George Ranch historian sends 2020 out with a bang (literally) with cannon full of complaints

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- There was the ball drop in New York, fireworks all over the country and on a historic 20,000 acre ranch in Fort Bend County, there was cannon fire.

As bad as the year 2020 seemed to be for many, a longtime historian at the George Ranch Historical Park had an idea to send it out with a bang.

J.R. Thomas collected notes from family, friends and park guests, wadded them up, and stuffed them into a replica Coehorn mortar for the act on Saturday.

The notes were complaints about the previous year, something Thomas and park volunteer Tony Montez used as cannon fodder.

"Some of the notes were heartfelt and listed some of the saddest moments in people's lives," Thomas said. "Like, 'I won't miss 2020 because it was the year my mom was diagnosed with cancer'. Others were funny and everybody we asked seemed eager to write down what they felt over the past year."

More than 200 notes were stuffed into the barrel of the device along with a few masks.

The blast sent the material high into the air Saturday afternoon and could be heard several miles away, Thomas said.

Thomas serves as the site lead for the 1830s Jones Stock Farm at the park located southeast of Richmond, which features historic homes, livestock and provides heritage programs for visitors.

While 2020 is now in the past, Thomas said he hopes 2021 is much more hopeful, and the complaints won't be as lengthy if they decide to repeat the tradition next year.
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