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Lee & Frankie's Great Halloween Adventure
November 3 - Well, gang, there won't be another edition of Tidbits till midweek. After the elections. Sorry. But I do have a special treat for you all today to make up for it, and this WILL make up for it, according to Frankie Squeak anyway.

Last week he told me that although it's supposed to be a legend, there really is a "Great Pumpkin" who rises out of the pumpkin patch (a sincere pumpkin patch), and gives treats to anyone who is lucky enough to see him on Halloween night. I tried not to laugh as Frankie was dead serious (I could tell), so I politely listened as he told me that he had an idea where THAT patch was. If I cared to join him, we should get a look at the Great Pumpkin around 11:30PM. Well, it was going to be cold, we'd had over 45 trick-or-treaters at the house, and Connie and I were going over her photos of the Lincoln Kids Halloween Party to put online at http://www.lincolnmaine.us/newfallslideshow/index.html. But, he insisted and the Tree Squeaks (www.mainetreesqueak.com) have been so nice to Connie and me that I agreed to pick him up at 11 and go to - now you don't think I'm gonna tell ya where do you? :-)

So, down on Park Avenue I went - Connie said I was crazy - I agreed. I mean, c'mon even Linus after 42 years hasn't seen the Great Pumpkin, and that kid really tries! And, it WAS cold. Anyway, we reached the patch about 11:20, parked the car, and made our way a few feet off the road to a huge pumpkin patch that I had never seen before. It was almost mystical the way it just "was there". Frankie sat down. I sat down. After about 15 minutes I started to say..... and then, at that instant....well it's hard to explain. I'll try.

My camera was on. A loud but yet soft humming could be heard coming from the patch about 10 feet away. Close, man. I zoomed in on the area I thought it was coming from and.... well, Frankie passed out. Big help he was. An eerie orange glow appeared suddenly, I stood up and backed up - wrong thing to do. Next thing I know a bright orange blur whizzed straight upward. Falling backwards, I hit the shutter button as my head hit a pumpkin. Maybe it was the ground, I dunno but but in a split second it was completely dark AND quiet again. I was tangled up in pumpkin vines, and Frankie was mumbling something about Lucy, but I won't get into that, him being married and all. I think it was the bump on the head that had him mixed up.... Well, my camera battery was dead, so I had no idea what my picture showed, if anything. Maybe the stars or just the ground. Who knows I was thinking. I just wanted to get back into the warm car and back home, a little upset with Frankie for this wild goose chase and waste of time. Frankie was still a little disoriented when I dropped him off. I told Annette (his wife) no drinking was involved, but he might need a good night's sleep. I didn't mention Lucy...........

So, Connie met me at the door at exactly 12 midnight with that "see I told ya" look.... you all know that look, right guys? I put the camera on the table, changed the battery, and, figured what the heck, might as well glance at the shot before I delete it. And, you'll never believe what I saw on my LCD unless I show you the photo itself!!! On my camera, in my SDHC memory card, in my Nikon D90 was a photo too rare and unlikely to believe!!! I didn't get any tricks or treats Friday night BUT I did get what is probably one of the few photos EVER of.......... the "Great Pumpkin" ascending from the pumpkin patch.... hey, you know the story. Here it is!! :-)

Copyright 2008 by Lee Rand

The Maine Tree Sqeaks love to play in the snow! This photo was taken behind our office during an April snowstorm. The Squeaks were absolutely delighted with the fresh snowfall. They have warm furry coats, and are not at all affected by snow and cold weather except that they get even more playful.

The Squeaks kept busy during the storm having snowball fights and building snowsqueaks. It wasn't only the little Squeaks who were having fun. Their parents joined right in, with whole families engaged in friendly snowball battles.

If you're outside when it's snowing, listen carefully. The trees may be full of giggling Tree Squeaks, and there's no guarantee that you won't get a tiny snowball tossed your way.

Click on the photo for a larger view. You can look for Tree Squeaks, but you may not see any. They move pretty fast, and don't always want to be photographed.

HISTORY MADE - AGAIN!!!

