Walking into work on Saturday was brightened by graffiti on the parking lot dumpster.

In white chalk, taking up most of the front on the container, was a heart emoji promoting love and peace. The author and creator of this giant heart, and lots of others around town, is a mystery, at least to me.

On sidewalks, the hearts represent hope that amongst us is a “love bandit” or multiple “love bandits” whose job is to remind us good deeds make us smile and sometimes it’s just the tiniest of things that bring peace to those who are able to see light instead of darkness in a world where you’re more likely to have horns beeping than humans waved ahead during rush hour (August in Maine).

It would be delightful to write about the “love bandit” in more detail; a newspaper person never reveals sources, so keeping the “love bandit” identity under wraps would be assured, if anonymity is of concern.

“Love Bandit”: Step forward and share more about your mission and how that might inspire others to follow your lead.

To help with this caper and reconnaissance mission, email me at: reade@freepressonline.com.


Writing about politics is one long road, usually ending in dead ends.

The hypocrisy, on both sides of the political aisles, is palatable. As Jim Comey was exonerated from breaking any laws and not leaking anything considered classified, he still got a hand slap for protocol and not following some FBI standards. While Comey and his supporters tweeted the charges were proven baseless, Trump, his fellow Republicans, and Fox commentators, railed on Comey saying this was proof of his rotten character. In the other corner, CNN and MSNBC were behind Comey, downplaying the protocol piece.

Months ago, the Mueller report came out with basically the same split conclusions on Trump’s interference with Russia (obstruction), while clearing him of collusion. Trump tweeted and did his victory dance, the Fox commentators joined him with cumbia, while CNN and MSNBC panned the decision and Democrats still pushed impeachment.

We all know this is ridiculous, right? Has anyone stood up and been consistent when it comes to elected officials or is something being missed? Here are similar incidents, with different players, and the difference of opinion is determined by partisanship because politics trumps common sense and reasonable people wear blinders.

Now is the time for someone to stand tall! Who will take the bully pulpit and say, "Enough!"? The only way tyrannies end is for a Margaret Chase Smith moment; had that not occurred, Joseph McCarthy’s reign of terror would have continued. Until it happens here, sick kids will continue to be sent back to their country to die — when all we heard about immigration was the need to stop the criminals, drug mules, and gangs from invading our country. These dying kids are none of those.

Character shines in moments when we do what’s right and forget about everything else. On the other side of the coin, sometimes it’s not the things we do, but the things we don’t do that create the most harm.

We need someone in Congress and in the Senate to stand up and take charge. Someone needs to put people and common sense above politics. Standing up and taking stock of who we are and what we need is how nonsense ends.

Inspiration happens when leadership is shown. One of my sons was playing for a team and the coach asked him to pick up a work shift for one of the team's star players. This meant forfeiting his chance to play in the game so another boy could be there instead. What adolescent boy can say no to a coach — a coach holding his playing time in his back pocket?

That is not a spot where many young lads or ladies can stand tall, the ask becomes a tell, and working the shift became reality. On that team, another boy, also a star player and having cred with the coach, seeing it wasn’t right, stood up for my son. He went to the coach and opined. While the original boy said nothing, the other player stood up for what was right.

It was a moment of truth for all involved: the player, the coach, my son, and the teammate. It is inspiring to think about because it gives hope there are people who stand up for others and say "Enough!" — even if it’s hard or jeopardizes their own playing time.

Experience shows we don’t always do that. Fear of retribution, consequences, concern about being wrong or ridiculed by some wanting to win at all costs, or just uncertainty that comes from being human can stop us in our tracks.

When fear of being wrong prevents us from being right, we lose.

Better to have tried and failed, then never to have tried.




“Kind words, kind looks, kind acts, and warm handshakes — these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting their unseen battles.” — John Hall, pastor (1829-1898)