

At times we are there with someone else who is the patient/customer.  Today that’s my job as the CEO and sole employee of the regionally well known GRIN ‘N BEAR IT TAXI CO, LLC.  I am waiting for CA to have her initial PT session to deal with her busted arm, on a beautiful, clear and cool morning.

I always enter a waiting room prepared.  My constant shoulder bag is stuffed with things to read and do.  Book, notebook, iPhone – aka, Game Boy, dictionary, internet browser, email terminal, text message machine and world map.

When CA was called in, I began to settle into my routine.  I figured it would be a while.  A few quick loosing games of solitaire, an email check and one text message.  I then looked around at the local waiting room supplies and found a basket of mostly out of date news magazines.  I don’t know what that’s all about.  There was a small table next to my chair that had been artfully decorated by a clever brush hand to resemble a climbing vine of  wisteria.  There were two small baskets on the top shelf.  One contained a hand full of nice pens with a hand written sign saying to take one – they are good pens – but the address is an old one.  Then the other  one contained the usual collection of pamphlets on yoga, PT of course, general health and a small Mr. Rogers collection.  I know he’d be proud.

On the second shelf, and much to my dismay, was a well thumbed copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  When I saw it, I laughed out loud.  Perhaps, I thought, I should consider going out for a bag of snacks and a six pack.  I remembered, there was a pillow in my trunk.

I believe, by actual count, this was the 4764th waiting room of my life.  I’m good at it.  I don’t like it -I don’t put it on my resume´ – yet I am competent at waiting.  But that’s another story.  

Stay tuned.

Thirty five degrees! Now, that’s fall. Almost eight o’clock and the sun is still slanting in at a low angle. Now, that’s fall. The big maple out front has lost almost all its leaves and that without much fanfare. Now, that’s fall. A real three stick fire in my little Waterford box stove. Now, that’s fall.

It’s actually time for all that, it’s just that I’m not quite there yet. Oh, I’m here, I’m just not “there”, if you know what I mean.

I love driving down Lawrence Road toward North Pownal. As you continue out north toward Auburn, the colors are beautiful, and it’s just beginning.

We will go out to the Pettengill Farm in Freeport today for a farm demonstration and exhibition day. It should be lovely.

Is the sky that blue, or is it just the contrast with the colors, or the angle of the rays, or feeling that there will soon be less of it to see? Maybe we are just grasping at rays as they slant in southward finding new and surprising paths through our windows.

Now, that’s fall.

I suppose the expectation that life should be easy is traceable directly to Ward and June Cleaver. Or maybe it is the persistent human capacity for hope. Or maybe it’s electricity. Or maybe it’s central heat and the automatic washing machine. Whatever it is, I can imagine old Ugg and his lovely mate, Growler, hunching over their evening fire wishing for a dryer cave or a fresh kill to soften their existence sometimes in late pre-history. It wasn’t easy. It never has been.

But we keep trying to make it so. More money, better car, nicer TV, and the list goes on and on. Then the unexpected comes along. For old Ugg and Growler, it was probably a raid from the neighboring clan, or an unexpected cold snap, or a piece of leftover Saber Tooth Tiger steak somewhat past its use-by date. Maybe it wiped them out, or one of them, or set them back into a “darker” age. All we know is that somebody survived. Then there is us.

More recently, I remember having a brand new ’76 Oldsmobile Cutlas. Life was good. Going places was easy. I went for an overnight hike, one November night, in the woods down in East Texas and slept on the marge of a shallow lake by my fire snuggled into my sleeping bag. The next day I hiked out to that brand new Oldsmobile and proceeded to lock my car keys in the trunk. I was on a remote road. Have yet to see another car. The quality of my life seemed to dwindle some. There was a screwdriver.

After a while, I managed to drive the trunk lock out with my boot as a hammer applied to the screwdriver. I retrieved my keys and was on my way. Then, a few miles down the main highway, the brand new Oldsmobile began to wobble badly and I pulled off the road to see what the trouble was. A wheel had slipped off it’s bearing and was resting against the fender, which was the only thing that kept it from cavorting out across the field and into the woods. The quality of my life began to dwindle even more. Hey, I said, this is supposed to be easy and fun!

It occurred to me that whatever else I supposed my life to be, that for the moment it was all about being stranded on the side of the road in what was fondly called Deep East Texas. Deep seemed to fit. The short version goes like this: I found a phone after a short walk and called my wife and the nearest Oldsmobile dealer. Help was on the way. Meanwhile I considered my condition. Good health, a little money in my pocket, and a leftover “joint” from somewhere. It was, after all the mid-seventies. So I lit up and leaned back against that tilted wheel, and waited. I began to see clearly. All I lacked in my life was mobility. If it had not been for this expensive pile of useless automobile, I would have put on my pack and hiked to the McDonald’s in the next town and resumed my life. Then I realized that none of this had a thing to do with the quality of my life. It was my life.

It was a lesson I sometimes forget: what’s happening in my life now is what my life is all about. Not what I wish was happening, or dread will happen, but what’s going down now.

I shouldn’t want to miss it.
. . . Aw, hell. Sometimes, I think I’d like to miss just a little of it, now and then. If you know what I mean.