Joe’s Journal

The Grinch vs Santa’s Elves

Posted:  Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 8:15am
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Well, the Grinch tried to do it again.

This time, he was disguised as a misguided nut job who tried to bomb the New York City subway.

Video furnished by NYC officials shows the bomber walking down an underground corridor when he is engulfed in smoke. Seconds later, he is on the ground on his back. Police say he tried to detonate a pipe bomb strapped to his body. Experts say he survived because most of the explosives didn’t ignite. If it had worked, he would not be in a hospital awaiting police questioning, and dozens of commuters would be in a hospital or worse.

Of course, New Yorkers, being New Yorkers, mostly ignored his act and were really irked because the subway schedule interruption made them late for work.

As much as we like to blame people “from away” for everything up and to summer traffic jams, we admire the “carry on” community spirit in NYC, and earlier, in Boston the same spirit that refused to let terrorists spoil their daily routines. We stand with them, and applaud.

This NYC incident is the latest in a series of horribles trying to dampen our traditional holiday spirits.

Just take a peek at the TV news and you will find talking heads anchoring segments filled with awful news.

Take your pick. How about the California fires? Thousands of acres ablaze as residents (and firefighters) who built their homes in the gentle wooded hillsides were forced to flee as towering flames raced towards their backyards.

The only good news in that story was the cell phone camera footage of a guy in short pants coaxing a little bunny to safety.

Back on the other TV channel, we see images as Palestinians riot against the Israelis over which side should have title to Jerusalem.

Then on another channel, there is a national embarrassment, a political campaign which had nothing to do with foreign policy, taxes, immigration or health care.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live on the coast of Maine are most likely not terrorist targets. With a flick of a thumb, we can make the bad news go away.

So, I call your attention to my favorite newspapers, The Boothbay Register and The Wiscasset Newspaper, for a bit of good news.

You can read a story of how Boothbay lobstermen Doug Carter, Billy Hallinan and others worked to pull Dave Reinhardt's lobster boat, Head Tide, off the shore at Mill Cove. Just neighbors and fishermen lending a helping hand. Merry Christmas.

At the Railway Village, kids could ride a train to the North Pole where Santa listened to their Christmas wishes. At the Harbor Lights Festival Santa ditched his Choo-Choo for a boat ride where he and his bride waltzed to the Memorial Library where they held court for dozens of youngsters.

Each child was given a present that was wrapped by the intrepid library ladies. I’ll bet it was a book.

Wiscasset merchants put aside their feud with the Maine DOT and presented a great Holiday Marketfest featuring lots of shopping, as well as a brass band, hot chocolate treats, a food truck, horse-drawn carriage rides and, of course, Christmas carols.

On Monday, a group of old U.S. Marines, Barry Sherman, Phil Chapman and Alan McLaughlin, hopped into Sherman’s van and drove to more than 30 locations to pick up toys for the famed USMC “Toys for Tots” program.

“We stopped in Boothbay, Damariscotta, Bath, Topsham and filled the van up four times,” said Sherman.

Then they delivered their goodies to an old hanger at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station where the U.S. Marine reserve detachment was storing the “goodies.”

“Joe, I never saw anything like it,” said Sherman. “You can’t believe how many toys they stored in that hanger. They said they have enough toys for about 19,000 kids. They were sorting them by sex and age for distribution by civic organizations like the VFW and the American Legion and the Salvation Army.”

Included in the “stash” of toys, Sherman said he saw hundreds of penguins that were sent to 9-year-old Jacob Thompson, a cancer victim who died in November.

We were all touched by the story of  little Jacob. The smiling youngster knew the end was near, but he wanted to celebrate Christmas just one more time. After folks from around the nation learned his story they sent him hundreds of cards and lots of presents.

Along the way, Jacob mentioned he loved penguins, so secret Santas sent him dozens and dozens of toy penguins.

After his death, Jacob’s folks donated many of the toy penguins to the Marine “Toys for Tots” program.

Leave it to a little boy to show us the real meaning of Christmas by sharing his toys with others.

Merry Christmas to all.