If it’s Father’s Day — well, it was two days ago — then the message must be sports-related.
My father, Doug Brown, died four years ago.
Most memories of Dad are centered around sports, especially this time of the year.
Father’s Day was always celebrated at our cozy little cottage on Branch Lake in Ellsworth.
Dad bought the little place when I was in junior high school. Back in the day, we had a bright red Polaris Snowtraveler.
I was never much of an outdoorsman, but Dad always was. The middle-1960s was my first sojourn into ice fishing.
My friend Stanley and I enjoyed being out on the lake, fishing for perch in the cold, and there was nothing quite like being out in our little shack, waiting for the fish to bite.
The best times, however, were the ones which saw us in Dad’s boat as he trolled masterfully along the big lake before dark for perch with us young kids.
We could see the fire on our beach, waiting for the catch, which would be fried up for the hungry brood. Ah, those were the days.
Other sports memories, which are also recalled this time of the year, are the water skiing trips across the lake, with Dad’s strong, steady hand, guiding the craft with an anxious skier behind, waiting for the nod of that big, bald head for just the right minute to be pulled.
On one occasion, my friend Jim, the local pastor’s son, held on tight, got the nod, then held on tight some more as the boat lifted him off the dock.
Unbeknownst to the preacher’s kid, his Speedo swimsuit was hooked to a nail, and off they went, with Jim’s suit stuck to the dock.
Jim was off and running, but his bathing suit remained behind.
It took all of us a little while to figure out all the hoopla going on around that side of Branch.
Dad turned and saw what all the fuss shore side was all about and turned too quickly to bring the embarrassed youngster back to the beach, landing Jim on the sand, where he tumbled without his suit into the shoreline and landed in a small grove of bushes.
The lad was OK, and to this day, tales of Branch Lake water skiing still include that story.
We miss you, Dad, especially this time of the year, when tales of fishing and the outdoor pleasures of Branch Lake and you and your pal Bill Wilkinson still abound.
Happy Father’s Day again to you, Dad. It will never quite be the same here without you on the chilly lake.
I would like to lend my voice to the cheering throng, honoring the 50-year career in education of Walker “Eddie” Oakes.
I had the privilege of working alongside the gifted teacher at Penquis Valley High School in Milo in the late 1970s.
What I remember most, however, were the times we had together when Eddie kept the score clock in the Penquis gym for all our home games. As coach, I appreciated his prompt professionalism, and I especially appreciated all the fun — I sat to Eddie’s direct left — discussing the game and the ins and the outs of Penquis basketball.
Enjoy your retirement, Eddie. You were one of a kind.