It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission love goes to the Pleasant River Garden Club for their support in Cherryfield of the Downeast Table of Plenty (DETOP), and the Mission food pantry.
When the Garden Club started in 2009, its by-laws included a commitment to support the Mission’s programs. Its more than 50 members live from Machias to Prospect. Their objective is to learn from one another, visit gardens in seasons, invite speakers on agriculture, to better cultivate their own gardens, and to have fun.
Today club members support the Mission by hosting DETOPs and donating their garden produce to our food pantry. Also, Club members Karen and Jim Majewski are regular food pantry volunteers.
At Garden Club hosted DETOPs the Weald Bethel Community Center looks like a garden party. The buffet table is filled with delicious entrees. Dining tables are decorated with bouquets of colorful flowers freshly cut from members’ gardens.
Original member Ora Aselton invites all who are interested in gardening to join the Pleasant River Garden Club. No gardening skills required,
For more information call Carol Darbyshire at 207-546-5004.
CHERRYFIELD, ME – Oh boy, what a fresh, delectable meal we had Sunday at our beloved Downeast Table of Plenty. Zabet, Morgan and Matt fed us in style. The supper had Latin leanings. Everyone raved about it while eating.
Most of the produce was donated from Folklore Farm and their personal gardens.
I learned about two delicious Mexican culinary herbs used in dishes served: papalo and pipicha. Papalo tastes a bit like cilantro and Pipicha tastes akin to fresh coriander with overtones of lemon and anise.
After readying the dining room, Loraine and I ran to The Incredible Edible garden to pick up cilantro for the supper. If you have yet to visit this “If it’s ripe, pick it” community garden in Milbridge, you are missing out.
Mark entertaining us thru open doors while we dined outside. Tessa who is often a big kitchen help, likes to play piano while we clean up after the meal. Dish angels last week were Aaron, David, Steve and Matt.
CHERRYFIELD, ME — Program Manager Dakin Hewlett and Program Coordinator Briana West shared this update about the Mission’s EdGE Journey six-year youth mentoring program. EdGE Journey, launched in 2017, is made possible by the Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation and its mentoring-based initiative, Aspirations Incubator:
This past weekend, due to the pandemic, EdGE Journey students in Cohort 3 met as a group for the first time since they were selected into the program. The Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School soon-to-be 9th grade students eagerly awaited the opportunity to campout overnight at the Mission’s Weald Bethel Community Center in Cherryfield, and begin building stronger connections with their peers and Journey staff.
They kicked off the weekend by helping Mission staff unload 17,000 pounds of food for the food pantry. Later, the students supported each other during ropes course challenges, discussed their hopes and goals for the upcoming high school transition, shared laughs while swimming at Spring River, and enjoyed s’mores by the campfire.
The trip ended with the Cohort cooking an entire meal for a crowd of community members attending the Downeast Table of Plenty on Sunday evenings.
The Mission Journey staff would like to recognize the dedication, grit, and resiliency these youth leaders have shown over the past year. They look forward to more opportunities for exploration and the continued journey ahead!
Learn more about the EdGE Journey program by contacting Dakin Hewlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHERRYFIELD, ME — Table of Plenty is once again finding its groove after a 15 month hiatus. Savannah and Corrie hosted this week and made making enchiladas for a crowd look easy. People are enjoying the picnic tables outside in the shade. We are relishing the opportunity to break bread together once again.
Savannah’s daughter Ocean is often a help and made us the love note after the meal at home that night. Makes me smile.
I learned recently our friend Terry died. It wasn’t a surprise. He’s been shuffling around with an oxygen bottle for a while, struggling to catch his breath. It’s been a handful of tough winters for he and his wife Dottie.
As Terry’s health diminished, friends and community helped with his firewood. I remember a conversation, years back, at one of our Downeast Table of Plenty (DETOP) suppers. We all were seated, eating at the big round table. Terry said he needed help carrying firewood into the house. Adam and Mark went over that weekend to move firewood. They did so for two winters.
Others took turns. Zach, Maeve and her son, Jaden, carried wood for a while. Neighbors looking out for neighbors. In summer, the Mission’s Housing Rehab workers moved and stacked big piles of firewood into Terry and Dottie’s wood shed.
Dottie and Terry have been together fifty years. Strong folk, back to the landers. They’ve lived many, many years off the grid, good and simple. Before coming to Maine they lived in a retrofitted bus in New Mexico. They first got electricity only three or four years ago when Terry needed it to power his oxygen supply. Scott Shaw, working through our Housing Rehabilitation program, had power strung down their long driveway, into their home.
