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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Upcoming Events In Town

Sturbridge Worship Center

May 3, Thursday, 7pm - National Day of Prayer Gathering on the Sturbridge Town Common
Please come out for this gathering, with music, as we pray for the nation and our local communities. This is a multi-town event. All are welcome. 508.347.9642 for any questions.

May 5, Saturday, 8 - 12 pm. Tornado Relief Outreach
Opportunity to help those still recovering from last year's tornado. In conjunction with the Brimfield Tornado Relief Center, the Ecumenical Fellowship is sponsoring an outreach morning to help homes clean up debris, rake, chip, plant...etc. Any tools, gloves, that you can bring would be appreciated. Please meet at First Congregational Church of Brimfield at 8am. 508.347.9642 for any questions. There will be a free BBQ lunch provided at Brimfield Congregational after the work morning. Let's make a difference!

Guest Speakers "Aaron & Jill Evans" , Friday, May 4. 7pm-9pm, Sunday Morning Service, May 6 10am-12pm. Sturbridge Worship Center, 508-347-9642

Free Women's Brunch, Jill Evans speaking, Saturday, May 5, 10am-12pm, Sturbridge Worship Center, Please call and make reservations 508-347-9642

From One World Into Another

Over the past decade a number of new devices, and technologies have found their ways into our lives.  Based on sales numbers, iPods, MP3 players, Smart Phones, and tablet computers have all have found us waiting for them to arrive.  We have welcomed them into  our lives with open arms, or maybe eager fingers should be the phrase.

Our manner of communicating has once again changed.

From cave paintings, to cuneiform script on clay tablets in ancient Sumeria, papyrus writings in Egypt, monks using quills to write illuminated books by hand, and on to the advent of the printing press, our manner of communicating has changed.  We have not only accepted it, we have adapted.

For those of you familiar with the screens on iPads, and iPhones, you are well versed in just how to make things work on the screen by tapping, swiping, spreading, or pinching your fingers together.  The technology is amazing.  The entire system is run by gestures, and when required, typing words onto the virtual keyboard on the devices surface.

Ten years ago the gestures would have looked as though we were having a psychotic episode.  Today, they are not only widely understood, but accepted as part of our daily lives.  Using a blue tooth earpiece, and talking into the air as you walk down the street still looks crazy as all hell, though.

As our society ties onto new forms of communication, and we adapt to use it in our lives with the special techniques needed to make it work, we will sometimes crossover to things non-technical.  We attempt to use those special techniques, or in this case gestures, on something that is not designed to respond.  I've done it.  I've actually found myself looking at picture in a magazine, and in an attempt to zoom in on the static paper photo I have placed my fingers on the picture, as seen in the photo above, and spread my thumb and forefinger as I would on the iPad to enlarge it.  I quickly remove my fingers, and look around.  So far, I have yet to be caught.  

I think.

OK, I've just confirmed it, I have a moron side to me, but is it being an idiot, or just becoming so ingrained with the movements necessary to make technology work in our lives that they begin to overlap, or crossover, naturally?

I want to believe the latter.

I know I am not the only one that has "crossed over" from one realm to another.  I have a feeling that somewhere there is a guy standing in front of a large glass window trying to get a better view of an airplane on the runway when he instinctively reaches up and places his pinched together thumb and forefinger onto the glass in front of his eye, and then threads the digits apart on the glass as if to zoom in on the jet.

Somehow he will realize what he is doing, and masterfully cover it up so he doesn't look like a lunatic.  He'll then move on, get in his car, and drive home to Fiskdale.

Many a great idea was deemed to be crazy at first.    This just may be one of them.

Then again...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can You Identify This Flower?

I received this from Tom Chamberland the other day.  I like it when I am randomly tested, and I pass.  Wasn't always the case.

Can you identify the flower?


Can you identify this flower?

It's in bloom now, we have a trail named after it.

Tom C"

Can you identify the flower in the photo above?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Am Not! Are Too!

I don't have to look too far for things to write about.  Sometimes they fall onto my lap like the article below that I received via email from Google News.

After reading the article, by Craig Semon, I had a vision of a playground with a dozen or so  nine years olds gathered around the slide.  One kid, at the top of the slide, spins around and starts kicking those coming up the ladder, "You can't use this slide until I've had my turn!", the kid yells as they kick the air.  "Besides, you don't know how to use it the right way!  Only I do!"  Then the kid sits at the top of the slide, refusing to budge.

Every playground had one.  One kid that thought they were the best, and made it small town career of making it known to everyone else.  They also made their feelings known about how everyone else was a ineffective dork, and would sooner eat a bug than give anyone else a chance to prove otherwise.

They say we change, as we leave childhood, and become a grownup.  We mature.  We evolve into what our environment has taught us, our family has shown us, and our friends show by example.  For some, all these influences can do more to change us in a negative way depending upon what examples they experience.  For others, positive examples spawn positive results.

As with most life lessons, this one is simple as well.

Another life lesson is when one way is blocked, and an obstacle stands in the way, someone will go around the other way, climb up the front of the slide, and clear the way by kicking that obstacle in the butt.

Playground, or boardroom, one has got to play well with others.  Otherwise, all that will be on their minds will be planning , and figuring how to remove the obstacle in their way, and all that energy will be wasted.  When that happens you can be sure little will be done as a group, and the kid on that's on top of the slide will realize this, and may even strike out on their own.

