Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Little Harbor Trail in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

A week ago in mid-April, Hannah and I biked to the main beach in Ogunquit in tee-shirts and shorts on a 70F day.  This morning we woke to this scene out our front door.

Let me say, you have got to be committed to hike in Maine in April.  You may think April is springtime and tulips in New England. Often not. As T. S. Eliot wrote in The Waste Land, April is the cruelest month. Amen to that!

With the temperature near freezing, we are not going to be imprisoned in our home.  (Whoa sparky, that seems like a little self-pitying, tad inflammatory verb!) Dressed in winter coats, winter gloves, and a winter ski cap with umbrellas at the ready, we drive ten miles from home to Portsmouth, NH.

Parking at the far end of the historical South Street cemetery with gravestones from the 18th and 19th centuries, we walk a paved road for a half of mile to the trailhead of the 1.5 mile Little Harbor Loop Trail.  The Creek Farm Reservation of coastal woodlands and freshwater wetlands of 35 acres welcomes us down a rain-soaked driveway to where the trail begins at Sagamore Creek.

Parking by the South Street Cemetery in Portsmouth, NH
The trail begins on a paved driveway towards the Sagamore Creek

Pools of rain on the trail do not deter us as we soon head out to the sand bar at low tide.  We see parents with preschoolers who are damned sure that they are not spending one more day inside, no matter the weather.

Barely 32 degree Fahrenheit

The historical Wentworth Mansion in the distance with people on the sand bar mid-distance

Extending our hike/walk down to the shoreline at the Wentworth House, we look out to the tidal Piscataqua River thankful we never bought a boat of any kind.  Neither of us is a sailor or a mariner of any sort.  In early 17th century, we would have been ones who stayed in England and wished the Puritans bon voyage.

The Wentworth House
That must have been a helluva ship that needed that anchor.

And don’t get me started on fishing?  I have never found the love of the sea that my dad had; he would cast in the surf at Montauk on Long Island for stripers and blues or sit in a boat forever at my brother Richard’s Arnold Lake hoping to hook some small mouth bass.  You see, I like catching fish, I just don’t like sitting in a boat holding a fishing pole for hours on end.

The trail from the Wentworth House back to the trailhead begins here.

The trail continues through the woods of pines and hardwood oaks.  The trail to the view turns out to be muddier than we wish to negotiate.  We make a 180 and turn back towards the trailhead.

It was as messy as it looks this April morning.

With side trail and sand bar distractions, our hike takes just over an hour.  After a long winter, April hikes are joys no matter the weather or the conditions.  And there are no mosquitos or ticks.  Win/win/win.

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Emmons Preserve in Kennebunkport, Maine

Pumped by the news that our sister-in-law Becky is coming to Maine, Hannah and I have just the trail for us all to hike.  Thanks to the recommendation of our friends, Donna and George, we head 30 minutes north from our home in York for the Emmons Preserve curated by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.

Yes, that Kennebunkport, home of the presidential Bushes (41 and 43).  By the way, we are tight with Becky as she married Hannah’s older brother, Doug.

Let me tell you Becky has lived a full life.  She spent a year as a child in Australia with her family, went to college in Colorado, earned a piano performance Master’s at our Ithaca College, worked aside her hubby Doug for twenty years on a buffalo farm, dealt with Doug’s early death at the age of 56, came to Maine to care for her mom, spent a year WOOF-ing (volunteering on farms and homesteads from South Carolina to Arkansas to New Mexico for no pay but for room and board), and currently resides in North Carolina as a talented musician with her guy Derek.

Meeting on a Friday in late May at the spectacular Emmons Preserve in Kennebunkport, we three lunch on Hannah’s cole slaw and chicken salad on the visitor’s center’s upper deck.  Becky has brought a frog to place on Hannah’s Frog Wall and Hannah found a mug from Becky’s Diner (Portland, Maine) for our Becky.

Hannah’s latest addition to her Frog Wall
The trail begins! Love spring green in May

Heading out on the wide Batson River Trail (detailed trail map at the end of the blog), we stumble upon and are blown away by the stone labyrinth of rocks donated by locals to commemorate a loved one. 

