Posted tagged ‘Boston’

“A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.”

February 7, 2017

I am watching the Patriots and their duck boat rolling rally ride through the streets of Boston. Earlier it was snowing, and now it is raining, but the crowds don’t care. The fans are standing along the sides of the streets 20 or more deep. The players are having a wonderful time yelling, clapping and dancing. The confetti blowing all over makes it difficult to see but Tom Brady stands out. He is in the front boat holding the Lombardi trophy and waving, a huge smile on his face. The crowd loves him. Lots of school desks are empty today. Kids will remember this parade the whole of their lives.

Gracie is less reluctant to go down the back steps into the yard. She knows I’m there. I stand in front of her as she goes down front paws first one step at a time. She runs all over the yard glad to be off the leash.

When I was a kid, I followed the Red Sox and the Celtics. The poor Sox were hapless, and it was easy to get a good seat even an hour before the game. I remember sitting in a box seat behind the dugout, empty seats around me. The Sox, perennial losers, were not a great draw. I did see a moment in history when Bob Tillman, the catcher, tried to cut off Al Kaline stealing second and hit Johnny Wyatt, relief pitcher, in the head.

I listened to Celtics games on the radio. Johnny Most was the best announcer of them all. I used to hide my transistor radio under the covers so I could listen to the Celts play the L.A. Lakers, perennial foes. Even when the Celts were on TV we listened to Johnny Most. I still remember him screaming, “Havlicek stole the ball,” in the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals when the Sox were only a point ahead and Philly had the ball. I went to Celtics games as I could take the bus and the subway to North Station. They were often sold out. The Celts were perennial winners.

I have never seen the Pats live, but I have watched every game on TV. I’m okay with that. I get to stay warm and comfy. The kitchen and bathroom are both down the hall. I do love to go to Fenway especially for night games. It is a magical place with the green grass and all the lights.

My mother was not into sports and didn’t understand the rules of any game, but if we watched, she watched. I remember her cheering for the wrong football team, an easy mistake. We didn’t say anything. It was great to see her be a fan.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

February 25, 2016

Today is the same as the last few days: damp, dark, occasionally rainy and very windy. The phone woke me around 8. I let it go to voice. No message was left. I couldn’t go back to sleep so Gracie, Fern and I got out of bed. They are now napping.

When I was in the eighth grade, my friends and I were allowed to go to Boston by ourselves for the first time. We took the Sullivan Square bus from the stop in front of the movie theater uptown. At Sullivan Square we took the train, the subway train. It wasn’t called the T back then. I don’t remember where we got off, but I figure it must have been at the stop which had entrances to Filene’s and Jordan Marsh. That would have put us right downtown on Washington Street.

We had no destination in mind. It was the going by ourselves which was important. We roamed all over the city. I remember it was a Saturday because the market was open. Pushcarts were in rows with narrow aisles between them. The aisles were crowded with people. The wooden carts held fruit, veggies, nuts or candy. Vendors called out to us to stop at their carts. Butcher shops were in small storefronts across from the carts. Meat hung down on hooks. The butchers wore what must have been at one time white aprons. A couple of places sold pizza by the slice. I remember the smell of the pizza cooking.

We went to the North End which was all Italian back then. Widows wearing black sat on wooden kitchen chairs placed on sidewalks in front of their houses. They spoke to each other in Italian. Bakeries sold what I found out later were cannolis. Some places sold pizza by the slice or the pie.

The North End was a foreign country to me. Rabbits hung in store windows. In a candy store, some candy looked exactly like fruits and vegetables. Some looked like white mice with black whiskers. I asked and found out they had been made with marzipan. I bought a mouse. It tasted horrible. The pizza was served in square slices. The crusts were thin.

I was a foreigner. The North End was the first real place to feed my wanderlust.

“Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!”

January 13, 2014

The trip to Boston was uneventful. Bridge work slowed me down a bit as did work on Route 3, but it was still a quick trip. When I got home, I realized this one trip had mileage equal to four weeks of local travel. I have to get out more. While driving, I did notice the shadows of birds as they crossed over the road; I watched two hawks riding the thermals over the tops of trees and I saw a sign with the name Ichabod on the back. That one gave me pause so I drove along and pondered. Is there a person named Ichabod who wants a transient piece of immortality? Is a reader enamored with Washington Irving’s character and wants us to remember him too? How about that new TV show called Sleepy Hollow? Was this a free ad? After a while I forgot to think about it and just kept driving.

