Friday, December 7, 2018

Insight: Peace on Earth, can it be?


By Lorraine Glowczak

This past weekend was packed with holiday activities that I found myself attending including, craft fairs, Festival of Trees and other events that included the Annual AmFam Holiday Tradition by the Windham Chamber Singers.

I also attended the Old-Fashioned Christmas Carol and Readers’ Theater hosted by Faith Lutheran Church where I got to hear a favorite Christmas song that always brings tears to my eyes – the David Bowie/Bing Crosby rendition of the combined “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” holiday harmony.

Peace is something we want and hope for year-round but especially during the holiday season. But as we know, observe and experience, it seems an impossible dream.

This publication day, December 7, marks 77 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. That morning’s attack has famously become “a day that will live in infamy.”

Of course, I wasn’t alive when this event occurred, but I was alive during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. From that experience and the frightening, tumultuous days that followed, there was very little sense of peace in most Americans’ hearts. I suspect the same was true of those alive on that cold December morning as everyone was preparing for the glorious holiday season.

This is where the juxtaposition of life makes things a bit hazy and confusing – where the lines are fuzzy as we grapple with contradictory ideology. Yes. We all want peace. But sometimes that begs war in order to achieve it.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II was over, peace did reign again in our nation, at least for a while. And it seems the cycle returns again and again - peace, war, peace, war. And, although we face many circumstances today that can render the soul into sadness, for the most part - here in our homes in Windham and Raymond – there is for now – a sense of peace.

There are two ironic and fascinating facts about these two songs – sung together. First, the Little Drummer Boy was written in 1941 – the year of the Pearl Harbor attacks. There is no evidence that the composer/writer of the holiday classic, Katherine Kennicott Davis, wrote it with peace in mind, but as author Penelope Hart wrote on Holidappy.com, “’'Little Drummer Boy' crosses genres, boundaries, borders, beliefs [as stars] like Bing Crosby to rock god guitarist Jimmy Hendrix, from Marlene Dietrich to Johnny Cash” each performed the song. Crossing and accepting boundaries – accepting one another as we are - is one step toward peace and - going out on limb – may also be a preventable measure to war. (Although, I must admit, it’s not always that simple.)

As for the “Peace on Earth” portion of the melody, it was written specifically for Bowie as he performed the song with Bing Crosby in his holiday television special – on September 11, 1977. It’s just simply an interesting fact that may beg some reflection. Again, acceptance and respect of one another may have prevented the attacks on September 11, 2001. And, again – I may be going out on a limb with that suggestion and of course, nothing really is ever that simple.

I wish I could offer some guarantee or some deep and amazing insight regarding a peace that is eternal. But since I can’t, I would like to end with the last verse of “Peace on Earth” lyrics: “I pray my wish will come true. For my child and your child, too. He'll see the day of glory. See the day when men of good will live in peace, live in peace again. Peace on earth, can it be…..can it be.”

May peace be with you and begin with you.













Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor and area Lakes Region community: 

Our 2018 election cycle is essentially over. Some are happy, some are sad, some are angry and some don’t care. We are all hopeful for a change in attitude from partisan politics, deep polarization and division amongst most of us, including family and friends. I invite you to join us at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church this Advent and Christmas for a bit of peace and hope.

Recently, a gunman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed multiple unsuspecting worshipers. The motive was described as a hate crime and blatant Antisemitism. Yet again, a young man descended upon a nightclub in Thousand Oaks, CA and opened fire on a crowded bar of revelers. More dead and no motive realized, the shooter took his own life after his rampage. I invite you to our church this Advent and Christmas to pray for the victims and their families and experience some peace and hope.

Wildfires continue to rage out of control in California with a growing list of victims and property damage. Unbelievable scenes of carnage and wreckage flood the media. We ask ourselves is this the beginning of the end-times? I invite you to Church to immerse yourselves in peace and hope.

