Tuesday, December 29, 2015

First Snow Of The Season

So it begins...

It wasn't much, but it was a start. Cramberry County got her first snow of the year.

We're from a part of Massachusetts that may actually skip December snow sometimes. We could also get anything in a range from Blizzard to Flurries.

This is one of those Al Nino years, so maybe we're not going to have much snow. Or maybe we'll get 10 yards of it, who knows?

Weather science is sorcery, and no one really knows for sure what is going to happen more than 2 or 3 days in advance, if even that. What we can tell you is what HAS happened in the past. That's actually pretty easy since they invented Google.

NOAA keeps those kind of records. For Massachusetts, they have 6 months listed for snowfall: November, December, January, February, March and April. We've had snow in October, and we've had snow in June, but they only keep averages for the months I listed.

No joke on that June snow thing... New England got June snow in 1816 (The Year Without A Summer) and 1842. Vermont got a foot of snow from the 1842 event, which also threw June snowflakes onto Boston.

Boston's measurable snowfall record for lateness is May 10th, 1977. That's the same as Burlington, Vermont. Our average final snowfall falls on March 25th. Burlington, VT and Buffalo, NY have late April as the average last snowfall. Boston has October 10th, 1979 as her earliest snowfall. 1913 holds the Boston record for snowiest October, at .4 inches.
Bourne, MA, very early this AM...

Here are a few average winter snowfall totals (1981-2010 averages, and they do not include the snowalicious winter we went through last January through March), by town:

Chatham, 28.9 inches over 11.7 days of snow... "days of snow" means "days with more than .1 inches of snow)

Edgartown, 23.6 inches over 9.7 days

Hyannis, 15.6 inches over 6.1 days

East Wareham, 43.8 inches over 22.4 days

Hingham, 47.1 inches over 25.0 days

New Bedford, 33.2 inches over 14.7 days

Taunton, 28.0 inches over 10.3 days

Plymouth, 36.2 over 13.1 days

Let's use Wareham as a base. In November, they get 1 inch of snow on average, in 1.4 days. December kicks 6.9 inches over 2.3 days. January drops 12 inches over 4.6 days. February powders us with 8.7 inches over 3.6 days. March gives 6.1 inches over 2.3 days. April finishes the show with 1.4 inches over .3 days. That's your average Wareham Winter... 36.1 inches over 14.3 days of snowfall.

Those numbers aren't always accurate. We had singular storms which have rivaled that 36.1' figure. That was a bad winter. Those sort of average out the years where we never get a bad storm. After last night's snow, Wareham has about a 7 inch snow deficit when compared to the Average year.

Cape Cod (or at least Cape Cod if you average out the numbers for Chatham and Hyannis) has an average low temperature of 29 degrees in December, 23 in January, 24 in February, 30 in March and 39 in April. They get 25 days over 80 degrees, 20 of which are in July and August. They get 28 days at 20 degrees or below , 20 of which are from January and February.

So, we have the Winter underway, and the worst is yet to come. There is nothing huge in the pipeline. The guy on Accuweather say that our snow should kick in about mid-January.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Join Us In Hyannis As We Help The Salvation Army!

We've been a bit busy lately, hence the low publishing rate. We have a good excuse, though... we're working with a charity!

The Salvation Army has been around since 1865, when it was founded in London. The "Army" part comes from the dedication of the people working there. "I'm no volunteer, I'm a regular!" This sort of led to the naming of the charity, which is broken down somewhat militarily. I answer to a captain and a lieutenant.

I don't have a rank. This is probably for the best, as I'm sort of in the grey area between Lapsed Catholic and Agnostic. I like what they do, however, and they've never asked me about my religious beliefs.

I operate out of the Hyannis corps, and Hyannis services all of Cape Cod. They do a lot of tireless Good. They feed homeless, work with the community, host Mass (they're a church), and make sure that kids get presents on Christmas.

They fund these efforts by a variety of ways, the most familiar of which is the Red Kettle. We all know the guy (or girl, Jessica works with the charity, too) ringing the bell out in the cold, standing next to the red kettle. There is no sales pitch, other than the sign and the bell.

Jessica, Stacey, Cranberry Jones and myself will be working the kettles through Christmas Eve. Be careful with Cranberry Jones, who regards his role as that of Santa's 240 pound collection agent.

We'll be at the Hyannis Stop & Shop on Route 132, at least by noon or so. We'd be there earlier, except that Cranberry Jones has trouble working the CCRTA. Remember, he got his name by a college dare at Yale, where he ate nothing but cranberry sauce for 8 weeks in an attempt to turn his skin burgundy. He is one of the tree's dimmer bulbs.

His heart is in the right place, however... and we hope yours is as well. Hit us up with some Paper Love, and we'll make sure that you at least get Merry Christmas said to you.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Top Collision Locations On Cape Cod

Cape Cod is very traffic-driven, as most tourist places tend to be. I lived in Duxbury and Monponsett, and neither one counted traffic as a major town issue. Bourne, where I live now, is dominated by our traffic. Our traffic dictates how residents live their lives on several days of the week, especially in summer.

Our traffic is unique compared to other towns, in that we get people from other states in large volume. Pull out onto Rte. 28, and you'll be surrounded by Massholes,  smattering of New Yorkers, some Connecticuts, a few northern Yankees, and a mixed nuts ensemble of people from various other states and countries.

These people are dumped onto a variety of Suicide Alleys, make-your-own-law rotaries, narrow bridges, visibility-cluttering business districts and windy cow paths.

Of course they are going to crash into each other now and then.

The Cape Cod Commission was nice enough to post some stats on accidents that occur on Cape Cod roads. They gathered stats by Number Of Accidents, Property Damage, Crash Rate and Property Damage rate. Long story short, they tell you where you are most likely to have an accident on Cape Cod.

The info is old (2010, updated  in 2012), so take anything we say here more as a guideline than as current, absolute truth. The numbers themselves are small enough that a good multiple car crash or two could suddenly jack a middling contender up the rankings into a Trump-like leadership slot.

Rather than slogging through 100 entries with me trying to riff on particular roads, we'll just cherry-pick good stuff for you.

- Remember, the Cape and Islands lay claim to one of America's most notorious car crashes... the Chappaquidick bridge departure that essentially put a ceiling of "Senator" on post-JFK Camelot.

- I don't know which car crash would be the most notorious in American history.

James Dean's death was huge. Jayne Mansfield's scalping is why those little bars on the lower rear end of big trucks are called "Mansfield bars." Lady Diana ate some car parts as a last meal, but that was in Old England (editor's note: France), not New England.

I'm sure that some drunk smashed into a church group bus somewhere sometime, that would get up in the rankings. Tim "Crash" Murray got his nickname wrecking a car. I know what "affluenza" is because of a car crash.

Sam Kinison died in a car wreck, as did Paul Walker. Dale Earnhardt Sr. (even I, a non-NASCAR fan, refer to this man conversationally as "Dale Senior") and Kenny Irwin Jr also died in the saddle.

Any Southern snowfall threatens to add to the list.

- I also found this map with little dots representing car crashes. Just looking at that, you get the sense that the worst spot is the run of Route 28 from Falmouth through Yarmouth. Hyannis, which actually owns cluster-dots, rules the roost.

