2016: Embracing the spirit of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and finding the key to the childhood joy

My desk all decorated for Christmas, 1981

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 12/2016

It’s early December and I am wondering in a store or two, looking at the rows of decorations, wrap, candy and Christmas merchandise lining the shelves. I find myself lost in nostalgia this evening, recalling a time, as a kid, when I would race to the stores and just window shop for hours, looking at all the Christmas decorations and then excitedly continue preparation for Christmas at home.

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Election 2016: Time To Look In The Mirror

Image of the United States from space -- (nasa.gov)
Image of the United States from space — (nasa.gov)

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 11/2016

No matter who you voted for, no matter whether you’re happy or not with the result, consider this – The United States is a country horrifically divided. This is not a new situation, but made abundantly clear in the 2016 election season.

On Election Night, about 100 million people voted, about 50 million or so for each candidate.

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Election 2016: My Public Service Announcement about Write-Ins for President in Massachusetts

PLEASE do not write-in cartoon characters, ineligible names, or protest statements in the write in field in Massachsuetts
PLEASE do not write-in cartoon characters, ineligible names, or protest statements in the write in field in Massachusetts.

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 10/2016

November 8 is Election Day – and I’d like to talk write-in ballots, specifically for Massachusetts.

First, a disclaimer: I am not endorsing any candidate here; when a real name is mentioned it is NOT an endorsement or statement about that person – I am using familiar names for example purposes only.

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End of Summer 2016: Thoughts on a variety of topics

Entering Foxboro SignBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2016

This past March was the 20th anniversary of the date I started writing for this newspaper. Then, and now, I consider it a privilege and one I do not take for granted and something I hope I will be doing for a long time to come.

Sometimes, an idea for a column is so strong that I will literally race home to write it. Other times, a piece may take days or even weeks to organize and compose my thoughts in the way I want to present them.

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Saying goodbye to Aubuchon Hardware in Foxboro

Aubuchon Hardware Foxboro
Aubuchon Hardware Foxboro

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 7/2016

Last Friday, July 22, Aubuchon Hardware Corporate came to the Foxboro store and told everyone it was their last day and the store was closed.

The town of Foxboro is poorer because of it.

It is a fact that businesses come and go. No matter where you live, we all have seen businesses last for generations, and some last only a year or two.

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Pulse massacre in Orlando – another senseless shooting, and more tweets of thoughts and prayers – It’s time to DO something.

13445359_10153880600878547_1697480610352181283_nBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City paper 7/2016

Brace yourselves, this one isn’t summer fluff, I’ll be funnier next time. Also, as much as I have been working on this one, it’s still a little all over the place, so apologies in advance that this piece is not as tight as usual and more “stream of consciousness.”

After the Pulse Nightclub Orlando massacre, there were many images of folks lined around the block giving blood in Orlando.

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Taking time to appreciate the American Flag and reflect on its promise

American Flags on Foxboro Commonby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 5/2016

It’s Saturday morning, and like so many others around town I am running errands. Driving on Mechanic Street I spot them – the American flags all along the sidewalk, encircling the common, and also running down parts of Mechanic and Central Street.

The flag’s “magical” appearance several times a year – Memorial Day, founders day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day and when needed – don’t happen by magic – the flags are carefully and respectfully placed by a nameless benefactor or benefactors* – one of the many people who do something for this town behind the scenes.

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More fun with Superman and Wonder Woman comics: “Hi there, something wrong with the elevator?”

by Robert Gillis
4/2016

What was so special about the silver age of comic books? Read about it HERE
(Click any image to enlarge)

Wonder Woman V1 246 000002a
The super-heroes of the bronze and silver age seemed to do a lot of unnecessary damage while performing their rescues – even back on the “Adventures of Superman” TV show, Superman was also smashing through windows and walls because it was much more dramatic than, say, opening a door.

I found these gems from the Bronze Age; all three involve elevator rescues that could have been done with far less property damage:

From Wonder Woman #246, Diana Prince is doing some laundry when the power goes out – suddenly, she realizes people are trapped in the elevator.

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Foxboro 2016: The dog park is back!

Sun Chronicle Photograph of the dog park; Satchel Pooch ('Get Fuzzy' Character by Darby Conley) added by the author who had WAYYY too much time on his hands.
Sun Chronicle Photograph of the dog park; Satchel Pooch (‘Get Fuzzy’ Character copyright by Darby Conley) added by Bob who had WAYYY too much time on his hands.

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2016

It’s not often that “PLAY NICE” is the core of two consecutive op/eds, but here we are.

If you’re new to Foxboro, the collective groan you just heard is the announcement that the dog park is back in the news.

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Thoughts on the upcoming Foxboro Town Election, 2016 and the lost art of conversation

ballotby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 3/2016

At this writing, it has been just a few hours since the deadline for candidates to submit their papers to Town Hall to be part of the election that will be held on May 2.

While the presidential election has already drained me, I care deeply about the annual Foxboro election. While there IS an argument to be made that one vote really doesn’t count in a presidential election due to the Electoral College, EVERY vote cast in the local election can make a difference.

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A River runs through Boston: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at TD Garden, February 4, 2016

View from my seat: No such thing as a BAD seat at a Bruce Springsteen concert!
View from my seat: No such thing as a BAD seat at a Bruce Springsteen concert!

 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at TD Garden, The River Tour, February 4, 2016
Concert Review and Fan Rave
by Robert Gillis, 2/2016


“THE RIVER! The River was my coming of age record. It was the record where I was trying to figure out where I fit in … By the time I got to “The River,” I’d taking notice of the things that bond people together, that bond people to their lives: work, commitments, families.

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We Are All Patriots — Thank you Pats for an amazing 2015-2016 season!

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By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 2/2016

A year ago, in 2015, before the AFC game, I wrote a column in this space saying thank you to the New England Patriots and their organization for a great season and for all they do for us.

I deliberately published the piece BEFORE the game – I wanted to emphasize that regardless of that outcome, we are so proud of our Patriots.

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Where Are You Christmas? The Christmas Season Doesn’t Start in September

Store Display - Christmas Lights. Robert Gillis Photo
Store Display – Christmas Lights. Robert Gillis Photo

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper 1/2016

My grandmother – God rest her soul – had a holiday tradition that was not exactly beloved. EVERY Christmas – without exception – at some point on Christmas Day, she would say, “Well, Christmas is as far away as it ever is.” As I recall, one year she said it while we were still opening presents early in the morning.

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Fun with Facebook: Christmas 2015 edition!

Christmas Still Life - Red And Green Christmas Bulbsby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper December, 2015

Welcome to Christmas fun with Facebook, 2015 edition!

 

Mark Cohen: “December 24th, 9:00PM:   Benny wants ALL the RENT, and I’m starting a film documentary but I’m not sure how to begin because real life is so scary and sad.”

  • Bob Gillis: Well, let me write a funny Christmas column to take your mind off all that for a little while.
  • Mark Cohen: Cool, thanks.
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Be part of the LIGHT this holiday season in Foxboro

12274676_10153413171093547_1147151410462871176_nBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 11/2015

Recently, we had a special Diwali celebration at lunch time at work. Diwali, also known as the “festival of lights,” is an ancient Hindu festival. Among other things, it celebrates the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

I was very moved by the beauty of the celebration. Many people dressed in beautiful gowns and robes, and they explained the origins of the holiday, how they celebrate it, sang a song, and treated us to AMAZING Indian cuisine.

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