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Thread: Weekend in Boston

  1. #1
    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Weekend in Boston

    Weekend in Boston
    Part 1


    [Author's Note: Since you can't tell from this story's title, I should tell you that it is a continuation of Time to Go Shopping.

    Both of our sons were born when we were living in Acton, Massachusetts. They entered this world at the Ralph Waldo Emerson Hospital in neighboring Concord, in 1973 and ‘74, just a few blocks from Walden Pond and Henry David Thoreau’s little house next to the pond. But we left Acton and moved to the Washington, DC area in 1975, so they have no memories whatsoever of Massachusetts.

    I’ve been a Boston Red Sox fan since about 1949, as I grew up in Texas where there were no major league teams until after I left the state, so I adopted the Red Sox as my team as a seven-year old child. However, I stopped following the game when I went off into the Navy. When my sons reached the ages of five and six, my love for baseball and the Red Sox was rekindled, and I was lucky enough to see my sons pick up the same appreciation of the game. The flame has continued burning brightly for all three of us ever since.

    While we were living in Acton for those three years, which was before the rekindling happened, I never made it to Fenway Park even once. I guess I thought I was too busy or something equally foolish, as some of us frequently find inane excuses not to do things that we really could, and should, do. I was already in Washington by the time the 1975 World Series rolled around, so I just watched it on television. For the few of you out there who may not keep close tabs on the Red Sox like you should, they played the Cincinnati Reds in that Series, which was back in the days that Cincinnati was still called The Big Red Machine.

    Even though at that time I wasn’t following the Red Sox on a daily basis like I do now, I wasn’t about to miss a chance to watch the Sox in the World Series, an event that doesn’t happen all that often. The Red Sox made it to the seventh and final game in 1975, but fell short of victory just as they had done in their two previous attempts, namely ‘46 and ‘67, and as they did for their next opportunity in ‘86.

    So I decided to see if we could take the train from Washington to Boston for the weekend, show the boys the area where we lived when they were born, and take in a baseball game at Fenway Park. I was amazed at how easy it was to get tickets to Fenway Park over the internet (this was a few years ago - September, 2000 to be exact - it isn’t that easy nowadays, after they finally came through and won a World Series). It turned out to be the last Red Sox home game of the year, and it was against the Baltimore Orioles, who play their home games not so far from us here in Washington. We see the Orioles play at least once a year at Camden Yards in Baltimore, usually when the Red Sox are in town.

    I called up the nice lady and told her we were going up to Boston for the weekend, and asked her if she would like to come along so that all the yentas out there would have something to look forward to while I was talking about sightseeing in the Boston area and going to baseball games and all that boring kind of stuff that needs spicing up with the possibility of a little sex scandal in the background. She said she would love to be part of a sex scandal for the yentas and asked when she should start packing. She asked if she should bring her webcam for the really hard-core yentas, and I said sure - why not? But I reminded her that she had to pronounce that as haahd-caw yenters because we were going to Boston.

    We made our hotel reservations in Lexington, which is a suburb between Boston and Acton. Hotels in Lexington are less than half the cost of those in downtown Boston, and the restaurants are considerably cheaper as well. You may have heard of Lexington, as being part of the opening battle that led to the American Revolution, along with Concord where the Shot Heard Round the World was fired many years before Bobby Thompson hit his homerun which eventually was also called the Shot Heard Round the World.

    I was getting all excited remembering our bygone days in Acton, and taking all four kids to Concord all the time to see the Rude Bridge That Arched the Flood, and today’s Minutemen who dress like the Minutemen did back then, and fire their muskets like the Minutemen did back then, but probably don’t smell nearly as bad as the Minutemen did back then.

    I kept watching the calendar, hoping to speed up the process of waiting for the magic departure date to arrive, but it didn’t seem to be speeding it up all that much.
    Last edited by DickZ; 02-20-2009 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 2


    Finally the departure day arrived, but it’s hard for me to combine the words ‘departure’ and ‘arrived’ in the same sentence without getting confused. It makes it that much harder to know if I’m coming or going, which is often difficult to tell these days - since I’m approaching either my silver or my golden years - I forget how you determine which of those it is.

    The boys, who are now both married, left their wives to defend their respective castles themselves, and brought their luggage to my place. I had already arranged for a neighbor to watch my cat Franklin (remember that this trip happened a few years ago before Eleanor joined me - and Franklin has since departed this world), so Franklin wouldn’t starve to death or find that he had to step into a dirty litterbox while we were gone - both of which were major concerns for Franklin. He always liked to eat and to keep his tuxedo outfit immaculate.

    The nice lady arrived with her bag and we checked out her webcam to make sure it was functioning properly. It’s almost a sin to leave the haahd-caw yenters out in the lurch when they are anxiously awaiting pictures. It just wouldn’t do to show movies that had snow in place of a picture - and with sound only - just because the webcam was on the fritz. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of revolting yenters, who are also rebelling because they feel they are getting the short end of the stick instead of the maximum smut they crave. Well, almost nothing. We took some pictures of Franklin because we didn’t want to do any pornography photography in front of my sons and give them the wrong impression. The webcam was working perfectly.

    I made sure I had a few baseball scorecards and my clipboard. I checked to confirm that my fountain pen was filled - these were in the days before I got my Eversharp Skyline with the extra fine nib that I use now for keeping score. The extra fine nib makes it so much easier to fit everything into the right box without spilling over into adjacent boxes like what you have to do when you’re keeping score with a medium nib. But at the time of our trip to Boston, I used a Parker Vacumatic with a nib somewhere between fine and medium for keeping score. It was certainly better than a medium nib, so I didn’t have to spill over too much information into other boxes, but nowhere near to what my extra fine nib could do.

    After giving Franklin his farewell belly rubs and assuring him we would be back in a few days, we set out for the Crystal City Metro Station to take us to Union Station, which is just a few blocks from the U.S. Capital Building. To go to Union Station, you have to take the Yellow Line to Gallery Place, and switch to the Red Line. On the Metro, the only interesting party that we ran across was a group that was on its way to protest against job outsourcing. They had all their signs rigged about how crazy outsourcing is because it makes Americans lose jobs to overseas workers. It’s certainly a valid cause to protest, if the protesting is done with some sort of understanding of the situation.

    After they discussed their strategy for the protest, they talked about the shopping expedition they were planning for afterward. Apparently they were going to hit the Wal-Mart just off Route 66 in Fairfax for some serious shopping, and stock up on some really cheap goods so they didn’t have to buy that expensive stuff that came from places that still use American labor unions to set their ridiculously high prices. They decided that anybody who bought the expensive American stuff when they could get the same thing that Wal-Mart brought in from China for half the price, must be a spendthrift lunatic. And with straight faces, they all got off the train a few stops before ours so they could go protest job outsourcing on the Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building, followed by a trip to Wal-Mart where they could then buy cheap outsourced goods for themselves.

