Editor’s Letter

     Hello folks,

     I hope all is well! What a beautiful time of year this is, leaves falling and cooler temperatures. I have to say, I’m getting excited for the winter. While I spend most of my time cozy by the wood stove, I also hit the slopes any chance I get. I’ve snowboarded since sixth grade and have to say, I’m not too shabby. Though I avoid the terrain parks at all costs, I manage to stay up at least 75 percent of the time. This winter, I am looking forward to learning to ski. I figured it’s time to test my versatility. I’ll let you know how it goes!

     With holiday season right around the corner, I hope everyone is in good spirits. With the pressure of finals starting to arise, remember to take care of yourself and give yourself a breather every now and then. Get out and go for a walk, FaceTime with a friend or family member from home or watch a couple episodes of your go-to comfort show. 

     Well, that’s all I got for now! Until next time.

Abi Davis, editor.

     Yours truly,

     Abi Davis

Getting to the Bottom of the Bottle of Drambuie, Part II

Getting to the Bottom of the Bottle of Drambuie, Part I

   “Oh,” he said he remembers saying. “This really isn’t a good place to be.”

     The First Nights

     “We went to the reception center at Bien Hoa,” Rod said. “All they had was tents and they didn’t have sandbag walls on the outsides of these tents or anything. They were still working on that. But they had double-decker bunks.” He began to try to settle in for the night and make the best with what he had. “That night,” he said, “they had blown up the ammo dump down the road and that concussion had just about thrown me off the bunk onto the ground.”

Rod cleaning his weapon while on active duty in Vietnam.

      “We didn’t know what the hell to do,” Rod explained.  “We didn’t have bunkers, we didn’t have holes, we didn’t have any place to get into. So we just kind of stayed low because there was sort of a sand wall.” The concussion of the blast was startling enough, but the weary feelings regarding the unknown felt worse. “They weren’t right around us per se,” he said. “But we didn’t— it was the unknown. I had no weapon, no ammunition. All we had was, ‘Holy shit, where the hell are we?’”  

     “Anyways, I got through it,” he said, shrugging. “The next day, I was able to get a hold of the unit I was going to. I called them up and said listen here, they blew this place up the other night, I don’t have a gun, I got nothing. You guys got to come down here and get me or I’m going to grab a plane and go home.” Rod said he was not joking. “They came down that afternoon,” he said, “on the third day, with the chopper, and picked me and two other guys up and took us to the fire base.”

     His Darkest Day

     “Our base camp,” Rod said, “Blackhorse base camp was named Blackhorse base camp because of the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. The 11th Armored Calve is known as the Blackhorse Regiment. My unit, the 27th Engineers, helped build that base camp. At some point in there, after I had been in there for a little bit, Colonel Patton, the regimental commander for the 11th Armored Calve…. Colonel Patton was also the son of General Patton, World War II history. But he was regimental commander and he decided that we were going to start pulling a lot more ambush patrols around base.” Rod shifted in his chair. “My unit was going to be one of the ones participating,” he said, dully. “I took out the first ambush patrol for the battalion and trained. Then we started pulling pretty regular ambush patrols.”

     Rod was 20 years old by the time he was moved from that company to another, continuing to lead ambush patrols. Ambush patrols were a disruption tactic used by American soldiers with the objective to find the enemy and prevent them from attacking first. “I was with a company that had a young guy that kept asking me about going on patrols,” he said. “He wanted to go on patrols. He was 17 years old. I kept denying, turning it down.”

Holiday Perspectives: 2021 Seasonal Stressors

     The holiday season looks different for every person. Generally, the holiday season is the busiest travel time of the year. According to a recent article in Travel and Leisure Magazine, travel data on Kayak.com predicts December 22 to be this year’s most popular travel day before Christmas.  Hayleigh Davis, 18, will be one of those travelers. Her road trip will begin at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Penn., and end in her cozy hometown of Raymond, Maine. Davis is in her first semester at the private university studying medical biology. Like any inexperienced distance driver, Davis is anxious about the solo trip.

Davis is in her first year studying biology.

     “I’m not (worried),” she said. “I’m a little nervous, but I’m just trying not to think about it.” Davis shared that she is weary thinking about imminent snow. In Erie, Penn., sporadic snowfall has already started. “I’ve only been on Maine roads in the winter,” she said. “I don’t know how four of the states I have to drive through treat their roads. I don’t know if they’re going to be good at it…. I don’t know if it’s going to be snowing. There’s just a lot of factors that worry me about it.” The drive takes roughly 11.5 hours.