We walk the walk.
Cool is the rule!

Crossing the creek, we have a clearly marked trail into the wilds of Kennebunkport.  In mid-May the spring green leaves spread a softness all around us.  We catch up on Becky’s adult kids out Oregon way and share our times with our five grandchildren in Massachusetts and New York state.

Yellow blaze of the Batson River Trail

After 45 minutes we have still not reached the terminus of the Batson River Trail but turn around to return to the trailhead for our good-byes.

Batson River
The wilds of Kennebunkport

Fact is, there are no good-byes.  There’s just see you soon, raccoon and blow a kiss, jellyfish.

(portrait mode on my iPhone12)

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Highland Farm Preserve in York, Maine

Taking a break from our daily workouts at our Coastal Fitness gym in mid-April, Hannah and I drive down Route 91 in York towards South Berwick to the trailhead of the 151 acre Highland Farm Preserve.

Having passed this trailhead a million times, today is the day we lace up our hiking boots for the field crossing appetizer before we get to the entre – hilly forest trails.  This preserve connects thousands of undeveloped acres between Mount Agamenticus and the York River.

We begin on the green trail through the fields and then mostly hike the yellow trail into the hills.

For all you fans of Peter and his kindred cottontails, the York Land Trust is working to restore 30 acres of thickets to support the return of the endangered New England cottontail rabbit.  The Town of York holds a conservation easement on this land that protects it from future development and guarantees public access.

Crossing the hayfield, we soon head up into the forested hillside. 

Mid-April in Maine

A gentle climb

On trails that are very well-marked and colored coded, we find a map at each juncture of the trail that shows hikers where they are and a full map of the entire preserve’s trails.

Different from the level trails of the shoreline here in York and Kittery that we’ve hiked over the last few days, we have some elevation gain on these rooted and stony trails – a good Dan and Hannah workout.

Overlooking the fields below through the trees that as yet have not leafed out, we have a mid-April Wednesday morning getaway pretty much to ourselves.

Over 70 minutes we cover 80% of all the trails at the Highland Farm Preserve.  Just ten minutes from home, we have another hiking jewel in our crown of local trails to share with you when you come to southern Maine.

For you fans of Owen and Max: I’ve added five pictures from last weekend’s hike on Cutts Island that Hannah and I did with Owen and Max.  Click here to see the Cutts Island blog updated. Scroll to the bottom of the blog for the new pix.

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Norton Preserve in Kittery, Maine

Given a hot tip for hiking in the nearby town of Kittery by our friend, George Derby, Hannah and I have a free Saturday afternoon to explore the trails of the Norton Preserve. You see, our grandson Max’s seventh birthday party has been postponed one day due to unusually cold early May weather.  Though the trailhead to the conservation land of the Kittery Land Trust is unmarked, George’s direction are as solid as a full house over a kangaroo straight.

Driving down Route One from York to Kittery, we, after the Pig’s Fly Bakery, turn left on Lewis Road.  After a mile or so, Lewis Road ends at Norton Road, which is where we turn left down the dead-end toward the trailhead.

Large yellow house (to the upper left) is where the grassy path (below) begins.

Well, mostly grassy!

Down this country/residential road, we park on the right side one hundred yards from the road’s end in one of the six parking places.  Walking up to a wide grassy path past a country estate with its own tennis court, we, in short order, reach the sign showing the four color-coded trails at our disposal.

Let the white trail begin!

Hiking left on the white trail through a forest of oaks, pines, and trees long since dead and spread around like pick-up sticks, we have regularly spaced white blazes on the trees to guide us.  I never knew the origin of the term “blaze,” the colored markers on trees to guide hikers, until Hannah pipes up that we are blazing a trail.  One good thinker.

Reaching the junction of the yellow trail, with the wetlands to our right we head north towards the Kittery/York line. Stepping around a small creek where logs have been placed for us to cross without sinking into the gooey ooze, we soon notice that the yellow blazes have ended.  Entering the unmarked trails (as of May 2021) of the York Land Trust, we easily hike our way to Bartlett Road in York.

