Wednesday, August 18, 2010
this very space, is known for, at one time, having at least seventy lighthouses up and down the coast, in rivers and one in a lake! The lighthouse has been a part of Maine's character since at least 1794, when an array of these beacons in the night was begun to help sailors navigate the rocky and rugged Maine coastline. Built in 1910, the lighthouse at Whitlock's Mill in Calais is the youngest of the bunch. Maine ranks third, behind Michigan and New York in total number of lighthouses, but leads the nation in number of them along the coast. Lighthouse continue to attract the attention of visitors from around the world to the Lighthouse State (the Official State Nickname is The Pine Tree State, but unofficially, it's The Lighthouse State) year in and year out. One month from today, on September 18, the US Coast Guard, the State of Maine and the American Lighthouse Foundation are holding an Open Lighthouse Day for everyone! Last year was the inaugural go round for Open Lighthouse Day and hundreds of Mainers took advantage of this unique opportunity. Tours will be conducted of each lighthouse on the list half way down this page. My birthday is a couple of days before this open lighthouse thing, I would love to take a tour of one. (Hint hint, Heather :)) If you visit a lighthouse near you, be sure to take your camera and some fresh batteries along and snap some photos as a visual reminder of this iconic figure in Maine's history.
Music that touches and tortures the soul. Music that sings of joy and triumph and, at the same time, despair and tragedy. We all, at one point or another, have experienced the gamut of emotions that is the blues. However, it takes an artist, a Van Gogh with a guitar, a Shakespeare with a song, to make someone feel the blues. One such man was born in Centerville, Texas on March 15, 1912, Sam "Lightnin' " Hopkins. As a young black boy growing up in Centerville (halfway between Dallas and Houston on I-45), Sam was immersed in the blues. At age eight, Sam met a true Blues Man, Blind Lemon Jefferson, at a church picnic in nearby Buffalo. That experience was Sam's baptism into the church of the blues. By the mid 1920's, Hopkins was jumping trains, throwing dice and playing the blues, living the blues. But a decade or so later Lightnin' was imprisoned in Houston County for reasons unclear. After prison, he moved to Houston to get in on the music scene there. Unsuccessful, Sam was soon back in Centerville working as a farm hand. Taking a second shot at Houston in 1946 turned out to be a monumental decision for Hopkins, the blues and, eventually, the world. From then until the early '50's, Lightnin' rarely played outside Texas, but when he did...as the late Paul Harvey said, "Now you know the rest of the story"- playing in countries around the globe, in front of monarchs and poor folks, Hopkins became a legend. On January 30, 1982 in his beloved Houston, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins succumbed to cancer at age 69. Cue the the blues... "Lightnin'" has struck Texas.
- Texas Tidbits : Irving : My Hometown
- Maine Minutiae : The People of The Dawn
- Colorado Chronicles : Nederland and The Frozen Dead Guy