     To make matters more complicated, Davis was unable to get her car’s snow tires put on her vehicle when she visited home in October. “Going to (Maine),” she said, “I won’t have snow tires. Coming back, I will have snow tires.” While home, her car has an appointment with a local mechanic. Hopeful that she will make it home safely, Davis said she is excited for the holidays. “A lot of travelling,” she said. “That’s rough, but.”  

     Davis’ mother, Bethany-Ann MacKay, is stressed about a different aspect of the holiday season. “I’m nervous about how this holiday season is going to work out,” she said. “What I’ve been doing, with what I’ve been hearing, is picked up and grabbed things that I know I’m going to want as far as food preparations for the holiday meals.” MacKay is referring to global supply chain issues creating scarcity of items and inflation of similar products still available. “The holidays to me are about spending time with our families,” she said. “And being together in that regard more so than everything else.” She said that with this in mind, she has been picking up the essentials for her Thanksgiving dinner whenever she is able to find them at the store. 

The Thanksgiving Day Football Game

How a backyard football game became an

unbreakable tradition

     Football on Thanksgiving is not a novel idea. The NFL has held games on Thanksgiving since 1934. Seeing the Cowboys and Lions play on Thanksgiving is just another thing that makes the holiday. Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football is engrained into the day itself. For two brothers from rural West Buxton, Maine, football on Thanksgiving is a little bit more than that. Luke Boyd (19) and Jake Boyd (17) have been playing against each other in a game of touch football since 2014. Every year, the same two teams play against each other. Luke is the captain of the Patriots; Jake, the leader of the Broncos. Why those two teams? The answer is simple: those were the only two jerseys the brothers owned. In 2014 for the first game, Luke donned a Tom Brady jersey, while Jake threw on a Tim Tebow Broncos jersey. Seven years later and those team names have stuck. 

Luke makes a fingertip catch over his little brother in the second quarter of the 2015 game (Photo by: Emily Boyd)

     Luke and Jake have always held Thanksgiving with cousins from far away. This provided a perfect opportunity to have some fun with family they rarely got to see. For the first game in 2014, the weather did not cooperate. It was 19 degrees at kickoff, with 20 mile per hour gusts. They shoveled and snow blew the field the morning of the game. At the time, Luke was only 12, and Jake just 10. Never would they dream that they’d be preparing to play again in 2021 with the same giddy feeling they had as young kids.

Jake (left) makes an amazing catch in the 2020 game, as Luke (right) prepares to tackle his brother. (Photo by: Emily Boyd)

     “It only happens once a year. No matter how old you get, you can get excited for things,” Luke said. “The anticipation of the game is always exciting.” For one day a year, they can feel like professional athletes, playing in front of their large family and extended friends. Their siblings and cousins help video record and edit to post the full game on YouTube each year. They also spray paint the field to look just like an NFL field. PVC-pipe goal posts and official end-zone pylons are just a few of the staples that the players see every year. 

     The brothers and their relatives held the first two games in Presque Isle. After the game was canceled in 2016, it was moved down to southern Maine, and they painted a much bigger field in Buxton for the 2017 contest. Teams expanded from just a 2 on 2 game in 2015, to 5 on 5 in 2017. Jake Boyd’s Broncos won the first two contests in 2014 and 2015 by scores of 41-13 and 18-9. But since that move to West Buxton, Luke’s Patriots have won ever since. Most recently in 2020, the Patriots won by a very close score of 51-44. Although it may seem lighthearted in nature on the surface, the heart and desire that comes with competition always comes out in the players. Heartbreaking losses can also stick with the players as they have to wait a whole year before they get a chance to redeem themselves. 

Wait! Before Tossing Excess or Leftover Halloween Candy, Consider This

     Growing up, a tradition my siblings and I shared was emptying our Halloween bags after a night of trick-or-treating to sort. We called this the great candy trade. We’d bargain with one another, making deals trading Whoppers for Reece’s and Tootsie-Pops for Hershey bars. At the end of the trade, we’d be left with the candies no one liked. Mom would take the extras and put it in a communal bowl for anyone welcomed into the house to take. Eventually though, that bowl would find its way to the garbage.

Consider calling about donations before tossing out your candy!

     But is there a better place for unwanted candy to go, rather than the trash? Here are some options to consider before throwing precious treats away. 

