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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts • 173

The Boston Globei
Boston, Massachusetts
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4H ONLINE BOSTON.COMCITYWEEKLY Globe Watch: Got a problem? City Talk: Message board E-mail: Reporters and editors Caption contest For laughs 2 0 0 6 ston Sunday Globe November 26, CITYWIDE Looking for an odd job? Here are a few fit 3 5 4 For 35 years, a tree from Nova Scotia has signaled the holidays here. Left untold: its trail En 4 IP" 1 11 1111 of politics, folly and surprising love Abodlthe Boston Christmas Tree Every year, many trees aspire to the title but few measure up. In addition to being from Nova Scotia, -Which sends it as thanks for Boston's aid after a 1 9 1 7 disaster, the tree must be: Balsam fir, white spruce, or red spruce Forty-five to fifty feet in height Healthy with good color Medium to heavy density Uniform and symmetrical Easy to access and cut down By Janice OXeary GLOBE CORRESPONDENT There are people whose jobs defy easy description, and Boston has plenty of them. If you think it was hard explaining your work to a Thanksgiving table full of out-of-town relatives, sympathize with these folks. Their jobs familiar enough to Bostonians who have strolled the Esplanade, walked the Freedom Trail, or driven 1-93 can be a tough to convey to an out-of-towner: Name: Len Ellis Job: Wild goose chaser How he got ifc Started Geese (B) Gone when bored by retirement.

Weirdest question he's been asked: "Why are you doing this?" Answer: Geese produce a lot of excrement. "I ask them if they want to put a blanket down on this Every morning Len Ellis sets out for Boston from his Marblehead home on a wild goose chase. Ellis and his two border collies, Brock and Fly, patrol the banks of the Charles River for the Esplanade Association, herding the population of Canada geese off the grass and into the water or the sky. "There's only one country in the world where I can have a job like this," Ellis said. "Other countries would just ignore the problem." And Boston has addressed the problem of an ever-burgeoning goose population in a way different from other cities, some of which have tried to gas their troublesome geese or sterilize them.

The geese themselves aren't the problem. It's what they leave behind. "One goose can defecate between 2 and 3 ODD JOBS, Page 8 jr 1 I FE Mm mLAmmmL UJlLA, I bill Ik lbM 4 hl Jv 0w SOURCE: Department of Natural Resources, Province of Nova Scotia -71 I I 1 i i i 4 'J 1 1 I I HI 1 1 J'fl I 'ij'-ti I If is 1 1 i I ill I 1 1 Hi I I I. JL I IS S3. ffWM ft WENDY MAEDAGLOBE STAFF Nancy Hurrell tunes her harp before afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton.

For a harpist, she says, "Boston is the place to be." CAMBRIDGE Nostalgia, bound: The tales from their old haunts to r- 'Mr i By Kathleen Burge GLOBE STAFF Where legions of cars now joust for parking in the Porter Square Shopping Center, the Rand Estate once lay silent across an entire city block, sending chills up the spines of neighborhood kids. The great white house looked haunted, and behind the tall wooden fence, darkness prevailed. In the 1940s, children who lived nearby all knew the story: dogs would attack anyone who dared to climb the fence and grab $1 000 fruit from the trees. No that no one ev By Keith O'Brien GLOBE CORRESPONDENT One year the Watsons donated it, another year it was the Slauenwhites. Tom Ernst recalls that Joseph Slauenwhite donated the first two trees, in fact.

And then for awhile, Ernst says, things got "political." A tree, as it turns out, can't be just a tree. Not in this case, anyway. Not a chance. The so-called Boston Tree the towering spruce that Nova Scotia donates to Boston every Christmas for the city's annual tree-lighting festivities is far more complicated than most of its wooded brethren. People have cried over it, argued about it, even penned song lyrics in its honor.

In short, what's often taken for granted here is feted, even treasured, there. All this for this tree, chopped down. A tree that will sparkle, then die. All this riding on the shoulders of one problem is, most trees just won't do the job. "Every year there'd be all these Boston Tree sightings," recalls Romkey, who held the job in the 1990s and would travel far and wide in Nova Scotia to see trees that people would report to him.

"But the vast majority of them were awful trees. People wouldn't realize how big it had to be." Most Bostonians should know the story behind the annual Christmas tree by now. It dates back to 1917, when a French ship loaded with munitions collided with another freighter in Halifax harbor. A fire broke out on board, igniting the explosives minutes later, and causing what was then the largest man-made explosion in world history. The blast was felt 250 miles away.

More than 1,600 people died in the first, frantic moments, hundreds more later. Children were blinded by flying glass and, in an instant, entire neigh- CHRISTMAS TREE, Page 7 person, who, every fall since 1971, must find the appropriate tree somewhere in Nova Scotia-It's not as easy as people think, says Peter Romkey, who like Ernst, once held the job of Christmas tree extension specialist in Nova Scotia, The tree can be elusive, the demands excessive, and the job requires remembering the locations of the best specimens in the province and persuading the people who own them to give them up for a pittance. "We've had people say, 'No recalls Romkey. But most will gladly watch their towering trees fall to be part of this 35-year tradition with an emotional back story dating to the days of World War I. The COST of publishing the first edition of Growing up in North Cambridge er saw the dogs, or heard them barking.

In the debut issue of Growing up in North Cambridge, a semiannual magazine that records stories of the neighborhood from the 1920s to the 1960s, John Surette remembers his friends daring one another to climb the fence and touch the ground on the other side before they darted back to Davenport Street. None of them ever stayed long enough to collect fruit. Surette is the brother of Steve Surette, the publisher of the magazine, which has sold out its first print run of 500. The retired Cambridge Rindge and Latin School special-education teacher started the magazine as a way to capture the stories he feared would otherwise disappear. Surette, 58, has CAMBRIDGE, Pag 11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 II I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I II 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Ill 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Mill 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Inside Hold those Commercial Street condos, longtime North Enders cry, Page 3...

The Bible supportive of gays? Yes, say church groups, Page 4 Look, up in the sky, it the anti-biolab folks, Page 4... Fort Point's in the Top 10, but nobody's happy, Page 5... Full index, Page 2 I 1 CI 4f.

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