Last week many were thinking about what to get their mother for Mother’s Day.

Those whose mothers have passed on were remembering.

No card ever captured what his mother meant to him, said Gov. John Baldacci, whose mother died four years ago.

“My mother was my anchor, my grounding. I am one of eight children and she instilled values of honesty, integrity and hard work in all of us,” he said. “There is nothing I wouldn’t do to have my mother here today.

“I say hug your mother with all your might, because you will never have anyone that will love you as much.”

Baldacci wished all mothers in Maine a happy Mother’s Day, and praised them for sacrificing in big and small ways.

“I want to say thank you to every mother who took the time to ask their child, How was your day at school?’ This is for the mom who worked hard to help provide for her children.”

He thanked mothers who stayed home because that was where she was needed most, for mothers “who took the time to read to their child at bedtime when she didn’t think she could stay awake one more second.”

– Bonnie Washuk
Now, China

Mike Brooks was home healing this week, and packing for a marathon in China.

The 60-year-old Auburn man was the first person from Maine to run a Sri Chinmoy six-day race in Queens, N.Y., last week. He was the oldest person there.

At 320 miles – the same as running from Augusta to Boston and back – he finished sixth in the pack of 12 men.

His knee hurt going in, and stayed hurt. During low points, he’d remind himself, “This is the greatest thing in the world.”

A beautiful setting, interesting people, a lake with ducks and huge buildings in the background.

“I met a guy from Serbia and we talked for 12 hours straight while we ran,” he said.

Brooks raised $5,600 for Camp Sunshine, a charity that had before motivated him to run through the desert in the middle of summer.

“I would never do a six-day race (again). Maybe when the pain and misery leave me I might go back and do the 10-day,” he said.

Brooks left for China on Thursday. That marathon is May 20 and 6 miles of it is on the Great Wall.

On Wednesday, he wasn’t looking forward to that part.

“I’m really concerned: 1,800 steps up, 1,800 steps down and I can’t walk down a step” without holding onto a railing, Brooks said.

Probably, he will walk the steps.

– Kathryn Skelton
Space walk coming to Fairview

Thanks to fifth-grader Katie Naum winning a Nickelodeon contest, and the PTO, new playground equipment is coming soon to Fairview Elementary School.

In January Nickelodeon, a children’s television network, announced that Katie had won a contest that gave her school $5,000 for new playground equipment.

Since then, the Fairview PTO has better than matched Nickelodeon’s award, said school guidance counselor Sue Davis. Some $11,500 worth of equipment was picked out by Katie, Principal Cathy Folan and Katie’s mother, Sue Naum, a Fairview teacher. It will be a complex featuring swivel climbers, ladders, parallel bars and a space walk.

It’s scheduled to arrive May 20 and will be installed soon after, Davis said.

– Bonnie Washuk