What has this Norway Maple on the Amherst Common got to do with Memorial Day?
It was planted 41 years ago to honor the fallen.
My cousin was planning to pick me up in Amherst to go to a cookout on Memorial Day. However, there were no buses, so the only way for me to go to Amherst was to walk. My cousin would have come into Northampton to get me of course, but I welcomed the adventure of travelling the Norwottock on foot.
My quest began in Northampton at the start of the new addition of the rail trail, located by the combination Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell - or as everybody calls it, Kentucky Taco.
Here is a view from an overpass looking down North Street towards King Street.
Frankly the new section is not all that scenic, consisting mostly of back views of the businesses on King Street.
While passing behind the abandoned Honda dealership, I noticed that one of the large windows was broken. Indeed, it was large enough so that I could go inside if I wanted to. Dare I?
But of course, we citizen journalists routinely go where others fear to tread.
However, once I squeezed my way through the window there really wasn't much worth seeing. Vandals have been through the place, and it's a mess.
The letters that once made up the front sign now lie scattered among the debris.
A roadtrip poster is all that holds together the shattered glass.
On well, it was time to leave this decaying remnant of the automobile industry and continue on my merry way. Soon I was on the Norwottock Trail, where I could see the crops rising on the fertile farm fields of Hadley.
All along the way there was evidence of the tree-toppling storm of last week.
At one point on the trail I passed an old abandoned factory - and noticed that a window was open!
Should I commit yet another Memorial Day trespass? I would have, but the window was too small. Yet I did stick the camera through the opening and captured this image of the ruins inside.
It was just as well that I couldn't get in, as it did not look safe at all. What is very safe and very welcome is the new ice cream place that has opened on the trail by the Maple Farms health food store. I stopped for a vanilla cone.
The man in the mirror.
Finally arriving in Amherst, I waited in the Starbucks for my cousin to arrive. Here is the view through the window of downtown Amherst as it appeared on Memorial Day.
Late that afternoon on the ride back my cousin wanted to stop at the old railroad trestle over the river to watch the sun set.
As dusk fell upon the mighty Connecticut, I was reminded once again of how our Valley is truly God's Country.
Jeff Ziff sent along this video showing Memorial Day in Monson.
Jeff is best known to the Valley blogosphere as the videographer behind one of the most indepth YouTube sites for local music. Alas, his priceless archive of musical performances was wiped out by YouTube recently, as Ziff himself explains:
Hi Tom, I saw this sign in Brimfield State forest, I thought you might get a kick out of it.
So...My youtube site has been deleted, all fucking 401 videos.....all 300 subscribers...and the sodafixer name....gone! This was over 4 years of uploading! My first thoughts were....fuck this...Im not even going to bother doing that again, and then of course...I came to my senses...like you the blogger...I have to constantly show the world my videos and my photos..I am hooked. I started building my youtube site again, this time as...what else...SODAFIXER2.
As of this email I have 13 videos uploaded. 1 year ago, I uploaded a video from a local blues band which was thrilled to have me give them exposure, they really liked the video and was happy to see the numbers spinning. Well, it turns out the song they were singing in the video was a Bo Diddley song, and the label (BMG I think) was not as happy as we were to see the video. That was strike one.
Now, I got home from work a few days ago and checked my email as I do, to find one from youtube saying...there has been a complaint against you from Sony records because of copy right infringement on my Johnny Winter Video (when he was at Stearns square 2 years ago).
The very next email says...there has been another complaint against you from Sony on your Johnny Winter video...this is strike 3 we have deleted your account!
Tom, I felt like crying...all of that work....gone. I knew this was a possibility, I know you are supposed to get permission (it has the rules on youtube everytime you upload) but I really thought seeing there were millions of users...what are the chances they would bother me? Well, I guess the bigger you get...the more you are on their radar. DAMN!
Fortunately, Jeff has many of the lost videos on backup at home and will repost them, but tragically there is no way to completely restore the priceless archive of local music that was lost.
Speaking of local music, Damon was rocking Sunderland this weekend.