Friday, December 26, 2014

Fred Collins remembers his mother's mince pie

Dear Editor,

It was near the middle of December when the incredible happened. Oh my: After the venison had been processed, ground in the old fashioned hand grinder, raisins and spices added, mother would feed the wood stove till the oven gauge hovered around 450 degrees, while mother rolled out the pastry and filled the deep dish pie plates with brother John’s trophy deer meat. When we came in from chores the room was full of spicy aroma’s that would please a king! The following lines relate to the tale that I experienced after eating mother’s creation. 

I stood upon the coping of the tallest building known. I tried to walk that dangerous ledge, barefooted and all alone. I started very bravely, then I turned to look behind and saw a demon coming of the most ferocious kind: He bade me get a move on, and I started in a run and slipped and lost my balance, and I knew that I was done. 

I had a wild encounter with a mad and awful beast, his eyes were bulged with malice, for he’d picked me for a feast. I tried to scream, but couldn’t. He growled in a fearful note, and gave one spring towards me and his fangs sank in my throat. One gulp and it was over. It was too black to see, but I knew beyond all question that the end had come for me. I tumbled from an airplane and looped and looped around and was 27 minutes on my journey to the ground. I bumped a dozen steeples on my perilous descent and left as many flagstaffs either snapped in two or bent. 

But when I woke in terror, I discovered with a sigh how much of real excitement lurks in Mother’s “hot mince pie”!

Fred Collins

Insight - Finding the positive and the change.

Tales of gratitude, love, sacrifice and giving are what you’ll read about in this week’s edition of The Windham Eagle. Having the mission and reputation of being the “positive newspaper” is difficult when social media and other media outlets are blowing up with negative news about death, murder and danger. The difficult part is not finding the positive news, it’s trying to drown out the depressing news stories.
It’s the holidays. We are supposed to love one another, give freely to our family, friends and neighbors. People are doing that in record numbers and I witnessed people doing this while shopping with the Windham Police Department. I also saw people coming up to the officers and thanking them for all of the work they do. Thanking them for keeping the students in Windham and Raymond safe. It was good to see. 

With the death of the two NYC police officers, I have to wonder what our society is coming to. Why would someone think it was okay to take someone’s life without cause, without provocation? It’s tragic. It’s unthinkable. Is there a way we can change society so we don’t want to harm one another? Is there some kind of Kool-Aid we can all drink that will make us positive, giving and happy? 

I’m afraid not. Our world is changing and I only hope that we can reverse the direction of the drain and pull ourselves out of this downward spiral. 

Here at The Windham Eagle, positive news, raising up our community and bring everyone together is what we are all about. We want to work together, give praise to those who do unique, interesting and special things. We want your young children to read the paper and not be scared by what is in there. Sometimes we have to write about issues in the towns we cover, but we get the facts and write about it in a thoughtful and educational way. 

We are different at The Windham Eagle. We know it and our readers know it. Be a part of the positive change. We’ll be there with you.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Peace on Earth. Good will toward all. 

Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you. 


Fred Collins letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

Dear Eagle readers, for those that find it difficult to find peace and stability in today’s uncertain world – “I found loveliness today, down along life’s broad highway, saw its beauty in the trees, heart it whisper in the breeze: Listed it in song bird’s trill, then again in flowing rill: Felt its warmth in glad sunshine, rhythm caught in swaying pine, all along life’s broad highway, I found loveliness today. I found loveliness today, down along life’s broad highway, beauty in pastures green, next in clouds of silvery sheen, golden glow at break of day; joy in children at their play; scented odor of wild rose, peace I found where violet grows. All along life’s broad highway, “I found loveliness today.”

Fred Collins

Insight - Keeping our children safe - By Michelle Libby

No one wants to return to work on Monday morning to discover not one, but two threats against people and places. Thus was the case on Monday morning in Windham. A little after 9 a.m., students were told to go to their buses and go home. 
Parents scrambled as the emergency notices, texts and phone calls started. Fear clenched the hearts of many, until their children had been returned safely to them. 

We’ve been following this incident as it unfolds and will continue to monitor as suspects are questioned and finally someone is arrested and charged with felony terrorizing. I have full faith that our police in Windham and the State of Maine have found this person and will prosecute him or her to the extent of the law. 

Kudos must go out to the RSU14 administration, teachers, ed. techs., bus drivers and students, who handled the evacuation with poise and control. The students have practiced these drills over and over. They know what they are supposed to be doing and to listen to their teachers. 

It’s tragic that this day and age we no longer worry about fire drills, but now we have to be concerned with code red drills and lock down procedures.  

I can’t stress how important it has been to the parents to get the notifications, to see Superintendent Sandy Prince’s Twitter messages and to read the notes. His first priority is to make the schools safe. He then communicates with the parents. He’s doing an amazing job keeping us updated on what’s happening.
One mother said she would never complain about being on the alert list that usually signifies a snow day. That was a crucial tool this week and continues to be a source people turn to. 

Some parents are upset about the lack of facts and information coming from the head of RSU14. They are demanding information before they send their children back to school. To that we have to remember that no one wants to see anything bad happen in our community. The schools will not reopen until the administration is sure students, teachers and staff are safe. 

Our job as parents needs to start with supporting the school district and the people we pay and trust to do the right thing. We must have faith in our trained police officers, who keep us and our family safe every day. And, we must know that justice will be served. 

For now, I hope you enjoyed the days off with your children. Hug them often and take the time to make sure they understand that they are safe.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Letter to the editor from Fred Collins - Report cards and effort

Dear Editor,

To those alumni of Windham, I recall those years of learning. Perhaps you remember the points when we took our rank cards home to be signed. The following lines remind me also:

“He brought me his report card from the teacher and he said, he wasn’t very proud of it and sadly bowed his head. He was excellent in reading, but arithmetic was fair and I notice there were several ‘Unsatisfactorys’ there. But on little bit of credit which was given brought me joy – he was ‘excellent in effort’ and I fairly hugged the boy. Just keep excellent in effort – all the rest will come to you, there isn’t any problem but someday you’ll learn to do and at last when you grow older you will come to understand that by hard and patient toiling men have risen to command and someday you will discover when a greater goal’s at stake, that better far than brilliance is the effort you will make.

Fred Collins