When we went on family drives, I always had the window behind my mother. The highways then were far more interesting than the interstates are now, and we liked the ride for the views on each side of the car. We could choose from all sorts of restaurant as MacDonald’s had not yet staked its claim on American highways. Small motels and cabins dotted the sides of the roads. I remember their signs boasted air-conditioning and TV’s in every room. The cabins looked so small I wondered what more than a bed could be fit inside, and they were built close together side by side sometimes in a half circle connected by a dirt road in front of the cabins. We never stopped in one. There were too many of us. We did stay in a cottage once on the shore of Lake Ontario. The cottage was huge and we could see the lake from the porch. Lake Ontario went into my memory banks as my first Great Lake. I remember being surprised by small waves hitting against the shore. I thought only the ocean did that.

I was hungry driving home today, but my choices were limited and all off the highway. I almost talked myself into a coffee and donut at Dunkin’ Donut’s but decided I could wait. When I got home, I made a sandwich. It was okay, but I decided I should have had that  donut.

“The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.”

December 16, 2012

The morning, besides being dreary, is cold at 37˚. Rain is expected later. When the alarm went off this morning, the house was cold so I stay snuggled under the covers reluctant to leave the warmth of my bed and the dog beside me, but I had no choice. It was time to get up, get dressed and go out to my usual Sunday breakfast. I think most people were wiser than I and chose to stay in bed as the roads were empty.

When I got home, I ran upstairs to get into my cozies then came back downstairs and turned on the tree lights. They are shining especially bright in the darkness of the day.

The week or so before Christmas is the longest stretch in time for any kid. The days move at the slowest pace imaginable, and counting down only makes it worse. Anticipation just can’t be contained. School drags on forever. Every kid knows the finale, Christmas Eve, is the longest night of the year, despite the calendar. Bedtime never comes. It is 4 o’clock, 4:12 and on and on. For the first in our lives, bedtime can’t come soon enough.

My parents had ways to amuse us. Every year was the drive to see the lights. In Saugus was the ultimate light show. The houses competed with one another for the glory of being the most decorated. My father would drive up and down the streets, and we’d be glued to the windows not wanting to miss a single house. Our heads would whip back and forth from one side of the street to the other. On each of houses the lights were all different colors. Not a tree or a bush was left undecorated. It was a spectacle in all its glory.

My favorite was always the trip to Boston. It didn’t happen every year so it was special. We’d walk by the department stores to see the windows with all their animated figures. Santa’s workshop was always the busiest window with elves hammering toys and Santa checking his list. We’d then walk through Boston Common which always seemed a fairy land to me. All the bare trees were hung with strings of lights, and they shined on the walkways. I don’t ever remember feeling cold. I just remember wanting to run to see everything and being filled with an excitement I could barely contain. I wanted to hold open my arms and take everything with me for always.

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

November 8, 2012

The storm started yesterday afternoon and it was tremendous. The wind blew gusts as high as 60 MPH, stronger than Sandy had brought. I could hear the relentless, howling wind. Branches and tree trunks were blowing and bending. Rain fell all night into this morning but now has just about stopped. The sky is still gray but getting lighter. The wind is still blowing but seems calm in comparison. I watched the weather at 11 last night. The Cape was the only part of the state getting rain. The rest of the state was getting snow, in a variety of amounts. We were 10˚ warmer than Boston.

My caller ID identified two calls this morning as political. The first call, before 8, woke me up. I didn’t answer that one or the second one from the same number. Later, I still a little sleuthing and found out the number has been reported repeatedly. It is not political. It is spamming. I have a feeling they’ll be persistent. If this were a plot in a futuristic science fiction novel, I’d send a tiny shock through the phones lines to the caller who’d then cross my name off the list.

Today is normally dump day, but we will wait until tomorrow unless the rain and the wind stop. The dump on a windy day is like the Russian steppes in the middle of winter. Gracie will just have to be content with a trip to Agway where she is a welcomed customer.

The bird feeders need filling so I’ll brave the elements later and go out on the deck. I noticed the furniture covers are weighted down in the middle with rainwater. They’ll have to be emptied. In the winter, those pockets of water freeze. Sometimes I lift a huge disk of ice off the cover and toss it over the deck rail. Luckily we’re not there yet.

Without the political hoopla and the anticipation of waiting to hear the results, the day is a bit humdrum. President Clinton hasn’t called again.

 

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living.”

August 18, 2012

Some time during the night the thunder woke me up. It was house shaking, but I didn’t care. I just rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up just before 9, it was to a dark, damp morning. It had rained, and I missed it. Outside looks a bit lighter than it had so maybe a bit of sun is on the way though the prediction is for showers.