    The subway pulled into Union Station, and we took the long escalator ride up to the railroad station’s interior. We had arrived at the station 45 minutes before our train’s scheduled departure, so we had lots of time to wander around and admire the building.

    In case you haven’t had the joy of visiting Union Station since 1988, I can tell you it has been restored magnificently to its original grandeur. At least I assume it matches its original grandeur, but I wasn’t actually around at the time it was built so I can’t be 100% positive about that. It was completed in 1908, back in the days when a railroad station was considered the Gateway to the City in cities all over this country, and nothing was held back in providing the station with features that would put to shame all the other railroad stations in all the other cities in the entire land.

    Union Station is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture. At the time it was built, the Station covered more ground than any other building in the United States and was the largest train station in the world. In fact, if put on its side, the Washington Monument could lay within the confines of the Station’s Main Hall, or alternatively, the entire standing Army of the US at that time, which was comprised of 50,000 men, could stand shoulder to shoulder inside that mammoth room.

    Union Station brought to the Washington a new spirit that echoed the architecture displayed at Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and began the city’s monumental transformation. Daniel Burnham, whose credo was “Make No Little Plans,” was the Architect and Louis Saint-Gaudens provided most of the sculpture.

    Seventy pounds of 22-karat gold leaf adorn the 96-foot barrel-vaulted, coffered ceilings, principally over the majestic Main Hall. There are 36 statues of Roman warriors carrying their shields, looming high above and looking down into the Main Hall. The white granite and classic lines of Union Station set the stage for the next 40 years of Washington’s classic architecture - reflected in the construction of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Supreme Court Building. The East and West Halls flank the Main Hall, and are fitted with skylights. Both of these halls now have very tasteful stores. There are over 130 stores and restaurants in the restored building, including a very nice pen shop.

    As train travel was the mode of transportation even for U.S. Presidents in the early 1900s, a Presidential Suite was provided in Union Station, which was very elaborate, but rarely used. In the restored version of today, the former Presidential Suite is now a restaurant.

    Here’s a shot of the station’s exterior today:

    http://www.adventurist.net/trips/was...on-station.jpg

    And here’s the Christopher Columbus statue in front of Union Station, which also shows the station:

    http://www.cambridge2000.com/gallery...P32019265e.jpg

    Here’s the entrance into the Main Hall, which is where the waiting room was back in the station’s early days:

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mkli/...c/177_7796.JPG

    And here’s what the Main Hall looks like now:

    http://community.iexplore.com/photos...onStation4.jpg

    http://mowabb.com/aimages/images/05-28-04.jpg

    For half a century and through two World Wars, Union Station served Washington and the U.S. as a major center of transportation and the venue for many historic events. On April 14, 1945, a funeral train crossed the Potomac and backed into Union Station carrying the casket of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had died two days before in Warm Springs, Georgia.

    But the yenters are anxious for the story to keep moving, so rather than getting bogged down on Union Station, which could keep me bogged down for a few hours just by itself, we’ll give in to the whims of the yenters.

    In the next episode, we’ll climb aboard the train and resume the tale of our trip to Boston.
    Last edited by DickZ; 02-12-2009 at 09:12 AM.

  3. #3
    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 3


    Our train was scheduled to leave Washington's Union Station at 8:35 AM, and to arrive at Boston’s South Station at 4:00 PM. For me, waiting for the train to depart is probably the worst part of any journey. I’m always so anxious to get onto the train that minutes seem like hours to me. Of course, being able to look around Union Station takes some of the edge off the agonizing wait.

    Finally they called our train and the line of passengers started moving through the gate and out onto the platform where we could board our coach car bound for Boston. It was right on time that the locomotive started up and we were on our way. The nice lady pinched my arm to either show her delight about getting underway, or to punish me for something I did or didn’t do - I didn’t know which it was.

    We soon cleared the railroad yards outside Union Station. By the time we passed the landmark Hecht’s Warehouse on New York Avenue, where they were probably storing the socks that I would eventually buy on my shopping trip to the Hecht’s in downtown Washington, we were already up to 30 miles per hour. We were on the route known as the Northeast Corridor, which is an electrified railway line with overhead wires running from Washington, DC to Boston, Massachusetts, passing through Baltimore, Maryland; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newark, New Jersey; New York, New York; New Haven, Connecticut; and Providence, Rhode Island. There are lots more intermediate stations but you probably don’t want to hear the names of every one of them because you’re more interested in getting us to our final destination so you don’t have to listen to any more boring side-shows to the main adventure.

    And all too soon, we were pulling into Boston’s South Station, which is one of two major stations that serve the city. The other one is called, believe it or not, North Station. However, since our train arrived at South Station, and because the yenters don’t want me to get bogged down on a never-ending description of railroad stations that involve absolutely no sex scandals whatsoever - as far as I’m aware - so I’ll concentrate on just a few words on South Station.

    Here’s what South Station looks like from the outside – about the same as when it was first built:

    http://www.genevievecartoons.com/Ill...th.station.jpg

    Those of you who want to know about North Station can just go to your public libraries and check it out for yourselves. But I can tell you this much without taking up too much room and riling up the yenters by posting an additional long-winded saga about train stations - North Station is used mainly for local commuters these days.

    In South Station, just behind the original granite facade, lies a bright, airy space that they call The Great Room. The Great Room is now predominantly modern, but it still echoes those days-gone-by when train travel was at its height. The elegance and grandeur of the original terminal, from which the first trains left in 1899, is still there. And the magic that each train carries into South Station is still filled with the promise of new adventures, including our visit to the area which would wind up with taking in a baseball game at Fenway Park.

    As Boston’s gateway, The Great Room regularly plays host to exhibits ranging from celebrations of Boston’s leading figures, like Keith Foulke, who was hailed as a hero in the fall of 2004 when helped win the World Series, but who the next season got booed regularly at Red Sox games by a very fickle bunch of fans with very short memories. It also serves as a concert hall featuring local musicians and nationally known talent. It entertains New England families with special events ranging from ballroom dances to the annual Holiday Train Exhibit.

    Like many other magnificent buildings who served in roles considered by many to be “out of date,” the station once fell from its earlier splendor and faced demolition in the 1970s. Probably learning a lot from the unforgivable mistake of leveling the Pennsylvania Station in New York City, South Station was revived to stand, once again, as the Gateway to Boston.

    South Station was born back in the late 1890s when it was no longer efficient for each of the five railway companies that serviced Boston to have their own depot. Passengers found it difficult at best, and a nuisance at the very least, to cart their baggage and belongings between terminals scattered from Back Bay to Summer Street. The turn of the century was coming and Boston needed to have the newest, most efficient and architecturally grand station in the nation. Recognizing that, the state legislature granted a charter to a new corporation, the Boston Terminal Company, and charged it with “constructing and maintaining a union passenger station in the southerly part of the City of Boston.”

