Category Archives: Columns

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

Sugarloaf Suicide

Boyhood memories, however vivid they may seem, can be unreliable. Of this sobering fact I was reminded recently regarding a Mount Sugarloaf suicide that occurred during my free and easy days as a South Deerfield youth. I have over the past decade or so tried unsuccessfully many times to chase down that story in newspaper […]

Sturgeon Survive, Native Fishing Camps Fade

Two recent meetings I chose to attend pulled my focus to Connecticut River Basin fisheries and, more specifically, those of our own Pioneer Valley – a topic I have explored in depth over the years, be it with books, scientific reports, fishing rods, shotguns, or paddles in hand. First came the January 17 meeting of […]

G.W. Mark Rests in Secret Peace

Friday morning, raw and rainy, January fading away, and I’m pondering George Washington Mark… again. You may recall that I wrote about this famous Greenfield folk artist in recent weeks after finding his painting of a storied hound that was once the sporting pet of blacksmith and tavernkeeper Henry A. Ewers (1806-1867), a previous owner […]

Mount Toby Visit Stirs Memories

These days, I find myself wandering back and forth between local history and prehistory, and although my current focus leans strongly toward the former, the latter is always within reach. I get a good dose of cutting-edge discovery about ancient human-proboscidean (mastodon and wooly mammoth) interactions from archaeologist friend Mike Gramly, who in recent years […]

George Washington Mark Treasure Surfaces

Greenfield tradesman and folk artist George Washington Mark was well-known about town and in surrounding communities as an eccentric house, sign, furniture, carriage, and sleigh painter, not to mention a flamboyant downtown character, between 1817 and 1879, when he died in his 84th year. Born in 1795 in Charlestown, New Hampshire, Mark was said to […]

Not Devil’s Throne, Please

Ten a.m., Sunday before Thanksgiving, rays of blinding sunlight penetrating naked hardwoods from the source low in a partly cloudy southeastern sky. I’m parked beside a strong metal gate barring the south end of a long-ago discontinued county road born as in Indian trail. There I had reluctantly agreed to meet three members of a […]

Colonial Diary Offers Clues About Scandinavian Cupboard

An impromptu weekend trip to a friend’s Lake George summer home, the fascinating mid-18th-century journal of a scholarly foreign traveler, and an interestingly carved and painted 1789 Scandinavian tabernacle or bonnet-top cupboard that had previously stirred my inquisitive juices. That’s what’s on my plate today, and what I’ll serve in soothing soapstone warmth wafting from […]

Lake George Oozes WMass Links

Midweek, early evening, front-yard burning bushes displaying a light, peaceful autumn crimson that’s brightening by the day. My wife Joey is watching local news in the west parlor when she hears the familiar audible alert for an incoming text. It’s longtime friend Debbie, from Cohasset. Debbie wonders if we’d like to join her for the […]

Feinstein Lost Famous Porn Spat

The recent passing of longtime Democratic politician Diane Feinstein of California took me down a faded path that, among readers, I probably followed alone. So, why not share? It was a meandering trail that circled through racy neighborhoods of San Francisco strippers, police raids, arrests, pornography and obscenity charges, guns, murder, luxury Mercedes sedans, Harvey […]

Midfield Takedown

It’s no secret that Mother Nature can be a cruel, unmerciful witch, capable of administering unimaginable pain and suffering while snickering at weepy, bleeding-heart sentimentality. Nature lovers moored in reality accept the good with the bad, of which there is plenty to go around. The following tale about an unfortunate encounter between a maturing fawn […]

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