Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Simple Pleasure

An overcast, cool day for the third of May. I was staring out into the back yard this morning and thinking about all sorts of things. One thing that struck me was this is May, and in little over three weeks it will be June.


I am not trying to rush the season, but June 1st is close, and the deadline I set for myself to raise enough money for a picnic table or two for the Town Common is approaching.

I've collected $110.00. That just won't cut it.

Now, this blog isn't one of those overnight sensations. I don't get 1000 hits a day. I've received 18, 257 hits on this space since June of 2008. Not too shabby. That comes out to about 60 per day. For a little bit of nonsense on the internet rambling on about Sturbridge, and other things in my life, I think it is fine.

But, here is the rub. Over the past two and half years I have received countless emails and comments from folks here in town about how much they love this town, and all sorts of ideas on how to improve it, and to maintain what we have been given. We are lucky to have so many willing to share their ideas, and to express their love for the place they live, but right now, I wish I had a dollar for every comment received, and email I've read.

Am I whining? Sorry. Don't mean to. It is just that my level of expectation was maybe set too high. I aimed high hoping that if I received half of my goal it would be a good thing, not the best, but still a good thing.

Maybe that is the root of the problem. Setting ones goals too high. I have always done that in order to get at least half way there, and many times I've actually surpassed my goal. This time however, I feel I may have overshot by a mile.

Now, I don't believe that Sturbridge residents are not of the giving kind. They have proved the opposite time and time again. Case in point, the REAS Foundation. OK, I know that is for something well beyond a picnic table or two, and I agree, but the action is there. Sturbridge residents do give.

I received an email about the sanctity of the Town Common, and to place a picnic table on the grass on this hallowed field would be a disgrace. Well, they were there long before I came along, problem is, they just plain got up and left.

I do agree that the Town Common is an historic and cherished place. The ancient homes that surround the green speak volumes to those that are willing to listen, but this place is not just meant to stand and stare at, or maybe walk through quickly. This place can be best enjoyed when enjoying an event on the Common such as the Harvest Festival, a band concert, an auction, flipping the Frisbee to the kids, or just enjoying a sandwich in the shade of one of the old maples.

When one takes some time to actually look about, and think about the history underfoot, one is better able to understand the importance of it all. Notice I said "look", and not glance. Glancing is what we do from our car as we drive by.

"Ah, pretty.", and that's it.

This green place in the center of our town has seen militia train during the Revolutionary War, the return of General Lafayette, volunteers drill during the Civil War, and troops train during World War II. It has been a place of Agricultural exhibits, and fairs, weddings, and candle light services. It a place that is best understood when one becomes a part of it, if only for a little while. It is a place to be enjoyed.

So how the heck does a picnic table help accomplish that? Well, it takes the visitor and brings them in closer. It allows the visitor to actually be part of the Common for a little while, as opposed to walking through, or staring at it from the car.

It is , in short, just a simple pleasure. We need more simple pleasures in our life. This collection for Tables on the Common is but one way to bring a simple pleasure home to us.

Please use the widget at the top of the page to give what you can, it is secure, or you can send it anonymously to me at 60 Brookfield Road.

Thank you.


  1. Wally, with all due respect to your blog and its hits, the two or three Sturbridge newspapers would probably be willing to print an article about this subject (if they haven't already). That would go a long way toward getting the word out to your audience.

    Sit your butt down and write letters to the Editors of each paper, e-mail it, and provide your name and contact info so a reporter can contact you.

    Consider that this economy has some worthy donors at odds with where to put their funds, especially those who are unemployed. I love the idea; if I had a job, I would.

  2. Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.


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