    One-fifth of the new Boston Terminal Company was owned by the Boston & Albany, and the remainder by the New Haven Railroad. The Boston Terminal Company purchased a 35-acre parcel of land for $9 million. This tract of land, just minutes from the business district was the perfect setting, having been home to the New England Railroad terminal for years. The City of Boston spent an additional $2 million rerouting streets and utilities and building a 200-foot granite seawall along Fort Point Channel to hold back the tides. After only two years of construction, South Station, the largest railroad station in the world, was ready and the first train left the station in the early morning hours of January 1, 1899.

    The first half of the 20th century brought the glory years for passenger trains. By 1913, 38 million passengers, more than New York City’s Grand Central Station, were enjoying the convenience and comfort of South Station. Over the next 15 years, the station continued to handle an enormous amount of traffic. In 1945, swollen by GIs returning from World War II, South Station made history, when over 135,000 visitors a day poured into its halls. That’s a volume unmatched in any train station. Over the next decade and a half, however, the station began to deteriorate, and when the New Haven Railroad declared bankruptcy in 1961, things looked pretty grim for the old building.

    The Boston Redevelopment Authority stepped in and purchased the South Station building for $6.95 million in 1965. Quite a deal - two million dollars less than when the land alone was purchased in 1897! The hope was short-lived, however, when the BRA decided to tear South Station down, and in fact began demolition in 1970. A half-dozen tracks were removed and various portions of the U-shaped edifice were closed down and sealed off. A group of concerned citizens, outraged at the loss of such a landmark, stepped in and succeeded in getting South Station listed in the National Register of Historic Sites. Demolition was halted and South Station began its rebirth - with a portion of the Great Room still intact.

    Just as a related aside, Washington’s Union Station underwent a similar agonizing period before anybody stepped forward with a realistic plan to save it in the 1980s.

    That phase of reconstruction was completed in time for South Station’s 90th anniversary, but even now, South Station is a work in progress. In this new century you will see this venerable building and its surroundings continue to reshape Boston’s landscape.

    After a brief view of the station, we proceeded to do just a little sightseeing in downtown Boston before going to our hotel in Lexington, and we’ll discuss the Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House in the next episode.
    Last edited by DickZ; 02-12-2009 at 09:16 AM.

  4. #4
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 4


    From South Station, we took “The T” which is that very same system on which the Kingston Trio’s man Charlie was condemned to eternal damnation by being forced to ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston because he didn’t have the exit fare required to get off the train. For those of you who weren’t in to Kingston Trio music in 1959 due to scheduling errors which unduly delayed your birth, here’s a little bit of how the song went:

    “Let me tell you the story
    Of a man named Charlie,
    On a tragic and fateful day,
    He put ten cents in his pocket,
    Kissed his wife and family,
    Went to ride on the MTA.

    Charlie handed in his dime
    At the Kendall Square Station,
    And he changed for Jamaica Plain,
    When he got there the conductor told him,
    “One more nickel.”
    Charlie could not get off that train.”

    ……….

    Charlie's wife goes down
    To the Scollay [pronounce Skully] Square station
    Every day at quarter past two
    And through the open window
    She hands Charlie a sandwich
    As the train comes rumblin' through.
    ……

    Chorus:
    “Did he ever return?
    No he never returned.
    And his fate is still unlearn'd.
    He may ride forever
    'neath the streets of Boston
    He's the man who never returned.”


    I don’t know about you, but I have always wondered why Charlie’s wife would come down to the station every day and hand Charlie a sandwich. Maybe I just don’t understand complicated things like this, but it seemed to me that if she could hand him a sandwich, she could just as easily hand him a nickel as well - and then he could get off the train.

    So I did some research and found out that Charlie actually did several things that were dumber than going out without even a nickel in his pocket. It’s like when you’re at a convenience store getting milk, and someone in line ahead of you buys a 75-cent candy bar - and pays for it with a credit card! Anyway, it turns out that there were several other irritating things about Charlie, so his wife just didn’t want him to get off the train.

    Knowing that the nice lady would not take too kindly to being stuck down there forever riding the underground train, I made sure we had the proper fare for all of us before we even stepped into the car. However, we didn't have to pay any exit fares, as they got it all from us upon our entrance, so I guess they fixed the glitch in the fare collection system. And some people think songs don't work when it comes to fixing all the things that are wrong in society.

    We took the Red Line and got off at the Park Street Station, and stepped out to see the Boston Common. The Boston Common is the OLDEST public park in the nation. Strangely enough, the SECOND oldest public park in the nation is San Pedro Park where I spent considerable time in my youth, back in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas.

    I explained to the boys, who were 26 and 27 years old at the time of our weekend in Boston, that when they were still in strollers, we spent many pleasant hours right here on the Boston Common. They insisted that they couldn’t remember that far back - but they were probably just trying to cover up something about what they used to do in their diapers back then.

    The park is almost 50 acres in size. The Common has been used for many different purposes throughout its long history. Until 1830, cattle grazed there, and until 1817, public hangings took place right out in plain view. British troops camped on Boston Common prior to the Revolution and left from here to face colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775.

    Here’s what the Boston Common looks like:

    http://aydin.net/blog/wp-content/bostoncommonspring.png

    http://www.breakingthetape.com/salty...stonCommon.jpg

    I don’t think that the British troops could have gone into the Dunkin’ Donuts outlet just off the Common like we did. There seem to be a lot of Dunkin’ Donuts around Boston, as well as having a predominant sign somewhere on or near the outfield wall at Fenway Park. We stopped off for a little refreshment and the nice lady settled for a raspberry jelly donut in place of the tea and crumpets she often had at Afternoon Tea while she was an inmate under the care of The Original Iron Lady, in that prison just outside of London. The Original Iron Lady was ‘hell-on-wheels’ in the disciplinary department, but was a real softy when it came to the prisoners’ snack time.

    And right across the street stood the magnificent Massachusetts State House, with a majestic golden dome. The Massachusetts State House was built between 1795 and 1797 on Beacon Hill and overlooks the Boston Common. The site, a pasture owned by John Hancock, was lowered 50 feet for the construction of the State House.

    The architect Charles Bulfinch, who also built state houses for Connecticut (1796) and Maine (1832) based his design for the state house on the Somerset House in London. I think this might be a different Bulfinch from the one who wrote all those myths, but I’m not positive and the nice lady didn’t even know what I was talking about when I asked her.