- Suicide Alley is not impressive at all on this map.

- I consider shattered brake light glass to be a viable addition to a sea-glass collection, as long as the glass somehow made it to the ocean and then the beach somehow.

- These maps need to be viewed in the Gestalt to get the true vibe. There are differences between a love tap and a crash that, say, drowns your secretary. There are also highly-used roads that have lots of accidents, but you then see side streets representing hard if they feature a tricky intersection.

- No one, to my knowledge, has managed to drive off of the Sagamore or Bourne Bridges. Some old-schooler may be able to contest this claim, however.

- Our leader for Number Of Crashes is Route 6, the Mid-Cape Highway. Various sections of this road hold #1,4,5,6 and 7 spots in the Total Crashes rankings.

- Exit 6 on Route 6 (sorry, I don't know which direction) had 128 crashes in this period of measurement. The next highest, Exit 9, only had 99. You're dropping into the 50s and 40s before you leave the top fifteen.

- Bourne, which is the feeder tube for Cape Cod, represents hard. This is even more of a truth when you start getting into Rates rather than Totals. Bourne has the #3, 8, 9 and 13 spots in Number Of Crashes rankings. Her spot with the most crashes is the Otis Rotary.

- I could be wrong, but the rotary Most Crash rankings go the Otis Rotary, the Bourne Bridge Rotary, the Belmont Circle Rotary (Bourne owns the top 3 most dangerous rotaries on Cabo Coddo), the Airport Rotary and the Eastham Rotary.

- Sandwich Road is a dangerous place, even after I realize that there's one in Falmouth, too.

- Yarmouth moves up in the rankings once you factor in property damage costs. Hyannis and Bourne wreck ore cars, but the outer Cape wrecks nicer cars.

- Property damage costs also may be where Suicide Alley asserts herself. They only had 36 deaths there in 10 years or so, but they were head-on, total-the-car sort of deaths. I don't have a Fatality list for all of Cape Cod, which is where Sue might also assert herself.

-  Crash Rate is where the rankings get shook up. It is my opinion- and remember, I just started studying this stuff aa few hours ago- that Crash Rate is the best indicator of a dangerous road. Busier roads have more accidents, but they might not be as dangerous. Many more people watched this video than this video, and the size of the pool for Video One may mean that more people were offended by Miley's work than were offended by the Paris video... even though the Paris video is far more offensive. The same goes with roads and inherent danger.

- The Otis Rotary seizes the top spot for Crash Rate, knocking Exit/Route 6 down to 3rd place. Little-used (17 accidents) Route 39 is second. Route 124 is 5th.

- The exit in Sandwich at Chase Road, #9 in property damage totals, is just #47 in crash rate.

- The worst crash I ever saw ws that fuel truck that flipped over into the Bourne Rotary last winter. It had the huge-truck-crashing props, as well as the spilled-fuel aspect. I only moved down here in 2005, though.

- Feel free to tell us about the worst accident you have ever seen on Cape Cod in the comments below.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Yes, Virginia... Santa Claus Vacations On Cape Cod

The staff of Cranberry County Magazine likes to give back to the community that we serve. We do so every year, by putting in work for the Salvation Army. We'll have an article about that coming up this week, but we have some important stuff that we need to handle first.

We were moved to several different sites (we used to just work the Sagamore Christmas Tree Shop, but that got submarined... an article on that is also coming up later), before they settled on having us at the Hyannis Super Stop & Shop. Once we were there, we started to get acquainted with the regulars.

One regular stood out.

Perhaps it was his stoutness of the tummy, maybe it was the white beard, maybe it was the red felt hat/vest combo... but something looked familiar about the man. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I figured I'd go right to the source.

"Excuse me, Sir... do I know you from somewhere?"

He just laughed... a jolly-sounding "HO! HO! HO!"

Now, I've never been that quick on the uptake. I can give you a lengthy list of people who will tell you that I'm as stupid as a fork jammed into a toaster. But there must have been some magic in that old Bridgewater State College hat I was wearing, because something clicked.

After our friend got into the store, the investigative reporter in me decided to do some legwork. I noticed where he had parked, and decided that I should go have a look at things.

Sho' 'nuff...

It would be Naughty of me to post pictures of the inside of his (Japanese) car, but I can assure you that it was all Reindeer Food, Candy Canes, Tinsel, Elf Meal, Egg Nog, Hot Cocoa... and, I'm sorry to say, Coal.

There was no doubt.

When he came out, I went to say something... but he put his finger to his lips, and I somehow knew that he knew that I knew. I never said a word, I just kept ringing my Christmas bell.

He drove away like a normal human being, but I knew better.

There are a few things to note about this development:

- Santa isn't that fat. My sources tell me that the plump elf you are used to seeing actually rolls around 200 pounds until he finishes his Cape Cod vacation (see below). About 5 days before Christmas, he straps on the feedbag to get himself to the weight people expect to see him at. You know how Santa is nice with the toy-making skills? Mrs. Claus is nice like that in the kitchen. If Santa ate all year like he does the week before Christmas, he could be a yokozuna-level sumo wrestler.

- Santa likes to give out the total assignment, and then let the Elves handle things in the workshop. They are about a thousand years old or so, so it's pretty much a self-cleaning oven by this point. He then gets a little Him time, and he uses it for a tropical vacation to psyche himself up for the 24th.

- Santa, who lives at the North Pole, has a different definition of "tropical" than you and I. Let me explain. Hyannis has an average mid-December high temperature of 42 degrees. Miami has an average December high temperature of 73 degrees. The North Pole has an average September/October/November temperature range of 0-20 degrees.

Therefore, the temperature variance enjoyed by a Cape Cod-to-Miami snowbird would be about going from a 42 degree day to a 72 degree day, a difference of about 30 degrees or so. Santa, who lords over the Pole in the autumn months, gains about the same amount of extra warmth by going to Cape Cod. Everything's relative. If Santa went to Miami, it'd be the equivalent of you or I hanging around near a blast furnace.

- Santa, like any other old person, knows that Cape Cod is often best enjoyed in the off-season. The next time that Santa waits to get a table on Cape Cod will be the first time.

- My sources tell me that Santa shops heavily at the Christmas Tree Shops, even after they dissed the Salvation Army. Santa sub-contracts a lot of his work out, just in case you think that the elves are making Playstations up there or something.

- Santa, a thousand year North Pole resident, can happily swim in New England waters during December. Our local Great White Shark population, who like presents just as much as any other sentient creatures, don't even think about biting him.

- We can neither confirm nor deny rumors that Santa has rented the Kennedy Compound for the rest of this week. The same goes for that Mashpee Ballet sighting.

- Cape Cod is actually a buffer zone in the never-ending Heat Miser and Cold Miser dispute. Neither of the elemental demons claim Cape Cod. The resultant peace and quiet is why Santa likes it here.

- Reindeer tend to prefer Lapland's climate, but I did get this picture from Woodchuck Industries Incorporated in Duxbury last night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Local Town Nicknames

Most of the town names around here are easy enough to figure out. Duxbury was the name of the Standish family estate back in the E. Plymouth was named after an English port city. Hull was named after an English river, Marshfield was named for her meadows, Kingston was named for Rodney King, and so forth.

But locals have their own language, and these towns around here often get a second name, and sometimes several of them.

