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June 16

Bunker Hill Day on the Aroostook

"It was a pleasure to be part of the food chain today."


  Friday morning I walked up to the general store/post office for a coffee. Masardis is basically a string of houses and the store, strung out along Route 11. The only pay phone is out front of an abandoned building. Log trucks blow through town so fast that they'll take the hat right off your head. They travel loaded, both directions, all night and all day. On the right just before the stream sits a mediocre white house. Over the window is a sign that reads: "This house is guarded by SHOTGUN three nights a week. Guess which three…" As I passed, the window slammed open and Vincent Molina called out: "How was the camping last night?" I turned and headed toward the window, not sure whether I was going to get chewed out or just have a chat. Vince is disabled veteran, had his legs cut off in the war. I lied and told him it was fine. I reached the window and saw he was in his briefs at the breakfast table. His dog, a husky with one blue eye and one brown, joined the conversation with an occasional round of barks. Vince took time to call him a few names and we'd resume our conversation. He was awful interested in our trip and wanted to help out. Well, we didn't really need a ride to Oxbow Flats, so I begged off.

One last trip to the general store, and we were ready to go. We bought the only tomato, one of the four loaves of Wonder Bread and a couple of pounds of coffee. We packed in mind-numbing muggy heat and a cloud of blackflies. We poled upriver about an hour. We were both so spent from the previous two days, we pulled in and called it a holiday. Matter of fact, I think it was Bunker Hill Day back home. Viva la revolution! We took baths, washed clothes, baked pizza and just plain loafed around. These were the things we needed most today.

We camped in a sandy site under dense spruces. Soon after we had our tents set up, the ants invaded. They came into our tents and carried off every last blackfly carcass that had accumulated on the floor. Then they left. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of the food chain today.