The countdown to my trip has officially begun. I will be winging my way to Ghana one week from today. The pre-flight list has been activated. Today I will get to cross off two of the items. I know Zoey likes to follow my progress across the world so here are my flight numbers:

Boston to New York, August 25th: Delta Flight 1091 leaving at 5:55pm and arriving at Kennedy at 7:35.   New York to Accra: Delta Flight 26 leaving at 8:30 and arriving at Kotoka at 11:30 am on Sunday, August 26th. There is a four-hour difference between here and Ghana so the flight is close to 11 hours long. My return trip begins on September 17th: Delta 27 leaving Accra at 10:10pm and arriving at Kennedy at 5:05 am. A few cups of coffee and a newspaper later, Delta flight 867 leaves at 8:20am and will wing its way to Logan Airport where I’ll land at 9:44. I’ll grab my bags and then wait for the bus to take me to the Cape, arrival time unknown as I have yet to buy my bus ticket or check the schedule.

My birthday was a wonder. First, my friends and I waited for nearly an hour for the trip that wasn’t. The lobster cruise had been cancelled, and the call announcing that had been made after we’d left so we didn’t know. Neither did the other people waiting. My friend called and was told the news while someone else checked her home phone and found the call had been made at 3:10: boarding was at 3:30 so we all missed the call. We left the marina and tried to figure an alternative. On our summer to do list is the Lighthouse Inn for drinks so we headed to West Dennis. My friends had never been there, but right away they loved the outside tables right on the water. It was so breezy all of the table umbrellas were spinning, and the beach grass was swaying almost to the ground. We ordered drinks and appetizers and watched some people learn to drive their jet skis. Most got the hang of it but one woman was going in circles. The ocean was rough with small white caps, and they were moving her and she let them. She looked afraid to give the jet ski gas. She finally did and went forward a bit then must have panicked as she stopped and went in circles again. She amused us by doing that several times. Finally we lost interest and ordered another round then ordered dinner which was delicious. Our alternative to the boat had been wonderful, and we decided that the boat ride would have been quite choppy given the wind and the size of the waves so we were content on land watching the ocean, the gulls and the woman go in circles.

After dinner we left and went to my friends’ house. They brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday. I blew out the candles and opened my gift, a calendar filled with pictures of our visit to Fenway Park. To end the evening we played Phase 10, our favorite card game, and I lost. It was the only loss of the night!

“When I was a kid, if a guy got killed in a western movie I always wondered who got his horse”

May 18, 2012

Indeed, I am quite late today because I picked up my new car. Yup, my new car, which is very much out of character for me. Generally I buy used cars and keep them around 10 years then trade the old one for another used one. This time I traded my 2010 which had been a used car for a 2012 and the cost, besides the sales tax and the registration, was the year of payments I had already made. I’m talking brand new car here, another red Camry. The ding from hitting the mailbox is now a faint memory and Gracie gets to dog fur the whole back seat again despite the cover. I have to program my radio stations and the bluetooth then I’m set. I’m thinking balloons and confetti!!

My flight from Washington to Accra has been cancelled. All of the flights from Washington to Accra have been cancelled as United eliminated the route as not financially worthwhile. They offered my agent a variety of alternate possibilities all of which had at least one stop. He refused all of them then went looking and booked me on Delta out of JFK. The difference is there is no first class on Delta so I’m going business elite (I think). The trip will be 24 days instead of 28 but that’s no big deal. I’m going coach from Boston to NY but first on the way back so he is trying to get first class both ways.

The day is beautiful and predictions are the weekend will be as well. It won’t be as warm here as in Boston but it will be in the 60’s so I’m not going to complain. I’ve already put away my shoes and am wearing sandals so I am acknowledging the cold weather is gone for good!

This afternoon I’m going to see The Avengers: yup, a matinee! I promise not to throw a single Ju-ju Bead at anyone in front of me though it might be hard to resist. Years of Saturday matinees have given me a good arm and a sharp eye. Too bad they are talents wasting away!

 

“I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.”

May 4, 2012

We’ll still in the damp, chilly day mode. It’s in the low 50’s and nothing outside my window looks inviting. Earlier, Gracie was frantically barking so I went outside to check. There it was, the rabbit, just sitting where Gracie could see it. That beast has been hanging around my yard for days and driving Gracie crazy. The dog keeps trying to jump the 6 foot fence, but she’s older now and far more muscular so when her paws reach the top of the fence, she can’t pull herself over any more. For that I’m thankful. As for the rabbit, I’m thinking a traditional paella.