I'll lead off here by stating that I know where none or almost none of these nicknames come from... especially the fun ones like Marsh Vegas or Deluxebury. I'll be guessing, mostly to entertain you good people. If you disagree, don't get all mad at me... you'll find me amenable to opposing views, because I realize even before I start writing that your guess is as good as- and possibly better than- mine. I just happen to be the one at the keyboard.

Let's check some nicknames... and folks, if you get offended, remember that I'm not the Chamber of Commerce. Your town earned these nicknames.


We may as well start at the top. Marsh Vegas is the Grandaddy Caddy of local town nicknames.

A lot of people hate this nickname, but I think that they're being a bit sensitive. Marsh Vegas- big, bold, bawdy- rules!

It almost doesn't matter, because Marshfield people tend to identify their homes by villages. They are more likely to say "Brant Rock" or "Green Harbor" than to answer "Marshfield." No one from Duxbury does that, other than perhaps the people on really rich streets saying something along the lines of "Washington Street."

Las Vegas was founded in 1905, and gambling was legalized there in 1931. After Dubya Dubya Deuce, casinos began to spring up. It was famous after that,

But where does Marsh Vegas come from?

There are several prominent theories.

1) Mark Parentau made it up.

MP, the kid-diddling former WBCN DJ, was a Green Harbor resident once. If you waste a morning looking for Marsh Vegas origin stories, you see ol' Mark Parentage coming up a lot.

However, it seems as though he may have just popularized the term by dropping it on WBCN broadcasts when he could. Mark started at BCN in the late 1970s, and the term was already in wide use for decades by then.

2) Marshfield Fair horse racing

You can bet on horses, and that goes a long way in a place founded by Puritans so stuffy that they even banned Christmas.

The Marshfield Fair, and several other agricultural fairs, were allowed to solicit betting on horse racing. Race Fixing was widespread.

However, this is more likely a part of the whole than the whole itself. If it were the whole, Marshfield would have a horse-racing styled nickname, aka Marshfield Downs or something.

3) Gambling, Ballrooms, Eating Establishments

We live in  a modernized South Shore, with malls every 1000 yards and a Dunkin' on every block. It used to be a lot quieter in these parts.

But not Marshfield. As soon as ocean recreation became popular in 'Murica, Marshfield was a favorite spot. Marshfield began to cater to out-of-towners, and was soon the Fun Mecca of the region. Compared to, say, a sleepy Kingston side street, Marshfield would look like the friggin' City Of Light.

The Gestalt of it would be a mix of all of those attractions, viewed from an unsophisticated Swamp Yankee eye, resulting in a cool nickname.

4) "The Meadows"

"Las Vegas" or "Los Vegas" (I took French in high school, which got me laid a couple of times but is of no use in this particular discussion) is Spanish for "the meadows." Marshfield is literally covered in meadows, to the extent that there really was no second choice for a town name.

5) Route 139

Marshfield was never shy about their commercial district. Route 139 is almost a complete run of business signage from the highway to the beaches. It may not look like much if you drive by it every day, but you need to remember that neighboring Duxbury wouldn't even let Dunkin' put a sign up.

Most people in these parts live in quiet little cul de sacs, so Route 139 is as much advertising they'll see unless they drive up to Boston or turn on the infomercial channel.

Anyhow, your guess is as good as mine.

If Marshfield dropped the "field" and added "Vegas" to the town name, they'd probably be everyone's second favorite town.

Long shot/you heard it here first bet? If "Vegas" can be hung off of whatever Massachusetts town gets a casino, look for some variation of the Vegas name to be formed from their name. "Taunt Vegas" or "Midd Vegas" or whoever...

Let's hop a town line or two, shall we?


Pembroke has 2 nicknames, neither one in wide usage. "Pimp Broke" is mostly used by hip-hop fan kids, and may never have been uttered by anyone over 17 years old who isn't writing this article.

"Pemby" is useful only to people who have to write "Pembroke" a lot. It's kind of cute and peppy, but is also not in wide use.

Pembroke's nearest flirtation with an alternate name was in colonial times. They were very nearly called "Brookfield," as the town is covered with both brooks and fields. "Mattakeesett," which means "place of many fish," was also pretty catchy.

They ended up naming it after a Welsh castle, river, battle and village. Massachusetts got the far more peaceful Pembroke.

There is a small section of Pembroke named Bryantville, but it was never really a contender for the whole town's name. .


Some nicknames take care of themselves. Hanover is named after a German city, sort of as a tribute to King George, a Hanoverian head of state in England who was perishing at the time of Hanover's 1727 incorporation.

Hanover (formerly a part of Scituate, another hard-drinking town) people are the veterans of many a hard-fought bottle, and they don't need a second nickname.



Scituate is a pretty cool name, made cooler by the fact that only locals can pronounce it.

You will hear this pronounced with a misleading "Skit" prefix now and then, perhaps springing from the Cape Cod habit of teasing the tourists (for instance, there is no Cape Cod Tunnel) now and then.

We may as well knock off another Heavyweight next...


Duxbury is a rather posh locale, and shoulders a lot of hate from the more blue collar towns. Naturally, there will be some good-natured ribbing involved.

Unknown to history, some South Shore genius hung "Deluxebury" on to someone who most likely deserved it. "Bucksbury" was passed over.

Duxbury embraced the term, and using it on them is ineffective, much like when black people call white people "honky."

There is a Deluxebury Wheels in Los Angeles, which could just be one of my people moving out west. I wish they made rims, but I don't think that they have a website.


Halifax is the opposite of Deluxebury and Marsh Vegas. They chose their own nickname, knocking a syllable off the total cost.

They call the town Hally, pronounced like the first name of Miss Berry from Monsters Inc.


Shortened to Mopo, which is probably a syllable too many for the area. Wampanoag for "island between the seas."


Any of the Bridgewaters- East, West or Regular- is known as Bilgewater here and there. I'm not sure if there is a sewage treatment plant in town.


Plymouth's America's Hometown nickname is so prominent that it almost needs a nickname for itself. It also isn't casual, like most nicknames. I doubt that Madonna's friends call her "Madonna," and no one says "I'm headed down to America's Hometown today" to other locals.

However, this was the big one I forgot to add. See? I do take (useful) advice from commenters.


It's never a wise policy to make fun of Brockton where she can hear you, but it is known as Brocky, B-Rock, 30 Brock and a dozen other minor epithets.

The high school used to be known as Club Homeboy, but that may have played itself out.

New Bedford

New Bedford is sort of lame anyhow... "We couldn't think of an original name, so we stole an old one." Would you pay money to see "New Led Zeppelin" and such?

No worries... New Bedford is also known as New Betty, New Beddy, New Beffuh and both Beige and New Beige. I'm pretty sure that New Beffuh is white trash articulation, while various forms of Beige are pure Portuguese patois. After a while, it just sort of became one of the names.

Each of these names are used extensively, especially by me.


Facebook people are telling me ex post publisho that Middleboro, which we sometimes refer to as Middle Bro, is actually called Diddleboro.


How you pronounce this word is not important, because if you get it wrong, by the time they go through the word's spelling, you'll have had enough time pass where you can say "Yeah, that's how I pronounced it."

