To the Editor: What ‘town’ means 

To the Editor: 

My wife and I attended a single-topic town meeting last week. There were two articles on the agenda.  

Article One, appoint a moderator. The candidate, our go-to guy Joe, was a shoe-in. To his credit, he wore a bowtie; to our relief, he is competent. Article Two, will we pony up extra funds for a sidewalk and road project after six years of hemming, hawing, cursing drivers, narrowly missed pedestrians, squandered opportunities and sticker shock?  

We met in the town’s fire station on folding chairs in the open air of the high-ceilinged truck bays. There was an impressive turnout and relatively little posturing and pontificating (inevitably, there was a little of that). Then, each of us tore the “Yes/No” voting ticket in half, put the one word of our choice into a slotted wooden box, nodded to our acquaintances and went home. 

The lasting image for me was our surroundings. Thirty-four numbered helmets lined the walls, tidily sitting above black and yellow jackets on their hooks, and boots on the floor with their pullup legs waiting to be filled. Thirty-four community members, their last names spelled out below each helmet, ready to come to the aid of an imperiled and terrified citizen of Southwest Harbor. This is what “town” means. 

And that’s one reason we feel troubled when every recent property sale seems to convert a permanent home into a weekly rental. Firefighters don’t rent by the week. 

Craig Kesselheim 

Southwest Harbor 


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