Having a Ball for the National Marine Life Center

It was so tropically themed that even the centerpieces had little umbrellas.One of my favorite things about being a newspaper reporter (and after a while this grew to be an incredibly small list), was covering events. It didn't matter if it was something big or small, when it was around town I tended to get a lot of access to what was going on before, during and after.

Also there was a good deal of free food to be had, not so much bribes but a sort of a thank you for coming gift. I swear I didn't make any editorial decisions based solely on whether or not there would be free food at something.

Of course it helped when I actually enjoyed the event itself, or the cause it was supporting. There were more than a few development meetings that, in spite of the snacks and drinks on hand, seemed to drag on and on forever. Being in the middle of chewing on something was a good out when someone wanted you to comment on some inane thing that a selectman had said (and they were always saying inane things) or that someone had done to get themselves on the police logs.

My favorite event was the Mermaid Ball, and this year I covered it as a volunteer photographer for the National Marine Life Center (so I didn't have to feel a slight twinge of guilt over accepting free dinners, though I did feel bad that I didn't get any pictures of the food because it was fabulous).

Every year the NMLC hosts the ball as its primary fundraiser, bringing in money from the dinner and auctions going on all night long offering things from tugboat rides to romantic getaways (there was no mention of a potential romantic getaway on a tugboat though). All of this goes to support their mission to help marine life and educate people about the importance of the oceans and the animals that live within them.

Also there were pirates, I thought that was worth mentioning.The National Marine Life Center was actually one of my favorite places for stories at my old job, primarily because of my not-very-secret interest in science writing and journalism. Before I left the roof collapsed on the Center's warehouse, scattering the animals in there to the four winds (well not directly, the animals just had to be moved because there was no place to put them at the Center in the winter) and rather than be defeated they embarked on an incredibly ambituous construction plan to build a state-of-the-art marine hospital that could help out a lot more than turtles.

So now, in between my very busy life as a professional photographer and fake mom, I'm hoping to help them create a monthly video podcast that explores not only what the Center has to offer but some of what the ocean and its inhabitants have to offer as well.

If you'd like to learn more about the National Marine Life Center, visit it on the Web at www.nmlc.org.