At this paper (and, I’m sure, in sports departments across the nation), writers are often asked to play a variety of roles that journalism professors never tell you about.
Readers aren’t only readers, you see. Some are also callers, and when you pick up a phone at 491 Main, you never know what will happen next.
Over the years, we have served as the arbiter of many bets — What number did Joe Blow wear when he played for the Mud Hens? Who was the last boxer to knock down Slugger Sloan? What year was the International Pickle-Eating Contest held in Smyrna? — from readers who view us as unbiased, well-informed observers.
Sometimes, we settle arguments between spouses. Other times, we are the equal parts TV Guide and TV repairman (What channel are the Patriots on today, and what time is the game? And while you’re at it, why is my reception fuzzy?)
Still other times, we are asked, politely, to help a reader make his friends a bit jealous.
Today, on a carefree Tuesday after our first honest-to-goodness summer weekend of the year, that’s exactly the case.
And after such a beautiful weekend, I’m happy to help a reader in need.
Harvard Adams of Levant, went fishing with his friend, Daniel McHugh, several weeks ago.
They had the fishing day of a lifetime. And Adams, who has a milestone approaching — the 50th reunion of his Brewer High School Class of 1959 is Saturday — thought this might be a good way of letting his classmates know what he’s been up to.
Adams has been fishing.
And he’s got the photos to prove it.
In a tongue-in-cheek press release he sent to this office, Adams explained the day he and McHugh enjoyed.
“Harvard Adams and Daniel McHugh, both of Levant, recently braved a heavy rain and enjoyed ‘a fishing day of a lifetime,’” Adams wrote. “They landed six brook trout, ranging in length from 14 to 22 inches, and in weight, from 2½ to 3¾ pounds. [The] total weight of the six fish [was] 15½ pounds.
“When asked where they caught the fish, Adams, 68, and McHugh, 66, both said, ‘We’re not certain if it is overexposure to the elements or a sudden onset of dementia, but we can’t remember where we caught the fish, and as a matter of fact, we’re not sure how to get home.’”
On Monday, I called Adams and asked if he’d been back to the secret fishing hole, and he admitted he hadn’t.
Granddaughters are visiting from Germany, he said.
“But it’s open through September. We’ll get back,” he said.
Allagash kids book on sale
In this line of work, it’s not uncommon to find a book or two in the daily mail.
Most times, those books are sent by publishing houses, and the package includes a brief press release and some pertinent information about the author.
The hope, obviously, is that a writer will read the book and pen a review that will give the product some needed publicity.
Other packages — some of my favorites, by the way — are a bit more personal. There’s no big publishing house involved. There’s no press agent.
There’s just a book, typically based in Maine, offered up with no bells, no whistles, and no grand explanations of the edition’s place in literary history. After a few dozen books and a few dozen pitches are sent your way, that approach is somehow refreshing.
And that was the case recently when I received an advance copy of “Allagash Tails Vol. 1, A Collection of Short Stories from Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway.”
The children’s tales, written by Tim Caverly and illustrated by Franklin Manzo Jr., will be appreciated by parents looking for some new bedtime-reading fare, and kids will likely laugh at the antics of the critters they meet.
I’ll be the first to admit calling two short stories a “collection” is a bit of a reach, but let’s not get caught up in all that.
Author Caverly, who spent 32 years in the Allagash and 18 years as supervisor of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and illustrator Manzo combine forces to produce a package that’s quaint, cute and enjoyable in typically unassuming Maine fashion.
Readers will root for Marvin (A Merganser in The Allagash Wilderness Waterway) in one story, and will cheer for Charlie (The Whitewater Beaver of the Allagash) in the other.
Marvin has bad luck, but overcomes it. Charlie, the cross-eyed, thin-tailed beaver, overcomes his disabilities and achieves great things.
Both tales share valuable messages, and parents and kids alike should enjoy them.
For more information, go to www.allagashtails.com.