2017-05-18 / Editorial

Scottish heritage festival on the horizon at Libby

Library Links
By Bob Cochran

I went to the Libby Library yesterday to take out some material that may be useful in building a hydraulically powered trilby. I soon heard the sounds of breathing, squeaking and muttering. I turned a corner and found our mascot, Libby Lobster, surrounded by balloon fragments. Against my better judgment, I asked Libby what he was doing.

“I’m making balloon animals … trying to anyway,” he sighed.

“And why would you be trying to make balloon animals?” I inquired.

“Did I ever tell you about my Scottish ancestor, Lachlan Lobster?” he responded, with frightening enthusiasm.

“Ummm, no.”

I responded, knowing full well I was in for another Libby legend.

He launched in to his tale, “Well, Lachlan got bored one day while working in the kitchen, so he decided to invent balloon animals. There was only one drawback; balloons hadn’t yet been invented. He ended up trying to use sheep stomachs. Let’s just say it didn’t go as intended. He managed to inflate one to a rather large size before it slipped from his claws. It jetted around the kitchen, passing through a pan of sheep suet, a bag of oatmeal and a spice rack before smashing through the window and coming to rest in the neighbor’s fireplace. The neighbor fished it from the fire, sliced a piece off and ate it. I’m sure you can guess that Lachlan didn’t react very well when they asked for seconds, but you can say that he invented both haggis and food delivery.”

Perfect timing I thought saying, “I’m glad you mentioned haggis. That reminds me that we should tell the folks about the activities the Library has planned around this year’s Scottish Festival. The festival will be held on Saturday, June 3, and is being sponsored by OOB365. There won’t be any haggis, not even haggis smoothies or haggis spiced coffee but there will be plenty of great Scottish music, food and fun for only a $5 admission.”

“The library is participating by offering two Scottish cultural programs that are sure to be fascinating, educational and free of charge. The 11 a.m. program is entitled, “Tartan, Clan and Family Resource Books & How to Use Them.” It’s hosted by Bill MacIain, historian of the St. Andrew’s Society of Maine. He’ll offer advice on how to use these various resources to research your Scottish heritage. Brad McFadden, from the Maine Ulster Scots Project, returns this year at 1 p.m. with his highly informative presentation, “Ulster Scots Archeology at Somersett Point on Merrymeeting Bay.” In his presentation he discusses the archaeological dig taking place at the site of a 1718 Scottish homestead on the Kennebec River, which is being sponsored by his organization.”

Libby then exclaimed “If you think that sounds good, there’s even more terrific stuff lined up for the following Saturday, June 10. Nick Shrewsbury of North-By-East Training will be at the library from 10:30 a.m. to noon. He’ll present a great, interesting and unique program on dog mushing and although it’s in June, it’s also in Maine and it could still snow any minute.”

“That reminds me of my great uncle Euripides version of ‘dog sledding’ that became a cherished holiday tradition. He wanted to escape from a walk-in cooler, so he strapped wooden drink stirrers to the bottom of a sardine can. He then harnessed eight live shrimp to the improvised sleigh. The next time the chef opened the cooler, he made his escape, riding the sleigh into the outside world. Alas, a seagull scooped them up. They flew through the air, dropping sardines everywhere. One fell down the chimney of one Mortimer Megalopolis and landed in a sock he had drying in a fireplace. Megalopolis looked out the window and saw Euripides’ sleigh flying through the sky. Megalopolis, an ad man, immediately thought ‘I can make something of this.’”

Libby continued his tale, “His first attempt didn’t go so well. Folks generally didn’t react favorably when they awoke Christmas Day to the smell of old socks filled with sardines. Not to mention, children weren’t exactly enthralled about sitting on a giant crustacean’s lap. He eventually worked out the kinks, and you know the rest.”

I reminded Libby about our word count at that point, but before we go, we wanted to let you know about the next Author Talk. It features local meteorologist Kevin Mannix and his wife, Linda Rota. They’ll be talking about their book, “Weathering Shame,” about the shame and stigma they both had to deal with as the children of alcoholic parents. The program begins at 6 p.m. with a 30-minute meet and greet, followed by the presentation and discussion at 6:30 p.m..

Time to sign off for now. We’ll be back next month with details on more exciting summer programs.

Bob Cochrane is a volunteer with Libby Memorial Library on Staples Street in Old Orchard Beach.

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