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Thankful reflections

Searsmont families and friends gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving this past week. Those of us who didn’t have to travel are certainly grateful for the chance to be at home in this beautiful place. If you did travel, isn’t coming home the best?

Searsmonters have much to be grateful for, including having wood for the stove and food in the pantry. For us, things that bring joy include seeing the three cardinals and two evening grosbeaks that are now regulars at the bird feeders, hearing ravens calling at dusk, being greeted by name at the library or the Town Office, and feeling healthy and strong despite our age.

And we are very grateful to all those who read and appreciate this column. Without your interest and engagement, this would be an empty exercise.

Town Office

The Nov. 21 selectmen’s work session covered a range of subjects, including reports about grading on Crie Road and Pond Road South and paving on Borough Road. They discussed next year’s budget, work on the sand shed, personnel records and an unusual off-the-grid property issue. Since that was not enough, they considered possible “no air brakes” signs where Searsmonters have lodged noise complaints, a request for winter storage for the Memorial Day Parade battleship model (anyone have space in their barn?), posting the town clerk position in anticipation of Kathy Hoey’s 2023 retirement, and a payroll services contract. Some busy, but not unusual for the elected trio.

Sad news

Searsmont is grieving after news that neighbors Jeffrey Caswell and Ernest Wing Sr. have died.

Jeffrey, who passed unexpectedly at age 56, leaves his wife Dawn, son Jamie, stepsons Brian and Anthony and an extended family and many friends. Like many Searsmonters, Jeffrey worked at Robbins Lumber, moving up to operations manager. He was a maple syrup farmer and traveler who loved working in the woods and cross-country skiing. His family asks that memorial donations in Jeffrey’s name to made to Waldo County Woodshed.

Ernest left us at the age of 81, passing at home with his wife of 58 years, Marilyn, by his side. Searsmont-born, he graduated from the old Appleton High School, where he was known as a basketball and baseball athlete, and was a truck driver before going into his own timber cutting business. Ernest leaves his wife, son Ernie Jr., daughter Michelle, eight of his 10 siblings, and a slew of in-laws, nieces and nephews.

You may share your memories of both Jeffery and Ernest with their families at Both men will be sorely missed.

Bits and pieces

On a much less serious level, Searsmont got more sad news. Chase’s Daily in Belfast is closing for the months of January through March, with the possibility that it may not reopen. According to the family, “We are not sure what comes next. We will take some time to think on that. The farm will operate but we’re not sure about the rest.” Here’s hoping they decide to keep on keepin’ on with their wonderful breads, pastries, vegetarian food and wonderful service.

Bob Sirota just announced the third season of Muzzy Ridge Concerts chamber music performances in Searsmont, with concerts set for Aug. 19 and 20 and a different program on Aug. 26 and 27, 2023. All concerts will be at 3 p.m. Artists are the Fischer Duo and the Neave Trio.

Bob is also hosting an MRC Holiday Reception Fundraiser and Preview event on Friday, Dec. 16, 5 to 6:30 p.m. in his music studio at 7 Sirota Drive here in town. Go to for more information and to get your Holiday Reception or 2023 MRC tickets.

Belfast was pretty busy on Friday, with local businesses offering “Black Friday” sales. Business looked good. And Hannaford was selling cans of cranberry sauce and boxes of stuffing mix for real cheap. Guess it’s about time to put up holiday lights and get a wreath for the front door.

Your columnists dressed for a walk in Searsmont during hunting season. Photo by Joyce Sirota

Here’s wishing the best of luck to end-of-season deer hunters still looking for that doe or buck to get venison into the freezer. Searsmonters won’t miss the sound of shooting, but don’t we look fine in our blaze orange hats and vests?

How many of you plan to join a certain pair of town correspondents in vowing not to eat so much at Thanksgiving next year? Awfully hard to pass up the village store’s dinner rolls and biscuits and the second helping of stuffing. And pumpkin pie. And apple pie.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this column had Jeffrey Caswell’s first name misspelled through no fault of the columnists; his obituary was submitted to The Republican Journal with two different spellings.