As a child, I have many vivid memories of time spent with my family here on the shores of Penobscot Bay. To me, my dad has always been a larger-than-life hero of our adventures together… our safari leader as we cut trails through the woods around our camp, our strapping railroad worker while we fashioned stairs to our beach trail out of railroad ties he could carry on his shoulders, our briny pirate captain of our tiny Boston Whaler when the motor had failed to get us to shore after a trip across the harbor.
This legend, my father, was born of humble means to a loving family in central Maine. He attended University of Maine at Orono, went on to serve in the Army, and marry his high school sweetheart, Bonnie. Together, they had three children, two girls and a boy.
Dad filled our childhoods with memories of our time together in this magical place: French’s Point. Thinking back, we were always working on projects together as a family. We became a great team; leaning on each other’s strengths to reach whatever objective we set for ourselves. Dad’s an engineer by trade, and he excels at problem-solving, which he taught us while working together. As a family, we encountered some real heartache and he is the glue that keeps us together.
In 2002, I got a call from my father saying that he had a “project” for me. I moved home, and together as a family, we began restoring the Point and giving it new life. The past 14 years have been full of long days and many, many blessings, as our family has grown and our dreams have changed. We have worked hard and invested ourselves fully in this place we love, and no one more so than my father, who has a work ethic to be envied. He is strong and determined; perseverance is his personal life code.
My father and I have always been close. I consider that a miracle because we are alike in many ways and that can present challenges! We share a similar personality: we are determined, undeterred (those who love us would say “stubborn”), kind, thoughtful, a bit shy, but with a big heart and appreciation for people. We are protective of the things we love and believe in. My father approaches, what would seem an insurmountable task, with pragmatic optimism. In the 80’s, he was known to use the phrase “Piece-o-cake” more than any other in his vocabulary.
The time spent shoulder to shoulder with my dad building this business has been the gift of a lifetime. It always feels so appropriate to me that my father’s birthday falls so close to Thanksgiving. My gratitude for being blessed with the gift of being his daughter knows no limits. I wake up in the morning each day, grateful for so many things (partially because he instilled a strong sense of gratitude in me as a child). And always, above many things, I am honored to be his daughter. He has steered our ship around some unbelievable rocks and into safe harbors. I can’t imagine going on this journey with anyone besides my pirate captain at the helm. Happy birthday, Dad!
All photos by Spring Smith Photography