Trail rerouting by the York Land Trust

Returning the way we came, we eventually take a left on the orange trail that weaves in and out on a path parallel to the yellow trail.  

After an hour, we return to the trailhead pleased that a ten-minute drive from our home has us hiking in the woods of southern Maine. 

The next day the sun shines for Max’s seventh birthday party with both sets of his grandparents and local cousins.  We do so appreciate celebrating outside together after a pandemic year.

Max with his Omi and Poppa

Dinosaur Crunch is Max’s favorite ice cream from the local Sully’s Ice Cream Stand. It’s on his Omi’s chocolate cupcake with M and M’s atop cream cheese icing.

Later in the week, we add our Peace flag to our front yard.

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Brave Boat Headwaters in Kittery, Maine

The second of our daily double of short local hikes is just over the York line into Kittery.  (Click here for the first, the Fuller Forest Preserve in York.)  Travel south on Route 103 from York Harbor and on your right after two miles or so you’ll see the trailhead parking for this hiking jewel developed by the Kittery Land Trust.

This mid-April late morning finds women with their dogs and a mom with her three-month-old papoose.  The trail is often wide enough for the two of us to walk side-by-side through the forested land.

Crossing the little creek on wooden puncheons with roof shingles for traction, we are minutes from home but really away into the Maine woods.

Ever the Mr. Cool with his shades.

Having hiked this trail before with our grandsons Owen and Max, today we discover the new Sawyer Farm Trail spur at the far end of the loop trail; red plastic blazes on the trees guide us all the way to Bartlett Road near the York/Kittery line.

Without haste but walking steadily, Hannah and I cover the mile and a half or so of trail in forty some minutes.

Paired with the Fuller Forest Preserve trail not five minutes away, the Brave Boat Headlands trail gives those new to hiking/walking and those seeking the solitude of nature a double-barreled hiking experience.

Five days later we took our friend Karen to explore this same trail.

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally at the Fuller Forest Preserve in York, Maine

Finding outdoor alternatives to working out at our local gym, Hannah and I discover the Fuller Forest Preserve right here in town.

From the center of town, take Lindsay Road, cross Sewell’s Bridge by the York Golf and Tennis Club.  Take the gentle right onto Southside Road.  After a half mile, take the first left onto Bartlett Road, and voila, the extensive trailhead parking is to your right within 0.3 of a mile.

Thanks to the generous donation of the Fuller Brown family to the York Land Trust, York has the first stages of a forest trail at its doorstep.  As a conservation area, this 220 acre parcel is part of 1300 acres of contiguous undeveloped lands in southern York County. 

Let me give you a little background of how this land came to be set aside for the public.  In 1986, Marion Fuller Brown founded the York Land Trust.  In 2017, her heirs sold this acreage at a bargain rate to the York Land Trust and then donated some of the proceeds back to the YLT.  They are our local version of Warren Buffet and MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife).

This trail stump was criss-crossed by a chainsaw to let precipitation in to help decompose it.

Evidence of a recent wind storm that fell conveniently to the side of the trail

Currently, the Red Oak Trail is 0.75 miles through forested wetlands and remnants of coastal agricultural of a bygone era.  With new wood plank puncheons over swampy areas which are fed by seasonal vernal pools, we hike among the oaks, maples, and firs just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.  For you Ice Age buffs, this land was under a mile of ice during the last Ice Age some 11,000 years ago.

With Hannah in the foreground, volunteers build another wood plank puncheon over low lying wetlands.

Encountering pickleball friend Gary working on a new set of puncheons with another volunteer this mid-April Tuesday, we see the beginnings of a new trail all the way to Dolly Gordon Creek.

The next trail is beyond the two volunteers.

In April 2021, the less than a mile trail takes just twenty minutes of ambling.  Come back this fall and surely next spring to see the fine trail work of the volunteers of the York Land Trust.

