June 13, 2007

Then and Now

We flash back now, pre-burn, to Friday and the Freedom Trail. I was now adept at T-ing myself into the city, and managed to make it down the giant beast o’steps dripping from Government Center. Norah and Chad were fairly easy to locate, being dressed in the togs of their gainful employ. Not so easy to locate? Somewhere to ease the pain of a large Dunkin’ iced coffee, like, selling food on every corner but no restrooms whatsoever shows kind of a lack of follow-through, Boston. Public toilets. Get hip.

The third landing got me a fairly nice shot of Faneuil Hall. I used to like poking around Quincy Market, but now it’s one of the more touristy corners of the city—all the quaint little shops are selling lobster magnets and sundry souvenir kitsch, which is kind of a shame. Bring back the hobnailed boots and boating supplies, I say.

Since Norah’s morning tour was cancelled, she offered me my own personal tour* of historic Boston; and because I am a dork who loves living history displays, I geeked out at Norah’s escorting me around Boston in her Rev War getup. Of course, we couldn’t get started until we ate lunch; fantastic chicken sandwiches loaded with salty green beans (and, through a comic misunderstanding, wasabi). We sat in the shade on Boston Common, downing liter after liter of Dasani, the air so thick you could stuff pillows with it. The Common has hosted duels, speeches, grazing cows, hangings—and less famously, a phone call to CD at the office, my holey tongue telling lies about the beautiful Boston weather.

This is how Norah spent the 90-degree day. I was lying on the cool concrete benches of Paul Revere Mall, sweating in the shade, weighing the pros and cons of fountain diving—and I was in shorts. [I would have bought my coveted Sox hat from the vendor here, but he seemed more intent on yelling at people for looking at him than actually selling things.] A short debate on the nomenclature of ‘drinking fountain’ vs. ‘bubbler’ proved moot when not one of them on the mall produced any water (‘stump’); a little stagnant fountain water on the cooling points and we were off to the North End.

In the courtyard of Old North Church, two lovely citizens were stringing dog tags for this memorial to the soldiers killed (thus far) in the Iraq War, or whatever we’re currently calling it. The picture shows one half-completed panel; unfortunately, the enduring folly of wasted time, life, money and resources has so far required six more. Sadly, I can’t seem to find a picture of the completed monument online.

The Church itself is as lovely as ever, a triumph of architecture, alas, they won’t let visitors into the catacombs to see the mass grave of revolutionary soldiers. Which, boo. My desire to see skeletons was somewhat sated by touring the various churchyards; among the early settlers, it was vogue to depict death, rather than life, on one's tombstone. More appropriate, I think, and not just because I have a thing for skulls; there’s something beautiful about death that these stones capture perfectly. This one in particular, which I totally intend to copy when I shuffle off for my long nap:

In addition to its many historical sites, I did not know that the North End is also Little Italy—as in, the signs and music in the shops are in Italian, people are arguing on the stoops in Italian, and the pastry shops make you regret that you’re not Italian. Although that doesn’t stop you from taking a snack break for some cannoli, hazelnut gelato and homemade nougat. This sensible snack provided the fuel for our last stop—where, since she was dressed to the (seventeen-seventy) nines, Norah scored complimentary admission.

I had seen Paul Revere’s house before, but this time we actually got to go in. No pictures allowed, of course: Imagine turn-of-the-century wallpaper, chipped, sooty bricks and old worn cedar—I think I’ve mentioned how I feel about these things. I understand it’s a historical property and all, but… why can’t I live there, again? Come on—Revolutionary War House! How fun would that be? Call me, PBS! I promise to fake-whine to the camera about the early hours and lack of running water if Norah and I can bake loaves of bread in Paul Revere’s oven. We can make pies and shear sheep and dress wounds and sleep in feather beds and battle scarlet fever—why the hell don’t we have our own show?! The ratings would be INSANE!

The rest of the night was all second-showers, cotton dresses and a Sox game with Sam Adams; one of those activities you wouldn’t think to take a picture of but remember anyway. I miss those nights. [Not that I don’t appreciate Justin Verlander’s no-hitter last night. Woot woot! Go Tigers!]

I guess no other drinks were worth committing to film, so I close with a fond nod to my host and her humble conveyance, both of whom I am happy to know.

Best. Anachronism. Ever.

I truly miss you guys, and hope to see you again soon.

* Which I won’t transcribe, because that would be boring if you haven’t been there. Also, I’m lazy, and there are websites that already did the work for me.
** Also also, I, um, can’t remember most of it. There are statistics. People died. One of the mayors was an asshole. Tea. What?


Anonymous said...

Good to know that when we learn about the Revoulutionary war, good 'ol Aunt Sarah will be providing the field trip tour! I miss you "truckloads, baby".


Sarah Beedoo said...

Awww, I miss you too. Happy Birthday.

You're not too concerned about your children's education, if you're cool with the Aunt Sarah "um, some stuff happened" tour.