Tornado Moves Woolwich To Eastern Maine
Tuesday began as just another day in the town of Woolwich (motto: Pronounced Two Different Ways: Wool-witch and Wit-ah-pit-lok). And it continued as just another day all morning long. And all afternoon. And right through happy hour, it couldn’t have been more ordinary. But about 7:30 p.m., things began to change in the general direction of the unusual. For one thing, it started to get dark. That’s not the unusual part. Which is: Woolwich was hit by a tornado.
Tornadoes aren’t common in Maine, so local folks aren’t all that prepared to deal with them. When severe weather hits, we’re more likely to get out the snow shovel than head for the storm cellar. As for battening down the hatches, most Mainers think that has something to do with putting soft stuff around new-born chicks.
Consequently, the hatches in Woolwich had not been battened. And the twister apparently torn the entire town loose from its moorings in Sagadahoc County and deposited it, not in Oz, but in the far more exotic climes of eastern Maine.
At least, that’s what the Portland Press Herald’s Web site reported. Its initial story, which was rushed online two days after the storm had come and gone, stated that Woolwich was a town in eastern Maine. Since it’s inconceivable that the state’s largest daily paper wouldn’t know where a town within its circulation area is located, I can only conclude that the swirling winds were to blame for this discrepancy and that Woolwich was no longer where it had always been.
This should have been good news for Washington County, the poorest area in Maine. Woolwich is a relatively wealthy town with lots of pricey homes and well-to-do residents. Their arrival was bound to boost the local economy, even if all they did was buy gas so they could drive back to southern Maine as fast as they possibly could.
Unfortunately, before anything like that happened, a second tornado must have come along, because within a few hours, the Press Herald site was reporting that Woolwich was back in its original location.
Although this combination of odd weather events ended without disaster, it should serve as a warning to the rest of the state that much more needs to be done in the way of emergency preparedness. Supplies of batten must be stored near all hatches. Schoolchildren must be required to study the works of L. Frank Baum. Reporters and editors at the Press Herald must undergo remedial courses in local geography.
Only then will we be safe from meteorological quirks and journalistic ignorance.
In other earth-shaking matters of the past week, U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe has begun her transition out of public office and into private life. Her office announced that Snowe will appear this fall in an episode of the NBC situation comedy “Parks and Recreation.”
I have to confess that I’ve never seen this show and wasn’t really aware that NBC still had programming on in prime time. But any sit-com with Snowe in it has to be worth setting the DVR. And this is probably just the start of Snowe’s new acting gig. Rumors are already floating around about a walk-on during “The Vampire Diaries,” a featured number on “Glee,” and a sex scene in “The Big Bang Theory.” There’s also talk of casting Snowe as a storm chaser in the movie “Twister II: The Unbattened Hatches of Woolwich.”
Unlike most Hollywood actresses, she could at least handle the Maine accent.
Speaking of Tinsel Town, Snowe isn’t the only resident of this state with designs on a second career in the entertainment industry. Mike Cote of Ogunquit is a 56-year-old drywall finisher with a less-than-stellar record as a part-time comedian. But he’s in line for some serious spotlight time this fall because he bears a resemblance to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Cote looks most like Romney when he’s not talking. If he opens his mouth, the likeness is less obvious. But dim light helps. And he was a major success in his appearance before the National Association of Near-Sighted People Who Refuse to Wear Corrective Lenses Or Have Eye Surgery.
Apparently, there’s a huge industry built around appearances by people resembling presidential candidates, and those look-alikes who can pull off the impersonation can earn some hefty paychecks, not to mention the possibility they’ll be mistaken for the man himself and allowed to ride on Air Force One and to play with the button that launches the nukes. Of course, if Romney loses in November, Cote’s talents will be less in demand, and he’ll be back to serving as the opening act for sheep-shearing contests at agricultural fairs.
It seems as if no week goes by that Portland isn’t named as one of the top cities in the country in some category: best place to ride out a tornado, best municipality to watch “Parks and Recreation,” most people within the metropolitan area who resemble Mitt Romney – to cite some recent examples. This week’s addition to the honors list is from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, which went to all the trouble of sorting out every city in America to find the best one for each stage of life.
For instance, Madison, Wisconsin is the spot to be for young adults. Washington, D.C., is the dream home for professionals. Families will love it in Des Moines, Iowa. And retirees can laissez les bon temps rouler in New Orleans.
So what does that leave? Best city for dead people?
Oops, sorry. Kiplinger’s says Portland is its choice for “Best City for Second Acts.”
That’s good news for Mike Cote if Romney loses the election.
Oops, sorry, again. The magazine says “Second Acts” are what empty-nesters have after the kids have gone off to imitate celebrities or appear in bit parts on NBC sit-coms. It’s that brief period of freedom before the slacker failures move back home.
But if their parents live in Portland, they can tell them a tornado destroyed the whole place. Or moved it to eastern Maine, which is much the same. Sorry, Junior. KMAGYOYO.
Al Diamon filed this posting from the crawl space under his house. He can still get email down there if you send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.