Dave Richards for December 4th…………….
--From our Public Service Department, The 2018 Milk Fund Appeal is well under way. In addition to our daily radio auctions, this Friday the folks at The Cercle Laurier Club on East School Street are holding a good old-fashioned Beer & Dynamite Fundraiser from 6pm to 9pm. There’ll be music and games and plenty friends there as in the past. Gary Lapierre and Steve Aucoin are in charge, and you can call 401-230-9880 for tickets.
--Nobody is 100% perfect. That is a well and universally accepted fact. But some come closer than others. Let’s face it, if you show up and do your best work every day you will succeed most of the time, but once in a while, no matter how good and no matter how well-meaning you are, things will go wrong or you’ll be surprised by a circumstance. Or you’ll take on a big project and no matter how convinced you are it will work out as you planned, life will step in and you will fail.
Of course, we all know that the most important thing then is what you do next. If you are an exceptional person you will bind your proverbial wounds and move on to win another day. I admire men like that.
President George H.W. Bush was such a man. To see the outpouring of respect and affection he has received since leaving office, and now at the time of his death tells you that though he was a man and was not perfect……..he came admirably close. Close enough to win the respect of the majority of the people. Of course, it is customary for people to say complimentary things when someone dies. But the genuineness of this affection we are seeing for Mr. Bush is uncommon, and I think deservedly so.
--I am lucky to know others who, although not as accomplished as the former president, go about their lives with a quiet and sincere dedication to doing their best every day. These people earn the admiration of those around them. One of these people is R. I. Senator Marc Cote. In less than a month Marc will be replaced in his senate seat by Woonsocket City Councilor Mellissa Murray, who will be replaced in her council seat by her successor at the Woonsocket Inauguration Ceremonies tonight at the Stadium Theatre. All are invited.
Marc decided it was time to step down earlier this year. But his sense of community pride and spirit has never dipped, not one bit. Marc wasn’t compelled to leave political life. He just thought it was time to pass the torch on to someone else and he has done so, very much like he has done everything else. Deliberately. Quietly. And with good humor. A successful man and a man to be admired, I say. And I wish him many more years of success.
--Another man who is going about his business quietly is Bob Billington, President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. Now, I’ve known Bob for probably 30 plus years. I am frequently amazed at the projects he’s been able to organize and make work. I remember how nuts I thought he was when he sold me a golden hammer pin to help fund a passenger boat for use on the Blackstone River. You must remember that when I grew up, you could find the river with your nose sometimes.
The Blackstone Valley Explorer river boat was just the beginning, of course and that was 25 years ago. Then there was the Samuel Slater Bed and Breakfast river boat. And then there was this movie called The Polar Express which Warner Brothers made about the book written by Bob’s friend Chris Von Allsburg. Bob said he’d like to take a real train and tell the story as it rode along real railroad tracks in the Blackstone Valley. He said people would come from far and wide to ride such a train.
Of course, by this time I had learned not to doubt any idea that Bob Billington embraced, and, sure enough, The Polar Express Train Ride has taken its place next to Autumnfest as one of Woonsocket’s largest and most successful tourism events each year.
Bob was short-handed this past weekend as a mutual friend who is a regular cast member was away on travel, so I was asked to fill in. Let me tell you, friend, I have always admired what Bob Billington can do when he engages the enthusiasm of others in a project. But after seeing seven Polar Express train trips, each averaging nearly 400 passengers, the term “admiration” is no longer adequate. I am in awe.
The sheer scope of staging a production with hundreds of volunteers, including elves dancing under a huge Christmas tree at the “North Pole”, and the sheer expense of hiring an honest-to-goodness locomotive, to say nothing of the licensing of the movie’s musical recordings and all the rights fees WB requires would make a lesser man blanch. But Bob does it, every weekend each November and December, adding at least one “something new” to the show each year. So, if you haven’t taken the ride recently, you really need to go again.
I have said many times that making good memories is the most important work of life, because when we die the good memories live on and are all that’s left of us in the end. The good memories and happy faces I saw last weekend at Woonsocket’s Historic Train Station will live on for generations.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading. And thank you for remembering The Milk Fund.