Alternately Nattypoisett, Nastypoisett, Nasty P, Matty and Master P, most people just pretend they live in Marion.

The South Coast in itself is a nickname, coined by a weatherman. It used to be the Greater New Bedford area.

I don't know who invented The South Shore.


Not many one-syllable towns out there, other than Bourne and all the ones I can't think of right now.

One-syllable-named people rarely get nicknames, unless they earn them. "Def Jeff" is a good example. I used to know a Cool Roy, he was also a good example.

Bourne is very parochial, as everyone there self-identifies by villages. The only ones I know who get nicknames are the mainland ones, Bee Bay and Snagawhore. They are generally used derisively, usually by the residents of said villages.

Buzzards Bay House Of Pizza is in my phone as BBHOP, pronounced Bee Bop. The second syllable almost looks Egyptian.

Bournedale is also known as "Shortcut."


Everyone knows this one, even heterosexuals and people from the Berkshires.


There is no second contender for the title, look.


For some reason that I never identified during my near decade as a Bourne town reporter, a sizable % of the locals refer to this town as "Sammich." This is not at all done in a derogatory manner.

Hyannis and Wareham

Cape Cod is a nice little place, and generally is the sandy tourist trap that you think it is. However, there are some shifty parts, where folks are sketchy like Captain Bob.

I list these two as a pair, because they share the same modus operandi as far as nickname assumption goes.

For one, both are known as "Brockton-by-the-sea," sort of like "Manchester-by-the-sea" but 100% opposite. Wareham, a genuinely dangerous small town, probably deserves it more than a town that has the Kennedy Compound in it, but Hyannis had it first for their Wedge neighborhood.

Wareham sort of dines on the leftovers.... "Baby Fall River," "Coastal Lynn," or "Sea Lowell," which doesn't really fit but sounds sort of like Sea Level.

We love "Shangri-La," but that's just a part of town.

Wareham also most likely would lose out on ?ham, as the town of Ware sort of deserves that.

I do wish to one day write a cop show called "The 'Ham." We'll leave that discussion for a future article.

If we left something out, hit us up in the comments!

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Ranch House In Marshfield Sold?

People who grew up on the South Shore have long known that her time had passed... but it still hurts to see her go.

There are rumors that The Ranch House in Marshfield, which has been closed for most (closed in 2004) of this current century, has been sold. They were asking a mere $365K, reduced from $373K. It is zoned for Residential use now, so get ready for a McMansion or some condos.

Before that happens, they're going to have to put the wrecking ball to a local hardcore icon.

It makes sense. The derelict old building was a fire waiting to happen. I'm sure that some homeless have squatted in it. It's a vine-covered eyesore. If you get close, it smells like 1970s white trash vomit. Whatever rodents are running around your Canal Street yard probably winter in there. Out-of-town drunks still make the Hajj, only to find disappointment. It should have come down long ago.

That doesn't mean that we won't miss it.

There are bars and clubs all over the South Shore, but none of them were in The Ranch House's league as a den of debauchery. Set between a beach neighborhood and a marsh on Canal Street, it was at least a regional capital of the Irish Riviera.

You couldn't ask for an uglier locale. It looked like someone made it for a Patrick Swayze bouncer movie. The actual bar in the film Road House was miles ahead of the Green Harbor landmark as far as aesthetics go, and that movie was supposed to be about a dive.

To keep it Hollywood for people who may never have been inside... it's pretty much exactly like the bar that the Blues Brothers had to sing Rawhide in... except that bar was classier.

You parked on a dirt lot, wherever you could fit. If you had 4WD, you could park in the marsh. Once inside, you sat at the sort of tables that you see in the backyards of poor rural families. I think that they may have bought their chairs from a high school closing, and they were the perfect size/weight to hit someone with. The exposed rafters had the authenticity that you just don't get when a yuppie restaurant has exposed rafters- you were supposed to swing from these beams.

photos from Molisse Real Estate ("Selling the entire South Shore") ad for the property
She was, once you dotted the Is and crossed the Ts, a concert venue. Some of the greats trotted across that humble stage. Aerosmith played there when they were nobodies. I'm pretty sure that The Cars earned their stripes there. At least some of the J. Geils Band played there, if not the whole bunch of them at the same time. The Fools played there both before and after scoring a big hit.

You also had regional superpowers like Clutch Grabwell, Jim Plunkett or the Fat City Band playing there. You had cover bands galore, including Crystal Ship of Bitchin' Camaro fame. You had bands that never crossed the goal line, like the The Steamers, The Well Endowed Gentlemen, Silent Underground, Itchy Fish, Feel Thing and Exit 11. First ballot Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer Joe Perry of Aerosmith and little-known Hannes Schneider of the Injurys (I asked them, it's supposed to be spelled wrong) plugged their guitars into the same outlet.

A thousand other local bands tried and failed there. Your friend who can play the guitar a bit may have secured a slot there in his youth, only to find that their drawing power was limited to family and very close friends.

This focus on live music gave The Ranch House a different crowd than the dozen gin mills nearby.

Rather than a gathering of locals (although they were well-represented), TRH usually had a good crop of road trip people who were there because they liked the band. For a guy who struck out with the whole South Shore, the new girls this diversity provided probably prevented an alienated loner-style mass shooting at some point in my 20s the late 1980s.

You also had people- sometimes bikers- who came just because of TRH's reputation as a rowdy bar. The rowdy bar part worked for the locals. If your houseparty got the wrong crowd and it was time to move it to the bar... but if you didn't want to ruin your good name at the local bar that you frequent... that's why God gave us the Ranch House.

Beyond that, it becomes a hazy collage of drunken memories:

- I know a guy who got knocked out at the Ranch House, another guy who got his jaw broken, a third guy who tried to pepper spray some behemoth and the spray failed, catching him an extra-effort whupping. I know a guy who got a bottle broken over his head. I know a girl who slapped another girl unconscious there, and a bystander girl who got hit with a pool cue during a fight she wasn't in.

- I want to make sure to tip a glass to Mary, the waitress with the inexhaustible supply of miniskirts. She had a sister who worked there, forget her name, may have been Elaine some form of Teresa.

- Close to when the business sold, I saw Steven Tyler pay a visit to owner Dorothy Hudson there during a show with a full house. Some drunk walked up to him and said, "Hey, you're Steven Tyler," and Tyler went "No sh*t?"

- There's a rumor about a 70s era bouncer who threw a guy up the chimney.

- You could hear music and even distinguish song lyrics from Ranch House bands in Duxbury Beach neighborhoods. I may post this in a few Duxbury groups to see if the noise made it across the marsh into Duxbury Proper in the right weather conditions.

- It is very possible that Joe Perry, who at times lives a half mile across an open marsh from TRH, could sit on his back porch and listen to local Axemen trying to play Aerosmith covers on the Ranch House stage.

- A house on Ocean Road North in Duxbury once brought the bar home for an afterparty, even the band and their instruments.

- The loss of The Ranch House, coupled with the residentializing of Paddock's Package Store, means the end of Canal Street as a business district. It also killed two of my favorite spots with a range from about age 5 to 32.

- The Green Harbor General Store and the Brant Rock Market gained Paddock's beer/snacks customers. The local rowdies from TRH bled into the other local pubs.

- If your formerly low-key tavern deteriorated into rowdiness during the late Bush II era, that's most likely what happened to it.

