“We will be okay,” two signs of hope in troubled times

We Will Be OkayBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City paper 11/2017

“We will be okay.”

It’s Sunday; I’m driving around Foxboro Common and I pass the Universalist Church and these four words on their little announcement sign jump out at me. “We will be okay.”

As I’m inspired. I really am. That’s my next column, I say to myself. There is hope. I happen to notice another sign across the street, which I will get to in a moment.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Las Vegas Mass Shooting – nothing has changed since Sandy Hook, is this the new America?

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 10/2017

These are my words:

For the next few weeks, the news magazines will run pictures of vigils and lit candles. “Experts” from all sides will debate every aspect of what happened. We will get to know the children, the adults, and the shooter and his family. People from all walks of life will get into a war of words about gun control. There will be hearings, investigations.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Why Local Newspapers Are So Important

Foxboro Reporter

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 8/2017

“The truly literate and involved American should be reading the local newspaper. Weekly newspapers and the internet are also vital to maintaining an educated citizenry. We must ensure that they continue to flourish because they are all important resources for maintaining a healthy democracy.” — John W. Whitehead, “Why Local Newspapers Are the Basis of Democracy,” Huffington Post, 5/14/2009

In this digital age, it is very likely you are following everything that’s going on in Washington right now.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Finding joy in the spirit of America, Independence Day 2017

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 7/2017

In June, I decided I wanted to run a column for Independence Day and started working on it two weeks out. Then, the writer’s block set in. The problem – balancing a “feel-good” piece about the celebration of our independence at a time when it seems disingenuous to be celebrating anything.

This Independence Day feels different, doesn’t it? Sure, the country changes every day — and has since the start — but the changes this past year have been dramatic, blindsiding, and seem to fly in the face of what America is SUPPOSED to be all about.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Finding a balance between CONSTANT bad political news, being vigilant, and the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 4/2017

In a recent Saturday Night Live sketch, the President of the United States (played by Alec Baldwin) faces off against the three judges who stopped his executive order travel ban – in, of all places, “The People’s Court” TV show. It’s an over-the-top, silly skit, but also topical. Cecily Strong, who played the TV judge, said these words which were not only hilarious, they RESONATED:

“I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me.”

And suddenly, a political comedy sketch became real.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Play the TV News Snow Game! (Global Warming #alternativefacts means more snow!)

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

The Great Blizzard of 2017. Never forget. We will rebuild.
The Great Blizzard of 2017. Never forget. We will rebuild.

 

To provide a welcome break from all those pesky (and constant) political news stories that either upset us, confuse us, or make us really mad, welcome to slow news day, snowstorm edition!

After the horrific snow apocalypse winter of 2014-2015 (Actual record 105” of snow in Boston and constant Nor’easters that winter) these past two years have been relatively calm.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

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.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

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.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

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.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

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.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

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

IMG_1857

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.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

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.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

The horror as school shootings become “routine”

candle
By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 10/2015

Once again, a school shooting.  This time, in Oregon.   The facts come in. This many dead. This many wounded. Shooter is dead. Details about the shooter come in. President speaks. Candlelight vigils held. Grief counselors sent to the school. Politicians tweet prayers (Wow. Just wow.) National dialogue is all about guns for a week or two.

And nothing changes. We move on.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Finding hope through the darkness of shootings — National Night Out (Rescheduled due to Thunderstorms)

03-Christmas-Still-Life---CandlesBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reorter 7/2015

Last week, for the first time in many years, I wrote a full column for this space, and then proceeded to, as they say in the newspaper business, “kill it.” – The reason? It was so dark, and so sad, that it was – uncharacteristically for me – completely bereft of hope.

The impetus for the column came when I was asked to add the announcement of the candlelight vigil — for the four Marines and one sailor who were murdered — to be held the following Sunday on Foxboro Common — to several Facebook pages.

Click here to read the rest of this post!

Musings on the latest blizzard of the 2014-2015 snowpocalypse season

WHDH-TV (Channel 7 Boston) snowfall total graphic for 2/15/2015
WHDH-TV (Channel 7 Boston) snowfall total graphic for 2/15/2015

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 2/2015

This past Valentine’s Day weekend, depending on where you live, yet another blizzard dropped anywhere between 8 to 20 inches of snow on the already impossibly high snow banks in your neighborhood.

As I write this, it’s Sunday afternoon, around 230 or so, and I am taking a break from the second round of snow shoveling, snow blowing, snow cursing, to share some observations on the latest blizzard.

Click here to read the rest of this post!