October 18 - Excerpt from "Tidbits" column:

The population of the United States passed the 300 million mark this week! But that's NOT what the headline is about.
Last spring history was made when Franky (aka Franklin) Squeak allowed me to photograph him. A squeak had NEVER been photographed before, and the honor of being the one chosen to do the deed still lingers to this day - http://www.lincolnmaine.us/squeaks.html And when Annie (aka Annette) and Franky joined Connie and me on the coast last July for a couple of days, well, it was just too much! What a delightful time we all had. Groovin' to Herman's Hermits and the Beatles - what a time.

It was then that Annie (she said I could call her Annie, btw) informed us that she would do what no other female squeak had ever done before! (no NOT that). She was going to allow me to photograph her too!! I don't know if it was the full moon or what but she just came out with it - I'm not even sure Franky knew about it ahead of time. Maybe. Anyway, I smiled, Connie was speechless (a first), and Franky was, well, he was Franky. He started singing "I'm Henry The 8th I Am"......no, they don't drink.

Saying she wanted it taken in the fall and at home in Lincoln, two conditions I readily accepted, her motivation slipped out. It was an anniversary gift for Connie and me!! I was speechless (a first) and Connie asked if I had any Jethro Tull on the iPod. I said no. One more condition - they really protect their privacy- seen one lately? I rest my case. Like the spring photo shoot of Franky, I'd only get one shot. AGH!! Not again! Already the pressure was mounting! I didn't argue. When you're a legend you don't argue with a Tree Squeak! But, that's another story...... Anyway it was announced here in Tidbits that the momentous event was going to take place in the fall, and I even showed you a picture of the location. Well, it's done. The whole event took place a couple of days ago AND the picture is GREAT! National Geographic eat your hearts out! At this time I'd like to thank my parents, the Town of Lincoln, the Maine Tree Squeaks, the Boston Red Sox, Peter Noone, Nikon, pizza and my wife....... Ok, here's how it went down. But first let me set the scene: Oh, heck, here's a photo I took where I was to set up my camera, tripod (NOT iPod), etc:

Now, this is in the Town of Lincoln. Their home. As you know, they do travel around the State a bit, but pretty much stick to Northern Penobscot County here in Maine. They love to come to our barbies but that's another story. Talk about a sense of humor!, theirs is outta site! Franky had me laughing so hard one evening I almost had to go to the emergency room! Or was that the bathroom? Maybe it was both, anyway it was about 2 in the afternoon when I arrived to set things up. Connie was there, and soon so were about 30-40 squeaks. They realized that this was another historic moment in the annals of Squeak-People relations. They also knew this photo would soon be seen worldwide via the Internet. Excitement filled the air - again.
The photo at right shows me talking with Franky just moments before Annie arrived. She was stunning. Franky was all smiles! Connie was speechless (again). I headed into the brush to my right, walked in about 10 yards and there was a BIG animal that WAS NOT in the plan! Prayer time!
Oops! Usually I'm carrying (a gun) when I'm in the woods but that day I was completely unarmed. Well I did have my wife with me....... Franky quickly saw the potential for disaster, not to mention his wife's picture not getting taken. Disaster is not the word I was thinking, and I didn't see an outhouse nearby by, so......

To my amazement, Franky got right in this bear's face, and after about 2 minutes of words I couldn't understand ( I got the gist of it I think), the bear hobbled off into the woods never to be seen again. There was a hush - it seemed like there was a hush all over the world! Then the squeaks erupted in squeals of glee and happiness. Annie was stunning (I said that already, didn't I?) ! What a sight! We decided upon her location and I started to focus my Nikon D50. Complete silence ensued. I kept thinking "one shot, only one shot". Talk about pressure! But I was cool! I thought I heard someone say "hurry up". Probably Connie. It seemed like hours but of course wasn't that long. Slowly my finger pressed on the shutter button.....slowly. Agh!!!! a leaf just fell in front of her. Finger stopped - MIRACLE. Genevieve and Arthur Squeak (oh, you haven't met them yet have you?!) quickly jumped in and removed the obstruction. Click......................................
And here is Annie Squeak!