Hannah is a real cut-up.

For more information about the Fuller Forest Preserve click here.

Returning to the trailhead.
Check out the twists in this pine.

Five days later we hiked the Red Oak trail with our friend Karen. The picture below is of the same tree that trapped Hannah.

More Hannah and Karen on the same puncheons where the volunteers were building the day we hiked.

Karen and Hannah on the trail after an all-day rain storm two days ago.

Dan and Hannah Hike Locally on Cutts Island in Kittery, Maine

On an overcast mid-April morning, Hannah and I head to the Maine coastline to explore the Cutts Island Trail on the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve in Kittery.

Though 70 degrees filled our Saturday past, today Monday, it’s a blustery 48.  You may not know it, but April in Maine is a tempest, a volatile lover.  Driving south from York on coastal Route 103, we turn left on Cutts Road for a few hundred yards to a stop sign.  At the junction of Sea Point Road, we veer left over the small bridge, within sight of the modest trailhead parking on Cutts Island.

Chauncey Creek at the trailhead

The trailhead is at the lower left of the map. The “YOU ARE HERE” on the map is when we were nearly to the Salt Marsh on this 1.8 mile round-trip trail.
Hannah on the puncheons, albeit during a dry spell

Pulling behind a van with Oregon plates, we have before us nearly two miles of flatland trails along Chauncey Creek on to the Salt Marsh.  The forest ahead is a collection of brown pick-up sticks of fallen oaks, maples, and pines among the healthy trees ready to leaf out.  In a month, the softness of green will bracket the trail and calm the winter beast within us all.

The stone walls suggest a bygone era when men were men and women were women and stone walls were made of real stones.
Chauncey Creek at high tide
Dan on the trail hiking in his LL Bean zip-offs and his Merrell hiking shoes. He’s nothing if he’s not trendy.

With a trail of soft dirt that is easy on our feet, we head out on level terrain exploring to see if this is a suitable trail for our grandsons, Owen (8) and Max (6).

Signs directing us at junctures of the trail tell us of quite the American hero, Rachel Carson. 

As an American biologist, Rachel Carson wrote on environmental pollution and the natural history of the sea.  Her book, Silent Spring (1962), was the spark for the modern environmental movement as well as five alarm fire for the need to control pesticides, including DDT.  A graduate of Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA, incidentally where my mother earned her B.A. in French and Latin, Ms. Carson in the prime of her life was weakened by breast cancer and died of a heart attack at 56 in 1964. 

Trail’s end

Chatting up the Oregonians, fully masked thirteen months into the Covid-19 pandemic, we learn they are vandwellers traveling the country.  Vandwellers!!

Following this encounter, I think how appealing it would be to travel the Lower Forty-Eight in a van as William Least Heat Moon described in Blue Highways (1982).   Staying wherever we want for as long as we want.  Hiking, visiting family and friends as modern day free-spirited, albeit upper middle class, hobos.  Of course, I would be doing this alone since Hannah wants no part of van-ity.

Even with all our stops to read the informative trail signs, we are back at the trailhead in 50 minutes.  Have hiked with Owen and Max before, we know this hike will easily take an hour and a half as they climb trailside logs and boulders, scamper down to the water’s edge, and throw whatever is close at hand.   

Can’t wait.

What do you know, during a “24 Hours with Owen and Max,” one month late (mid-May 2021) Hannah and I brought the boys to Cutts Island.

We assisted Margo (someone I just asked if she needed help) with her kayak from the car to Chauncey Creek.
Owen and his Omi as the leaves start filling in.

Meeting three others, we were fortunate that they lent Max (in the picture) and Owen their binoculars to see the birds of the marsh.

Bunny ears are always a popular photo option at the end of the trail at the marsh.

And yes, I occasionally make the cut of the photo editor.

