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The texture of life in Searsmont

It’s that quiet time after the bustle of the year-end holidays. It gives you time to think. One of the realities of living in a town like Searsmont is that connections among people are sometimes taken for granted. Those connections and the fabric of life here become more real when we lose friends and neighbors.

In recent weeks we have been thinking of Sally Shure and Alva Pollard. Sally was a smiling bulwark of the Searsmont Town Library for decades and Alva was once our snow plow guy. They have just left us.

Now we learn of the passing of Barbara LaRoche, a friend and neighbor who was the first person on our road to come calling and brought us cookies when we moved in more than 30 years ago. And she reached out to interest us in being library volunteers. The seed she planted that day bore fruit over several decades, linking us to life here. All these folks will be missed. They have left their mark on Searsmont, on everyone who knew them, and on all of us who call this town home.

Town Office

The selectmen hold their next work session Monday, Jan. 9, 4:30 p.m. The transfer station is back on Crie Road Jan. 7 after a week at the Community Building parking lot because of the New Year’s weekend thaw and mud on Crie Road.

The Cemetery Committee needs you! This important group, which oversees Searsmont’s eight burial grounds, is looking for a member or two to join before Town Meeting. Let the Town Office know if you are interested.

And speaking of the office, it is not too late to go there to renew your dog license this month.

2023 predictions

It’s also time for your correspondents to go out on a windblown fallen limb and make predictions for the New Year.

At April’s town meeting, Selectman Chris Staples will be reelected because he does a good job and no one else wants to take on all the work of road repair. The meeting will last less than two hours because longtime moderator Lee Woodward will keep things moving and tell only 20 jokes. One innocent warrant item, involving an expenditure of less than $500, will take up nearly a half hour of debate and then be approved. The $500,000 road budget will be approved with no debate.

Town Clerk Kathy Hoey collects ballots at Searsmont’s 2022 town meeting. Photo by Mickey Sirota

After serving Searsmont for a quarter century, Town Clerk Kathy Hoey will retire. Her replacement will do a fine job. No one will know the Town Office vault lock combination and the Peppermint Patty box on the front desk will be empty until someone remembers to fill it.

The town will purchase the 64-acre McLellan Property and start building trails on it. The town may consider naming one after hiking gurus Sarah Crosby and Bill Evans.

Animal Control Officers Robin Dow and Arnold Oulton will respond to another 200 calls and complaints, including one “horse at large,” two “cows at large,” three “sheep at large” and a partridge in a pear tree.

More people will want to live here, buy land and build houses. Some of those houses will be huge, and Searsmonters will wonder how much it will cost to heat them.

The Waldo County Woodshed will continue to make Searsmont proud by providing free wood to those who need it. The price of green, cut and split stove wood will go up again. The price of seasoned wood will be so high that a few Searsmonters will consider it cheaper to move to Florida and put up with hurricanes.

Let us know your predictions.

Bits and pieces

The first seed catalogues have arrived and it feels a little bit like spring. The first year-end tax forms have arrived, so it still feels like winter.

A flock of evening grosbeaks paid a quick visit to Searsmont bird feeders in the Christmas snow. They made a crazy quilt of white, black, yellow and gold for no more than 10 minutes, and then were gone. Perhaps the resident cardinals, blue jays, crows, chickadees, goldfinches, titmice, mourning doves, nuthatches, and turkeys did not mark their quick coming and going. We certainly did.

We spoke too soon about our generator in the recent wind and rain. The electricity was off for a full day and the machine’s growl made a dull background noise while it kept the lights and appliances on and the water pump going. Perhaps the cost was worth it after all.