Our world is filled with division, hatred, pain and suffering. Our Church can be for you and your family a place of peace, joy, fellowship and love. I invite you to join us for worship at either 8 a.m. or 10 a.m., on the four Sundays of Advent beginning December 1, and for any of our three Christmas Eve services at 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Perhaps you’ve been away from the Church for a while, maybe you never consider going to any church, or maybe you are new to the area. Advent is a time of “new beginnings” and maybe the timing is right for you to make your way to us this December. I know it can be difficult to enter through the double red doors when it hasn’t been a habit lately, or ever. But I assure you that you will find a warm welcome, unconditional acceptance, and a loving community just happy to see you.
May God bless you and keep you safe.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Tim Higgins, Rector
St. Ann’s Episcopal Church

PS: Please call or send an email anytime at 892-8447 or revtimhiggins@gmail.com.


Dear Editor,

Thank you to the Windham Eagle and Walter Lunt for the wonderful article on Doctor Sidney Branson. The article inspired me to write a short piece about Doc Branson and the ways that he impacted my life.

Doctor Sidney Branson delivered me into this world. Throughout my life, Sidney Branson was much more than our family doctor. As a boy, I remember Cub Scout meetings in the basement of his home in South Windham. His wife, Nora, was one of our leaders. I, like all the other scouts, was fascinated by Dr. Branson’s extensive model train display in the basement of that home. Dr. Branson’s son, John, and I were good friends. I remember marching in Memorial Day parades. I was wearing my Cub Scout uniform and Doc Branson was marching in his military uniform. I looked up to him and the other service members as heroes.

As an adult, I would drive a classic car in the parade and Dr. Branson was still marching. The first year that he could no longer walk in the parade and had to ride was a watershed moment for me. This was the moment that I first realized that members of America’s “Greatest Generation” were getting older.

In my years on the Windham Town Council, Dr. Branson was very supportive. I vividly remember a proposed ordinance to restrict movies that could be shown at the newly planned movie theater in Windham. It was a very controversial issue and in the end,  I voted against the proposal. This was not the way “popular opinion” seemed to indicate, but it was the way I knew that I had to vote. In the hours and days that that followed, I had second thoughts about my vote. Later that week, I received a note from Sid Branson thanking me for defending free speech and our “first amendment rights”. At that point, I knew I had made the correct decision.

While planning for the 250th anniversary celebration of Windham, in 1987, we needed a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony. We wanted someone who could speak about the way Windham was throughout the years. In my mind, Dr. Branson was the logical choice. He agreed to speak and did an excellent job.

During my years on earth, I have known many great people. I will always remember Sidney Branson as one of the greatest.

Gary Plummer


Friday, November 30, 2018

Insight: Dogs matter, too


By Mary Emerson

Mary Emerson, The Windham Eagle’s Office Manager, had an experience she wanted to share with our readers. So, I am giving the Eagle readers a break from me and my insight so that Mary can offer a perspective in which we all can identify. Lorraine Glowczak


For our team at The Windham Eagle, Wednesdays are publication days and making plans on a Wednesday night is a bold move. Our staff often stays late to make sure all parts of the paper come together. However, last week I was on a mission to leave by 5 p.m. to meet my roommate and our boyfriends for dinner in Westbrook. To make such a plan was risky, on my part, but I was really craving wings - and nothing gets in between me and a wing night with friends.

All went smoothly, and I was able to leave early. On my way home, I took my usual route and followed Pope Road. Just after the well-known sharp curve on Pope Road, I noticed two cars slowing down on the opposite side of the road. Before I knew it, I saw a white dog run across the road with a retractable leash attached, dragging behind it. After the dog passed us, I continued forward a little to find a place to turn around and see if I was able to help.

I was expecting the others who slowed down for the “getaway dog” would have pulled over to help the dog as well. Neither did stop, so I was on my own. When I pulled up to the house where the dog ran towards, I could see it had gotten caught on the porch by its leash. The house owner had already noticed the cars slowing down by his house and greeted me at their deck.

Together, we decided that taking the lost dog to the Windham Police Department would be the best plan. I delivered the dog to the station and Officer Brokos took it from there – taking the happy-go-lucky pup to the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook. He was reunited with his owners shortly after that.

Although I was on my way to meet friends and very excited about my evening plans, there was something about taking time to help that dog. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my dinner date if I hadn’t. In fact, I had called my boyfriend to tell him that we might be adopting a dog if the owner wasn’t found.

Clearly, it doesn’t take much for me to get attached. I knew that if I had accidentally lost control of my dog that I would appreciate another person’s help. The fact is that giving, even when you know you will not receive anything in return,  is very rewarding.