    The building's front features an elevated portico with a series of Corinthian columns. The red brick facade was painted white in 1825 and remained painted until 1928 when the bricks were exposed again. The bricks' red color contrasts nicely with the white columns. The large gilded dome is topped with a lantern and pine cone, symbol of the forests of Massachusetts. The dome was originally made of wood shingles. These were replaced in 1802 with copper. In 1861, the dome was gilded and this remained so ever since, except during the Second World War, when it was painted black to throw off the German bombers. It was apparently an effective device and not a single Nazi bomb hit the State House.

    Here’s the State House viewed from the front:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...House_2007.JPG

    In 1895 the State House was expanded with a large, yellow-colored annex, and in 1917 marble wings were added. Guided tours of the Massachusetts State house are available year round and are free of charge, but the tour guide must have been asleep when we were there, and we didn’t want to hang around until she woke up. A web tour is also available on the site of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but we didn’t have any computers with us at the time we were there. So we just looked around ourselves, using one of the nice fliers that were provided.

    If you want to do a brief tour of the State House, this site will guide you:

    http://www.sec.state.ma.us/trs/trsbok/trstour.htm
    Last edited by DickZ; 04-18-2008 at 02:19 PM.

  5. #5
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 5


    After we had thoroughly checked out the Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House, we climbed back aboard The T for a double-duty destination. We got back onto the Red Line and took it to the Harvard Station. This put us out near Harvard Square, which of course is pronounced HAAH-vaahd SKWAY-ah. Here we could look at the famous school that must have been named either for the Square or for the T Station - I don’t know which - and we could then catch a bus to Lexington, where our hotel was waiting for us with open arms and cash registers.

    As long as we were here, I wanted the nice lady and my sons to see the well-known Harvard Yard fence which keeps all the Harvard students closed in - or maybe it keeps all the dummies out. Since we were able to make it successfully into Harvard Yard, I guess it’s more for keeping the students in. It was late in September, and the leaves were just beginning to turn. A few weeks later the scenery would have been breathtaking, but then the baseball season would be over. We had come to see a baseball game and not the turning leaves, so we had to put up with an abbreviated view of trees - just starting what would later be a magnificent transformation.

    Here are a few views of Harvard:

    The architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, which is known for such Boston landmarks as Symphony Hall and the Boston Public Library, won a commission in 1899 to design the fence that surrounds Harvard Yard. The fence is made of really attractive brickwork, stonework, and metalwork.

    http://www.upfrontezine.com/travel/harvard.jpg

    Here you can see the Harvard Clock Tower behind some leaves that were starting to turn.

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/manoli/g...it/harvard.jpg

    And here are some members of the Harvard Regatta getting in some practice on the famous Charles River, which is where the Red Sox sometimes hold part of their World Series celebrations:

    http://l.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/trav...9ad75c77e5.jpg

    And just a few blocks down the street from Harvard is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

    http://electroceramics.mit.edu/MIT2.JPG

    I didn’t think we had time to see the Symphony Hall or the Boston Public Library, but as a fan of McKim, Mead and White, I now wish that I had found some time to see them - even if it was on one of the other days of our visit. I’ve seen plenty of photographs of those buildings, both inside and out, but I should have capitalized on my presence in the city to see them in the flesh. Both buildings are magnificent, and neither will be matched until McKim, Mead and White return to earth in the form of someone else.

    We didn’t go to these places on our weekend trip, but here’s the Boston Symphony Hall I mentioned, including one exterior and one interior:

    http://mikebm.files.wordpress.com/20..._the_south.jpg

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/25/67...0ed6651bdb.jpg

    And the Boston Public Library:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...brary_2_MA.jpg

    http://jamesmuspratt.com/images/382.jpg

    After checking out Harvard Yard and MIT down the road, both of which have lots of beautiful buildings, you’ve had enough about these buildings. Tomorrow we would be going to several more places in Concord, Lexington, and Acton which you’ll be hearing about when we get there.

    So we then climbed aboard a bus headed for Lexington. Before we realized it, we were in the lobby of our hotel checking in. It had been a long exhausting day, starting with our arrival at Washington’s Union Station at 7 AM, and now it was 7 PM on Friday. Rather than going out into town, I let everybody rest up in their rooms for a few minutes while I went to get our rental car which we would want bright and early in the morning. We decided to eat in the hotel’s dining room that evening and save our energy and the restaurants for Saturday and Sunday. After eating, we thought it best to turn in, and rest up for our big day tomorrow, which would be started in Acton for a brief look at the house we lived in when the boys were born, and then on to some sightseeing in the rest of the town, as well as in the more historic towns of Concord and Lexington.

    We were all sound asleep by 10 o’clock.
    Last edited by DickZ; 02-20-2009 at 12:25 PM.

  6. #6
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 6


    At first light on Saturday, I rousted the troops out of bed. The nice lady grumbled a little bit, but stopped her kvetching when I asked her if she would prefer being called the grouchy lady for the rest of the story. Within an hour of first light, we were ready to check out the sites related to the American Revolution. To stick with the chronology of April 19, 1775, we stopped off first at the nearby Lexington Green, where the action started before it later moved to Concord. A bronze statue representing Captain John Parker, leader of the militiamen at Lexington, stands on a base of granite and fieldstone near the Lexington Green.

    http://www.visitingnewengland.com/Pa.../image1863.gif

    Remember, this was September when we were making our trip to see the baseball game at Fenway Park. But every year, on the third Monday of April, the entire area observes Patriots’ Day. Events begin with Paul Revere and William Dawes riding to Lexington to warn the colonists that “The British are coming!! The British are coming!!”

    It seems the British had learned that the Minutemen were hiding arms in several places, and the British in their red coats were determined to find the hidden weapons. At 6 AM on Patriots’ Day, there is always a re-enactment of the skirmish between the Minutemen and the British Regulars on Lexington’s Battle Green. The British vanguard, the Light Company from the 10th Regiment of Foot, arrived in the center of Lexington to be confronted by the Lexington Company of Minutemen.

    The British moved onto the Green to disarm the rebels while the British commander demanded that said rebels disarm. A rebel off the Green, from a nearby belfry, fired a shot at the British, and the Light Company from the 10th then fired into the Lexington Company without orders. This momentary lapse of discipline wouldn't have been that unusual. The troops were very well trained, but the British army hadn't fought a war in 15 years. The 10th in particular had spent thirty years in Ireland before coming to America in 1768, and to Boston in 1774.

    There were many more veterans in the colonial ranks (French and Indian War vets) than among the British. Ironically, the Lexington Company was in the process of moving off the Green and their backs were turned to the British, and most of those who were hit got it in the back. The Lexington Company then fired back, but they were not ordered to fire as was the case at the North Bridge later that morning. The final tally of killed in action for the Lexington Company on the green was eight, while one British soldier had been slightly wounded. This was the first bloodshed.

    http://www.redcoat.org/photographs/i...en07_005bu.jpg

    After dispersing the Minutemen there at Lexington, the British marched on to Concord, where they captured and destroyed arms stores in the vicinity of the Colonial Inn, which we would see later in the day.

