Digest>Archives> December 2005

The Sleigh Knows The Way


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If you think getting to friends or relatives for a Christmas dinner can be a problem, then read on and you'll probably realize your holiday travel is a piece of cake compared to what this lighthouse family had to do.

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In the early 1980s, when Joe and Leanne Robicheau were the last keepers at Maine's Squirrel Point Lighthouse on the Kennebec River, getting to town was always a project, but even more so in the bitter cold and snowy winter months.

It was Christmas Day in 1980 when the 50-degree below zero wind chill froze up the miniature septic system at the lighthouse. It was not the septic system that bothered

the family, for they had plans for Christmas dinner

and it wasn't at the lighthouse.

The only way to get to their car, a mile away, was to travel along the river and through the woods. So they bundled up their daughters Jennifer, then 4, and Michelle, 2 ½, and hooked up the sleigh to the snowmobile.

With the girls in the sled, mom standing at the back, and Joe piloting the snowmobile surrounded by the bitter cold sea smoke, off they went for a Christmas dinner.

And that, my friends, is why lighthouse people were and still are “Hearty Souls.”

This story appeared in the December 2005 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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