Daily Archives: June 10, 2014

Maine’s greatest flower show happens on roadsides, not in gardens | Down East magazine

In a state where summer is famously unpredictable, you can bet on one thing: every road and hillside and meadow worth its salt from Kittery to Caribou will be aglow with purple spires in mid-June — the ramp-up to the summer solstice — when lupines come into flower.

During the two weeks or so when the great lupine show is going on, you’ll probably feel like the rest of us that this splendid creature deserves to be the Maine state flower, no question. It has every virtue, even apart from the dusky beauty of its blooms. It’s fragrant: sweet with a spicy, peppery edge. It’s tough, thriving in poor, sandy soil and indifferent to environmental insults like drought, insects, and disease. It’s variable enough to avoid monotony — ranging naturally from purple to white, pink, and a bright rosy hue just short of red — but these colors never clash and can even seem tastefully understated compared to, say, the glare of gladioli and geraniums.

Lupines are so much a part of the Maine scene that it’s startling to realize they haven’t always been here. The late Barbara Cooney, author of the children’s classic Miss Rumphius — the tale of the Lupine Lady who scattered seeds everywhere she went — recalled that in her girlhood lupines were not the ubiquitous roadside attraction we know today. “I remember when you first started seeing them, out in fields,” she said. “And that wasn’t that long ago.”

Clearly there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

Yes, there is. Read more of this story by Richard Grant in Down East magazine. The story has lovely photos by Susan Cole Kelly.


John Wayne played a Mainer in forgotten hockey movie

I read this on the Bangor Daily News website.

As two star-studded stadiums host the first-ever coastal clash between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup, it’s a rare opportunity to revisit a time when one of the biggest stars Hollywood ever produced strapped on the skates and claimed a title for New York. The year was 1937, the film was “Idol of the Crowds,” the team was the Panthers (a surrogate for the Rangers, then only a decade into their existence) and the star was John Wayne. In the new biography “John Wayne: The Life and Legend,” by Scott Eyman, this bewildering golden-era hockey picture provides a brief respite from the rundown of Wayne’s lowly B-westerns of the period. (“Idol” was released two years before Wayne broke out as a marquee idol in John Ford’s “Stagecoach.”)

Though Wayne spoke rarely of the pictures he starred in during this era, Eyman managed to compile a couple cringe-worthy quotes about his impressions of stepping out onto the ice. “I’m from Southern California. I’ve never been on [expletive] skates in my life,” Wayne says. “I was in the hospital for two [expletive] days after that.”

Oh, John, John, John …

Read more here.