To some the present political climate is “Much Ado About Nothing,” and to others it is the “Odyssey.” It feels like I have been “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Richard Russo was quite prophetic when he penned “Empire Falls” from the little coffee shop in downtown Waterville.

We have great literary scholars and writers from Colby. Divine writers from the Morning Sentinal — some think J.P. is Devine, and others would rather say yes to Heck. We have comedy writers who present city budgets, and superintendents who school us in their budgets. We have “Fake Democrat” writers who pen lines about “smoking guns” and “octopuses of discontent.” We have underwriters and online writers, and those that simply try to “resist” writing.

We have the “Three Musketeers” in Hillary Koch, Karen Heck, and Jim Chiddix. Their pen became a sword when they filed the mayoral recall, turning neighbor against neighbor. Residents used their wallet as a tool to boycott business in our community.

A Chinese writer said, “You don’t know someone until you’ve fought with them,” and that is very applicable to reflect on how our mayor, Nick Isgro, has conducted himself through this.

Our mayor has endured unthinkable attacks from his own community and from other communities.


A few members of the community stood before the mayor at the last council meeting and gave him a public flogging. Koch, fancying herself as a modern-day Joan of Arc, lances the mayor publicly with full vigor. So unwavering in her cause, the fact that the mayor’s wife and father were in the audience was a mere technicality. The mayor must surrender his “pound of flesh.”

Love and civility have “Gone With The Wind” in the Ville. Mayor Isgro’s livelihood and family have been attacked. Signature gatherers travelled from all over the state to rewrite Waterville’s destiny. They all had different scripts, lines of fiction as to why the mayor should be recalled.

Like history’s dangerous past regimes, only the few have the pen. The mayor has picked up a pen to challenge mistruths, but the pen has been tarnished with “The Scarlet Letter.” The octopuses of discontent have deemed the mayor’s pen to contain a special kind of bullying ink. These brave medieval warriors of justice, I wish I could write them out of the picture.

Throughout all of this Nick Isgro has conducted himself with dignity and acted above reproach. He has shown respect, restraint, and class. He has never sunk to the level that they would have you believe he is capable of.

Our mayor has endured injustices and falsehoods, but stands strong and unwavering in his resolve. That is why he is our mayor. Throughout this, he still has the daily challenges of fatherhood with five dependent children and a wife to worry about. I have to admit that I consider myself a tough guy, but I would have cracked under much less. I only write that I am tough. In my dreams I am Clint Eastwood and I am halfway through the epic “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

When I see the chapters of Waterville’s 2018 story, it conjures up images of William Golding’s “Lord Of The Flies” or George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”


I would love J.K. Rowling to waltz into town, and with her wand make this all go away. Perhaps Diana Gabaldon of “The Outlanders” could take me back in time before Richard Russo wrote of closing mills. Maybe I will wake up and find this has just been “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

I think in these times that Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” has some food for thought. His pen gives encouragement, strength, and reason.

“If you can keep your head when all about you

“Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

“Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

“Or being hated, don’t give way to hating.”

We have the opportunity to write our own destiny on June 12, ballot day. I hope that it is the residents of Waterville who write their destiny and not big-city editors who manipulate our story, ghost writers and writers of fiction. There are no Shakespeares among them. I do see “Great Expectations” ahead if the people of Waterville end this madness and allow the mayor to carry on the with the momentum.

P.S. — I am no Charles Dickens.

Julian Payne is a resident of Waterville.

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