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  • Writer's pictureDon Wilding

Tall tale of a tall tower

Cape Codders have always had the ability to effectively tell a tall tale or two, but the yarn spun about the lighting of the Pilgrim Monument many years ago by Provincetown’s Mick Rudd is a classic.

Rudd, a longtime volunteer for the Monument lighting, was part of a group that was pulling the strings of lights up by way of a unique pulley system one windy November day when a group of tourists came out on the observation deck.

“They came out and saw these guys bent over, doing this incredible task, and they said, ‘What are you doing?’” Rudd told me during an interview for a Cape Codder feature in 2005.

Rudd turned around, and with a straight face, told them.

“Well, it gets really windy up here, and we sort of like to tie her down so it doesn’t blow over,” he replied.

To his astonishment, the visitors bought the story hook, line, and sinker.

“They believed it,” Rudd chuckled. “They were gone in about 30 seconds.”

The 252-foot tall Monument, constructed between 1908 and 1910, was first lit in 1935 and again during the 1950s before the annual lighting, which occurs this Wednesday night.

While many believe this is a Christmas lighting, it’s all about the Pilgrims, Rudd insisted.

“It is not a holiday lighting,” he said. “It is not associated with any religious holiday, per se. It’s related to the mission of the monument itself — the PILGRIM Monument.”

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If you can’t get to Provincetown on Wednesday, there will be a a live web broadcast of the lighting on the PMPM Facebook page.

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