    After looking over Lexington Green, we found the road to Acton, which can be reached in various ways if you know where you’re going, or by Route 2A if you’re like me and only remember that one way that you used so many years ago. What struck me as we were approaching Acton was that this was one of those very rare places where time stands still. It had been over 25 years since I had made this drive the last time, and everything looked exactly the same now as it did back then. There aren’t too many suburban scenes where you can say the same thing.

    We reached the rotary (that’s what they call one of those tricky circles that can be a nightmare if there are several cars navigating it at the same time) where the Concord Reformatory was back then, and sure enough, the Reformatory was still there and it looked identical to what it had looked like in 1975. I think it even had the same barbed wire.

    The nice lady offered some comparisons of the Reformatory with her prison near London, and told a few anecdotes about things The Original Iron Lady did. But she told the anecdotes with the understanding that I would not repeat them because she didn’t want people to think The Original Iron Lady was some kind of a sadist or anything like that.

    The only difference in the geography that I noticed was that the Howard Johnson’s near that same rotary had been leveled. I had always liked that Howard Johnson’s, and we had brought the kids there a lot when they were too small to even realize it.

    And furthermore, that was the same Howard Johnson’s where I’m convinced I saw Carlton Fisk in about 1973 or ‘74. Fisk was the Red Sox catcher at the time, and I believe I saw him eating with his wife and two kids, while I was eating with my wife and three or four kids, depending on exactly when we saw him. I don’t remember if it was before or after Michael’s arrival, with Michael being our fourth child. Kids were popping out frequently back in those days, with arrivals in 1970, ’72, ’73, and ’74.

    Anyway, I thought the guy sitting at the table next to us in Howard Johnson’s back then looked just like Carlton Fisk, and he was wearing shorts that exposed a horrific set of scars on each of his knees. Fisk had experienced some serious problems with his knees and had to have a few surgeries. I didn’t ask the guy if he was Carlton Fisk, because I thought he deserved to eat at least one meal in peace. But I stared at him a while and he noticed my staring, so he probably figured I recognized him.

    Howard Johnson’s had been my first choice for stopping to eat breakfast, but since it wasn’t there, we continued on to Friendly’s in West Acton. It was just a few more minutes down Route 2A. Friendly’s was identical to what it had been 25 years prior. Nobody had knocked it down - at least not yet.

    I noticed that everything on the way to Friendly’s that had been a cornfield 25 years ago is still a cornfield today. That’s great of course if you’re already an inhabitant of this fantastic part of the country, but it’s not so great if you want to move to this fantastic part of the country from somewhere else. You can’t move in unless someone else is moving out.

    After breakfast, we went to find our old house, and it was easy to do because of the fact that the entire area remained totally unchanged. Our house was at the far end of the circle that Heritage Road carved out of the landscape. There were only two things about the colonial house that were different - the house was now blue instead of olive green, and the tiny little saplings that I had planted in the early 1970s were now immense trees. Seeing the grown-up trees was probably the most gratifying part of seeing the place.

    The house was the same, except for the color, the rest of the yard was the same, the fully-grown trees behind the house were the same, and the scenic little brook that ran behind the house was the same. The pumpkin field behind the next door neighbor’s home was still growing pumpkins. The owners of our old house weren’t home, but I saw from the name on the mailbox that they were the same people who had bought the house from us in 1975.

    While we were parked in front of our old house, one of our neighbors from back long ago, with whom we had played bridge many times, stopped and said hello. She was out walking one of her grandchildren around the block. The last time she had seen my sons they were still infants, and here they were fully grown. Of course, the mother of her grandchild was pretty small the last time I had seen her, as well. We chatted for a while, and she told me who was still there and who had left. Almost everybody who had been there in 1975 was still there today.

    But we had places to go and things to do, so we only talked briefly to that one neighbor who stopped, and asked her to give our regards to the others when she happened across them over the next few days.

    We then continued onward into further sightseeing adventures.

  7. #7
    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 7


    Before leaving Acton, I wanted to take a quick peek at the Acton Memorial Library and Town Hall, which are side-by-side not too far from our old house. I had spent a lot of time at that library, as well as the one in West Concord, back when we were living there. The Acton Library is a red stone building erected in 1890, and Acton Town Hall is a white wooden structure with a magnificent clock tower - dating back to 1864 - it was built right in the middle of the Civil War. The Town Hall is always kept in an immaculate condition, which is hard to do with a white building.

    Here is the library, where I spent many hours:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...alLibrary2.jpg

    And here is the Town Hall, where I only went once or twice, for birth certificates:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...onTownHall.jpg

    As if they didn’t have enough to contend with during that trying Civil War period, the old Town Hall burned down in 1863. Both buildings - the Town Hall and the Library - have undergone recent renovations and expansions, but retain their familiar original facades. To me, that is very important. In fact, I just found out from the man who currently keeps the Town Hall in good shape that they are now planning to replace the original slate roof. It must have been some kind of fantastic roof to have survived that long, about 140 years, because their winters are pretty severe.

    Just a few minutes down Route 2A going east, we came to Ralph Waldo Emerson Hospital in Concord. The hospital looked just as it did back when our two sons were born, and they were glad to see the building where they were brought into this world.

    And just a few minutes from the hospital, we found Walden Pond, which Henry David Thoreau made famous many years before we lived in the area. Just as on the Boston Common, the boys had both logged in many hours in their strollers at Walden Pond in the 1970s, but they continued to deny recalling even one of those hours.

    http://robertarood.files.wordpress.c...alden-pond.jpg

    http://people.bu.edu/dix/walden3.jpg

    http://www.visitusa.com/massachusett...denpondpic.jpg

    The preservationists have done a fantastic job cleaning up Walden Pond from what it was like when we lived there 25 years before. Even Thoreau himself would probably be happy with how the place is maintained today. And there’s even a replica of the small cabin in which he lived next to the pond when he was writing “Walden, or Life in the Woods” back in 1854. Talk about austerity - the entire cabin is smaller than the kitchens in most houses of today. And I didn’t see any heaters, air conditioners, or television sets in it either.

    http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/blog-...reau_cabin.jpg

    Next we went to Concord Center, which is a beautiful area in downtown Concord. Remember that Concord was the home of Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson during the nineteenth century, and Doris Kearns Goodwin lives there now. Concord Center features Monument Square where another statue of The Minuteman watches over the people walking around the Square. There are other Minutemen statues around the general area, including one we would see in Minuteman National Historic Park a few hours later, as well as the one near Lexington Green that I mentioned earlier, but the one in Concord Center was always my favorite.

