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Day 134 – Sunday, February 19, 2012

“Raymond B. MacKeen”

I don’t get off this wondrous rock very often of late.  Despite the mostly gentle winter, the logistics of the greatest tides in the US coupled with the whims of nature and my small boat, make it challenging at best.  It does however seem that a lot of the time, lately, has been for funerals.


I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with Ray McKeen, but I spent some.  Special time.  Most of it was me driving any one of the three boats Little River has, and him on the village ramp or the island dock, helping visitors on and off, coming and going to the island, as part of an Open House Day or simply guests.    I’ve been to church a couple of times with him, a place he could be found every single Sunday.  And whenever we, or really me, needed extra hands to make something happen on this island, he was here.  However it should be said that while Ray was a dedicated volunteer and I am certain he would be one of the first to help me in any way, his love was for this lighthouse.

I believed Ray had an innate aura of kindness about him.  Literally an aura.  He was wickedly funny, somewhat opinionated, notably stubborn, but always, he seemed to me a man who was comfortable with himself, and his role on this earth. I hope he felt that way too.  And in thinking back, it was a decided peace he exuded.


He was older but not old.  85 today is not old.  Not when you’re like him, or like others I have known, especially from up here, DownEast.  Two months ago he was throwin’ 40 lb bags of pellets from the boat ramp, water cresting his boots, just to make sure I had heat.   I pray I am that blessed.


His bride Joan, for 35 years, is a treasure.  To this village, to this island, and most certainly to him.  True love accepts many things, puts up with others, and both supports and embraces the rest.  They seemed to have that.  I suspect they made each other better…and happier.  And in the process not only made others happier, and more content in this challenging time we live in, but gave them a sense of inspiration.  That things could be like this.  Still.

I flew the flag at half staff.  Rang the bell three times.  And said a prayer for him and his family.  Little River Light burns a little bit brighter tonight.  Thanks Ray.




And I bet that’s you.







On other notes, some leftover pics from the magical snow.










Today for some reason was “Tanker Day”, as nothing short of five tankers crossed the front yard.












I have been asked what I’m reading by several people:

The Lobster Gangs Of Maine by James M. Acheson

Shoutin’ Into The Fog by Thomas Hanna

Backwoods and Along The Seashore by Thoreau

Day By Day by Celestine Sibley (a lovely gift from Linda Ryan)

Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (for the fifth time)

and assorted poetry by Tony Hoagland.  If you haven’t taken the time to read any poetry lately you should.  And this is what you should read.

And a great film…”Winter’s Bones” – if you haven’t seen it, you must.

And a great, albeit not new series, MI-5.

I got my new camera yesterday – thank my sister for that! – and have just started to use it.  Another point and shoot, a Canon Powershot SX230 HS, and yes, we’ll see what this brings.

As always, thanks for checking in, sharing and “Liking”.  I’ll leave the Light on.  Good Enuf.


16 Responses to “Day 134 – Sunday, February 19, 2012”

  1. Joe Dowling says:


    Been missing your posts lately and wondering if all was well.


  2. Bill Kitchen says:

    thanks joe!

  3. Carol Wilcox says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.
    Though I did not know him myself, my thoughts and prayers go out to all who did.
    God bless you all.

  4. Carole says:

    Bill with each of your posting I fall more in love with the people and place that make up Cutler Maine. Once again Cutler Maine is crying for the lose of one of it’s own. Thank you for sharing everything with us.

  5. Arthur says:

    Such is life’s Master Plan. Some might call fate.
    But for a small village the loss is so great.
    That which Ray gave though now his has gone
    will be long lasting. Life shall go on.

  6. Tim Harrison says:

    Thanks for your poignant words honoring a good volunteer and an all around good person, one of those who made downeast Maine a better place to life. It is important for all of us to honor the legacy of those who came before us so that we may carry it forward to the next generation(s). Ray will be missed.

  7. Seamond says:

    Bill: I’ve been wondering, is the lighthouse the only “resident” of your island or are there private, summer people who have buildings there also? Maybe you mentioned this already, but (as usual) I am curious.

  8. David Corbett says:

    Ray was funny to the end. His sense of humor never ceased to amaze. We will miss you my friend. Somehow I think he might be cracking God up right now. It was a pleasure and honor to have worked with him on and off the island. True story……..when my sons, Brad and Justin, were young and Ray had the store in the village he ordered MOXIE special for them as they had acquired a taste for it. He always claimed that the MOXIE would just sit on the shelf until they returned to Cutler. That’s the kind of guy he was. God speed Ray.

  9. elayne kitchen says:

    Interesting your reference to Anne Morrow Lindberg…..when you were a young boy she read her Gifts From the Sea to your class in the children’s library of our town. She often read to the children but never mentioned that she wrote “Gifts” . You ice skated in front of her home that overlooked Gorham’s Pond? Remember?

  10. Bill Kitchen says:

    wow! yes i remember ice skating there. i kind of remember her reading, but didn’t until you mentioned it. life is indeed funny.


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