It's cliche, but too true to ignore, playing well with others fosters great success for all.

Creamer, Dowling clash over leadership in Sturbridge

STURBRIDGE —  Thomas R. Creamer was voted in again as chairman of the Board of Selectmen, but not before butting heads with a fellow selectman.

Priscilla C. Gimas nominated Mr. Creamer as chairman, while Mary B. Dowling nominated Ms. Gimas and later Mary Blanchard for the position. Mr. Creamer accepted the nomination while Ms. Gimas and Ms. Blanchard both declined. But it was comments Mr. Creamer made about Ms. Gimas’ leadership skills — and by extension the lack of leadership skills of everybody else on the board — that rubbed Ms. Dowling the wrong way.

“She (Ms. Gimas) is a leader and she is willing to lead from the front and not from the rear. And I do not believe that we as the true elected executive body of leaders in our community should be leading from the rear. We should be leading from the front,” Mr. Creamer said. “I would completely support Priscilla. I can say that that would be the sole reason why I would be unable to support any other nominations.”

Questioning Mr. Creamer’s “leading from the rear” comment, Mrs. Dowling asked, “You think any other nomination would be leading from the rear?” And Mr. Creamer answered, “Based on what I have seen in the past year, yes.”

Mrs. Dowling called Mr. Creamer’s “leading from the rear” comment a “huge insult” and took Mr. Creamer to task for acting as an individual rather than a board member when dealing with National Grid after the June 1 tornado.

“Being told that anybody would lead from the rear is directly at odds with the qualities that I would look for in a chair,” Mrs. Dowling said. “I think that was an extremely inappropriate comment. And I would leave it at that.”

Mr. Creamer countered, “I would suggest to state as you have or suggest that the town administrator has not been able to develop because of the chair is equally inappropriate because the chair’s role is not to direct the town administrator or tell him how to do his job.”

Mrs. Dowling said she never said that. The reorganization discussion started with Mrs. Dowling suggesting a “different mix” mainly because she said she wanted to see how the town administrator’s leadership skills develop under various chairmen.

— Craig S. Semon 

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sturbridge To Broadway June 2012!

Join us on Broadway Road Trip's outing to New York City on June 9th! Comfortable luxury motorcoach transportation will be provided from Sturbridge, Massachusetts to New York City for a day of fun, shopping, food, and, of course, your choice of a Broadway Show. 

WICKED: The untold story of the Witches of Oz. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

ONLY $195.25

GODSPELL: The beloved classic from Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin). Enjoy all the gifts of one of the most enduring shows of all time as it returns in a brand new, intimately staged production.

ONLY $125.00

CHICAGO: The razzle-dazzle musical where a sensational murder trial is acted out in vaudeville specialties. The score includes "Razzle-Dazzle," "All That Jazz" and "Mister Cellophane."

                                                                       ONLY $125.00


8am: Bus will promptly depart The Center at Hobbs Brook Mall 
(110 Charlton Road, Sturbridge, MA - Old Navy Parking Lot) to NYC!
11am: Arrive in New York City
11am - 1:30pm: Shopping on 5th Ave/Sightseeing in Times Square/Lunch on your own*
1:30pm - 2:00pm: Make your way to the theater for your show
  • Wicked - 2:00pm - 4:45pm, Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street
  • Godspell - 2:30pm - 4:45pm, Circle in the Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway at 50th Street
  • Chicago - 2:30pm - 5:15pm, Ambassador Theatre, 219 West 49th Street
5:45pm: Meet at Circle in the Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway at 50th Street to board the bus
6pm: Depart NYC back to Sturbridge, MA!
9pm: Arrive in Sturbridge, MA!
* = Suggested lunch restaurants: Heartland Brewery, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, 
Toloache, Oceana, and The Palm

Questions? Email
Please note: All sales are final.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Be Shown

Last week Mary and I were discussing getting a freezer.  Nothing too big.  Something that could fit in the garage, or be small enough to put in the cellar without getting a hernia.  The freezer in our new Maytag refrigerator was just too small to store a lot of food in.  We had both been thinking about getting a stand alone freezer off and on for some time.  It was one of those "you know what would be a good idea" conversations that people have all the time, knowing all the while that it probably will never happen for one reason or another, but it's always good to talk about.

Now,  every once in a while I am either directed to, or stumble upon, something that is too good to pass up, and it just may coincidentally go hand in hand with a recent "good idea" conversation.   Yesterday I had one of those instances, but this time I had been oblivious, and had to be shown by Mary.

"Did you see the freezers for sale at Shaw's?", Mary asked yesterday morning.
"Freezers?", I asked, "They're selling their freezers?"
"No, Wally, they are selling small freezers for the home for $150, and with the purchase you get $160 in coupons", Mary said slowly so I could understand.

I still didn't get it, but I told her I would look next time I was in the store.

It's funny, but the next time we were in the store was about thirty minutes later.

Mary took me to just beyond the produce section, and there in the aisle were two small freezers stuffed with food representing the freebies that came with the purchase.

We checked it out.  Good size, not heavy, and the price was right.  Sold.

We took the freezer home, and the two of us took it to the basement and set it up beside the washer and dryer.

$150 for the freezer.  $160 dollars worth of coupons.  If I use every one of those coupons  I would come out ahead by $10.00.  Can't beat that deal.

Sometimes, no matter how much you say you are aware of the world around you, you still have to be taken by the hand and shown what you're missing.

Happens with lots of things, not just freezers.