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Check out what happened when Anni sat in with the Sons Of The Beach at The Brunswick in Old Orchard Beach [here]!

Anni Blog July 1, 2015

Hello to All! I am dedicating this month’s Anni Blog to the one & only David Gagnon… to read about David, check out section 3. CURRENT CEREBRAL WANDERINGS… I think you’ll be glad you did. My July calendar boasts some pretty hot gigs, from the ocean to the lakes & mountains of Maine. All shows have me ramped up & ready; however, returns to the Drummore Bay Concert Hall on July 14th, followed by a 50th Anniversary Clam Festival show on July 17th have me almost sleepless with anticipation… so psyched! I have built in some time for play this summer, as always… if there’s a big space between gigs, you can bet I’m hiking or kayaking or visiting with friends & family somewhere exquisite & summer-like. Without furthers, here’s the scoop, in this order:

1. JULY / AUG SHORT LIST (Date, Venue, Town & Time Only)
2. JULY TARGETS (Details)

1. JULY / AUG SHORT LIST (Date, Venue, Town & Time Only)

FRI, JULY 3 - JJ’s Eatery - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM
MON, JULY 13 - Blair Hill Inn - Greenville ME (private function)
TUES, JULY 14 - Drummore Bay Concert Hall - Phippsburg ME -7PM
     (solo show, Reservations encouraged!)
FRI, JULY 17 - Yarmouth Clam Festival - 7:30PM* (or near…)
     (50th Anniversary! I got my old spot back *after the parade!)
THURS, JULY 23 - Gazebo Concert Series - Greenville ME - 7PM
     (celebrating “Christmas in July” with a Santa Fly-in!)
FRI, JULY 31 - Ocean Pizza - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM
FRI, AUG 7 - JJ’s Eatery - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM
     (on the patio, weather allowing)
MON, AUG 17 - Lake Pemaquid Campground Damariscotta ME - 7:30PM
FRI, AUG 21 - Ocean Pizza - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM
THURS, AUG 27 - Bueno Loco - Falmouth ME - 6PM

2. JULY TARGETS (Details)

FRIDAY / JULY 3rd / JJ's / OLD ORCHARD BEACH ME / 7PM / 207-934-0222... OUTDOORS on the patio, weather allowing… There’s no better place to start your 4th of July weekend than down at the beach… get warmed up for a weekend full of music, fun & fireworks! Great food & drinks & local color combine to make this a fave hang in OOB 12 months of the year... But 4th of July weekend? Trust me, the beach ROCKS! Come help us get the party started… Here's JJ's [website].

TUESDAY / JULY 14th / DRUMMORE BAY CONCERT HALL / PHIPPSBURG ME / 7PM / 207-446-7199 / $15… This is a TRULY COOL NEW VENUE! My friend & fellow musician Jackson Gay & his wife Jean purchased this building with a vision for all good things happening, mostly musically involved. I played here for my 2nd time in June with Dan Merrill… it was a great evening in so many ways, inclusive of the decadent pies & other gourmet desserts & coffee served between sets! I’ll be driving down from Moosehead Lake for this show, conjuring up visions of another stellar night in this classic spot… The venue is at 516 Main Rd (Rt 209)… easy to find. RESERVATIONS are strongly encouraged. You can call Jean at 207-446-7199 or order tix from the website [here].

FRIDAY / JULY 17th / YARMOUTH CLAM FESTIVAL / YARMOUTH ME (Memorial Green) / 7:30PM… drum roll please… for the 50th Anniversary of the one & only Yarmouth Clam Fest, I got my old spot back! I’ll be singin’ & celebratin’ my hometown’s 50th on the Memorial Green Stage right after the parade ends, near or at 7:30 PM. I used to play at this spot at this time every year for about 20 years! I was back last year on Saturday night & had a ball playin’ there again, crankin’ out some old chestnuts that made their debut here way back when… I felt it was only fitting to be honoring the 50th with an anniversary time & place like the old days. Heck, I remember the very first Clam Fest! Fully dating myself now, it was up in the North Yarmouth Academy field in back of the school… ferris wheel, merry-go-round, the “Zipper” (HOW did I ever DO that???) My cousin Susie got her hair stuck in the ferris wheel gear & my Dad had to climb up & cut her hair to get her free! Geez… things have changed a bit since then. The Clam Fest takes over the whole town now & folks come from far & wide to partake of all it offers. Great food & fun, races & rides, music & magic, clothing & crafts, fireworks… & the biggest parade EVER! I am ecstatic to be part of this year’s BIG PARTY… Check out the Festival Schedule [here].

THURSDAY / JULY 23rd / GREENVILLE GAZEBO SERIES / GREENVILLE ME / 7PM / 207-695-2702… I have always loved playing here beside Moosehead Lake with the sun setting ever so sweetly on the water & over the surrounding mountains. This scene could be a summer postcard, enticing enough to make one drive the extra miles to be part of it. They do a Santa Fly-in just before I start singin’… makes the kids all crazy happy… “Christmas in July”… I even throw in a holiday tune or two to honor the concept. If it rains (NOT!) we move inside to the Center for Moosehead History on Lakeview Street. If it’s a nice evening (which it WILL be) bring chairs or a blanket, a cooler with some summer snacks & bevies & be ready to sing one, dance to one, or both. Call the Chamber of Commerce (above) for furthers.

