Category Archives: Life events, Gratitude and Giving and Little Miracles

Flat tire leads to a little miracle

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 10/2009

So there I am, working at the home computer on a yet another late night software promotion, and Sue calls around 8 — she’s got a flat, but no worries, she’s already called AAA. I asked her where she is; she’s a few miles away in a nearby town, so I tell her I’m on my way. Then I hear, “Gotta go, there’s a dog wandering in the street.”

I get to the scene of the aforementioned flat and there’s a large golden dog in the back seat of the car.

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Statue of Liberty Visit Inspires Hope

Statue of Liberty - GillisPhotos.comBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper May, 2008

It’s a perfect, 60 degree Saturday, and Sue and I, along with her cousin Angela headed to the Apple for a New York adventure.

Our first stop was the Staten Island Ferry at Battery Park. Neither of the girls has ever been to the Statue of Liberty, and today we arrived early and took it all in — the guys dressed up as the Statue of Liberty (complete with green makeup) posing for pictures with tourists.

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Chance encounter on Foxboro Common

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 11/2007 and updated here 7/11/2008

A few weeks ago, I completed work at the haunted house and left the Orpheum a little after midnight. The night was unseasonably warm, and I had my camera with me, so I decided to try some experimental night photography on the Common: the flag, the lit signs and lanterns, and the monuments. I’m still getting the hang of my first SLR camera, and being a male, have never read the instruction manual.

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Early morning lunar eclipse a beautiful sight

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter August 2007 and Boston City Paper September 2007.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007. I was up at the time my army friend Captain Fay refers to as “OH-DARK-THIRTY” (about 4:30am) and headed outside to take a look at the setting Moon, which was still bright white. Knowing the lunar eclipse would begin in less than 30 minutes, I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed to a large field in Sharon, yawning and wondering if I was crazy to be out driving to take pictures of the Moon when (apparently) everyone else was still snug in their beds.

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Gratitude follows hospital stay

Hospital Emergency RoomBy Robert Gills
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 8/2007

My dear friend Bob Shea — one of Foxboro’s first citizens and friend to many of us — told me recently that I have been a little too “cranky” in recent columns. We talked about that and I told him I’d try to be a little more upbeat, and I thought I’d start here now.

It’s been a hell of a month for me.

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The miracle of Christmas is hope and love

Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall Christmasby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 12/2002
and the Boston City Paper 12/2006

It’s 10:56 Thursday evening. ER is over and it’s time to walk the pups. I get my coat on, get the leash on the dog, flashlight in pocket, and I’m out the door. The air is crisp, and my mind is on a hundred other things.

It happens so fast. There’s no warning — just that sick recognition that something is wrong but there’s no time to do anything about it, like the moment before the car door locks and you realize the keys are still in the ignition.

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Another day with simple joys, little miracles

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 5/2001

Just another day, a day like any other.

But different.

I pull into the Sunoco station and again lament my car’s dependence on increasingly expensive fossil fuels. I’m also lamenting the $140 bill for the blown break line. But the car is running again and stops when I depress the brake pedal. This is good. The tunes are cranking; the amp is working great and the new Springsteen Live CD was well worth the wait.

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Babysitting Colin

2000_04_Easter_04by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter
September, 2000

My nephew Colin recently celebrated his fourth birthday, and recently I had the opportunity to baby-sit the little guy. I was looking very forward to it; I adore Colin and love the time I spend with him.

A few months back I got a glimpse of how hyper-vigilant one needs to be around kids. My sister Theresa asked me to watch Colin for half an hour at the mall so she could do some shopping alone.

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Mother and child reunion survives passage of time; my wife finds her mother after 22 years


by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 3/2000 and the Boston City Paper 8/2007.

I consider this the best piece I have EVER written.

The scene was completely ordinary. Looking at it, you wouldn’t know the event was of any significance. A sunny Saturday morning, a favorite breakfast nook, and a young couple having breakfast with an older couple.

At one point over a fluffy omelet, the older gentlemen at the table asked the waitress, “Can you guess what the relationship between these two is?” He pointed to the older and younger woman.

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1999: Changing jobs and starting new adventures

by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 11/1999

I recently spoke to Tom Fuller. While I’d never met the man in person, our columns often shared these same pages [in the Foxboro Reporter]. I told him I always liked his writing style and wished he’d consider returning. His writing was no-nonsense and direct, and he made a lot of people think-and yes, made some fume as well. He pulled no punches and I always admired that about him.

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Colin at age two

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 8/1998

His name is Colin. At the age of two years and one month, my adorable nephew is rapidly growing out of his nickname, “Colin-Baby.” The Little Man has been walking (and running) for well over a year, and his insatiable curiosity and every action fascinate me. He’s not a baby anymore, but a very active and happy little boy.

I’m amazed how taken I am with the little guy.

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Just another day to be grateful

08 Lilacsby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 6/1997

Today has been one of those days, although most days lately have been one of those days. The phone won’t stop ringing, people are lined up at my desk at work, traffic’s been bad, and then I come home to deal with house things. (“The plumber wanted how much?”) My mood isn’t helped by the idiot who left a nasty note on my windshield today, eloquently and profanely conveying his disapproval at the way I parked my car.

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When Hell freezes over (or, how to endure three months of ice, snow and cold)

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro reporter January, 1997

The icy blast of the alarm clock jostled most of us out of our beds this morning. The browning Christmas tree that we worked so hard to make just right is (hopefully) at the Foxboro compost heap waiting to become so much chipper fodder. The holiday lights are put away. New Year’s hangovers have hopefully subsided.

Normal life has returned. For the past few weeks it’s been back to school, back to work, and for those of us who worked during holiday weeks, back to more formal attire.

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Christmas Thoughts, 1996

Green Christmas Ornamentby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 12/1996

A note from Bob, 1/2014: This is one of my very first columns for the Reporter and nowhere near anything I consider “good writing” it’s a bit too all over the place and has too many topics, but I include it here because it is one of the earliest efforts and shows my genuine gratitude for the privilege to be able to write for the Foxboro Reporter — something I still cherish to this day.

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Welcome Colin! My sister’s first baby is born, 8/8/96

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 8/1996

A few years back, I gave Mom a videocassette containing a montage of over sixty family photographs set to music. The video began with a picture of Mom holding me as a baby, and then pictures of my sister Theresa as a baby three years later. As music by Tom Jones and Reba McEntire (Mom’s favorites) played, the video faded from one picture to the next, and Theresa and I magically grew up over thirty years.

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