They don't make 'em like The Ranch House anymore.

Marsh Vegas still has some rowdy bars, but it ain't what it once was.

Brian's Place is a Mama Mia's franchise now. The various bars that occupy the spot at the Green Harbor Marina are edging towards Yuppiedom. The Ocean Cafe, once the ugliest building that I ever enjoyed eating in, is now a lovely place that people call Haddad's. The Venus II got a facelift.

Marshfield- especially the Irish Riviera part- will never be a really delicate place. But it is changing...

Just one "Anyone have any Ranch House pics I can use?" post on Facebook brought up at least one Duxbury Wannabe comment regarding the nature of the neighborhood. Someone else called it "Duxbury Delusion Syndrome."

Coastal property- even if it is a few streets back- never loses that much value. Not everyone can hang onto the family cottage, nor can they turn down the money they can make selling it to some rich family.

The next thing you know, the people who own the rowdy hard-rock bar see the future coming, lack the desire to transition into something Yuppie, and decide to sell the property.

There were nibbles in 2004, but it's hard to build when you abut wetlands, have a reputation as the go-to rowdy bar on the South Shore that will take a generation to erase, and will immediately require a tear-down (it's essentially a giant doghouse) and re-build. I loved The Ranch House, but I wouldn't have dreamed of eating in that building, even bagged potato chips.

Most people have higher tastes than me, and that pretty much punched the ticket for The Ranch House.

It sucks when a relic from your past has to go away, and no one stays young forever. The live music scene is lessened for it, and you'll have to drive a bit to see a band in any sort of building that isn't better suited to a breakfast buffet. Most people will forget soon enough.

But not all...

It will be funny if whoever builds there throws up a large structure, and has to continually answer the door and tell people that The Ranch House no longer exists.

We probably aren't too far from a day where people will have to stop the car and think about exactly where The Ranch House used to be. There was once a time when there would have been no question about it.

You know that I'm stealing that Wagon Wheel. Dibs!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Who Invented The Gobbler?

