Barna Beal Norton was the first Beal I met in Maine. He lived in Jonesport, but I'm not sure he was related to Danny. However, there are many Beals in the Jonesport-Beals Island area — there's a good chance Danny Beal was kin.
I think Captain Beal Norton was sort of the area's majordomo back in the early ‘80s when I met him.
The puffins were coming back along the Maine coast and I was quite excited to discover Machias Seal Island, a substantial “home base” for the little migrating buggers.
Captain Beal Norton was fighting with Canada then over ownership of the island so he took small groups out from Jonesport to see the puffins. The birds came so close to our blinds that my honking big-shot telephoto lens couldn't focus — but it made me look good! Wrong priorities, Bob.
The second Beal I met was Danny. He probably didn't care much about puffins, but he cared about Jonesport-Beals and his family connections to the area.
He also cared about music, and language, and he needed a publicity photo to help cultivate what today has become a devoted following around the Harbor and beyond. So we came up with the above idea/photo for one of my first promotional images.
We picked up a miniature piano musical box from The Merry Music Box in the Harbor and Danny broke out a tux. He looked more like a penguin than a puffin, and I didn't need the long lens for pretend significance. The photo we made worked great!
A while back I bumped into Danny during his farewell gig at Andrews’ Harborside during Harbor Fest events. His adoring fans sang along, requested music, danced and yelled at me to get out of the way while making a photo or two of my old buddy. It was a Danny Beal night to remember for sure.
Bon voyage old friend — keep those cards and letters comin' and “We'll keep the light on for ya.”