Not just this holiday season, but in everyday life, I will continue to challenge myself and invite you to join me - to go out of your way to help others. I guarantee you will not regret how rewarding it feels to make a difference in a dog’s life. After all, dogs matter, too. Especially to their owners.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Insight: The science of gratitude

By Lorraine Glowczak

Snow turns the world into one huge outdoor adventure for my dog, Zarah. She prances, runs, eats it and sticks her nose as far into the snow as she can. The fact that she is unable to speak my language, her joyful play makes it obvious how grateful and happy she is.

A happy dog in snow
The snow this past Friday was no different, but I noticed something that I hadn’t observed before. Once the newness of the snow wore off, Zarah let the beagle in her take over and began sniffing out the voles that make their home under the snow. At one point, her nose and head were buried so deep in the snow, intent on catching her prey that she missed an easy catch as a vole popped up from the white ground behind her and ran in a hopping manner toward the woods.

Smiling, I remember the times I was so intent on reaching for a goal that I missed what was right before me. They say feeling grateful helps to correct narrow vision, at least that is what Annette Bridges suggests in this week’s quote, “Gratitude helps us to see what is there instead of what isn’t.”

Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for those things we have, and in doing so, it helps us see those things we often miss throughout the year. There is some evidence that being thankful on a daily basis contributes to psychological health and makes us more joyful.

Before I continue, I think it is important to recognize that the holidays can be a time of sadness and anxiety for some who grieve what is not there (family, friends, etc.) The absence of these things cannot and should not be easily dismissed nor the feelings associated with those absences. If this is the case for you, may there be some peace in your heart as you go through this holiday season.

But, for the typical, everyday experience, Harvard Health online states, “Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

A Science Daily article concurs with the above findings. “Numerous studies show that expressing and experiencing gratitude increases life satisfaction, vitality, hope, and optimism. It contributes to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, envy, and job-related stress and burnout. Perhaps most intriguing is that people who experience and express gratitude have reported fewer symptoms of physical illness, more exercise, and better quality of sleep.”

But if you are still not convinced that being thankful plays a role in a more joyful life, you can perform your own study. You don’t have to be a traditionally trained scientist to discover if these findings are true for you. Test it out. Try gratitude for a certain amount of time and – see what happens.

Now, back to the gratitude experienced by my dog last week. I’m curious how grateful she might be about the snow if she had to shovel the sidewalk.

From our home to yours…..Happy Thanksgiving.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Support is needed for caregivers.

Caregiving is a labor of love. You take care of your loved one’s personal needs, you are their safety officer, their advocate.

My wife, Deb, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Deb used to read two books a week. That went away. She started having cognitive problems. Her condition continued to worsen, and she stopped working.

At first, life was not too different. Deb still got around and volunteered at Meals on Wheels. Slowly, the ability to cook, to read, etc. went away. In 2013, I reduced my work hours to give Deb greater care. Finally, in 2014, I stopped working, retiring three years earlier than planned. We lived on Social Security and savings. Medical insurance was over $1,000 per month until I was eligible for Medicare.
Caregiving is on the job training. You regularly change routines and activities as your loved one’s condition deteriorates. Deb’s condition worsened and safety issues developed. She now lives in an assisted living facility. Even though Deb has a new residence, it is still my job to be her caregiver, particularly as her advocate.

Caregiving is costly. Not just in dollars, but in the physical and emotional toll it takes. In my case, I had to retire three years early, coordinate adult daycare services for Deb, and ultimately place her in a facility. These services are expensive.

I think of other retired caregivers who are unable to afford services for their loved ones and the son or daughter caring for a parent who must reduce their work hours. The financial burden on the whole family can be devastating.

Caregivers need support so they can do the best job possible for their loved ones. I urge our elected leaders to do all they can to bring supports and services to Maine caregivers next session.

Deb Weldon/Tom O’Connor


Friday, November 16, 2018

Insight: Thanks for giving


Lorraine Glowczak

It’s hard to believe that when everyone receives next week’s edition of The Windham Eagle (arriving early in your mailboxes on Wednesday), preparations will be underway for Thanksgiving Day celebrations. I, for one, am astonished that most of us will be carving a turkey in less than a week - which will then open the doors to countless holiday parties and invitations.