We search for the genius who invented the Thanksgiving sandwich

Sure, there is trouble with ISIS, a Presidential campaign in full swing and our recession-recovery economy could use some tinkering, but hopefully that stuff will take care of itself.
I, instead, will focus on who invented the Gobbler.
The Gobbler, as you most likely know, is a regional name for a Turkey/Cranberry/Stuffing sandwich. Depending on where you're getting one, it may have a variety of ingredients. It may also have a variety of names, such as the Mayflower Sandwich, the Thanksgiving Sandwich, the Day After Thanksgiving Sandwich, the John Alden, the Myles Standish, the Squanto, the Samoset, the Massasoit, the Turkey Bomb, the TCS, the Black Friday Special, the Pilgrim Sandwich, the November Surprise, the Governor Bradford, and God knows what others.
It is one of America's most popular sandwiches, and on the day after Thanksgiving, it is THE most popular sandwich. While the Fluffernutter is the Boston's signature sandwich, the Gobbler is probably the signature sandwich of Plymouth County. I'd actually use Bourne as the cutoff point from which the lobster roll asserts her sandwich authority over the lands across the Canal.
With the advent of modern appliances, the immediate post-Edison version of the Gobbler was probably invented on the East Coast by whoever got hungry first before the plates were washed. Just like the Earl of Sandwich centuries before, this god-among-us figured out that thick bread makes for a pretty good plate. Before someone invented the fridge, leftover turkey most likely went into a slow-simmering soup.
We "know" that the Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich in the 18th Century so he could eat while he gambled, and never-you-mind better historical claims by Europeans and their trencher/open-faced sandwiches, the ancient Jews and their matze Passover culinary explorations, or the Aztecs and their corn tortillas (often filled with turkey to make history's first turkey sandwich, but the Aztecs were nowhere near the cranberries needed for the Gobbler). None of their stories involve needing a hand free to gamble, so I'm going with Earl. If you are patient, we'll tie the Gobbler back to him.
Turkeys, native to America, were introduced to Europe in the 1500s through Turkish markets via the Spanish. Turkeys get their English name from where the English got turkeys, in Turkey. Stuffed turkey was popular in Europe by the 1600s, and bread was most likely on those same tables. Those are 3 of the 4 main ingredients in the Gobbler, but the cranberry sauce was a century away.
In spite of the fact that turkey-at-Plimoth was common knowledge, it didn't become the Thanksgiving anchorman in America until about 1800. If you need an English visual, remember that the Cratchit family from A Christmas Carol (1843) was going to eat a goose before Scrooge intervened with a holiday turkey and some Obamacare. Turkey was a popular holiday meal in America long before Abe Lincoln nationalized the holiday, and long before even that in Europe.
I struck out on finding the actual inventor of the Gobbler, and had difficulty even finding speculation on the matter. There were no claims made on it. Since my research yielded nothing, I am forced to rely on my own creativity and logic.
The Pilgrims look like a good bet, as they had turkey, stuffing (stuffing dates back to the Romans, at least), and- most importantly- access to cranberries. Not only access, but they also were essentially getting the first (white people) crack at them. They were slow to catch on, as the nation/world's first large cranberry cultivation system was established by American Revolution vet Captain Henry Hall in Dennis in 1816, but we were shipping them to Europe by 1820.
The Pilgrims were neither wealthy nor frivolous, and sugar is needed in large amounts to make cranberry sauce as we know it. The Ps might have used lightly sugared cranberries, as straight cranberry is too tart to eat enjoyably- even for someone who considered some nice salted mutton to be good eatin'. Such a thing as sugared berries would have almost certainly been a dessert.
All the necessary ingredients for the Gobbler were in place in some form at the first Thanksgiving. William Bradford's account put turkey, cranberries, and cornbread on the table. Stuffed turkey was a traditional holiday meal in the Europe they had just left. That almost assuredly puts stuffing (of a cornbread variety) on that table as well.
There were creative minds from a variety of cultures sitting at that table, and remember that some of those minds were quite remarkable. In that context, you'd almost be amazed if someone there didn't invent the Gobbler. It'd be like watching Tesla get transported to 2014 and fail to figure out how to turn on the TV.
While that doesn't solve the mystery, it gives us a basis for more speculation. Since we've narrowed it down to the table the Gobbler most likely was first enjoyed at, we have to- for the sake of everybody who got up on the 4th Friday in November and went straight for the hair of the dog- make an effort to name the genius in 1621 who put two and two together and somehow made something tastier than four.
I'll start by looking at the Wampanoags.
They shouldn't be the less obvious choice. They could make their own forms of bread, they had turkey running around, and probably had about 5,000-30,000 years of experience with cranberries before the Europeans arrived.
You can go to Plimoth Plantation tomorrow and see the Wampanoag historical role-players cooking cranberry cornbread (Nasaump) that looks a lot like squishy-style bird stuffing. They even made a cranberry boiled bread, a cranberry syrup called Sassamanesh, and had numerous turkey recipes. They were working with all of the ingredients for centuries.
Any argument against the Wampanoags inventing some form of the Gobbler pretty much hinges on nobody in 5-30000 years putting some meat, cranberries (cranberries were used when making pemmican, making the Wampanoag Gobbler even that much more likely), and some form of stuffing between two pieces of bread.
The reader will note that we mentioned ancient Native Americans using tortillas. Ideas move through different tribes just like they do with different Europeans, and the idea of wrapping food in bread could have quite possibly diffused from Tortilla Land to the Cranberry-Turkey Land. Once that happens, you just need one Algonquian genius.
You can run the Wampanoag-exclusive Gobbler theory right up to the first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoags introduced cranberries to starving English settlers, and they are almost certainly among the berries (although most likely in food prepared by the Wampanoags) described by Bradford in his account of the first Thanksgiving. 
I'd even pick a Wampanoag (not used to knives and forks and so forth) to be more likely to create a Gobbler when presented with turkey, cranberries, stuffing and bread than some scared and rigid European who was used to European table manners.
I'd even throw in the chance that some Pilgrim woman fashioned some sort of bread-cup and filled it with the Gobbler ingredients for a departing Wampanoag, inventing the Gobbler while concurrently serving America's first take-out meal.
The other option at that table to invent the Gobbler relies more on mysticism and legend... which you'd think would favor the Wampanoags, but they actually have too good of a grasp on Common Sense in this discussion to latch onto the abstract stuff. It favors Bourne.
I can make this simple. Even the most ardent supporter of the Wampanoag Gobbler theory would have to admit that the Great Spirit usually gives you a sign. While Plimoth had the more famous Wampanoag interaction and is the most likely Genesis Spot for a white man's Gobbler, the majority of trade between colonists and natives and the New Netherlands in the time following the feast went down at the Aptucxet Trading Post, in Bourne. There was a great deal of cultural and culinary diffusion going on in Bourne until around or before the Great Colonial Hurricane blew America's First Store flat in 1635.
If Plimoth was the Gobbler's Bethlehem, Bourne may have indeed been the Gobbler's Nazareth. From there, much like Jesus, it took over half the world. The ethnicity of the first Gobbler's creator matters less to me than the chance that someone from Bourne may have invented (or at least first ingested) one of America's greatest sandwiches.
The only problem here is that Bourne wasn't Bourne until 1884, when it broke away from the town it used to belong to, the town named for a British aristocrat, the town that wins the Pilgrims and Bourne the right to call the Gobbler their own, the town that grants my theory the approval of the Great Spirit, and the town that ends this discussion.
The name of that town?
"Sandwich. "
Gerard's Farm, in Marshfield
I (and now, you) may be the one person aware of this, but Bongi's Turkey Roost and Gerard's Turkey Farm are part of a notable equation.
Neither store owner (each with decades in the local business) could name a third competitor closer than West Bridgewater, and the next towns I heard mentioned were Framingham and Leominster... and they might not actually be the literal sandwich factories that Gerard's and Bongi's are.
However, in spite of the fact that there appears to be almost zero demand for such businesses even 20 miles away and outward, a very small area in a very small pair of towns is able to support two turkey sandwich specialty shops.
Bongi's and Gerard's have been in direct competition for almost 70 years, and both businesses are coasting along nicely. You can tell they are doing well, because the respective owners speak well of each other. Try this with, say, Local Oil Guy A and B or Local Car Dealership A and B, especially if they are 1) within 10 miles of each other, 2) selling the exact same product to the same households, and 3) the only businesses of that sort in the region.
Nope, it seems that demand is just fine for two turkey sandwich stores in this area. In fact, based on the bustling Tuesday lunch business I saw both establishments conducting, Plymouth County could probably support a few more businesses of this sort. Swamp Yankees love their Gobblers.
I did manage to discover some Class Distinction among the stores. Bongi's, in ritzy Duxbury, gets the Pilgrim crowd. Gerard's, along the road to the sea in Marsh Vegas, draws in the Irish Riviera crowd. Both stores have very parochial customer bases, as lovers of one tend to never go to the other.
These facts, plus the physical location of the businesses smack dab in the middle of towns founded by people who ate at the first Thanksgiving, pretty much cements the location of the Gobbler Heartland in a Duxbury/Marshfield semi-circle that, to dot the Is and cross the Ts, should also include neighboring towns Scituate, Kingston and Pembroke, and the cranberry producing towns of Carver, Whitman, Hanson, Halifax, the Bridgewaters, Plympton, Carver, and Wareham,. Plymouth and Bourne/Sandwich's inclusion in the mix goes without saying.
As I said earlier, the mainland/Bourne side of the Cape Cod Canal is where the Gobbler is supplanted by the Lobster Roll as the signature sandwich of the region. North of the Gobbler Zone, it becomes the Fluffernutter. That runs through Worcester. Beyond that, you're on your own.
Duxbury and Marsh Vegas can support two turkey sandwich stores. Nearby towns all over the South Shore, South Coast and Cape Cod have some form of the Gobbler on their sandwich shop menus. It then quickly levels off to a range of "better delis have a Gobbler Sandwich with some clever Pilgrim name as a lunch special now and then" to "fails to put stuffing or cranberry in it" as you get away from the cranberry-producing regions
You'd be amazed how quickly you would encounter areas where this sandwich is only eaten a day or two after Thanksgiving once you leave Massachusetts. 
Just for laughs, I checked out some delicatessen menus in other states. Wisconsin, which has a "choice of potatoes" section on the Rochester Deli menu, had a turkey panini with cranberry "relish," but not stuffing. Fat Guys Deli in Idaho (home of the Triple Chin Sandwich) had no Gobbler among their eclectic 30 sandwich menu. Jimmy John's in Alabama had nothing approaching a Gobbler. The Carnegie Deli has one, but it may actually be a dinner plate as opposed to a sandwich. $20.99, I believe. Canter's Deli is LA has nothing.
I was raised in Ground Zero on this one, and generally assemble the necessary ingredients about once a month or so, depending on how close to Gerard's or Bongi's I get.
Bongi's, in Duxbury!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Football Schedule And Predictions For SE Massachusetts

Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, family gatherings, giving thanks for what you have... and rooting for the kids in your town to stomp all over the kids from the next town over.

Lots of money will change hands this Thursday, as Town Primacy will be established all over Massachusetts. I have rarely seen two gymnasts or cross-country runners from rival schools bragging about a meet or a match twenty years later, but you see it all the time with high school football.

I have bet money with a priest on a field goal attempt once, if you wonder how deep this column lives it, baby.

Drinking whiskey from a flask, Bloody Marys and Cider are acceptable morning alcoholic drinks, but you have to be low-key.

Remember to check multiple sources for times and locations, as my schedule sometimes forgets to list times or thinks that Barnstable is playing Falmouth Academy (who I am not sure has a team). You don't want to start your Thanksgiving holiday by going to the wrong town at the wrong time because MaxPreps made an error that a stoner journalist failed to notice when writing this article on the 3 AM Werewolf Shift.

On to the squabbles...

Plymouth North vs Plymouth South, 10 AM

As we will say at length in an upcoming article, the Thanksgiving game between North and South should be stylized, televised, and shown live on ESPN on Thanksgiving morning. Same with the parade, but maybe ABC for that. I taught at North, so...

North, 34-17

Oliver Ames at Sharon 10 AM

If Oliver spelled his last name differently, this could be perceived as an "Oliver aims at Sharon" threat. Stick around folks, I got a trillion of 'em. Sharon beat O&A 28-12 in October, at O&A's own field.