  1. The Ronald McDonald House: The Ronald McDonald House is a nonprofit family and children’s charity dedicated to supporting families with sick children in their time of need. The foundation has many locations and welcomes donations, especially Halloween candy to give to families who may miss out on regular festivities during trying times. Call your local Ronald McDonald House to ask if your local location is accepting donations of candy!
  2. Local Nursing Homes: No matter how old a person is, candy is candy, and we all have a sweet tooth from time to time. If you’re unsure of what to do with you excess candy, call your local nursing home to see if it’s accepting donations!
  3. Freeze It: Unopened candy will stay fresh and ready to pull out and munch on anytime. To avoid a disorganized mess, try a gallon-size zipper plastic bag!
  4. Operation Shoebox: Operation Shoebox is a great way to give back to and support our troops deployed overseas and returning home. The organization is always in need of candy and accepts any and all kinds of candy, as it can be sent at any time. It tries to include a bag of candy in every package it sends. To learn more or request a box, visit: https://www.operationshoebox.com/2020/11/03/halloween-candy/ 

Happy Holidays From Gentile Hall!

     The Holidays are approaching fast, and Gentile Hall has the perfect gift ideas for your family and friends.  You can purchase a Gentile Hall gift certificate for the perfect stocking stuffer for your loved ones!  Also, don’t forget about our store in the Campus Center.  They have some wonderful gift ideas for family and friends.  Another perfect stocking stuffer is a Starbucks gift card.  Starbucks is located in the Campus Center as well.  

     Students, faculty, and staff, I will be starting my No Gain Challenge on November 22.  I will have the first weigh-in on Monday, November 22, at 7:30 a.m. at Gentile Hall.  We will do weekly weigh-ins through the holidays.  The goal of this challenge is to maintain your weight during the holiday season.  It will end after the New Year.  Send me an email if you are interested at keli.marston@maine.edu.

     Students who are interested in participating in intramurals please check with Jonathon Bowman for details at jonathon.bowman@maine.edu.

     Students, faculty, and staff, don’t forget about all the rentals we have in Gentile Hall.  Once we get a lot of snow, it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy winter activities.  We have snowshoes and cross country skis, boots, and poles.  For any questions concerning our rentals, you can stop by our front desk or email Dick Gardiner at richard.gardiner@maine.edu for more information!

     If you enjoy downhill skiing we have Big Rock Mountain in Mars Hill and Quoggy Jo out toward Fort Fairfield.  For those who love cross country skiing and snowshoeing, check out the Nordic Heritage Center and Aroostook State Park.  They both have wonderful trails to enjoy! If skiing is not your thing, then check out the forum in Presque Isle for ice skating.  Make sure you bring your student ID card for a discounted rate.  They have skate rentals available if you do not have skates.

     Make sure everyone checks out our website at umpi.edu/gentile-hall for any changes in our facility hours during the holidays. 

Gingerbread Cookie Protein Shake

½ scoop vanilla protein powder

½ scoop chocolate protein powder

½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

½ cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

¼ tsp cloves

1 TBSP molasses

Place all ingredients in a blender and then serve.

Editor’s Letter

Dear folks,

Hello and welcome back! I hope everyone had a nice summer break and feels ready to take on all that this next semester has in store. Over the summer, I enjoyed my down time but could not have felt more ready for classes to start back up. If you do not know me personally, I am the type of person who likes the structure classes give me.

What a hot summer we had. The cold weather really snuck up on us. Down here in southern Maine, the leaves have just started to turn within the last few weeks. Alas, I am still sporting my Birkenstocks.

As always, I hope that everyone is doing well and I look forward to writing to you again soon!

Abi Davis, editor.

Bye for now,


Abi Davis

Getting to the Bottom of the Bottle of Drambuie, Part I

A photo snapped of Rod in the field somewhere in Vietnam.

On January 1, 1967, New York Times headlines buzzed with coverage of a deadly war raging thousands of miles away in Vietnam. By February, journalists hustled to be the first to break news of the quickly deepening tensions surrounding the Vietnam War: “2,000 in Capital Protest War: Clergy and Laymen March in Front of White House.”

Across the country, civilians everywhere were beginning to see the true effects the war was having. Rod MacKay was not oblivious to what was happening around him. “The Vietnam War was starting to become more noticeable, and a lot of stuff was going on,” he said. A young man from small-town life in Maine, Rod was a bright 18-year-old. His family had moved several years earlier to southern California. “Several friends and I had been talking about it one day,” he said. “We knew a lot of people had been drafted and we just had a few drinks one night and decided we were all going to enlist. So, that’s what we did.”

