Concord Observer : Tacky Tracks

By Ken Anderson  Columnist
December 15, 2023

It’s that time of the year which reminds me of a circular conversation my mother once told me: 

Person A asks Person B, “What’s Life?” 

B replies, “A magazine.” 

A asks, “How much does it cost?” 

B replies, “A quarter.” 

A replies, “I don’t have a quarter.” 

B says, “That’s life.” 

If you are planning to donate through the Goodwill Truck by Crosby’s Star Market, be sure to arrive during the week before Christmas. Scott Kendall advises that he will be singing your favorite Christmas songs. 

And speaking of giving and donating, if you are not already a supporter of The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle, I suggest that you Google it, investigate and donate, either as a general donation or in support of a number of named funds honoring educators and special people. 

Speaking of Christmas, I have a wire polar bear which I put in our front yard every Christmas. Each year I think that a fabulous yard display would be several reindeer resting on tracks that go around my yard. The system would have Bluetooth capabilities so that the herd could be moved to a different grazing area each day. Tacky Tracks seems like an appropriate name for the system. 

As you finish up your Christmas shopping, perhaps you have heard the advice to give something that you would like to receive. One Christmas, my father, Bill, took that advice to heart. On that morning, he sent my brother Bill and me across the street and into Warren’s barn to retrieve his present for our mother, Mary. Imagine Mary’s surprise as we walked in with a canoe! Bill’s regular fishing trips to Walden Pond, I suppose, gave Mary some time for herself, although I doubt that she really appreciated it.  

The first time they went off in the canoe to investigate the flooding of the late winter/spring, Mary held the bow (front) of the canoe between her knees as Bill made his way to the stern (back). It is unlikely that he made a misstep, as he was an experienced canoeist, but the canoe did flip over, throwing him into the water! 

When we were kids, we hung around downtown, especially around Christmas, as we shopped locally, our only option. One year, at about 5 p.m. Christmas Eve, my father spotted me and called me to the door of his camera store. Giving me a handful of money, he sent me over to Colonial Stores to pick up his gift for Mary, something a little less practical than a canoe, but one which was received more happily. 

The stores in Concord Center have changed. Among a whole range of stores to meet your needs, we had four grocery stores, two pharmacies, two photographers, a record store (where you could play a record before buying it) and a couple of tailors. Even though the stores have changed, except Vanderhoof’s, there are plenty of stores to get your Christmas shopping done locally. Even Vanderhoof’s has presents. Just ask Lynda about the faucet washer she received one year. 

Writing a column for The Concord Bridge fulfills a dream that was ignited in 1968 when I was startled by the logic of a Russell Baker column in the Boston Herald. That editor Betsy Levinson welcomed my writings is a special present to me. (Luckily, she was on leave when my license plate column appeared, and luckily my son did not act on certain advice to find a home for me after its appearance.)  Thank you, Betsy and The Concord Bridge. 

Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!