Sharon, 31-14

Mansfield at Foxboro, 10 AM

I refuse to use the "ough" for Foxboro, Middleboro, Northboro and so forth. Foxy Bro is an 8-3 host, while Mansfield is 5-5. However,Mansfield always has a tough team, and they'll squeak one out here.

Mansfield, 14-13

Carver at Middleboro, 10 AM

Carver can finish above .500 for the first time in many moons if they beat Middy, and Middy stood a good chance of resting her starters for the playoffs... but then Middy got eliminated, so they will instead empty the whole clip into Coach Reeve's kids.

Middleboro, 24-13

Apponequet at Old Rochester, 10 AM

I'll take the road 'dog, just because I need practice spelling "Apponequet."

Apponequet, 23-21

Dartmouth at Fairhaven, 10 AM

Fairhaven will lose this game, but they have the cooler-looking high school building.

Dartmouth, 30-10

East Boston vs South Boston/Snowden/Upper Quincy/Excel/Green Academy, 9:30 AM

South Boston/Snowden International/Upper Quincy/Excel/Green Academy's cheerleaders take 45 minutes or longer to go through their "Gimme an S..." cheer. They are just now finishing that cheer from their previous game.

Eastie 44-14

Hingham at Scituate, 10 AM

The winner will be above .500, the loser will be below it. Scituate has lost their last three games to the tune of 107-29

Hingham, 24-17

Wareham at Bourne, 10 AM

198-27 score in Wareham's last 6 losses.

Bourne, 9-6

Rockland at East Bridgewater, 10 AM

EB, which sounds like something you'd take Cialis to deal with, can walk into the Super Bowl undefeated... but to get to the Super Bowl healthy, they may sit the starters. Betting these games can be difficult. If they play the starters for a half, they should win big. If the JV plays the whole game, Rockland may win by double digits.

EB, 24-23

Barnstable at Falmouth, 10 AM

Falmouth won 6-0 in 1895. Barnstable leads the series by 1, 60-59-8. May as well set up some high stakes for 2016.

Falmouth, 33-31

Bristol-Plymouth at Blue Hills, 10 AM

B-P's mascot/nickname? Craftsmen

Blue Hills, 30-17

Silver Lake at Pembroke, 10 AM

Pembroke is fighting off a winless season.

Silver Lake, 20-17

Cardinal Spellman at Archbishop Williams, 10 AM

If they ever got a few high schools devoted to Satanism, that would make for an excellent Thnaksgiving game.... "Cardinal Spellman vs Lucifer Tech." Until then, we get Priest Fights.

Cardinal Spellman, 27-24

North Quincy at Quincy, 10 AM

I lived in Quincy as a kid, but I'm not sure if I was in North Quincy territory or just regular Quincy territory. I seem to think that I lived in West Quincy, which is not an option on the menu. My loyalty runs out at Furnace Brook Elementary School, which is now named for the guy who was the principal when I was there. I'd ask my brother which school I'd be at if I stayed in Quincy, but if I suddenly chose a side this late in life, the resultant bias might mar my otherwise laser-sharp sports betting prowess.

Quincy, 14-13

Mashpee at Sandwich, 10 AM

I actually have an article online somewhere that chrnicles my research into the origin of the Thanksgiving Sandwich.

Mashpee, 40-27

Weymouth at Walpole, 10 AM

I wonder if Walpole could beat an all star team assembled from the nearby prison?

Walpole, 21-14

Taunton at Coyle-Cassidy, 10 AM

If Taunton is to get a win this season, they couldn't ask for a better foe than 2-9 C-C.

Taunton, 13-12

South Shore Vo-Tech at Southeastern Regional Voke Tech, 10 AM

Southeastern is in South Easton, which is pronounced the same by Massachusetts people.

SSVT, 24-14

Bishop Connolly at Saint John Paul II, 10 AM

Saint John Paul II is hobbled by their tendency to score in Roman Numerals.

Bishop Connolly, 28-XIV

Norwell at Hanover, 10 AM

Norwell looks like a good bet to need some Hanover cures.

Hanover, 31-13

Monomoy at Sacred Heart, 10 AM

Stacey is a Sacred Heart grad, so we'd better choose them.

Sacred Heart, 12-9

Upper Cape Tech at Cape Cod Tech, 10 AM

Upper Cape is sort of the cream of the local Voke-Tech crop.

UCT, 21-10

Diman vs Greater New Bedford, 10 AM

GNB can go above .500 for the season if they win.

GNB, 21-20

Braintree at Milton, 10 AM

Braintree can go over .500 if they beat 10-1 Milton.

Milton, 44-17

New Bedford at Durfee, 10 AM

Fall River needs to change the name of that school if they want me to bet on them.

New Beffuh, 20-10

Cohasset at Hull, 10 AM

If they didn't have such a cute seaside stadium, I'd want Hull to redesign their stadium to look like H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. I'd want the effect Clint Eastwood was going for with Lago in High Plains Drifter.

Cohasset, 28-7

Nauset at Dennis-Yarmouth, 10 AM

Nauset has to fight Dennis and Yarmouth, so it's already skewered from the get-go.

D-Y, 21-13

Whitman-Hanson at Abington, 10 AM

Abby alwys has a tough program, and W-H has been slipping recently.

Abington, 30-20

Bishop Feehan st Bishop Stang, 10 AM

Someone is going to beat the Bishop.

Stang, 21-19

West Bridgewater at Holbrook/Avon, ?

It'd be funny if the Avon half of the team was always trying to sell cosmetics to the Holbrook half of the team. I'm not sure what time the game is, I think 10 AM.

The WB, 17-14

Brockton at Bridgewater-Raynham, 10 AM

7-3 vs 6-4... I'll go with 10-6, which was the score when they played 3 weeks ago.

Brockton, 10-6

Somerset-Berkley at Case, 10 AM

Case is in Swansea, in Case someone bets you that you don't know where Case is.

S-B, 20-18

BC High at Catholic Memorial, 7 PM

Watch kids vomit forth their turkey dinners... under the lights!

BC High, 20-17

Duxbury at Marshfield, 10 AM

10-1 vs 8-2, two local powerhouses sharing a lengthy border... this is probably the game of the day. They both smoked their common opponent. Duxbury just got sent home from the playoffs by Milton, while Vegas was overwhelmed by Reading in the playoffs. It is the Super Bowl for both teams. Marshfield is 6-0 at home, has played an out-of-state game, and is heavily favored. Guess where I graduated from, and which team I have blood playing for?

Duxbury, 33-29

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

If The Right People Were Running Plymouth....

Plymouth has a lot going for it. They have miles of coastline. They are dripping with history. They have an active downtown area. They have hotels and tourist-type places.

Plymouth also owns Thanksgiving. Her rule there is undisputed. There is no number one contender to that title. Plymouth owns it outright.

They take advantage of it. Pilgrims and Wampanoags are used to advertise businesses, decorate homes, and to generally set the mood of the community.

Just this past weekend, I went to a wonderful Thanksgiving parade that brought in locals by the thousands. All of those people spent money in the local economy, and Plymouth was the happening spot for a day.

There's nothing wrong with that.

I'd like Plymouth to happen a little harder.

