Category Archives: Columns

Published pieces I’ve written, primarily in The Recorder, Greenfield, Mass.

Bill Russell: Winner In A League Of One

Sunday, February 9, 1969, a cold, threatening nor’easter brewing in gray winter skies. I was 15, a Frontier Regional School sophomore, no driver’s license, hoping the storm would not derail a much-anticipated road trip to Boston Garden. The plan was to attend ABC’s 1 p.m., nationally-televised, NBA game-of-the-week matinee between the defending-champion Boston Celtics and […]

Workin’ A Woodshed

An attached woodshed is a grand luxury appreciated by few in these days of pellet stoves and those natural-gas, faux fireplaces that bring ambiance and warmth behind a glass-faced firebox with ornamental, fire-charred, ceramic fire logs “burning” inside. By definition an attached woodshed is a roofed structure joined to a dwelling with interior entry that […]

Sugarloaf Site Update

Septuagenarian archaeologist Richard Michael Gramly Ph.D. never allows the so-called Sugarloaf Site – a Paleoindian caribou-hunting encampment dating back nearly 12,500 calendar years – to wander far from his fertile imagination. The site, a vast, sandy, outwash plain deposited during the deep time of peri-glacial Lake Hitchcock drainage, sits on the southwestern skirt of Mount […]

Childhood Winters Ain’t What They used To Be

Winters were busy during my South Deerfield childhood, in the days before smartphones, smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox and 24/7 cable television. Frankly, we did just fine, thank you, without the modern devices that today keep kids sedentary indoors. The village itself was much different, too, with much more of a small-town atmosphere, Billy Rotkiewicz’s Frontier […]

A Fateful Fuller Swamp Hunt

Fuller Swamp isn’t a welcoming type of place that invites you in for coffee by the kitchen fireplace. No, not quite. The call from Fuller is more like a challenge or foreboding taunt. Something like, “Come on in if you dare and give it your best shot.” No promise of success, never an apology to […]

Some Pheasants Win

The deck is stacked against our ring-necked pheasants these days, when hunting for them has, unfortunately, become strictly a put and take game. The beautiful, pen-raised gamebirds arrive at selected coverts open to hunting – mostly state-owned Wildlife-Management Areas – crated four to a box in racks on the back of stocking trucks driven by […]

Whately Squire Goes To Happy Hunting Ground

There’s a glaring void in Whately’s North Street/Whately Glen neighborhood. His name is Lyndon “Sonny” Scott, a humble Whately dairy farmer and proud descendant of the town’s founding families. He died at 88 a couple of months ago, removing yet another valuable historical source who knew the land surrounding his expansive farm like no other. […]

A Deer Story That Can Now Be Told

This is a tale that took place decades ago. I’ve told it many times in conversation but never written it. Now, with camouflaged bowhunters occupying local tree stands, why not, for posterity, put it in black and white? I’d estimate that it unfolded in the mid to late 1980s, when I was a young man […]

Deerfield’s North Meadows Sentry Passes

A proud, dignified Old Deerfield elder, tall and broad, taciturn to a fault, died peacefully with little notice in recent months, ironically during the planting and nesting season of birth and growth. Though few knew his name, it was Ulmus Americana, more commonly American Elm – a dying breed that once lined our streets and neighborhoods […]

Kids’ Stuff

Never too late to share a good story, this one occurred on a hot, humid July morning, before noon. Long ago, yes, but still relevant. It had been a typical morning. I had walked a couple of miles at daybreak, eaten a light breakfast, read, caught up on TV news, gone through emails, responding to […]

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