    The Colonial Inn in Concord Center has a long and distinguished history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original structure was built in 1716, and the property has been operating as a hotel since 1889. The Inn is surrounded by many landmarks of our nation's literary and revolutionary history. On the few occasions that we got out of the house and away from all the toddlers back in the 1970s, we would go to the Colonial Inn to eat. It is a really charming building that looks old but is immaculately maintained, and the food is very good.

    http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles7257.jpg

    In 1775, one of the Inn's original buildings was used as a storehouse for arms and provisions. When the British came to seize and destroy the supplies after leaving Lexington, the Minutemen met them at the North Bridge on April 19th to kick off the American Revolution. The event is commemorated every April in Concord with a parade that marches by the Colonial Inn and a ceremony at the North Bridge on Patriots’ Day. We’ll get into the North Bridge action in a little more detail in the next part of the story.

    We ate our lunch at the Colonial Inn, which was the boys’ first visit to the place, since we had always left them with babysitters the first time around. It’s not the kind of restaurant you should bring crying babies to. Of course there are family type restaurants where you can bring crying babies, but the Colonial Inn is not the kind of place you want to go to and hear any crying.
    Last edited by DickZ; 02-20-2009 at 12:32 PM.

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    Nice posting! By the way, do you know how much it cost
    for Henry's house?

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    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    Nice posting! By the way, do you know how much it cost for Henry's house?
    Thanks, Auntie. I was wondering if anybody was even reading this story.

    There's an old tale floating around that at the time Thoreau built his little house in 1845, it cost $28.12. I guess we've come a long way and don't even include the cents when we say how much our houses cost today.

  10. #10
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 8


    Next we visited the Main Concord Library, as well as the library branch in West Concord that I used most of the time while we were living in Acton. We also stopped by the small West Concord railroad station that was just a few blocks from our old house. I used to take the train to Boston when the snow was deeper than what I wanted to plow through on Route 2A, and it snowed pretty frequently during our three years there.

    Then we were off to Minuteman National Historical Park, where the Battle of Concord is brought to life through the preservation and restoration of sites that were important on ďthat famous day and yearĒ when Colonists took up arms in defense of liberty and touched off the American Revolution.

    For that opening battle, the Town of Acton is quite proud of the fact that the Acton Company led the procession to the North Bridge when the Minutemen nearby saw smoke rising from the center of Concord. They suspected correctly that the smoke was coming from near the Colonial Inn where the Minutemenís arms stores had been found by the British Regulars and set afire. When the column of Minutemen approached the bridge, the British Light Companies who had been posted there fired a warning volley into the air, and then a volley directly into the Acton Company in the vanguard, killing Captain Isaac Davis. Also killed was Abner Hosmer, a fifer in the Acton Company.

    This prompted Major John Buttrick of the Concord Company to order a return volley, which killed three British soldiers immediately, wounded a fourth who died later, and wounded seven more, including half of the officers in the detachment. This was the first time that provincial troops had fired back on British soldiers under direct orders from their officers, which is why this incident is referred to as ďThe shot heard Ďround the world.Ē

    http://www.ngb.army.mil/resources/ph...ord_Bridge.jpg

    Near the North Bridge, you can reflect on the meaning of freedom in a tranquil, commemorative landscape that includes Daniel Chester French's Minuteman Statue.

    http://photo.net/photo/pcd2357/minut...tatue-20.4.jpg

    Along the five-mile Battle Road Trail you can travel back in time through a restored colonial landscape and retrace the steps of the British Regulars as they made the long journey back to Boston under fire from the Colonial militiamen. Parts of this trail follow the original route of the old Battle Road of April 19, 1775. Along the way, you can stop in and visit the Hartwell Tavern, a restored 18th-century tavern on Battle Road. It is now a living history center staffed by costumed Park Rangers who can offer you a glimpse of life in Revolutionary times.

    While we didnít see any re-enactments during our weekend trip, I could remember seeing many such re-enactments when we were living in nearby Acton. It was always something to hear all those muskets firing at the North Bridge. And the smoke they put out - if you were more than 100 yards away, the Minutemen would soon be completely obscured by the smoke from their own muskets.

    Hereís what the North Bridge looks like now during re-enactments:

    http://www.msc.navy.mil/annualreport...s/redcoats.jpg

    After spending all that time at Minuteman National Park, and walking in the footsteps of the Minutemen of 225 years ago, we were ready to head back to our hotel and take a little rest before going to dinner.

    For dinner, we tried Vinny Testaís, an Italian restaurant in Lexington. We got four large bowls, each with enough food for two people, to share among the four of us, so we each had twice as much as we should have. The most memorable part of the meal was that someone at a nearby table must have been one of those competitors in the hot dog eating contests that they always have everywhere these days. I donít really understand the attraction of these races, but this guy wolfed down one of his two-person bowls of food in less than a minute. The nice lady wanted to record this for posterity on her webcam, but I asked her to save it for better subjects. I subconsciously put my hand over the 1942 fourth quarter Parker Vacumatic Amber Pearl pen with a two-tone nib that I had in my pocket, although I didnít really know for sure if this guy would actually eat a fountain pen. I didnít want to take any chances, though.

    We then went back to the hotel to rest up for our next big day - which would be at glorious Fenway Park.

  11. #11
    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 9


    We got up bright and early on Sunday, September 24, 2000. Again the nice lady grumbled about needing to catch up on her beauty sleep, but I assured her she could do that on some other day that wasn’t going to be quite as momentous as this one, which was going to be highlighted by our visit to Fenway Park.

    We drove our rental car to Arlington, a suburb of Boston, and had a nice breakfast at a neighborhood diner. We got there at 9 AM and it was so crowded we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. You’re probably tired of hearing about what we ate and what we thought about our food, so I’m not going to give you any details about our breakfast.

    After we ate, we were off to the nearby Alewife Station on The T, which is the western end of the Red Line, and provides lots of indoor parking. We took the Red Line to Park Street, which intersects with the Green Line, to which we transferred so we could proceed onward to Kenmore Square, near Fenway Park. We trudged out of Kenmore Station, following all the natives who seemed to know where they were going. It turns out that they actually did know where they were going, and when we turned left from Brookline Avenue onto Yawkey Way at about 11 AM, there it was - the familiar faÁade of Fenway Park!

    http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/american/fenway04.jpg

    http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicv/vfiles14981.jpg

    We had seen pictures before, so it certainly wasn’t surprising to see it. But seeing the real thing instead of just pictures is a giant leap. It looked just like it did in the pictures, of course, but there was an added feeling from seeing the real thing that I can’t describe in words. And the street was filled with Red Sox fans who have the same love for the Red Sox as I have - I had never seen so many of them in the same place at the same time.

