Dateline: 24 June 2013
By: Herrick C. Kimball II
On Friday, June 21, 2013, the Town of Fort Fairfield, Maine, had a dedication ceremony for its new Kimball Community Health Center. The facility is named after my paternal grandfather, the late Dr. Herrick C Kimball (1902-1966). He was a doctor in that little rural town for virtually his entire professional life.
I have written here in the past about my grandfather Kimball (The Story of My Grandfather's Ring and How My Grandfather Saved My Life), and about the passbook saving account he started for me 12 days after I was born. I've also written a tribute to my Grandmother Kimball, who was a tremendous influence in my life—more than she probably ever realized. Then, after writing about my grandparents here, I was pleased to hear from Kimball kin I never knew about, and I posted the essay, New Discoveries About My Family History.
In the picture above, my father (also a Dr. Kimball) and my aunt are doing the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. The attractive, smiling young woman in the red dress is my half sister (all together, I have 6 half-siblings).
I would like to have been at the dedication, and the family reunion/ birthday party that was celebrated later on for my Aunt Clara (95 years old), but it was nigh unto impossible. I suppose that if I had a "regular job" I could have just taken some vacation days and headed to Fort Fairfield (740 miles from where I grew up and still live, here in New York), but I no longer have the luxury of vacation days.
My Planet Whizbang homestead-based mail order business is in full swing at this time of year. It demands a lot of time and focus to keep up with the orders. I have no employees to run the business in my absence. It's just me and Marlene, with some occasional help from our boys.
It has occurred to me that operating a small-but-very-busy mail order business from my home is sort of like dairy farming—the chores have to be done morning and evening, and there is an endless amount of supporting work to be done in between. For a break from the routine, I head to my garden. That's kind of like taking a little vacation.
Marlene and I keep telling ourselves we should take an "overnighter," or even go antique shopping for one day, just to break away from the business demands, but there is no time for that. The orders will slow down later in the year.
I think it is remarkable that, 47 years after the death of my grandfather, the town he once dedicated his life to serving has remembered him in this way. And I'm thrilled to see it.
I will admit that there is a definite poignancy for me in the event too. It reminds me of the loss of my grandmother eight years ago. It reminds me of the loss that came long before that, with divorce and the separation of so many miles—separation from "my people" and that place where my family roots go so deep and wide.