Daily Archives: July 18, 2009

The Last Day

A soft cool breeze tickled my right eardrum, caressed the tip of my nose and carried my scent in a northeasterly direction, toward the small stream exiting a massive beaver pond a hundred or more yards north. The clock was the sunset shadow creeping up the eastern ridge before me. I knew that once the […]

Fishing Fantasy

My mind started wandering on a fog-drenched Wednesday morning as my truck meandered home through the Greenfield Meadows, and for some reason it brought me back to my old footloose days, when I’d head for a hilltown stream on similar damp, grey days. Back then, there was always a round, galvanized, two-handled washtub full of […]

Big B

Must be that I’m getting old, because it seems that the characters from my South Deerfield roots are dropping like flies these days. Pint Szelewicki, Henry Boron, George Gromacki, Billy and Leo Rotkiewicz, Paul Whalen, Mike Rura, Paul Giorgioli, all the downtown fixtures gone but not forgotten by those of us who patrolled the four […]

Young Buck?

The crescent moon cast a vertical smile over the southwest corner of a little hayfield where a doe and her fawn had been showing up often on summer eves. I had seen them many times in my nightly travels, consistently entering the field around dusk, behind the cover of a razor-thin hardwood stand some 30 […]


You never know where an ancient road through reclaimed hilltown forest will lead you, which is one of many reasons I enjoy traipsing through the Franklin hills of my ancestors, be it hunting or just poking around. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of the latter, chewing into acorns and beechnuts along the way to […]


A neighbor and I were on our way to Halifax, Vt., Saturday morning when, coming around the corner to a small East Colrain produce farm, we were confronted by an unexpected catastrophe. Farmer and friends were standing on the driveway below his hillside home, marooned from West Leyden Road by a muddy torrent as wide as […]


I went through the wake, the funeral and a reception, spoke to many and wrote only ”Andy, 13” in my notebook. He’s Tommy Valiton’s grandson, lives in Austin, Texas, left an indelible impression. I spotted the boy with the kind, smiling eyes opposite me in the J-shaped greeting line and knew immediately who he was. […]

Keeping Up

If you want to find out where you stand physically, try following two enthusiastic English Springer Spaniels through dense, wet, tangled cover for the first few days of the pheasant season. It’ll put you in you place fast if you’ve made your living sitting behind a desk for any length of time. So I guess […]

No Holding Back

Sometimes a story changes abruptly and forces a ”touch-up” like this one did late Tuesday afternoon. It was supposed to be a tale about a lean and leggy four-month-old pup’s first pheasant hunt, the trials and tribulations of a mere baby trying to learn a new game while figuring out how to maneuver through dense, […]

Free & Easy

After enduring the frightful years of parenting difficult adolescents, you tend to forget the joys of young, sponge-brained, preschool boys, eager to absorb whatever you throw at them. Then, if you’re lucky, a grandson arrives and drops a refresher course right into your breadbasket. This past weekend was a case in point, when Jordan Steele […]

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