Longtime circus fans Mary Malloy and Dan McGinnis Sr. of Dalton became a part of the Big E Circus Spectacular at the 1 p.m. show on Friday when Ringmaster Ty McFarlan presented them roses to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
What is special about their 10 years? Both had lost their spouses to cancer in 2001 and friends and family introduced them in 2003.
For their first date, on Sept. 20, 2003, Dan took Mary to the Big E. Being a circus fan, Dan -- a member of the Dalton Lions Club that has brought a circus to town for 20 years -- took her to the Big E circus. It was the first Mary had attended. Growing up in North Adams and from a large family, she never got to attend a circus.
On the way, they were caught in traffic for more than an hour. Needless to say, they got to know all about each other very well.
What made Friday special is that during their 10 years together they have both recovered from serious illnesses. Dan had prostate cancer and Mary has had heart problems. Through their love for each other, they've overcome these issues, they said.
As Dan told The Eagle, the most important lesson he has learned from Mary is to say three words to each other, family and close friends each day: "I love you."
Since 2003, Mary and Dan have attended every opening day at the Big E Circus. And they've made circus-going a part of their lives since then. Both travel all over the Northeast to cover fairs, circuses and carnivals for Carnival Magazine, White Tops and Circus Report. Mary takes the photos and Dan writes the stories.
Richmond's picnic season: Most people consider the span from Memorial Day to Labor Day as picnic season. But the town of Richmond has for years held its annual so-called picnic in September or even October. The outdoor event, with open tent, once featured hamburgers and hot dogs, lemonade and homemade pie. But one year, the sponsors decided to eliminate the first half and just cut to the pie. That made it a pie-nic or pie social.
Featured at the event this year, on the second Sunday of September, was presentation of the Charles and Mary Kusik Citizenship Award to Edward J. Forget, 86, a resident since 1963, former School Committee chair and one time volunteer firefighter.
Sponsored by the Historical Society and the Richmond Land Trust, the event is usually held at a scenic location in town. This year, it took place at a Berkshire Natural Resources property on Perry's Peak Road, with 36 homemade pies -- rhubarb, peach, blueberry, apple, pecan, chocolate, etc. -- lining the tables.
We received a lot of comments about our story on Gen. Bernard Champoux, a major general who was promoted to lieutenant general.
Some of the more interesting were about other Berkshire natives who also became generals.
In addition to Civil War generals Henry Shaw Briggs, William Francis Bartlett and Confederate General Edward A. Perry, readers clued us in to four others.
John G. Barnard, a Sheffield native, and Claudius W. Sears, of Peru, both served in the Civil War. Interestingly, like Perry, Sears fought on the side of the Confederacy. The perfect trivia question: How many Berkshire County native were Confederate generals?
Garth B. Dettinger of Pittsfield served in World War II and Gen. George S. Read of Lenox recently retired after 37 years in the Army.
According to his brother, Michael J. Read of Dalton, Gen. George S. Read actually met Gen. Champoux in Afghanistan.
County Fare, a weekly column
featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.