FRIDAY / JULY 31st / OCEAN PIZZA / OLD ORCHARD BEACH ME / 7PM / 207-934-2900... Ocean Pizza sounds like a little diner thing doesn't it? There's a take out spot in the front, sure 'nough... but the dining room is really warm, woody & comfy, with a bar & music on Friday nights... & GET THIS: the only music allowed is... ORIGINAL MUSIC! Totally cool. Pam, the owner, is a petite fiery lady straight outta Italy with some of her Grandma's best recipes tucked up under her sleeve. This is another splendid specimen of a local family run business with something unique to offer. Here's their [website].

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David Gagnon & Me on Halloween, 1973
(18 months before our hike on the A.T.)

40 years ago I walked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with my at-the-time boyfriend David Gagnon. I had just graduated from the University of Maine at Orono and had little or no experience hiking long distance. David & I did a few practice overnights with our equipment before taking the big leap, but mostly I was green as green can be. I know, I know… most people hike south to north… but I graduated late and we didn’t want to hop scotch… our goal was a straight shot south following those white blazes.

I’ll never forget that first day on the trail, climbing Mt. Katahdin… I confessed to David that I was a little nervous about our undertaking. He said “just take one step at a time and let’s see where we wind up.” We made it up & down that bad boy & a few miles further south to Daicey Pond before we made our first camp on what turned out to be a 5 month trek. Mind you, it was mid-June in the Maine wilderness, so we had black flies, mosquitoes & lots of blow downs to contend with… it was plenty hot those days & we walked with full length pants & long sleeve shirts & mosquito netting hats every day. When we camped at night near a lake, we’d take turns submerging bodies underwater to clean ourselves while the other, netting still on, would stand knee-deep in the water, ready to swat the other’s head with a towel when we came up for air… the bugs were THAT bad. But we planted our feet one step at a time & set our sights on the next town… we hardly ever thought of the final goal, Springer Mountain in Georgia. “One step at a time” made things seem pretty simple, not so overwhelming. We made Monson in 8 days… 100 miles, not including Katahdin… not bad for newbies.

Back in 1975, they were still logging on the Kennebec River… it may have been the last year they did that. When you cross that river now on the A.T., you are escorted across by boat. When WE did it, we crossed as early in the morning as possible, hoping to be ahead of any logs coming down through & we forded the river in bare feet with our Limmer boots strapped on the tops of our packs. These are weighty boots, making packs top heavy; hence, we were very “balance challenged.” That fording took a LONG time… talk about one step at a time… the water was fast, strong & up to our knees. We held onto big sticks we found on the side of the river & planted them in front of our every step, then walked to the stick. I was never so happy as when we made it to the other side unscathed. I think we allowed ourselves a snack break, then we moved on.

By the time we got to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, we were in pretty good shape & the bugs weren’t quite as obnoxious, so we left the mosquito netting hats with a college buddy & borrowed some shorts. From then on, it wasn’t as much a hike from town to town… it was more, state to state in our minds… we had gained enough confidence to think about it that way. Still, every step counted.

I could share so many A.T. stories, but that’s not really where I think I’m going with this today. Instead, I am inspired to write about David… David went to med school after we split up (I think we knew each other TOO WELL after that hike…) & he became a family doctor & moved to Kentucky. He lives with his beautiful wife Marcy on a horse farm called Full Moon Farm. He went to hospice yesterday after a long, long courageous struggle with a rare form of cancer. I think it’s been about 12 years that he’s been in and out of treatments, but never giving up & all the while keeping his bucket list in full view & tackling that list of things to do with the same zest and can-do attitude he always had. He got his captain’s license & sailed people all over the Caribbean… he ran marathon after marathon & inspired others to do the same. He went backpacking, sky diving, learned to excel in endurance racing with his horses… he made it to Niagara Falls for the first time a couple weeks ago… he was in a wheel chair, but he was there. His story has been so amazing to me. I have drawn energy and inspiration from the way he chooses to live fully despite such an overwhelming challenge. Perhaps that’s what kept the cancer at bay… that determination, that drive to keep taking one step at a time.

I owe David a BIG THANK YOU. I don’t think I would be who I am today without having experienced that long trek from Maine to Georgia. That mantra of “one step at a time” comes back to me time & time again & it helps me to tackle life’s tests with a reasonable amount of assurance that if I just START… I’ll get there. I know for sure I never would have embarked on a full time career as a singer-songwriter without having that experience under my belt. It was David & the Appalachian Trail that taught me I can do whatever I want to do, be who I want to be. I teach school now in addition to writing songs & performing… & one of the things I tell my students is this: “You can’t climb a mountain without taking a step… one step at a time & steady on…” This works… most of them get it… break things up into small pieces and the task is more achievable, believable.

So THANK YOU DAVID… I am aching that it’s time for you to leave us, but I know this… when you get your wings, you will fly with grace & dignity & it will be one more beautiful addition to a long & lovely bucket list. May we all learn from your choices…

David on the trail in 1976 (a year after our through hike)

Wishing you all a healthy & happy July… my hope is that you get a chance to catch a show along your way… put it on your summer’s bucket list & take a step.


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31 - Ocean Pizza - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM - 207-934-2900

7 - JJ’s Eatery - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM - 207-934-0222
     (on the patio, weather allowing)
17 - Lake Pemaquid Campground - Damariscotta ME - 7:30PM
21 - Ocean Pizza - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM - 207-934-2900
27 - Bueno Loco - Falmouth ME - 6PM

11 - Green Landing Lodge - E Boothbay ME (Details TBA)
18 - Ocean Pizza - Old Orchard Beach ME - 7PM - 207-934-2900

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