What could be more fun than stringing popcorn and cranberries? Well, the cookies and warm cider offered some stiff competition.
Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, volunteers, and later park rangers stopped by to add to the festivities.
And whenever requested, Acting Director of the Heritage Corridor, Devon Kurtz got himself completed outfitted, including bike helmet, and mounted the official “Bike Ambassador” bike waiting for him just outside the door of the Heritage Corridor offices in Northbridge. The bike trailer waited to be hooked up, ready to be put to use on the next bike ambassador group ride.
Suzanne popped corn and had cranberries waiting to be strung onto thread, then added to the Christmas tree.
Wait, that wasn’t just any old thread, it was tangled fishing line recycled by Bonnie, who has made a valley-wide campaign of collecting for safe disposal all the used fishing line that so often is left behind to foul waterways, and endanger wildlife. Bonnie’s Trash responsibly campaign, including collecting both fishing line as well as all other kinds of trash, has reached every corner of the Blackstone Valley, and is having an impact in every community.
As Suzanne and I sat together stringing cranberries and popcorn, I recalled times with my kids as they were growing up, undertaking this exact same task, and many other similar celebrations, with my dear neighbors next door.
My neighbor Chris, sadly gone these many years, was always ready to host a party at the drop of a hat, and this event had the same, unstructured, what the heck, sort of feel that those neighborhood gatherings had for me those years ago. Thanks for bringing back such a sweet memory for me, Suzanne.
The party hit its stride when the National Park rangers appeared, ready to do whatever it takes to be part of the celebration. Roxie, Bonnie’s dog, offered some added levity to the celebration. Posing for pictures was a whole different experience with the rangers among us.
Hard to believe it’s been only 4 years since the Blackstone Valley has had its own national park. And yet, the work to get to this place has been ongoing for many, many years before that. Thanks to all the staff, and the countless volunteers who have pitched in over the years.
Even as we say goodbye to long-time volunteer Dave Barber,
we can only hope that others will step up and help fill the shoes of those who have gone before.
Happy holidays, happy birthday to our local national park, and happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.