Rod knew the next step was going to be a tough one: telling his family. “First I had to decide to go home and tell my folks I had enlisted, because they had no clue. Which was…,” he laughed. “That was an experience. My mother was very upset. My father looked at me and he was a bit upset, too.” Both of Rod’s parents had served in World War II. “My mother, the lieutenant nurse, and my father the sergeant,” he said. “So, they knew what could possibly happen.”

Rod’s sister Shari, standing with framed photos of her brothers Rod (left) and Craig (right).

Rod’s parents were not the only ones horrified that he had enlisted. His younger sister, Shari, shared in their fear. “It broke my heart because I had heard dad’s stories,” she said. “And everything in the news that was going on at the time—the idea that he would be over there putting himself in such danger—and I know that because of the position that he had. He would be in frontlines and stuff like that, clearing areas in the jungle. Doing all these things that he did, it just terrified me.” Though scared for her brother, Shari knew there was no stopping him. “I knew my brother,” she said. “I knew he wasn’t just there to be some idiot. He was doing what he thought was right for his country.”

Full Capacity Concerts Are Back as Covid Numbers Are Rising Again

Indoor summer concerts are back. It seems like every day an artist announces a new tour. Harry Styles recently announced the continuation of the U.S. leg of his world tour, rescheduled from last year due to Covid-19. So far, he has announced only the U.S. portion of the tour though. In most of the rest of the world, full capacity concerts are not a thing again yet.

Across the country, everyone from Lady Gaga to Maroon 5 to Bruno Mars is booking multi-city tours.  According to data platform PredictHQ, ticket sales are booming. The predicted revenue for June is $1.6 billion.  People are excited to attend events again, and bands are excited to perform.

At the same time, Covid cases are steadily creeping back up in every state, mostly because of the Delta variant. Most states have no mask mandates in place and Covid protocols vary from venue to venue.  During a recent White House briefing, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that this is becoming a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

In Las Vegas, there have been huge crowds since shows have returned and the mask mandate has dropped. Las Vegas has seen its highest rate of new Covid cases since February. The Southern Nevada Health District advised that everyone wear masks again. But it has no authority to enforce it.

Phyliss Jenkins attended the first full-capacity event at the

Phyliss Jenkins attends a Bruno Mars concert.

MGM Grand Garden Arena since before the lockdown. She saw two shows that weekend, Dave Chappelle and Bruno Mars. She says that at one show they did offer masks, but it was more of a swag gift. At the other, they did not. In both crowds, few people wore masks at any time. But still, she’s excited. “I would say personally, on a scale of 1-10, I’m about a 12. Not only personally, having not been anywhere for over a year, but to be going to two concerts. That even in a normal year would be exciting. So, I’m really, really, excited,” she said. But she is also worried about coronavirus. “I am still concerned about it…throughout both of the shows and going through the casinos, because you don’t have to wear masks. But I still had my mask on throughout both shows.”

From Apartment Life to Van Life

“Scary” is how Pheobe Horibe used to describe her first night living out of a van. Sleeping in a Cabela’s parking lot was unfamiliar territory. She didn’t sleep very well that first night. Over the last few months, Pheobe has since become comfortable parking on the street or in parking lots. She prefers to park in cities or “urban camp” over finding spots in nature. “I find a sense of safety in numbers when parking with other RVs in, say, a Walmart parking lot.”

Pheobe Horibe outside her home on wheels in Falls Park, South Dakota (photo_ Pheobe Horibe).

Recently there was a big stigma around living full time in a vehicle. Many associated it with poverty or people too strange to be in normal society. With social media, van life has taken on a new life. People of all ages are converting old cargo vans or buses into tiny homes on wheels. Many people document building their homes through blogs and share their travels once they hit the road. That was how Pheobe first found out about the lifestyle. “I saw it on my Instagram feed one day back in like January of this year. I just thought ‘That. I want do that.’”

After hours of research, she bought a RAM Promaster and set to work. But it wasn’t easy. Without a carpentry or mechanical background, Pheobe had to teach herself how to make her dream a reality. A friend let her park in their driveway and another lent her a saw. The only help with the actual build she had was having a friend hold up the wooden planks that cover her ceiling while she nailed them in. It wasn’t perfect, but it was home. The sense of accomplishment was empowering.