Dan and Hannah Welcome You to Walk Their Hometown – York, Maine  Part 1

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Hannah and I now live 20 miles south of Kennebunk on the Maine coast

How in the world did you two residents of Arizona ever end up in Maine?  I mean, really.  You were living in Arizona, the real Sunshine State!   Did you have any idea what winters were like in New England?   What part of roof-raking the snow off your house did you not get?  What were you smoking?  What made you do it?   Well, my Uncle Jimmy had a lot to do with it.  Let me explain.

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Hannah and I lived just to the west of Mesa in Tempe for ten years

Since Hannah grew up in the sub-arctic cold of Rochester, New York and I not ten miles from Manhattan in New Jersey, we were iron filings to the magnetic pull of the warmth of Arizona.  Married young at 24, we figured, What the hell!  Why not Arizona!  Soon, we had the easy peezy life of shorts and sandals.  We even had a 40′ pool at our first house, not a mile from the campus of The Arizona State University.  I could play 18 holes of golf for $3 in the summer.  True it was always north of 100F on the course.

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My Uncle Jimmy with his bride, my Aunt Marian

And then fate and Uncle Jimmy stepped.  It was October, 1980 when we returned East for my brother Richard’s wedding.   There, my Uncle Jimmy, the planter of seeds, said, When are you guys coming back East?

d-and-h-west-coast-circa-1976

Such kids!

We immediately dismissed that idea as crazy talk.  Move to the cold Northeast?   During our ten years in the 70s in the Cactus State, there was a soothing laid-back California vibe to the Valley of the Sun that suited us.  We had tans year-round.  We could bike everywhere.  True, smog, that Los Angeles could be proud of, blanketed the valley most days, and the traffic that was a Debbie Downer.

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But the sun-drenched life wasn’t the only reason we were in Arizona.  You see, we each came from families with high profile fathers in the small communities where we grew up.  Hannah’s dad was the village doctor while mine was the high school principal.  Since everyone knew our families, Hannah and I were less Hannah and Dan, but more the doctor’s daughter and the principal’s kid.  No one’s fault, we had good lives…but as introverts, we had a hard time figuring out who the hell we were.

And then Uncle Jimmy got us thinking.  Our daughter Molly was 14 months at the time; then when our second daughter Robyn came less than a year later, the pull of family in the Northeast grew stronger and stronger.

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York Harbor, Maine in November

We thought, What about New England?   Each being from the Northeast, we had a romantic notion of living in small town New England, raising a family, becoming part of the community.   So we picked up and moved in the dead of winter to a duplex in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.   We had no jobs, but an innocent faith that this was the right move.

Then on a sunny day in May, 1982, we drove eight miles north to the seaside town of York, Maine.  Pedaling with Molly and Robyn in bike seats, we fell in love with all the green, the towering trees, the ocean, the small-town feel.  Equally smitten by the first house we looked out, we bought a post and beam home on a wooded acre and a half lot of oaks and beeches; a far cry from our fenced-in ¼ acre house lot in Arizona. (Full disclosure, our first Arizona house did have a grapefruit, orange, and lemon tree in our backyard!)

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Hannah on the trail in Steedman Woods

Now scroll forward 34+ years and we still call York home.  This mid-November Sunday, we are looking for a little exercise before an early sunset in our still small town.  Our walk of choice takes us into the village to the empty parking lot of the York Golf and Tennis Club just off the York River.  (In golf and tennis season, parking can be found in York Village itself near the iconic First Parish Congregational Church.)

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Steedman Woods

Within a hundred feet of the York River, the walk begins down a country lane off Lindsay Road.   To our right are the shoreline estates, to our left we approach the tidal Barrell’s Mill Pond, once the site of an 18th century lumber mill.

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At the entrance to the forest trails, there is a sign that welcomes us to Steedman Woods, now owned and maintained by the Old York Historical Society.  The trail is easy to navigate and goes in a circle with water views all around.

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Trail above Barrell’s Mill Pond

As we enter the Woods, we have a choice of two trails – the mellow one of wood chips to our right that skirts the York River or behind door #2 – the rocky, hilly trail to the left above the Barrell’s Mill Pond that we choose. Either trail leads to the Wiggly Bridge, known locally as the shortest suspension bridge in the world.  Once over the Wiggly Bridge, we continue on to the 300-yard man-made causeway leading to York Harbor itself.

