The Man Who Could Fix Everything

Filed under: Snippets - Stories about Maine people — mainewarmers @ 7:34 pm

I met Dick MacCormack for the first time on an Island off the coast of Maine. It was also the first time I had taken my 5-year-old son, Brad, fishing for mackerel. We picked a spot at the end of the large wooden wharf where the ferry from Portland pulls in a few times each day.

After straightening out the tangled mono filament line a couple of times we finally cast the shiny jig into the ocean. The heavy metal hook swung out over the water a bit short of our intended mark. The incoming tide quickly drew the line under the wharf where the hook caught one of the pilings that anchors the wharf to the ocean floor. The rod bent impressively as we tried to reel in the jig.

After several attempts to free the hook from the piling I was just about to cut the line and use one of the two jigs left in the package when Dick walked down to the end of the wharf. Dick could fix almost anything and possessed all the tools to do the job. Observing what had happened he turned and walked down a rickety wooden ramp to a float where a dozen small boats were tied. As the boats bumped up against each other with the motion of the waves, Dick slipped gracefully into a dinghy, rowed around to end of the wharf about 15 feet below. He freed the jig, then rowed back to the float, walked up the wharf and up the road. A few minutes later he returned with a bucket full of jigs in case we needed a few extras.
Both of my kids had the great benefit of being around Dick when we visited the Island. They gave him the opportunity to be a kid again.

When he was in his 60s Dick took in a foster child, a boy about age 10, raised him, saw him graduate from high school, join the Navy, and grow into a respectable young man.

In 1999, when Dick passed away, friends packed the Island church to remember him. They told stories about how he helped when they were hurt, in trouble, or had a broken water pump. I could picture Dick, his slim frame and quiet demeanor, enjoying every opportunity to spend time helping someone and enjoying a few laughs in the process.

After a few hours of memories that brought laughter and tears, one Islander arose and concluded by saying, “There must have been trouble in heaven and Dick’s been called up to fix it.”


Maine Warmers offers microwave heat and ice packs that help relieve muscle soreness due to cramping, sciatica, arthritis, and other conditions. Maine Warmers’ cozy creatures – Sheep, Moose, Bears, etc. – make excellent gifts to help those recovering from surgery or an illness.

Rudy the Cat

Filed under: Snippets - Stories about Maine people — mainewarmers @ 10:43 am

Rudy the cat makes himself at home on the campus Southern Maine Community College. Every morning he trots by a spectacular view of Casco Bay and rushes into the student center among the coeds. He makes his daily rounds soaking up the attention of several thousand students and staff. When he wants to nap he slips noiselessly into offices like the fog in Carl Sandburg’s poem and finds a comfy spot. Everyone knows Rudy. When classes are not in session Rudy wanders anxiously about, desperate to find his missing friends. During holidays, he’ll make a beeline to anyone who happens to be on campus and will become an immediate buddy.

This fall Rudy was missing for three days, and his owner, an SMCC staff member, started asking around campus for his whereabouts. Within moments the buzz flew through the college community. “Have you seen Rudy?” All-points bulletins flew over the Internet via e-mails with the subjects, “Rudy’s missing” and “Have you seen Rudy?” Instant Messaging also helped spread the word. His disappearance became a part of every conversation in classes, offices, and maintenance facilities. Everyone was looking for their missing friend, Rudy.

The next day one of the SMMC’s vigilant commuter students, on his way to school, happened to spot Rudy near a Mom & Pop store about a mile from campus. The student stopped his car, grabbed Rudy, and a few minutes later deposited him on campus. Whew! A collective sigh of relief spread through classes, administration meetings, and faculty offices. “Rudy’s been found!” exclaimed the Vice-president of the college.

Later that afternoon, my husband, Greg, a faculty member, was concentrating on a phone conversation in his office with his back to the door, when Rudy quietly walked into his office. The friendly cat, tired from his adventure and all the attention, jumped onto Greg’s desk, sprawled out across the immaculately arranged quilt work of papers, and settled in for a nap.

Maine Warmers Newsletter December 2006 – Snippets

Maine Warmers offers microwave heating pads and gentle ice packs for sale. Relieve sore back muscles and stiff necks. Ease the pain of cold hands and feet due to arthritic conditions.

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