Intentionally Unreasonable: Thankful things and thanks for people

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Now that we’re in the high-calorie bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time when good will goes hunting for good deeds, I want to take a moment to share my thanks towards a few people and places that bring sanity, compassion and joy to my day-to-day world.

Clayton’s Café on Route 1 in Yarmouth is a special place.

It doesn’t do Clayton’s justice to describe it as a great restaurant, which it is. And it would be wholly inadequate to call the food selection exceptional, from early morning breakfast sandwiches which are epic, to the six or seven homemade soups each day which are awesome, to the grilled marinated chicken sandwich, which belongs in the Sandwich Hall of Fame.

Those platitudes are all well deserved and correct, but still those truths alone would miss the real core element of specialness that is the catalyst of Clayton’s – the people.

When a visit is made to Clayton’s, what occurs isn’t a transaction over food, but a culinary experience wrapped around a homey blanket of social ambiance that makes everyone feel better before, during and after a meal is finished.

Family-owned and operated for more than 20 years, Clayton’s has evolved over time from a gourmet wine and cheese shop to a full service restaurant specializing in fresh food, with great value and selection and a commitment to the entire community.

Thank you, David, Martha, and everyone at Clayton’s.

Hats off to Hoffer

Since 2001, Michael Hoffer has been the sports editor here at The Forecaster. For many of those years, I’ve read his stories on a semi-regular basis with a general appreciation for the quality and quantity of his work. My perspective dramatically changed this year when my two youngest kids became varsity student-athletes and I became a student-athlete parent.

Now, I find myself reading every single word written by Hoffer on every sport, every school contest, and every student-athlete that he covers.


Because in addition to being a great sports writer who provides depth and dimension to every story, Hoffer writes as though he cares about every sport he covers. He cares about every school and, most importantly, he genuinely cares, and has respect for every student-athlete on every team – whether they’re stars or supporting players.

Also, I don’t know of any other journalist here in Maine that works as hard as Hoffer. For the last hour I attempted to measure his output (number of stories and words) over just the last year, and my calculator froze and my fingers are cramping from the heavy math.

In just the month of November, Michael Hoffer wrote 59 separate sports stories in The Forecaster, with an approximate word total of 76,700. Annualized over a nine-month school year, Hoffer probably writes an average of at least 200 stories-a-year, accounting for 275,000 words.

Since 2001, that would equal more than 4 million words written. And, not just “written”- but experienced, in cold weather, in hot, from inside stuffy gyms to frozen tundra – throughout every part of our state … 4 million words.

Now think about the thousands of student-athletes that have been mentioned and celebrated through his words and thoughtful coverage over the years. Imagine working for years to play a sport along with the sacrifice of time and effort needed to achieve success, be it for one game or an entire season, and to then feel the pride of reading your name in print with a detailed sports analysis. Just being mentioned in a single sentence in a Michael Hoffer story can impact a young student-athlete in an immeasurable way.

Most teenagers in general struggle at some point as they navigate the social, mental and physiological turbulence between adolescence and adulthood. All it takes is one affirmative nudge or some positive recognition to make all the difference. Though he writes about sports fairly when covering results, I’ve never read an intentionally hurtful comment from Hoffer – and on a weekly basis, many, many positive ones.

Also, think about the family members, coaches and school administrators who also get to share in the joy and pride associated with the successes and sacrifice of sports through Hoffer’s words.

Thank you, Michael Hoffer, for your dedicated following of the New England Patriots’ mantra of “Doing Your Job” – but much more importantly, for the journalistic excellence and emotional connection given to your coverage of high school sports.

Other thoughts no less important

It is well known that Bill Green is one of Maine’s most respected journalists. He’s also one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met. Both he and his iconic television show, “Bill Green’s Maine,” should be declared state treasures. Really.

The Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day are all important times to remember and recognize members of the military, both active duty and veterans here in Maine. So is every single day. With approximately 10 percent of Maine’s population either active military or veterans, our entire state owes a debt to those who have served that can never be repaid. Still – we should try. Respect. Honor.

Family. Easy to take for granted. Nothing is more important. Family.

Steve Woods is from away, but fully here now, living in Yarmouth, working in Falmouth, traveling the world, and trying his best. His column appears every other week. He can also be heard each Saturday at 11 a.m. on WLOB-AM 1310.