BREAKING NEWS!

JUNE 30 - Excerpt from "Tidbits" column:

ENVY ALERT!! Guess who's going to join us in Southwest Harbor for a visit next week!!! Because he was sooooo happy with our photo session a few weeks ago, Franky Squeak plans to stop by, and, ARE YOU READY FOR THIS!!??, he's going to bring his wife Annette with him. Lobster feed!! They're such nice .., ah "people"!! Well, we can't really call them "animals" now can we? He asked if we'd have an iPod with us. I said yes. He likes Herman's Hermits......

June 7, 2006 - OK, the moment you all have been waiting for! The event of the, well, century? Anyway, here is the first time EVER that a Tree Squeak has been captured on film! Here I am arriving near the secret location where I was allowed ONLY 1 shot (!) - that was it - if it came out blurry or too dark or whatever - there would be no second chance!

The pressure was unbearable as you can imagine.....

I soon got rid of the jacket (it was getting warm), and proceeded into "the woods" to the pre-arranged site. Soon Connie and I were joined by a couple dozen Squeaks who wanted to be on hand to witness this historic event that would go down in the annals of Squeak AND human folklore.....it was a jolly time for all but it became very serious once the Squeak they'd chosen to be photographed arrived. I was in awe. Connie held my hand firmly. I told her to let go so I could hold and focus the camera. She agreed. History was about to be made!! I knew it. They knew it. And for a moment - a very short moment - we all wondered if it was all worth it.  I said a silent prayer. Connie held my hand. I told her to stop. She did. It was all over in a second. A split second actually. 

Was it all worth it? I hope so. My grandchildren will tell the tale! So, you decide. No, let the world decide!, because now, here, on www.lincolnmaine.us is the first ever photograph of an authentic Maine Tree Squeak. I now proudly introduce to the world my friend Franklin Squeak:

Cute little bugger ain't he!?! After I took the photo I quickly checked my LCD. The anticipation was so thick you could cut it with a knife! Complete silence. YES!! YES!! It was a "keeper". The Squeaks exploded in sounds of ecstacy at my proud (relieved) announcement. Connie held my hand. Being in a Beatle mood, I held hers. And, it seemed, as quick as it had all begun, it was over. I said thanks, and that we'd talk again soon. They agreed, then Frank (he said I could call him Frank) and the Squeaks seemed to vanish into the woods. WHAT A DAY!! :-)
Shhh!! What's that sound up in the treetops? It could be a Maine Tree Squeak. And you thought the wind was making the trees rub together, causing a funny squeaking sound, didn't you? This is the OFFICIAL Internet home of the Squeaks.

The Tree Squeaks are indigenous to a small area of northern Penobscot County, Maine, U.S.A., with their main colony located in and around the Town of Lincoln, Maine.

The total population of Tree Squeaks is approximately 3,000. The average lifespan is unknown, as they haven't told us yet.

Tree Squeaks are monogamous, and have an average of two or three offspring. The children stay with their parents for an extended period of time.

Although they have no knowledge of how their species originated, their folklore does mention a flood many, many, many years ago that covered everything.

The Tree Squeaks' favorite wildlife friends are loons and moose, and they love human children. Their favorite game is hopscotch.

Tree Squeaks do not hibernate in the winter.

The Tree Squeaks' main diet consists of berries and other fruit. The Squeaks spend much of the summer months turning their collected supply of berries into a nutritious nectar, which they eat through the winter. This berry nectar is stored in empty acorns. The Tree Squeaks love pizza! Beech nuts are their favorite topping!!

The reason Tree Squeaks are rarely actually seen is twofold: first, they naturally blend in with the greenery of the Maine forest. Secondly, they have a stealth technology which works with their metabolism to render them invisible to the human eye during the winter months. It is true that the United States Department of Defense would like to study this natural stealth ability, but the Tree Squeaks can't be found! The only human in recorded memory to have actually spoken to the Tree Squeaks is Lee Rand of Lincoln. His wife, Connie, has had the honor of seeing them, but at this point they'll only talk to Lee.

