Neighbors: All for love

  • Robert “Bobby C” Campbell and the TRIAD team delivered hams to seniors for Easter this year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • A portrait of longtime attorney and Greenfield resident Diane Esser, who died in 2018, hangs near the entrance of the Court Services Center in the courthouse on Main and Hope streets. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Nutterbutter enjoys a slice of apple after his recent ordeal. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


Staff Writer
Published: 4/11/2021 3:55:15 PM

Good morning, neighbor!

I just wanted to share a few things with you this week, including that I caught up with Robert “Bobby C” Campbell the other day and he told me that the fourth annual Franklin County Sheriff’s Office TRIAD Hams for Seniors event was a big success this year.

The TRIAD team delivered almost 400 hams from Market Basket in Athol, as well as a $15 gift card from Foster’s Supermarket, to local seniors throughout the county just in time for Easter.

Bobby was especially grateful to Valley Steel Stamp for its “generous” donation, along with business owners, community members and civic organizations, including the Montague Elks Lodge 2521 and Oak Ridge Detachment Marine Corps League.

“This was our best year ever,” he told me. “It put a smile on our local seniors’ faces. That was the best thing about Easter this year.”

A shout-out goes to Ray Zukowski and the staff of TRIAD for doing the amazing job of getting all of those hams into the hands of our seniors. They take such good care of them year-round.

“I’m already looking forward to next year,” Bobby said.

Memorial in courthouse

I spoke with Wil Roberts the other day, too, and was happy to hear that the courthouse on Main and Hope streets hung a portrait of his wife, longtime attorney and Greenfield resident Diane Esser, who died in 2018, by the entrance to the Court Services Center, the creation of which she was instrumental in making happen.

“If you step into the lobby, you can see it without going through security,” Wil told me. “It’s uncommon for someone other than a judge to be so honored.”

Diane was a Greenfield Community College alumna who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and then a law degree from Boston University in the late 1970s. A lawyer for Esser Kent Family Law, she died Feb. 26, 2018.

Any time I heard people mention Diane, it was with admiration and respect. She was a member of the Franklin County Bar Association and Massachusetts Bar Foundation. She served on the board of the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT) and was the co-chair of the Franklin County Reinventing Justice Initiative.

She was a very busy woman, serving as a volunteer fundraiser for the GCC Foundation — its president from 2011 to 2014 — and a board member. When people, like former GCC President Bob Pura talked about Diane, they used the words “strength, power, intelligence, grace, respected, tough and conviction.”

There’s so much more to say about Diane, so it’s easy to understand why the courthouse would memorialize her like this.

It takes a family

Sometimes, I’m amazed at the lengths I and the people I share grandparenthood with will go to when it comes to our grandchildren.

My daughter, Christina, and her husband, Oliver, are raising three children, as most of you have heard — 8-year-old twins Owen and Travis and 2-year-old Lilah. The twins each have a hamster. Owen’s is named Nutterbutter and Travis’ is Black Bear.

This is a little story about Nutterbutter. To make it short, Nutterbutter escaped from his cage one recent night and woke Christina and Oliver up scratching in the ceiling above their kitchen sink.

I guess it was about 2 or 3 a.m. when they realized it was Nutterbutter. By morning, the scratching had stopped — he tends to sleep all day.

Oliver called and told his dad, Jim Williams of Sunderland, about what had happened, and that they had no idea how to get the little creature out because he was no longer scratching.

So Jim loaded his truck with tools and an infrared thermal imager, and to their home he came. It wasn’t long before we could see the green and red outline of Nutterbutter, not far from where they’d heard him early that morning.

Upstairs Jim went with his saw and cut a hole in the flooring in their crawl space.

Then, everyone waited.

Nutterbutter ended up back in his cage with plenty of treats and water, no worse for the wear. Needless to say, they’ve set it up so it is highly unlikely anything like this will happen again.

All for the love of our precious grandchildren — and Nutterbutter, of course.

Senior Reporter Anita Fritz grew up in Franklin County after moving from Spokane, Wash., when she was just a few weeks old. She covers Greenfield and does regional and COVID-19 reporting for the Greenfield Recorder.

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