    We get lots of visitors from the Boston area to see Red Sox-Orioles games at Camden Yards in Baltimore, because it’s actually easier for Red Sox fans to get tickets to Camden Yards than it is to Fenway Park. Usually much more than half the crowd at Camden Yards is made up of Red Sox fans, some from the Baltimore area (the Red Sox seem to have fans all over the nation for some reason), but most of the Red Sox fans at Camden Yards are those who came down from New England. But here at Fenway Park almost everybody at the park was a Red Sox fan. And this was the Holy of Holies - The Shrine Itself - Magical Fenway Park.

    The smells of the hot dogs being grilled and the popcorn being popped and the peanuts being roasted added to the excitement of all the fans wearing Red Sox caps and jerseys, and various Red Sox souvenir hawkers screaming out whatever they were selling - pennants, baseball caps, jerseys, books, and lots of other things.

    My son Dave had his Red Sox cap on, which he had brought from home. Mike is an Orioles fan - I can’t remember if he wore his Orioles’ cap or not. We continued along the entire front faÁade of Fenway and then unknowingly came upon the players’ parking lot. We learned this from the many fans who were waiting there to see the players drive up.

    Just three minutes after we joined the group, who should drive up in his shiny white Mercedes but Pedro Martinez? All of us fans started cheering and the nice lady gave him the Liverpudlian Rebel Yell - that’s the way they do the Rebel Yell in Liverpool for those of you who are not lucky enough to know the nice lady like I do. Pedro told the nice lady he had never heard that before so the nice lady explained that he just hadn’t been to Liverpool before because they do it a lot for soccer players like David Beckham and Michael Owen over there. Then Pedro went on to the Red Sox locker room to get dressed in his Red Sox uniform, even though he wasn’t pitching that day, while his car just sat there right next to us. If he had left the keys in it, we could have driven it away. So we took a few pictures of David and Michael striking various poses with Pedro’s Mercedes in the background, but they were careful not to touch the car or get any of their fingerprints on it.

    We went on into Fenway Park, and took just a brief look at the concession stands inside the stadium. Being anxious to see the field, we proceeded to the first tunnel we could find going through to the seats. Sure enough, even as we were just entering the tunnel, there right smack in front of us was The Green Monster! The Green Monster is the left field wall - it is 37 feet tall, and had a 23-foot screen above it when we were there in 2000. It has changed a lot since then, and they have added lots of seats above The Green Monster. As far as I know, the only other outfield wall in major league ballparks with a name is the one in Minnesota’s Metrodome, where they have the ominously labeled “Baggy” in right field. “The Baggy” doesn’t really reflect the same sense of majesty as does The Green Monster.

    Here are some views of the park from the inside:

    http://searchwinit.techtarget.com/se...fenway2304.jpg

    http://www.boston-sports-travel.com/...en-monster.jpg

    http://mike.kruckenberg.com/images/f...ugust_2006.jpg

    Again, just as with the faÁade of Fenway, the Green Monster was a very familiar sight that we had seen in photographs and on television countless times before, but seeing it in person was an overwhelming experience. It looks just the same - only different, if you know what I mean, because that sounds crazy.

    Fenway Park is now the oldest major league stadium still standing, so a little history is in order here. The first two games at Fenway Park were rained out, so the new ballpark opened on April 20, 1912. That was the same day as the opening of Detroit’s Navin Field, later known as Tiger Stadium, and just five days after the sinking of the Titanic. The 35,000-seat ballpark was built in the Fenway section of Boston, an area known for its many fens, or marshes.

    Fenway is the oldest park now that Tiger Stadium has been demolished. Like most of baseball’s other old parks, it's cramped and even a little bit uncomfortable. Those other old parks have disappeared, but Fenway is still there. Red Sox fans continue to crowd into Fenway's cozy confines, pushing the Red Sox average annual attendance to over 2.5 million into the 21st century. They’ve come to Fenway in great numbers ever since the park opened, back in the years when the Red Sox regularly appeared in the World Series. The Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway in the park’s first year and won it three more times by 1918, but it took them another 86 years before they won it again, in 2004. Some thought the Red Sox were cursed when they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees after the 1919 season.

    The Red Sox won one of the most memorable game in World Series history, on October 21, 1975, when Carlton Fisk ended Game 6 against the Cincinnati Reds with a 12th-inning home run over The Green Monster just inside the left field foul pole. Remember that Carlton Fisk was the Red Sox catcher who was eating in the Howard Johnson’s on the rotary near the Concord Reformatory with his wife and two children back in 1973 or ’74 when I was eating at the very next table with my wife and three or four children, depending on exactly which year it was.

    Fisk’s homer would have been a dramatic shot in any park, but hitting it over The Green Monster made it that much better. The Green Monster still features a manually operated scoreboard that displays the line score and scores of other American League games. When you’re watching the numbers for the runs scored by inning on the scoreboard, you have to keep in mind that the white numbers are final for any given inning, but yellow numbers are for innings that are still going, so they can change if the team at bat continues scoring runs.

    In Morse code down the side of the scoreboard are the initials of Thomas A. and Jean R. Yawkey, who owned the Red Sox from 1933-93. The Green Monster also features a ladder that is in play. The sign says The Green Monster is 310 feet from home plate. It has been green only since 1947. Before that, Fenway’s left-field wall was covered with advertisements. The park is now on its third left field wall, and the current hard plastic wall was erected in 1976.

    Even with all the changes that have been made in the past several years to increase the seating and to try to make it more comfortable by today’s standards, Fenway still looks very much as it did decades ago. For many years, the roof over the grandstand in right featured retired Red Sox uniform numbers in the order they were retired: 9, 4, 1, and 8, eerily reminding us of September 4, 1918, the day before the start of the last World Series the Red Sox would win for close to a century. Shortly before our visit, Carlton Fisk's number 27 had been added. Later - after our visit - the numbers would be rearranged into numerical order and they now include Jackie Robinson’s number 42 which is displayed in all major league parks as a tribute to the man who bravely broke the color barrier in baseball.

    The right-field stands are only 302 feet from home plate at the foul pole. That foul pole was once nicknamed “Pesky’s Pole.” Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell coined the term, after Johnny Pesky hit a home run just beyond the pole. That home run was one of only six homers Pesky ever hit at Fenway Park, but it won the game for Parnell. Although the roof over the grandstand in right seems to invite home runs, no one has ever hit one over it.

    Back when I was a teenager in Texas and following the Red Sox very closely, Mel Parnell was one of my heroes. Of course my biggest hero was Ted Williams, and I had lots of his baseball cards. When Mel Parnell pitched a no-hitter in Fenway Park on July 14, 1956 against the Chicago White Sox, I saved the San Antonio Express newspaper that gave the details of that no-hitter. After many years it turned yellow, and then it turned brown. I don’t even know what happened to it after that. It probably got tossed with all of my baseball cards when I left home and my Mother cleaned out my room without my permission.

    In the next episode, we’ll get into the game between the Orioles and the Red Sox that we came all the way from the Washington, DC area to see.
    Last edited by DickZ; 02-20-2009 at 12:36 PM.

