Category Archives: Columns

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

Colrain Mastodon Tooth

Mastodon remains in the neighborhood? You betcha! Long ago. Just two miles north of my home. Then – presto! – the ancient remains move even closer in a genealogical vein. Surreal. Why does this stuff happen? I suppose such discoveries are bound to become more frequent when aging out in a place where one’s roots […]

Tail Feather Tickles Memories

A white carpet blankets the meadow as the sun rides low in the southern sky, freezing poignant memories of my finest gun dog, Chubby – registered “Old Tavern Farm’s Rabble Rouser” – who suddenly took ill in his eighth year and died well before his time on the final day of pheasant season … It’s […]

Chub-Chub’s Tragic Death

Chub-Chub died a horrid, preventable death. A spry, 8-year, 7-month-old springer spaniel of world-class pedigree, prowess, and stamina, he uttered his pathetic death groan at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 30, a Saturday, ending a tortuous, 3½-day ordeal that I believe could have been avoided. We buried him noontime the next day. Grey skies, an extended snowstorm […]

The Curious Case of Capt. William Turner’s Bones

There is but one published account documenting for posterity the tease that human bones unearthed by Judge Francis M. Thompson in the Greenfield Meadows could have been those of “Falls Fight” commander Capt. William Turner. Lucy Cutler Kellogg, on page 1,400 of her three-volume History of Greenfield, 1900-1929 (1931), wrote of her fellow historian and […]

North Parish Memories Fading Fast

Memories fade over time, and a half-century is a long of time in the local-history realm. Thus, I suppose it should come as no surprise that recollections of Greenfield’s old Nash’s Mills neighborhood at the beginning of Leyden Road are quickly sliding into oblivion. The church, the dam, the pond and other buildings did, after […]

New Look At Falls Fight Retreat Path

How about a couple of new twists to a centuries-old tale – one bringing in natural history, another introducing a largely forgotten waterfall that vanished in the name of progress and interstate highways? Today’s discussion is centered around the fabled “Falls Fight” of May 19, 1676, a surprise attack that turned King Philip’s War in […]

Benjamin Munn’s Saga

Old friend Billy Wardwell and his cheerful, trademark smile, full gray beard extending to his chest, stopped by on a bright summer morning carrying a large, earth-tone, rectangular item from his car. On his way to 18 holes of vintage golf, he was clad in proper attire, right down to the bowtie and knickers that […]

Rifles That Sang

Discovery. It’s enticing. A mission. A search. A chase. An addictive game. Connecting can be euphoric. Especially when an answer comes out of nowhere. Totally unexpected. Slaps you upside the head like a branch in the woods. Which brings us to a peculiar, 8½-inch, black, pointed, ground-stone object (pictured below) I purchased years ago among […]

It’s All About Place

So, what exactly does a retired man with time on his hands do during the sultry dog days? That was a recent question asked of me in passing through the marketplace. I can’t say I gave a thoughtful answer. The questioner wasn’t expecting one. Just small talk to which I responded with a playful quip. […]

Sugarloaf Witch-Tale Origin?

It’s noontime. I’ve walked the dogs, lugged in wood from the woodshed, showered, poured my last cup of coffee, and am reading on a comfortable leather recliner in the sunny south parlor. Retirement’s great. Work no longer looming. The wireless phone rings. Cradled on a small dropleaf table between my chair and its twin, I […]

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