I remember car rides with my family. My brother and I each had a back window, his behind my father, mine behind my mother, our sister Sheila was stuck between us, and Moe was in the front with my parents. Poor Sheila had to rest her feet on the big lump in the middle of the backseat floor. The car was always hot in the summer even with all the windows open. Back then, we never had sleek highways, but that was just fine with us. The roads my father took had stuff to look at. I remember seeing red barns and cows in the fields, and I’d yell and point so no one would miss them. The horses we’d see always seemed to have their heads down munching on grass. Once in a while we’d see a deer, and that was the most exciting of all. Usually the car was filled with suitcases and boxes of food as we headed to Maine for the week. We always went to Maine because my father’s friend had a cabin, and we could vacation cheaply. When I was young, I liked it there, but as I got older, I found it boring. By the time I was fourteen, I was begging my parents to leave me at home with friends. They never did.

My dad invented the staycation though he never received due credit. When I was young and money was especially tight, my father and mother planned something for us to do almost every day of my dad’s two-week vacation. We visited museums, went to the lake, the beach, zoos and into Boston to walk the Freedom Trail and ride on the swan boats. Once I remember going to Lexington and Concord. Those were my favorite vacations of all, and from them, I received the most wonderful gifts which have stayed with me all my life. I love museums and visit them everywhere I go. I can’t pass up a historical site and lots of times I stop the car to read the plaques on the rocks along the sides of the road.

On my first weekend in Accra, during training when we were in Koforidua, I went to the National Museum of Ghana. It seemed like the best place to start to learn about my new country.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

April 29, 2012

Oh, spring, where have you gone? Last night was winter, and today is only 52°. The sun is warm through the doors and windows but not enough to make being outside on the deck inviting. I got cold when I was filling the bird feeders this morning. Even the house feels chilly. The heat turned itself on early this morning which meant it was lower than 62° in here. No wonder I slept in under the warmth of my down comforter.

This is a new week, and I have high hopes it will be a good week. It’s my Pollyanna moment.

When I was in high school, I took four years of Latin. I have no idea why, but I actually liked it. The Aeneid, my fourth year text, was my favorite. I still remember the first line, ” Arma virumque cano.” I sing of arms and of a man. I think the story appealed to me because I loved all the tall tales, stories of people like Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill. I can still see in my mind’s eye the illustration of Pecos Bill riding that cyclone. In my library those tall tale books were on a short shelf to the left of the door. I used to sit on the carpet and look through them and read a few tales before I’d choose the books to take home. I think I read all of the books from that section.

I never read any of the science books in my library. They were in the shelves in front of the windows. I did read some of the biographies of scientists like Madame Curie, but the actual science itself never interested me. I loved mysteries and historical fiction, though, when I was little, I didn’t know that’s you called it. My favorite of all was Johnny Tremain. It took place in Boston so the novel felt personal for me, and I could actually visit the houses of characters like Paul Revere. It made the story real to me. I remember the horror I felt when Johnny spilled hot silver on his hand.

That book led me to read more stories about the Revolutionary War. I think that’s what books are meant to do. They take you to one place which leads to another and another and on and on. It’s like a family tree filled with the names of books on branch after branch.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

April 21, 2012

The day is cloudy and damp. It must have rained a bit during the night as the ground is wet, and there are now Gracie paw prints all the way down my floor from door to den. Usually my cleaning compulsion kicks in, but I’d be cleaning over and over, each time she comes in, so I’ll be patient and live with the muddy prints.

Once in a while I think about how much fun my life has been. I think it all comes from being a dreamer. When I was a kid, I dreamed about all those places in my geography book, and I promised myself I’d visit them some day. My Dad had been to Europe but that was compliments of Uncle Sam and WWII, and his memories centered around the pubs near his hospital in England. My neighbors went to Martha’s Vineyard every year for the whole summer, and I thought that was so exotic, to stay on an island. Marty Barrett, my elementary school classmate, went to England every few years to visit his grandparents, and I envied him, but I knew, without question, my time would come.

My first airplane ride was when I was a freshman in college, and I flew from Boston to Hyannis, an Easter gift from my parents. The plane was a small prop, and I could see landmarks from the window. My eyes followed the highway as we flew close to the land but over the ocean. I watched waves crash against the beach sand and saw the canal as we crossed to the cape. Before we landed, the plane circled a bit and I saw the parking lots in Hyannis and recognized the stores. When I landed, my dad was waiting for me and right away wanted to know how I liked the flight. I think I gushed, and I am not a gusher by any stretch of the imagination. The trip was almost magical for me. I was hooked, and I knew it. That was the beginning.