Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wicked Pissah.

So now Southwest flies directly between Chicago and Boston, and I took advantage of it to go back a couple of weeks ago for the centennial party of 7 Bailey. I saw so many people, and had such a good time. The breakdown:

Saturday afternoon: Ev and I ate at a new restaurant in Lower Mills. I got a Greek salad, which seemed a little odd, and on the way home I realized what the problem had been: it had been a Caesar salad. At the apartment, she gave me a most excellent birthday present: a tank top from The Boston Derby Dames Roller Derby league, The Team? The Wicked Pissahs. Of Course! I spent the afternoon doing some clearing in the yard's back garden. That evening, Ev made us dinner in her fabulous new kitchen. Later I went to Caballeros Market to get some ice cream - I'd always loved the people at that corner market. I was pleased to see that they were doing well. Music was playing, they were joking with customers. They speak English, but because everyone was speaking Spanish while I was there, I automatically asked "How much" in Spanish, so we had a little conversacion con sabor.

"How much for both?"
"$5.99. You have money?" Flirtatious.
"I have enough." Back at him.
"You have money but you also have a very rich face."
"Why thank you."

I love those guys.

Sunday: cookout at Ma's, saw the family, met my cousin Michelle's new BF (they're shacking up, which is rare n our family; we tend to just get married and either live in regret or get divorced. Go them, I say). My mother threw me a surprise birthday party, which was very sweet. All in all, a good, good time. That evening headed to Cambridge to meet old college buddies at The Helmand. What a great time! I hadn't seen two of them for over 20 years, and my roommate I'd only seen once in that time They were all the same and it was terrific to be with them again. Going to ENC may not impress people and it may not have opened doors for me, but I loved going to school there.

Monday: lunch with my old gang at Analytics, and saw their new digs, which are very nice. They had arranged a catered lunch, so we ate around the conference table and I met some of the new folks. It was good seeing everyone again. Walked through Downtown Crossing (farewell, Filene's- *sigh*) - and hit the common. I was pleased to see that Richard was still flying his kite from his wheelchair, using a fishing pole. His old dog, Buster, is gone, but another cute little dog accompanies him these days. I stopped to say hi and have a try at the kite (I wasn't very good). It began to cloud over so I helped him pack up his stuff, and headed to the Public Gardens. The rain began, so I stood under a tree, and then moved to a Weeping Beech when it got heavier. A young man stepped under it, too. I was talking with Sven on my cell and realized I had an umbrella on me. The man seemed very concerned about staying dry, so I hung up and offered him my umbrella.

A couple were dancing and jumping in the downpour, and I liked their attitude. I let the man have the entire umbrella and I walked beside him in the rain, son drenched through, calling out to everyone huddled under trees and on the Swan Boat landing, "GIVE IN! MOTHER NATURE HAS WON! DANCE! DANCE!" The man informed me that he was French.

I know what you're thinking: "Woooo - a romantic umbrella shared with a Frenchman in the rain in the middle of a gorgeous garden paradise." Well, no. This Frenchman wasn't an Alexandre Dumas-style Frenchman; he was more the "I look like an old man at 35 and will cling to my municipal sinecure for dear life and never EVER walk in the rain" Frenchman.

So I walked him to the Arlington stop, took my umbrella, and walked back through the Public Gardens (the man was actually staying at at a town near the house in Dorchester and was headed for the same stop I was, but I didn't think I could carry the vivacity of the conversation all that way.)

That evening I met my old boss and we took the train to his place in Dover. It was great to see his wife again, and I met one of his daughters, born after I'd left. She demonstrated her Downward Dog yoga pose for us in a variety of rooms, instructing us on the proper viewing positions in each, then it was time for bed. The guest room had the baby's crib in it, so I stayed in the "barn," which is actually a huge outbuilding where my "room" was a vaulted cavern with a TV the side of a billboard, couches, a bed, and a bath. Rough living, indeed!