Last fall, the Mission’s Megan Smith and Scott Shaw worked with Downeast Community Partners, to have two propane heaters installed in Dottie’s and Terry’s house. When Dottie called the Mission to tell us of Terry’s passing, she said Terry was proud of his new propane heaters. It’s reassuring knowing Dottie, without relying solely on wood, will be warm this winter.
Heart mending needs warmth.
I didn’t really know Terry before we were regulars at our DETOP community suppers. I knew he was old friends with Mooney. Like me, raking blueberries initially brought Terry and Dottie to Maine. I also heard Terry wasn’t afraid to have fun at Joan’s parties way back in the day.
The Terry I got to know over the last ten years was a gentleman. He held doors, asked about your loved ones, and about how so-and-so was doing. He was always charming and, with depth and attention, happy to engage in conversations. Terry had a soothing laugh. He told good stories and asked to hear yours. The mention of his wife Dottie always made him smile big.
Sometimes at our community suppers Maeve and I would box up something for Terry to bring to Dottie who prefers to stay home. She is feisty, tiny thing, with a smart strong spirit. Maeve and I wondered, making up a care package, what Dottie would like to eat. Cake or kale?
Early in the pandemic, when I stopped by to drop off a Family Food Center box, Dottie’s cute dog came running out to greet me. Bark, bark! This little dog is a bit chubby. Ha! I suspected then and there that maybe the dog shared some of Dottie’s Table of Plenty goodies.
Terry loved Table of Plenty, and Terry was loved at Table of Plenty. Pastor Priscilla had an instant soft spot for him. Young men loved having long conversations at the supper table about life with him. And Bonnie? Well, you can see their friendship in the picture here. Bonnie said Terry mistook her for a nun in the early days of our community supper.
Talking recently with Joan I asked her for few Terry stories from back when they all were young homesteaders. She said Terry bought their modest place with money inherited from his mother. Before putting down roots in Maine though, he and Dottie used a portion of the inheritance to travel in Europe.
Joan said she first met Terry some thirty-odd years ago when he delivered a truck bed full of wood scraps to a Rainbow family gathering she was hosting at her “Happy Hollow” farm. Terry knew the bunch of hippies camping in Joan’s yard would enjoy that firewood at the nightly campfire.
And with that — a story, a cycle of warmth, love and life — I will end my little homemade eulogy for our friend.
A friend and I were talking on the phone recently. In the conversation he posed this question to me: Name an item in your life that brings you comfort during these trying times? I didn’t have a ready answer, but have since been giving it thought. What exactly did he mean by “an item”? An amulet? A self-care gadget? A Linus blanket? A talisman? A favorite sweater?
My beloved water bottle covered in wool brings me comfort on chilly nights or when I’m sick. Also, I wear a sea urchin necklace I ran 26.22 miles to get. It reminds me of an available inner reserve. Crossing a parking lot early in our relationship, Steve saw a tiny pewter high-heeled shoe. He picked it up and gave it to me. I imbue this little treasure with true love.
None of my precious objects speak to these troubling times though.
With more reflection, I recognized I do have something that reassures me lately. Something that says to me “Things will get better.” This beautiful objet d’art leans on the windowsill, right next to where I sit catching the sun’s rays. It is, of all things, an eight piece pie scorer.
This nifty aluminum device has nine arms radiating from a center knob. It is a kitchen tool. By pressing down with it on a pie, the pie scorer makes perforated marks. It is incredibly useful for cutting many uniform slices of pie quickly.
My friend Julie presented me this pie scorer at the onset of the pandemic. I have yet to use it. Julie, a pie maker herself, knows I handle a lot of pies both aboard the Sunbeam, and at our weekly Table of Plenty community supper. Making pies has always been so enjoyable for me. All the steps involved, from incorporating the cold butter into the flour, to rolling out the pastry and wrapping it around a delicious filling, require time, attention and practice.
Pies are confectionery sculptures. Betty, a steward on the Sunbeam for many years, is remembered for her beautiful pies. It is my honor to humbly carry on her tradition.
My mother taught me to make pies. Pies fall into one of four categories – cream, fruit, custard, or savory. All are delicious, but, living in Cherryfield — “the blueberry capital of the world” — blueberry might be my most favorite.
Pies make me think of home, hearth, bounty, family. Pies embody love. They are baked to share with others. They are given in friendship to say thank you or, I care about you; I hope you are feeling better, I’m sorry for your loss, or, I was thinking about you. Pies are served after Sunday suppers, at coffee hours, receptions, picnics, and gatherings where people are enjoying one another. Pies are part of a caring community.
This pie scorer awaits when, once again, we come together. This utensil gives me hope.