Our first day we had torrential rains.
The second day gave us freezing cold weather with gale force winds.
The third day, made us forget the weather of the previous two days because it was as near a perfect spring day as New England produces. Temperatures that would reach into the middle 50s, robins egg blue skies with not a cloud in sight. (Authors note: My mother and father had a well oiled comedy routine in which Mom would say “Not a cloud in the sky” to which my father would after examining the skies carefully respond “I think that there is one over there.” It amused them. It amuses me and I can’t write about cloudless skies without thinking about it but why bother you, my reader with it? Oh I guess I just did.)
Our day began in the moment just before dawn as Boston was lit by the pinks, red and gold of first light. There are prettier sights in the world but this was pretty glorious. As we went through our morning routine, Boston did the same. Runners appeared on the footpaths along the Charles. The geese paddled up stream in single file and the crews came to out for their morning workout. It made us want to hurry our ablutions and head outside to start our day. So we did.
Our first stop that morning, was Fenway Park. I could say that the reason we went was to show Fenway Rose where her name came from and that would be true as far as it went. But for those of us who consider themselves part of Red Sox nation it is more. It is a holy place where magical things happen and to me also a place where I used to celebrate spring. When I worked for the Sporting News I would venture to Boston every Patriots Day for the greatest day in sports: The early start time of the Sox game (11am) and the Boston Marathon. I knew it was spring when we would walk up the ramp inside the Park and see the first hint of green of the field and then the monster. It was a time of normalcy and Americana long before the bombing that besmirched that day. For me going back to Fenway meant touching all those points and it was something I wanted to celebrate our freedom from Covid.
Amazingly we found a parking spot next to the stadium. It made Rosie’s photoshoot so easy. But as we began to leave we began to hear announcements. They were calling people not to a game but how to prepare for their vaccinations. The sign of our times. But I should not have been surprised. Fenway has always cured what ailed Boston. After a brief stop to buy Rosie a Red Sox bandana and a few hats to replace some retired ones we departed Boston for the Peoples Republic of Cambridge.
When we arrived in Cambridge we were again blessed by the gods of parking and found a spot just adjacent to the Charles Hotel. It was a small New England miracle as parking in these environs has always been a challenge. No doubt it was a Harvard architect who invented the parking structure because of this. But it set me wondering why we were so favored. Walking towards Winthrop Square the answer dawned on me. The normal hustle and bustle of a city blessed with more colleges and Universities than anywhere else in the world was relatively empty. Not surprising considering the Covid pandemic but a reminder of how the virus has changed the fabric of the country.
We were here for two reasons. Elaine was desperate for a Harvard Sweatshirt. You will have to ask her why and we were also going to meet two friends of mine who lived near by Lori Docich Schulsinger and her husband Larry. Seeing old friends used to be routine. But these days it is a minor miracle. We met for coffee outside in Winthrop Square. Larry, the pack rack that he is, came loaded with pictures form days of yore. When a group of Syracuse classmates held an annual ritual where we would venture to Syracuse in the dead of winter to see a basketball game and behave as if we were still at school. We called each other the Tribe and we had great fun misbehaving and the pictures made me nostalgic. Not only for the annual trips but for a time where Tribalism meant having fun.
It was good to see them both and all too brief as we were soon on our way north. We had a long way to drive today but I needed to introduce Elaine to one of my favorite places first; Woodmans of Essex. For those of you not in the know, Woodmans is where the fried clam. But for New Englanders is much more than that. It is the touchstone of Summer memories of going to braving horsefies and cold water of beach days only to be rewarded by whole belly clams fried to perfection along with Lobsters, chowder and all the accoutrements served in a restaurant that would have been familiar to beach goers in the 30s. I should not have been surprised but was to see the place was packed with masked patrons waiting for a little bit of that yummy stuff. After placing my order with a woman who has been there for all of the 20 years I have been going there I waited outside for my number to be called and stared off at the salt marshes and circling gulls. It was good to be alive.
Elaine took to fried clams like seals take to water. She dove in and pretty soon had to protect my own supply with pointed elbows. After our meal I thought of heading over to Crain’s Beach so my Brazilian beauty could compare it to LeBlond, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches but she already knows American’s are crazy so we headed north.
There is not much to say about our drive. The highways once your reach Maine are straight and fairly flat and on a sunny day the driving is quite easy. But there was one note worthy moment. Shortly after passing into the Pine Tree State we stopped for gas. As we were filling up I took the opportunity to fulfill a promise I had made to myself at the beginning of the trip. I downloaded a Stephen King novel from an Audible and began to listen to it as we continued our drive. It set the mood the well mood until Elaine got creeped out and we needed to listen to music to calm our souls.
Thankfully there was no fog tonight otherwise I could not have walked Rosie.