Nothing burns the frontal lobes of a writer with nada in the pipeline than an underutilized resource.

You might think that my feelings on this are greedy and perhaps even crazy. They are definitely not in tune with the spirit of the season.

Thanksgiving is about being happy with what you have, not about thinking "How can I make money?" and so forth. There admittedly are some errors in my argument when viewed from that viewpoint.

However, a rising tide lifts all boats that don't have a big hole punched in the bottom. You can always be thankful, but you can always also be More thankful.

Here are a few ideas I have that might get this town on a payin' basis. We have a lot of nuclear reactor money to make up.

Thanksgiving Football

Is there anything that compelling beaming out of ESPN on, say, a holiday Thursday? Why not make the Plymouth North/Plymouth South Thanksgiving football game be a national event?

A big part of Thanksgiving lore in America involves going to the holiday high school football game, either the one where you went to high school at or the one in the town your kids go to school in. I'm about five years from having to make a very painful Duxbury-to-Bourne switch when my kid finally gets School Spirit.

ESPN should show a game. Sure, if they get one from Texas where they have 300 pounders all along the offensive line and the cornerbacks run a 4.4, and that would get you a higher level game. However, a lot of the charm is lost if it looks too much like a pro game, especially if they play it at one of those Texas schools with the 50,000 seat stadiums and the History textbooks that end with Jimmy Carter in the White House.

I would instead radically re-design the football stadium for one of the schools, or perhaps even build a stadium on a neutral site. I'd put it near the sea, preferably near wherever the Pilgrims actually set foot ashore.

There are a lot of woodlands around the nuclear reactor (if you ever want to see a satellite view of suburban sprawl coming to a skidding halt on either side of something, do a Google Map of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant), maybe they could build it in there.

Thanksgiving Stadium (my idea, I'll name it) would have less than 50,000 seats, but would possess several interesting visual facets:

- A giant replica Mayflower III on the seaside wall of the stadium, craftily positioned so that it would look like it was floating with the right camera angles. When either team scored, it could wobble back and forth as if in surf, while Rock The Boat (Don't Tip The Boat Over) plays on the loudspeakers.

- A complete recreation of a Pilgrim and a Wampanoag village in either end zone.

- A much better version of Plymouth Rock. I would use the largest boulder that can be moved by modern machinery,and make it be the non-sea-side wall of the stadium. I'd use a Disney-style fake rock if moving a small mountain became problematic.

- This Plymouth Rock would be hollowed out enough that the "1620" can be lit with fire or plasma rays. If we could somehow project the 1620 onto the moon, I'd be a-ight with that.

- A completely functional and life-sized lighthouse, which admittedly may be redundant with the 1620 neon sign.

- A seven hundred foot Turkey Of Vengeance robot who bursts forth from the sea to seek dinner-related vengeance on the crowd. We'd stop him before he killed too many people, of course.

Once we have the stadium in place, we'd need to get the schools up to speed.

We don't need to have the kids playing pro-level football, but it can't look like a Pop Warner game. Top coaches should be brought in, players from other schools should be lured in and the phys-ed classes K-12 should be hyper-intensified. I would not be put off by Soviet Union/Red Army comparisons.

We'd have to re-mascot the schools, as well. North could be the Pilgrims, South would be the... OK, this gets touchy.

"Wampanoags" is sort of a mouthful. "Indians" seems almost like a slur. "Sachems" lacks brand name recognition, and I think Middleboro or someone may already be the Sachems. "Warriors" is a bit bloody-minded. "Squantos" has a ring to it, although there was only one Squanto and we'd be heading into Lone Rangers territory. "Natives" sounds like what the Tea Party would name a team if they had one.

I suppose we could go Team Standish vs Team Alden, for the Massasoit Trophy. To be fair, Team Metacom vs Team Wamsutta for the Mayflower Trophy also works.

We'd also have to get the cheerleaders to step up their game. I'm thinking this, and this.

In turn for pretty much handing them their holiday viewing (and  30 for 30 special, or whatever they call those) for every Thanksgiving, ESPN will see that Plymouth gets a little financial compensation.

Compensation would be in order. I'm not sure that "free publicity" means much to a town that is in the early chapters of every American History textbook, Likewise, nationally televised stadium advertising would be limited, as very few people in Chicago are going to be ordering delivery from The Pizza Factory on Home Depot Road in America's Hometown.

No, Plymouth will be requiring little green pieces of paper with Founding Father Faces.

America would adopt the game as their own. It might not sell out East where many are going to their own HS games, but it would be prime morning viewing for anyone a time zone or three over.

Thanksgiving Parade

Speaking of compulsory national Thanksgiving viewing, we could make some improvements to the Thanksgiving parade and get it up on the tube.

Macy's has a Thanksgiving parade. Philadelphia and Detroit also have prominent Thanksgiving parades. New York was an Algonquian trading post with 5000 Lenape natives when the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621. Why should they have the Thanksgiving parade?

F*** them.

The Thanksgiving parade held in Plymouth should be televised nationally. The Macy's parade gets 88 million eyes a year. It is a national tradition that the much smaller Plymouth has little chance of vanquishing.

Plymouth could work some odd angle for their parade, to distinguish it from the giant Macy's parade that we have no chance of defeating straight up.

The Macy's parade starts at 9 AM, and ends about when the North/South football team would be starting. We'd be fools to run opposite of that.

Why not try the night before, or even Thanksgiving night?

7 PM, either night. I like the Thursday night idea better, as we'd be trying to wedge in between the 4 PM NFL game and the 8:30 PM game. We'd have all of the vacationers in town already, as opposed to a Wednesday night event.

We'd have to weed out the weaklings among the parade attractions. We'd have to hunt up corporate sponsorship, which could be used to super-power the floats.

We'd have to consider altering the parade route. I like Benny's as much as the next person doesn't, but it's not the place for a Jump Off. I'm thinking of using 3A, maybe make the parade run from Plimoth Plantation to Plymouth Rock. That may also prove problematic. but we can sweat the details later.

The important part is the ending, which is also why Thursday night is crucial to the parade.

Plymouth is already the home of Thanksgiving. Why not also take the running-unopposed title for Black Friday?

That's right... go from humbly thanking the Gods for what you have to the Gimme Gimme Gimme of the Christmas shopping season. It's the most important day of the consumer year, and no one owns it.

Plymouth could take possession of Black Friday simply by already having the eyes of the nation on them already via the football game and the parade. End that parade at Plymouth Rock, and light a mammoth Christmas tree there.

A simple, symbolic act, lighting that tree. It will match the neither Rockefeller Center tree, nor even the Boston tree. However, what it lacks in prestige, it makes up for in timing. Tied to the Thanksgiving parade, at a slack hour between football games.... Boom.

Why let Barry steal our thunder?

Granted, I'm aiming high, with stadiums and new holidays and all. Plymouth should aim high. If we don't, someone might come along and take Thanksgiving from us. New York already has the nationally televised parade that by all rights should belong to Plymouth.

We can take it back, if we Think Big.

Whether that makes enough money to pay for the effort remains to be seen. I'm more of an idea guy than a bean counter. The bean counters would have the hard job.

However, if Plymouth has a chance to profit heavily off of a holiday that they already own, and if they have a chance to claim a second holiday, would they not be wise to look into the best case scenario?