As the excitement and holiday flurry begin, so will the increased invitation to help others who are facing hardships in various ways. This is an inspiring time of the year and the action to serve others falls under the true meaning of the season. But many among us have pointed out that we slide back into our old and comfortable ways after the tinsel, candles and lights are packed away for another year - foregoing the spirit of giving after the holidays are long gone.

Although there is truth in that statement – it’s been my observation that the spirit of giving continues in the Windham and Raymond communities beyond the holidays. I am lucky that I get to see these actions more frequently since many amazing stories land before me in my role as a writer and editor. As a result, I have the advantage to witness these good deeds more than the average person. I am often humbled by how this community digs deep, rolls up their sleeves to serve in ways that are needed and appreciated.

It is true that we are far from being the perfect community as we face many challenges – but that should not take away from the reality of our endeavors that create positive change and a better life for others. Here is a list of just a few examples this community provides for each other throughout the year:

*Weekly free Monday Meals provided by the collaborative efforts of area churches for all members in the Lakes Region.

*Local school efforts to help those in need such at Windham High School’s annual Powerserve in May.

*Raymond’s Age Friendly initiative that serves the older generation and fosters intergenerational community with intention of creating safe places for all.

*Various and almost weekly fundraising efforts by individuals, organizations and businesses that help victims of cancer, accidents, fires and more.

*The Windham and Raymond Food pantry and the organic, fresh vegetables given to them by local farmers and gardeners.

*This list could go on and on, but I only have limited space in which to share with you the many, many ways in which this community freely gives.

So, I’ve decided this Thanksgiving, when it comes time for me to express my gratitude, the one thing that I’ll be most grateful for is that I am part of an exceptional community that gives every day, keeping the spirit of the holidays going all year round.



Letters to the Editor


Editor’s note: The following letters are published in the order they have been received.

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the 230,000 AARP members in our state, AARP Maine congratulates Maine’s Governor-elect, the Senators and Representatives who will serve in the 129th state legislature, and Maine’s federal elected officials who will represent us in Washington in 2019. 

While Maine has a strong record of voter turnout, this year’s mid-term election season inspired record numbers of voters to make their voices heard at the polls and through absentee ballots. 

During the last few weeks our office engaged with thousands of AARP members and their families around the state. We conducted a statewide survey of Maine voters 50-plus and released the results in early September. We organized non-partisan community conversations on healthcare, hosted gubernatorial candidate tele-town hall forums and co-sponsored televised debates with the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates. Our goal was to listen to the concerns of Maine voters 50-plus and offer opportunities for candidates to share their positions with Maine’s largest voting bloc.

With the elections now over, Mainers are eager to hear from those elected on how they will fulfill their campaign promises. How will our federal representatives protect Social Security and Medicare? 

How will our state legislators expand community services and support so older Mainers can age in place? How will they enable rural communities to be better connected through improved transportation options and broadband? How can both federal and state officials work to lower the cost of skyrocketing prescription drugs upon which so many older Mainers rely?

These are just some of the concerns we heard about through our voter engagement initiatives this fall. In just a few weeks, the next session will be underway, and AARP Maine welcomes the opportunity to work with the Governor-elect and state and federal lawmakers on these critical issues.

Rich Livingston
AARP Maine Volunteer State President

Dear Editor,

Thank you to the people of Windham for your kind words of support, encouragement and votes. I am honored and humbled to have been a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives for District #25 in Windham. All along the campaign trail, I listened to voters in our District voice their concerns about rising health care costs and aging in place, rising property taxes largely due to the State not meeting its funding obligations, business regulatory issues, State road repair delays, and concerns over the lack of progress on the cleanup and redevelopment of the Keddy Mill Superfund Site. All of these issues rightfully deserve attention in Augusta. 

Thanks to all of the volunteers who drove while I knocked on doors, helped with campaign signs, hosted signs, made clean elections donations on my behalf, wrote letters to the editor, and gave me moral support. Thanks to Ben, my campaign advisor, Marissa, my campaign treasurer, and Andrew for entering all my data. 

Most importantly, thanks to my family - Brian for filling in on many family duties while I was out knocking on doors, Nathaniel for creating my website, Matthew for sign help, and my mom, Harriet, for riding with me while I was knocking on doors on those few days I did not have a driver. I couldn’t have done it without all of you. Again, thank you!

