On good days, the fact that Maine is essentially one big small town is part of what makes living here so special. The person you meet at the Sea Dog in Bangor may well be the same person you bump into two days later at Target in South Portland. But that same closeness can be especially difficult when things don't go as planned. Last night as I was heading home, for instance, I was catching up on the day's headlines on Maine Public Broadcasting when an item came across the radio about a plane crash
Monday morning in the Berkshires that had killed two Mainers. One of the men was Gregg Hartley, the president and owner of Hartley Marine Services
, a tugboat company in Boothbay Harbor.
Just a few weeks ago, I interviewed Hartley for a short piece I wrote for our August issue about the annual tugboat gathering in Portland that is held to raise money for the MS Society of Maine
. When I spoke to Hartley he was on his cell phone, coordinating which tugs should be in Rockland moving cement and which ones should be headed down to Norfolk, Virginia, and Providence, Rhode Island. Tugboating is a complicated, competitive business, but Hartley seemed to revel in explaining to me the difference between what a little twenty-five-foot tug could pull and the tremendous power of, say, a 7,800-horsepower, 148-footer. The tugboat muster in Portland requires a day of Hartley's precious free time, and yet it was clear that he wanted to be nowhere else on August 19. Tugboating was his life, and it was clear he couldn't dream of doing anything else.
I only talked to Gregg Hartley once. We could not have been considered friends. But his kindness, enthusiasm, and commitment to his life's work made an impression on me, and I can't help thinking that our small town is a bit less fortunate today than it was when the sun came up yesterday morning.
Fair winds and following seas, Gregg.
JOSHUA F. MOORE