  12. #12
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    Weekend in Boston
    Part 10


    Since we had gotten to Fenway so early, we were able to watch the teams take their batting and infield practice sessions. Mike Mussina was the starting pitcher for the Orioles - this was back in the days before he left Baltimore to join the dreaded New York Yankees. On the mound for the Red Sox was Tomo Ohka, who had done very well in the Japanese League. His first team in the major leagues was the Red Sox, which he had joined in 1999. He has since moved on to other teams.

    Our seats were in right field, halfway between first base and Peskyís Pole, and about two-thirds up between the field and the back of the stands. We could see pretty well except for two problems which older ballparks have. There was a structural column which held up the upper deck above us. This column kept the upper deck from falling down on our heads, which was good, but it also impeded our view of the infield. I couldnít see Nomar (pronounced NO-maaah) Garciaparra, the Red Sox shortstop unless he moved from his normal position.

    Also, the upper deck extended so far out that it obscured high fly balls and infield popups from view until they came back down to earth. But sacrifices like these are considered just a part of what you have to accept to keep all the advantages and charm of old Fenway Park. Recent movements to rebuild the field with modern techniques have met stiff resistance and have failed miserably. The Red Sox will stay at Fenway Park long beyond its hundredth birthday, which is fast approaching.

    The pitchers fought tooth-and-nail through a scoreless duel into the eighth inning. Itís hard to describe a pitchersí duel, but it can be just as exciting in its own way as a slugfest. Sort of like soccer - even when there is little scoring, the THREAT of a score is just as exciting as the score itself. Thatís why some people donít like baseball or soccer - they want more action because they donít agree that the threat of scoring can be as good as the scoring itself. But we wonít get into that argument in this story.

    In the top of the eighth inning, the Oriolesí Brady Anderson came through with a single and was run for by Jesse Garcia. A single to right by Luis Matos moved Garcia to third base, and then he scored on a Eugene Kingsale sacrifice fly to center.

    The Red Sox got a runner to third with none out in the bottom of the ninth with the following sequence. Carl Everett walked and was pinch run for by Otis Gilkey. Scott Hatteberg singled, advancing Gilkey to second. Donnie Sadler got a bunt single near the pitcher, sending Gilkey to third and Hatteberg to second. Gilkey then tried to score on a fly ball by Brian Daubach to shallow left, but was thrown out at the plate for a double play. Itís hard to make it home when the fielder is in shallow left field, but it was certainly worth the try since the end of the game was quickly approaching. Then Trot Nixon flied out to center to end the game, so the Orioles emerged as the 1-0 victors.

    Nobody had hit anything over The Green Monster - and nobody had even bounced anything off The Green Monster either. But The Green Monster stayed in play and remained easily visible for the whole game.

    We didnít hear Neil Diamondís ďSweet CarolineĒ in the eighth inning, as that tradition didnít start until 2002. Nowadays, they really make the place vibrate with that great song - at least thatís what Iíve heard from others. I donít remember if they had a predecessor song back then in 2000 when we were there.

    After the game, we went into the store on Yawkey Way, right across the street from Fenway Park, to do some shopping for Red Sox memorabilia. We just got a few items, because despite my love of the Red Sox, I donít want to have a place looking like Benís apartment in the movie Fever Pitch where he had just about every Red Sox item ever made and his walls were entirely covered with posters. Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much.

    Since most of the 34,000 or so fans who fill up Fenway Park use The T for coming and going, the crowds getting onto the trains are quite large for a long time after the game. Rather than waiting in the long lines going down into Kenmore Station, we opted to stop off at a nice little bagel shop in Kenmore Square, so we could relax with some bagels and coffee while the bulk of the crowd cleared out.

    When we got back to Lexington, we had a leisurely dinner at a small restaurant near the hotel, and hit the hay early, because we were really tuckered out from our exciting day at Fenway, and we had to rise and shine early the next morning for our train back home. And Franklin didnít want us to miss the train!! For the benefit of those who just skim lightly over this story and donít remember the earlier discussion of Franklin, he was my cat who was impatiently awaiting our return from our weekend adventures. He wasnít all that happy about being left alone for more than a few hours at a time because he always liked being petted and scratched and brushed and having his belly rubbed.

    The next morning, we had to return our rental car and get a cab to ride over to Alewife Station to get The T for returning to South Station. However, to make our train we had to leave pretty early. While we were checking out from the hotel, I asked the desk clerk to call a cab to pick us up at the car rental place, because the place wasnít going to be open for a few hours yet. Well, when he called as we were standing there, we wondered just how in the heck the person at the other end of the line was supposed to understand him. He sounded like he had about three dozen socks stuffed into his mouth or something. It was strange, because he spoke just fine to us while we were checking out. He actually made the Ďlow talkerí on the Seinfeld show sound like a real loudmouth.

    We drove over to the car rental office and put our keys into the little slot so they wouldnít think we were forgetful or anything, and began to wait for our cab. We waited and waited and waited some more, but I didnít see any cabs driving up to our place. We concluded that the cab dispatcher had the same difficulties understanding the hotel desk clerk as we did.

    I started worrying about missing our train and what Franklin would do if we missed it, and there werenít any phones that I could see. While I now have a cell phone that I leave in my glove compartment, or take with me on trips like the Weekend in Boston, back then in 2000 I didnít have one.

    I walked down the road about a quarter of a mile and found a diner that was open, and they let me use their phone to call another cab. I got back quickly to the car rental place where the nice lady and the boys were waiting, and the cab showed up in a few minutes. Then we were off to Alewife Station.

    When we got to the station, the driver told me the fare was $8, so I pulled out my money and would you believe I only had $20 bills? The driver didnít have any change, nor did either of the boys. The nice lady said she only had English money because she had just gotten back from a visit to Liverpool. So the driver got an extra big tip.

    We rushed off to catch our T, and we arrived at South Station just about three minutes before our train left to take us back to Union Station. We took the Metro back to my place from Union Station and encountered only one group of protesters on their way to complain about something (we get lots of protesters in Washington). They had signs saying various disparaging things about the shoemaker Nike and the companyís labor practices. The unusual aspect of this protest is that most of the protesters were wearing Nike shoes, so I guess their concerns only addressed the labor practices used for shoes that were made for people other than themselves.

    We finally got back to my apartment. Man, was Franklin glad to see us get back - he had been wondering what in the blazes had happened to us, and why some stranger had been coming in to give him food and clean out his litterbox. And he was plum tuckered out from hiding under the bed every time that stranger entered the place.

    THE END

  13. #13
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    This was quite a nice and witty thread. (I didn't click on the pix, but I read the text.) Couple of more comments in your PM message box, as I don't want to squander the LitNet's bandwidth on minutiae of an "inside baseball" nature.

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