Jennie Butler 



Dear Editor,

Another Veterans Day is in the books. The American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 for the first time in recent history elected to participate in the Legion Poppy Program. A reminder, all funds donated to the Legion can only be used to support Veterans and their families and service members and their families.

I wanted to spend a few minutes to thank the community for their great support this Veterans Day weekend and to share on a few stories or comments that were passed on to the Post and Auxiliary members. One woman never heard of the program and my Auxiliary partner gave her a brief history of the Poppy Program dating back to 1919. A gentleman accepted the poppy and indicated that he would wear it proudly on his hat in memory of his WWII father who passed away this year at age 94.

Another woman whose Korean War veteran husband had passed away some years ago said that she looked forward to the poppies and that she has made a wreath of them in memory of her husband and would add the poppy to the wreath.
 
Most people given a poppy stopped for a moment in their busy lives, smiled with words of encouragement and said thank you.

Thank you for supporting veterans. All that sharing from the simple act, the simple pleasure of presenting a single paper poppy to someone was heartwarming.

David Tanguay

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity and give a thank you the individual who walked into Corsetti's in Windham and left $50 at the register with instructions it was to be used to pay for purchase made by any veteran. It is this kind thought and appreciation that goes so much further than money can buy. Thank you whoever you are.

Stephen Signor
Windham


Dear Editor,

I'd like to thank my supporters and Windham's people who cast a vote to send me back to the State House. Many of you have been so welcoming and willing to share your thoughts and concerns year after year on doorsteps while I've been campaigning. Please, keep that communication coming my way.

Both Maine and Windham have many challenges ahead of us and my promise will always be to evaluate legislation based on its particular merit and approach my work in a judicious manner. I will always work to improve the lives of House District 25's people.
I appreciate and honor the support you've given me over the years.

Rep. Patrick Corey

Dear Editor,

I am writing to thank the residents in House District 66 (parts of Raymond, Casco and Poland) for turning out to vote last week and for entrusting me with a second term as State Representative. A very special thank you to those who have shared their thoughts with me during office hours, at doors, or via email and social media. These contacts with constituents continue to guide me as a Representative, and this campaign has been such a wonderful opportunity for me to hear so many voters’ stories and to better understand the issues that are important to people in the District.

I’d also like to take the time to recognize the folks who worked tirelessly at the polls, most of them volunteers, on Election Day. They deserve our sincere gratitude, as this day of heavy voter participation was a long one. Our poll workers showed such patience and diligence in making sure that all voters had what they needed to cast their ballots. 

Our democracy depends on people willing to participate, both by voting and by volunteering in their community during an election.

As we begin a new Legislative session with a new Governor, I hope that you will continue to reach out with your thoughts about state government and the issues that interest you. Please feel free to email me at jessica.fay@legislature.maine.gov or call me at 415-4218.

It continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to serve the people of Raymond, Casco and Poland.

Jessica Fay
State Representative
Maine House District 66

Dear Editor,

In our lifetime we set goals that we work consistently toward. Goals, however, are seldom accomplished single handedly. If we are fortunate, good and caring people assist in “Staying the Course” that leads to the full realization of Victory!

One of my favorite sayings comes from our Sabbathday Lake Shaker Society…”the more the hands the lighter the work”.  How true these words are and how much this saying plays in a successful outcome. At this time of year as we reflect on our blessings with our family and friends, I want to “Thank You” for your support in my jaunt for re-election to the Maine State House of Representatives. Each of you impacted the final Tally and the “Winning” results!

I am excited for this honor to continue to serve you and represent our House District #67. We will face difficult and challenging issues for certain, but I am set to continually engage in moving Maine forward!

My best wishes to you for a blessed, joyous Thanksgiving and Christmas Season with those you love and hold dear!

Warmly,
Rep. Sue M. W. Austin  
Proudly Serving the Good Folks of Dist. 67
Portions of Gray, Raymond, Casco, and all of Frye Island
In God We Trust

Dear Editor,

We would like to express our thanks to the Good Samaritans who called police and rescue when we were in an accident on election night.

To Windham Police officers Brokos and Stubbs, and especially to EMT personnel Mike Beneke and Logan Doak, we are very grateful for your kind and professional care.

Wilbur and Barbara Hall