Strange as it seems, they decided to establish communication with the Rands after listening to Buddy Holly music being played on the Rands' back deck one summer weekend.

The Tree Squeaks do have first and last names. Their last names all translate to "Squeak" in English.

The Tree Squeaks have a range of several hundred miles, and have been heard and rumored to be in numerous locations, especially during the summer and fall months. Although no documented sightings other than those of the Rands are recorded, many people have actually seen the Squeaks without realizing it, especially in their home area.

The Squeaks were rumored to have originated in Wales, and a family or two was actually said to have arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. The Rands themselves did extensive research on this possibility in July of 2001, and can find nothing to indicate that that was the case. Another fact-finding mission to the Plymouth area of Massachusetts, in July of 2003, found evidence that the tree squeaks may have actually arrived in North America on the Anne, in 1623. More research is being done to try to get independent confirmation of this.

Little known fact :
In 1974 when a lot of the Elves came down with the flu that December, Santa sent out an SOS and the squeaks responded. About 100 from Lincoln went up to the North Pole to lend a hand, er, paw. Tree Squeaks are immune to any flu virus. Without their help that year, the healthy Elves never would've been able to complete all the gift orders in time for Santa to make his yearly trip on December 24th.

The Squeaks love a good time! The town of Burlington, Maine always has a great 4th of July celebration with a pancake breakfast and a big parade. Of course the Squeaks couldn't resist such fun, and about 25 of them traveled from their home in Lincoln to spend the day in Burlington on July 4, 2007. This wasn't the first time the Squeaks had been there on the 4th. Our friend Frankie remembered the first time Cliff Barker drove his old Ford in the parade! We think Frankie's wife Annie was in the parade herself this year, but we're not sure exactly where she was.

As we are given further information by the Squeaks, we'll pass it on here. In the meantime, you can read some entertaining stories about the Squeaks on the next page.

Pssssssssst . . .

Wanna buy a hat? Of course you do! The Squeaks have consented to let us use their likeness on this official Maine Tree Squeak baseball cap. All caps are one-size-fits-all for adults. For the gentlemen, we have the blue and tan model above, and for the ladies the pretty pink hat below. Click on each photo for a larger view.

These caps are produced right here in Lincoln, Maine!

Send your check for $17.95 for each hat plus $2.00 shipping (and 5% sales tax if you live in Maine) to Rand Advertising, P.O. Box 505, Lincoln, ME 04457.

Have you ever wondered . . .

how the Tree Squeaks make it through our cold Maine winters? They've only told their story to one person, because they're very shy, secretive little creatures. They told Lee Rand he could share this with you here. It's not easy to earn the Squeaks' trust, so it's only with their permission that you get to read this.

All spring and summer, as the berries ripen, the Tree Squeak families gather all they can find and process them into their own "Superfood" - a jelly-like mixture that sustains them through the winter. They won't tell us how they make it, but they say it's delicious and a little goes a long way. When the acorns fall from the great oaks, the Squeaks pick them up and remove the caps. They open the tops of the acorns with their sharp little teeth and leave the kernels for other animals to enjoy. Then they pack their Superfood inside and put the caps back on. They have a way of sealing up their acorn packages to keep their food fresh all winter.

The Squeaks spend most of the winter underground in elaborate burrows, where they keep stores of Superfood. They might come out for a little fresh air (and a snowball fight!) on occasion, but with the leaves gone it's difficult for them to hide from predators. The Squeaks can live around 200 years! Their Superfood keeps them from getting diseases, but they do sometimes have accidents or get caught by a hawk or a fisher. They're very careful creatures, so most of them die of old age.

Here you can see an acorn full of Superfood. The photo was taken by Lee Rand, the Squeaks' trusted friend. They didn't want him to try the food, so he can't tell you how it tastes. We'll have to take the Squeaks' word for it that it's delicious!
These Maine Tree Squeak stories are copyrighted by Rand Advertising, Lincoln, ME, and may not be reproduced in any form without expressed written permission.

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