lights in the night

Randy Spencer

guides fishermen on the Canadian border waters of Downeast Maine. He has been named one of the Ten Most Intriguing People in Maine by Portland Magazine. Yankee Magazine included him as one of the 25 people you need to meet most. He has been the subject of features on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Boston Channel 5’s “Chronicle,” The Wall Street Journal, and ESPN2.

He is the author of the newly published book, Written on Water: Characters and Mysteries from Maine’s Back of Beyond, a wonderful collection of stories about the quirky, colorful residents, fish-out-of-water tourists, and native traditions of Grand Lake Stream, Maine.

He is also the author of two award-winning books: Where Cool Waters Flow: Four Seasons with a Master Maine Guide and Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections of a Master Maine Fishing Guide.

Randy, his wife Shelley, and their two English Springer Spaniels, divide their time between Grand Lake Stream and Holden, Maine.

 

Memoir

Lights in the Night

written by Randy Spencer

In the 1990s, there was astronomical research that showed that Washington County, Maine was second only to area 51 in Nevada for UFO sightings in the U.S. This story about mysterious phenomena in the night skies of Grand Lake Stream, Maine is from master fishing guide and award-winning author Randy Spencer, excerpted from his new memoir, Written on Water: Characters and Mysteries from Maine’s Back of Beyond.

Written on Water is an extraordinary collection of tales about the part of Maine that truly is, as those who reside there call it, the “back of the beyond.” With its assemblage of quirky characters who live far off the beaten path, and consider fishing to be a sacred art, the beautiful, watery, down-east Grand Lake Stream (population 132) has been hallowed ground since the 1800s. It is a place where very old ways of life have persisted and, against all odds, the velocity of modern life has not yet invaded its shores and lakes, pines and canoes, and most importantly, its citizens.

 

© 2021 Randy Spencer  | Recording © 2021 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Of course, gender reassignment wasn’t available then. Not that I was unhappy with having been born male. Rather, it was the latter half of the nature-versus-nurture dichotomy that vexed me.

My abnormality surfaced early.

Kids didn’t use words like matriarchy or patriarchy. The best I could do was wonder (to myself), “Who died and left guys in charge of everything?” School nuns were an exception—yet their gender was open to doubt. Many were robust, had male names (Sister Martin Joseph, Mother Saint Jasper), and their orca garb hid all but cropped face and violent hands.
It would take years (decades, actually) for me to realize that patriarchy rules all societies.

Not so in my nuclear family.

Dad was a barfly, but Mom was our lioness.
Dad was most at home in dingy bars. He excelled at mocking others, a tavern-learned skill he’d bring home with the stink of beer, ashtrays, and urinals. A WWII draft dodger, he’d boast, “Only dummies get drafted. And the dumbest of all enlist.”

Age twenty and off to war, I’d yet to meet a man the equal of Mom.

lights in the night

guides fishermen on the Canadian border waters of Downeast Maine. He has been named one of the Ten Most Intriguing People in Maine by Portland Magazine. Yankee Magazine included him as one of the 25 people you need to meet most. He has been the subject of features on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Boston Channel 5’s “Chronicle,” The Wall Street Journal, and ESPN2.

He is the author of the newly published book, Written on Water: Characters and Mysteries from Maine’s Back of Beyond, a wonderful collection of stories about the quirky, colorful residents, fish-out-of-water tourists, and native traditions of Grand Lake Stream, Maine.

He is also the author of two award-winning books: Where Cool Waters Flow: Four Seasons with a Master Maine Guide and Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections of a Master Maine Fishing Guide.

Randy, his wife Shelley, and their two English Springer Spaniels, divide their time between Grand Lake Stream and Holden, Maine.

 

Q&A with Randy

Tell us about your story...
What was the inspiration for this story?

Several UFO sigtings in the night skies of Grand Lake Stream, Maine.

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