Portland

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A nice day on Casco Bay, as seen from the Portland Observatory, the city's old maritime signal tower atop Munjoy Hill.

Posted by Ellen

This was a winter of of moving on up for Joshua and his denmates in Portland, Maine, as they graduated from cub scouts into boy scouts. The controversy surrounding scouting these days is probably inaudible or nearly so to the kids, who like scouts of generations past happily keep their eyes on the prize: camping trips and merit badges and all that awesome quasi-Native American stuff.

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The two families pose together at a party celebrating the upcoming marriage of our niece Maggie to Colin Doody.

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They've been getting a lot of snow this winter in Maine–a foot last weekend and a record 29.3 inches early in February from the storm they called Nemo, and more before and since and in between. This photo was taken after Nemo, in Portland's Old Port.

Some Mainers are probably happy about it.

Here in Philly, we got nothing.

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Susan Wiggin writes from Portland, Maine:

Miss Vera had 2 little boy puppies on Saturday night. Here they are on Sunday. Everyone is doing great & they are velvety soft & they squeak.

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If it's October, there must be a pumpkin. This assemblage–which was first featured about four years ago in a predecessor to this here blog–dates back to the time when the brick steps in the photo led up to a house we lived in on Columbia Road in Portland, Maine. In addition to the pumpkin, the still life includes a non-blooming potted geranium and five quinces. The petrified tree stump, which is approximately 200 million years old, is something we found in an abandoned coal mine in Walker County, Alabama; it now sits near our back door in Philadelphia.

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Ramon Toye, a 250-pound guard for the Southern Maine Raging Bulls football team, was out on the tarmac at the Portland airport this past weekend pulling really, really hard for about five or six seconds. Apparently, that's how long it takes a typical team of twenty-five determined individuals to pull a 127,520-pound cargo plane a distance of 12 feet, which is the timed challenge for this annual competition.

The Raging Bulls and a couple of dozen other teams--entrants included a bank, a church, a gym, the Scarborough Police Department, the Shipyard Brew Crew, and of course a chiropractic office--pull the plane as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In the fall, the Bulls play football in the AAA New England conference; last season they went 7-3, placing second behind Lowell in the Northern Division. The rest of the year they pull airplanes and participate in other community service activities.

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For an overnight Girl Scout adventure, these young'uns were coached in singing and dancing by an older troop of Cadette scouts. Then they assembled their costumes from bags of stuff and put on a runway show. "Yes, my daughter is donning a cheetah bra and tiara," reports Susan Wiggin. "Very proud moment."

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The twins rolling around on the mat at lower left are imitating their father's winning wrestling moves at right, during Deering High School's annual alumni wrestling meet last week.

For many alumni of Deering's storied wrestling program, this meet is their only chance to lace up their old wrestling shoes and see if they've still got what it takes. Coach Kirk, who's been running the show at Deering for more than thirty years, matches up each alumnus against a member of the current varsity squad; the wrestling is vigorous but not particularly intense, because Coach always rigs the matchups to favor the old guys. This year, as in most years, the alumni won every bout.

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When this picture was taken, the Wiggin family had included Vera the dog for about two hours.