AN UNANNOUNCED ARRIVAL
He stood nervously a moment beside his rental car, feeling terribly far from home. This was his first time to leave his home state of Maine for a place so distant, and now he wondered if he might regret the sudden impulse that had led him to the literal far side of the world. His mind tracked back to that surprise encounter he'd had recently. The woman was from South Carolina and she was sitting atop the crest of Cadillac Mountain, looking out at the many small, green islands that dotted the silver harbor far below.
It had been his habit for some
years to climb up there himself, often with a book of poetry in his hand,
perhaps a notebook in which to scribble down impressions that came to him as he
meditated on the beauty about him. It was she who had told him, though he never
learned just quite how she knew, that his half-brother, Sidney Harbor, had gone
to live in a small village called The Glen just inland from Coffs Harbor, New
He'd seen Sid only once as he'd breezed through Portland on some business he had. They'd only exchanged a few words in the lobby as Sid was in a hurry and didn't like lingering in such a backwater state. The last he'd heard, Sid was in LA, where his primary residence was, though it was rumored he had homes scattered all around the world, many in unique places.
Bar Harbor had never really wanted to go to LA despite his yearning to know his half-brother better. The city was just too huge, too active for him. He was used to the coast of Maine, knew its rocky coastline well, its forested hills. He'd been part of the environmental conservation movements in the area, attending meetings, donating funds, helping raise more funds, even going out himself and replanting trees and gathering garbage from along the roadsides. It would be hard to leave even for a while. He'd had to find trustworthy substitutes for himself for the Saturday mornings when he read to the children at the orphanage, for the evening he spent at the old folks' home playing games with the residents, singing to them. He was also the choir director at church. He'd needed to get a replacement for that, too, as well as check in with the volunteer fire station to see if they could manage without him. He'd had to finish repainting poor Mrs. Olworth's picket fence. He'd promised and a promise was something that must always be kept no matter what. There was also the matter of the new shelving he was helping install in the library and the replanting of the small park due to that truck which had lost its brakes and plowed through, destroying the flower beds. If only he'd been able to leap onto the side of the truck sooner and grab the steering wheel before it had jumped the curb. At least when he'd done it, it had been in time, praise the Lord, to keep it from killing sweet old Mr. Ackerman, dozing in the sunshine on a park bench. Mr. Ackerman, awakened so suddenly by the truck veering past his bench as Bar had pulled the wheel desperately to the left, had gone into cardiac arrest, but Bar had leapt from the cab of the truck and performed CPR in time, then carried Ackerman in his arms the whole way to the hospital, singing to him gently.
Bar was also the mayor of the seacoast town named after his great, great grandfather, Bar Harbor the first. As town historian, he hoped to be able to finish that long article he was writing by taking his computer with him. He had the handle of his computer case in his hand now, as he stood beside his car. The Glen. Everything was so new, so very different. Already he missed Maine. He had no idea how long he'd be away. The town's children always counted on him to play Santa Claus for them and, then too, he didn't really want to miss his annual trek up into the top of Canada to help prevent the slaughter of baby white harp seals. The dancing class he taught Tuesday and Thursday nights had been easy to find a replacement for, but it was the crippled children he took on picnics on Sunday afternoons that would miss him the most. His project of transferring books into braille for the blind he'd simply had to put on hold for the time being. He regretted that.
He stood there, looking at the dome-like home some kind soul named Miss Peeg in the town had directed him to. Sid. His brother was an unknown quantity. He wondered just how alike they were, how many interests they shared. Perhaps while he was here, he might be able to assist Sid in some of his benevolent community endeavors. Already he'd seen a huge billboard proclaiming Sid's candidacy for mayor. That was a good sign (though, truly, he was not fond of billboards himself for they tended to hide the beauty of the nature behind them) for it meant that his brother was civic-minded and responsible. He was sure they'd get along and hoped Sid wouldn't mind that he'd not let anyone know he was coming.
Taking a few steps forward, he approached the door, murmured a soft prayer under his breath and rang the doorbell, smiling when he noted the chimes played Beethoven's Fifth.