The Cape Neddick Lighthouse, known as Nubble Light or to the locals as the Nubble, is located in York, Maine and I recently found myself gazing up at her while on a leisurely ride up the coast with my Mother. Our trip started at her house in New Castle with its only real goal being lunch in Kennebunkport. Many of the twists and turns of our northbound trek up Route 1A serve as physical reminders of sometimes harrowing most often heartfelt adventures from my younger days, and this lighthouse earned its place in my psyche.
While standing in front of the lighthouse my memory floated back to a day in the early 1970s that had my brother Dennis and me standing in nearly the same place looking across what was then a very rough, borderline open ocean channel to the island. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but at that time the Lighthouse Keeper was a member of the US Coast Guard who’s charge was to maintain the light with the added benefit of living on the island. The young lady responsible for riding heard over us on that day had a thing for the keeper so providing us a tour of the island was her ticket to swoon all over her man in uniform.
As mentioned earlier, we found ourselves on the mainland side of a very rough channel that had sizable waves crashing against the rocks on either side making a boat crossing to the island out of the question. Being located on the Maine coastline these conditions can sometimes be the rule rather than the exception so an alternative means of transporting necessary supplies to the island is a must and that’s where the grocery basket enters the story.
If you look closely at the picture you can see wires going from the mainland to the island with a white metal basket capable of carrying an estimated 75 pounds on the island end of the wire. The weight limit on the basket was estimated when we all decided we shouldn’t have done it, the basket was designed to carry groceries not people.
Our little kid, combined weight was about just north of a hundred pounds and we made it about half way across the channel when the wired stretched, we started sinking towards the water, and the first wave crashed the basket. I remember the excitement, being soaked with seawater, and the ensuing giggle fit of two kids making it back to dry land.
I thoroughly enjoyed our journey that never made it to the other side, and I don’t remember seeing the Keeper that day or being invited back for a tour. Turned out that the destination didn’t matter because the journey was so much fun.
Mom and I achieved our purpose for the day, the fried clams in Kennebunkport were fabulous. I didn’t tell her the whole story but did bookmark my blog on her computer’s web browser. I’m counting on the gift of years between the event and the telling of the tale making it easier to digest.