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Hannah at the Wiggly Bridge with the causeway beyond.  The York River to her left.

At this point we take the right on the sidewalk over the tidal York River on Route 103 with the lobster boats of York Harbor to our left, the expansive river leading inland for miles to our right.

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York Harbor from the Route 103 bridge with the Fisherman’s Walk to the upper left

Taking the side road at the marina to the left, we have the wide causeway all to ourselves on a crisp, fall day (i.e., 40s).   At the end of the road is the now shuttered Dockside Restaurant and boat storage area.  Exploring the boat yard and the Dockside lawns on our walk approaching 30 minutes, we soon double back.  At this point, we have three choices.

Choice #1 – Go back the way we came over the York River, back down the causeway to the Wiggly Bridge and through the Steedman Woods.

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Hannah on the causeway to the Wiggly Bridge

Choice #2 – Cross back over the York River bridge and turn instead to the right onto the Fisherman’s Walk paralleling York Harbor on to the Atlantic Ocean.  From there, a rocky path starts at the York Harbor Beach heading north along the coast on the Cliff Walk high above the Atlantic.  Click here for the Cliff Walk blog.

Choice #3 – Continue across the York River Bridge to the first left, Barrell Lane, for a walk that takes us through the miniscule York Village.  Turn left at the , 18th century cemetery onto Lindsay Road, which gets us back to our vehicle.

Let us know when you are coming to this “walk in the park,” and we’d love to join you.  Oh, and one more thing.  Thank you, Jimmy!

Part II of walking trails/hikes in York will come once the snow melts in spring.

Dan and Hannah and Their Connection to the Viral Obituary of the Year Part 2 of 2

Going to the party to Celebrate the Life of Chris Connors didn’t quite work out the way we had hoped.  Yes, we did get to the York Harbor Inn, but, no, we never did get to hug Emily, my former student and his widow.  That said, though we lingered for just 15 minutes among the 500 party-goers, our time there was a success.  I’ll explain.

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Playful to the end, the family had this sign at the lobby entrance of the York Harbor Inn that evening.  The next day’s York Weekly reported that in the bathroom of their house was a roll of Osama bin Laden toilet paper.  (Chris’s brother had died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.)

His younger brother said, He would say, ‘You should be bold. You should be real.’ And that’s the way he lived his life.

On the plus side, we signed the guest book and left our condolence card inviting Emily for coffee once things settled down in January.   It’s a way for us introverts to connect with the family.

Thanks to Part I of the blog, we heard from our friend, Pastor Rich. Thanks for your message about Chris. I married Chris and Emily at the Harbor Beach!!!!!  I will never forget it.  We all stood on the beach, with stanchions in the sand creating an aisle. Emily and the bridesmaids walked down from their home, past the Reading Room and down the Cliff Walk to join us. It was simply elegant and Inspiring. Chris called the scene, “God’s Great Cathedral.”  Please give Emily a hug for me! 

So, we have our hugs and Rich’s hug to deliver in January.  I can’t wait.  In the end our evening was quite a success.   You see, as Woody Allen says,

Ninety per cent of life is just showing up.

Dan and Hannah and Their Connection to the Viral Obituary of the Year (Part 1 of 2)

Perhaps you have seen the online obituary of York (Maine) resident Chris Connors, a man who lived a full, full life.  As locals for the last 35 years, Hannah and I never knew him but do have connection to the Connors family that I will fill you in on later.

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If you haven’t read the obituary of Chris Connors (67), here are excerpts.  I can’t give you the whole obituary because it is no longer on Legacy.com.  The website says, We’re sorry, but this page is not available.  The error has been reported to our site, and our best people are investigating.   Hmmm.  I’m guessing the website crashed because of so many hits.

Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey

Chris Connors died, at age 67, after trying to box his bikini-clad hospice nurse just moments earlier.  Ladies’ man, game slayer, and outlaw, Connors told his last inappropriate joke on Friday, December 9, 2016, that which cannot be printed here.  Anyone else fighting ALS and stage 4 pancreatic cancer would have gone quietly into the night, but Connors was stark naked drinking Veuve in a house full of friends and family as Al Green played from the speakers.  The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority, and he paved his own way. And if you said he couldn’t do it, he would make sure he could.

Chris enjoyed cross dressing, a well-made fire, and mashed potatoes with lots of butter. His regrets were few, but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from an unmemorable convenience store in the summer of 1986.

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As much as people knew hanging out with him would end in a night in jail or a killer screwdriver hangover, he was the type of man that people would drive 16 hours at the drop of a dime to come see. He lived 1000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor.

At the age of 26, he hoped to circumnavigate the world but spent 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama; in 1974 he started the Quincy Rugby Club; in his 30s, he was stabbed in New York while saving a woman who was being mugged; and at 64, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest.

Most people thought he was crazy for swimming in the ocean in January; for being a skinny Irish Golden Gloves boxer from Quincy, Massachusetts; for dressing up as a priest and then proceeding to get into a fight at a Jewish deli.  Many gawked at his start of a career on Wall Street without a financial background – but instead with an intelligent, impish smile, love for the spoken word, irreverent sense of humor, and stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.

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Sailor at heart

Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8).  He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important – the simplicity of living a life with those you love.  Although he threw some of the most memorable parties during the greater half of a century, he would trade it all for a night in front of the fire with his family in Maine.

Written by his daughter Caitlin and cousin Liz Connors, Caitlin told the Boston Globe that they knew the obituary had to do him justice, writing every story they could remember and more after a few drinks.

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A Celebration of Life in memory of Connors will be held Dec. 19 during Happy Hour at the York Harbor Inn.  Those looking to pay tribute for Connors are asked to pay the open bar tab or donate to Connors’ water safety fund... (Already $10,000 has been raised!)

From the York Weekly    Click here for the full article.

…YORK, Maine – When Caitlin Connors sat in front of a fire last weekend, to write her father’s obituary, she followed his instructions to make it funny, but didn’t anticipate it would be shared globally.

The obituary for Chris Connors, with the headline “Irishman dies from stubbornness, whiskey,” has been “shared and shared” through social media, his daughter said. Before Barstool Sports, Boston Magazine, Men’s Health and the Boston Globe made stories about the tribute she wrote for her dad, Connors said his family was expecting 150 to 200 friends to attend a celebration of his life Monday at the York Harbor Inn.

“Now that it’s viral,” she said, the family plans to contact the York Police Department for a security detail. The obituary was published on Seacoastonline, in the Portsmouth Herald and the York Weekly.

“He would’ve loved it,” said Connors’ widow, Emily Connors. “He would’ve laughed.  He’s definitely looking down at us.”

When he was on hospice, a friend of the family, who is just as crazy, was bikini-clad when she would help administer his medication,” Caitlin Connors said.

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His wife Emily, the mother of young Chris and Liam, was a student of mine in teacher education at the University of New England.  Simply, for three semesters it was clear that she was the kind of person you would like your own kids to have as a teacher.   Since then, we see her upbeat self about town and at our gym in Kittery.  I had no idea what life must have been like living with Chris.

As reported above, there is a celebration of Chris’s life at the York Harbor Inn, just a few miles from our house.  Hannah and I are going to stop by later today.  Not for a drink in a crowded bar or to tell stories about Chris (whom we never met), but to give Emily a hug.  If that doesn’t happen and I’m not sure it will given the publicity around the “viral obituary,” we have an envelope for her with an invitation for coffee at a local café, the Crumb, here in town come January, when the circus dies down.

Part II of this blog will be the story of us going to the York Harbor Inn today at 4P.

cc-yhi

But this obituary does raise questions for us all, have we lived life fully?  What amazing things are we going to make happen in our lives in the coming year?  Three years?  What choices are we going to make to create the most of our lives?

Perhaps some clarity will begin to emerge for me tomorrow at the York Harbor Inn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.