Categorized | Keeper's Log

Day 105 – Friday, January 20, 2012

“Big Birthday At Little River”


I know it’s been at least thirty-five years since anyone spent their birthday out here.  And in truth, it’s possible it was a whole lot longer.  Now the last time anyone spent it out here alone, well, that’s likely never.

Life is funny.  No, I don’t mean “ha ha!” funny, (which has recently earned a multi-generational utility ‘star’ in my book as it has become a standard and blanketly accepted, if not required response to virtually any statement in mobile and online messaging today, and seems to me in many ways culturally similar to “Good Enuf” here in Cutler, a surely sociologically intriguing, self-created and comfortable manner with which to close a conversation freed from any awkwardness or pretense).  No I mean the other funny.  Funny in the way that people, (and by that I really probably mean “me”), have no idea, not just no certainty but no idea, where they’ll be tomorrow much less years in the future, and it can be someplace one dare not imagine, for either better or worse.   Now we all know that this is true, intellectually, but most of us rarely personally test this proven maxim, or perhaps more accurately, have ourselves tested.  Apparently and for reasons unknown to me, I need to be mightily reminded of this, every couple of years, over and over, throughout my life.  And not in a bad way, but usually one that is wholly surprising and unexpected.  And challenging.  My 2012 birthday on the most northeastern island lighthouse in the US?  Life is funny.  “Big Birthday At Little River”?  Sounds like a budget western.

Two weeks ago I had guardedly hoped that the new pellet stove would be up and running, even for just one night, before I would have to pack up my menagerie of Christmas tree ornaments which by this time were once again locked in the annual “Indian Wrestling” match that had started six weeks earlier between them and the pine boughs.  The ornaments simply hang on, and the branches strain for straightness.  That’s the match.  This continues until either the ornament can no longer maintain its grip on the branch and tumbles to the floor, sometimes taking other ornaments down with it, (nonetheless a mutually accepted victory for the winning ornament, yet freeing the bough, the loser, of its oppressor, who quite often dies at the end of its descent exploding in a pop of shattering, shiny, shards – strikingly Shakespearean), or the other option is that I take down the whole shebang before a winner can be determined.  Now when given the choice and that depends upon a lot of factors including initial tree quality, interior humidity, going away to visit relatives, and spousal agreement to name a few, I, under ideal circumstances, like to keep the tree up all the way through my birthday, which is today.  I was, and I did.  (This will be the last shot of the first tree in this next generation of Little River Light.






Andy Patterson gave up more time volunteering for the second morning in a row, this time to bring master pellet stove installer Jim “Bulls-Eye” Rockett back off the island.  Well this morning at nine am it was real rough coming out and I saw Andy and Kathy take a wave that was right out of a theme park.  Andy is a deft driver.  Kathy (for those of you just joining) is Kathleen Finnegan, Friends of Little River officer and board member, editor of Lighthouse Digest Magazine, and a critical part of The Lighthouse Endeavor project.

Big thanks to Andy, Kathy, Jim, and of course the outstanding people at Evergreen Hearth & Home!

Several of the Cutler Village folks hailed me on the VHF radio throughout the day and evening, either to say, or sing, Happy Birthday over the town’s equivalent of a public address system, channel 13.  Another neighbor, who is also a board member, Judy Corbett, sent out on Andy’s boat over a dozen containers of homemade, truly gourmet meals including a barbeque bean soup, a hamburg minestrone, and perhaps the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted.  Oh and alarmingly addictive brownies and I don’t even really eat sweets.  I long ago realized that everything tastes better on this island.  I am confident this all tastes just as sumptuous, and comforting, on the maineland too.  Thanks Judy!

Kathy and Tim put together a wonderful box of birthday treats and a homemade Birthday Cake!

I have been thoroughly overwhelmed by the hundreds and hundreds of Birthday emails and fb messages that have come in from old friends, new friends, and strangers  -  from all over the world.   My greatest present is being able to share this incredible experience with so many others.  The next few months will see increased emphasis on the education and preservation components, and the two real remaining months of winter.  I will continue to respond to those moving missives over the next few days.  I did not feel alone on this island…


My birthday snowed, blowed and rolled with great conviction most of the day.  The sun shone quite suddenly about two this afternoon however, demanding a dramatically diminished demeanor from all involved.  It was immediately granted.  I snuck away for a late afternoon walk along the Boathouse beach and in addition to a not-so-brief conversation with a lolling seal, I came across this mussel shell serving as a stage for another sort of sea siren.  Another macro marvel below it too.


I am deeply grateful to all who gave of their day to make mine better.  It worked.  I’ll leave the Light on, and yes, I’m pretty sure it’s all Good Enuf.  Oh, and my Mother always said I was “a Keeper”.


14 Responses to “Day 105 – Friday, January 20, 2012”

  1. Joe Dowling says:

    I hope the New Pellet Stove is putting out an adequate amount of heat so you don’t have to be layered up to go to bed!

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      the new pellet stove is great. as always, a huge thanks to Harman and the great folks at Evergreen Hearth & Home.
      and thanks for your wishes. anything over 50 in the house is a treat.

  2. Seamond says:

    Bill, I am so glad you were born in January in order to celebrate your event in such a unique wintry way. Keep a close eye on your stove and how to run it well and safely. Make sure those pictures mounted above the stove don’t get afire. I worry about you out there simply because you are by yourself. Nonetheless, in your situation I can’t think of a bettter-ever present than that wonderful store.

  3. I came by cuz Diane B told me it was your birthday! May your day be filled with lots to purr about!

  4. Dave Corbett says:

    Happy Birthday, Billy!
    May this year be filled with the realization of dreams come true in all areas of your life.
    Hope the new stove is providing the heat needed to improve your comfort.
    Warm regards,
    Dave & Cheryl

  5. Dave Corbett says:

    Happy Birthday, Billy!
    May this year be filled with the realization of dreams come true in all areas of your life.
    Hope the new stove is providing the heat needed to improve your comfort.
    Warm regards,
    Dave & Cheryl

  6. Annette Gordon says:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and hearing about your experiences out on Little River Light. I hope that new stove is working out and that you are much warmer!

    I shared your website on the Maine Imaging Facebook page and today he posted an aerial picture of the light, dedicating it to me, and you! Do a FB search for Maine Imaging and check it out…

    I look forward to your next post!

    Annette Gordon

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      annette, thanks so much. i checked it and it was very cool. went to his site which is pretty stunning. i will reach out to him soon to see if there isn’t something we can do together. thanks for sharing, and i’m so glad you enjoy supporting the endeavor.

  7. Rick Daigle says:

    Happy belated birthday! Stove looks and feels greAt I am sure. Not sure if you receive these emails…pls confirm and have a great day. Love ur blog.

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      thanks so much, for the birthday wishes, and enjoying the blog. I really appreciate your supporting the endeavor project.
      stove is a big improvement. you have a great day too.

  8. elayne kitchen says:

    Our very brief call this am relives me to know you are OK but worried about your computer problems. Try to stay in touch today….it must make you crazy trying to fix it. Love M.


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