Tuesday: I took the train back with my boss and met Jessica in Concord for a wonderful meal and an evening of catching up. Good, good times. It's always so nice to reconnect with old friends, such a comfortable feeling. We walked around Concord and found some private school grounds with some Adirondack chairs that we helped ourselves to. I miss those times, and hope we get to chat more.

Wednesday: Drove to Rhode Island to see Forrie, Dee, and their daughter, Cara, whom I'd never met. Forrie is still hilarious Dee is lovely, and Cara is precious. What a nice family. (Forrie and Dee were a few days away from their 5th wedding anniversary. Congratulations!) Cara demonstrated her rendition of "Psycho Killer," (it's very good), and we had a nice lunch out. The time went by too quickly, and I headed back to Dorchester. Ev and I had dinner at another new local spot, A Tavola which was tasty, although we agreed the decor was a bit odd.

Thursday: I met Maggie in Braintree and we drove to her new studio in Rockland -- what a nice new place! Beats the heck out of our old drafty, leaky locale, and her flying pig sculpture looked right at home. We then headed to the Marshfield Fair where we ate crap food and looked at livestock (what more can a girl want? ) She dropped me off at the Red line and I headed to Alewife (let me insert here that in Boston, going from Braintree to Alewife means traveling through 6 towns/cities; in Chicago, the same distance on the red line means you're still in Chicago), where I met my friend Deb, who took me to the new condo she and her husband bought in Lincoln. She prepared an amazing meal from a recipe a friend of ours had created for a Vegetarian Times contest. It had won first place. Can I just say, you can't go wrong with puff pastry. And Deb's minestrone soup is to. die. for.

I got up and headed for the JFK library to pay my respects to Ted Kennedy. The lines the night before had been over three hours long, but this day I was only in line for about an hour. There were all kinds of people in the line, and it was entertaining just to listen to them talk ("People say he shouldn't have a Catholic burial because he was pro-choice. I'm sorry; that is a Human RIGHTS issue, and who are we to judge." "See those boys shaking hands? I can tell they're Kennedys. They have that Kennedy look - a 'movie stah' look I call it."

It was all very moving. Just inside the entrance to the museum was a large poster of a photo of John F Kennedy as a young adolescent, standing in his swim trunks. A young Bobby Kennedy sat at his feet, and baby Ted was on his shoulders. I was glad for my hankie, especially as I passed the casket. Ted was senator before I was born; it's like he was a part of my family, and I'll truly miss him. His personal life was a mess, but as a senator he did a lot for Massachusetts and for the country. He was the real deal.

I stood in line to sign a condolence book (there were several such lines, many people deep), and as I stood there a little girl of no more than ten, dressed in a grey dress and black cardigan, was walking up and down the lines all by herself. She came to me, shook my hand very firmly and said, "I'm Noah Kennedy, Thank you for coming out today." Unbelievable. At 10 I was afraid to use the telephone.

Wrote a message to Ted, then headed out to get supplies for the party.

Saturday was the big day, and the weather was awful. We'd already made plans to move the party inside. Ev's caterer friend worked out of Ev's fabulous new kitchen, and the guy who lives in my old place opened it up for the party. So it worked out that the last party I had before I left and the first party I held after I left were in the same place. The sangria flowed, the food was AMAZING, and we had plenty of guests, all of them fun - at one point there was a guitar sing-along in the living room. I got to see many people I hadn't seen in too long, and overall had just a great time.

Sunday Maggie and I had lunch in Central Square - alas, Gandhi restaurant is now gone, but we still had Shalimar. I then hopped the train to the Airport and was home sweet home to see my critters.

It was really good seeing everyone, and I was so glad to get back after a two-year absence. It also helped my perspective in that, as familiar as everything was, and despite all the good memories that Boston brought back, Chicago feels like my home now. It's good to know that for now I'm where I belong. Now that Southwest flies (and can I say how much I love that airline?) I'm hoping I can go back more, and that friends can visit here. A couple of hours isn't so far away!


SP said...

You should have taken the Cesar salad and thrown it on the floor at Logan.

JC said...

I opted for sneaking up on it and stabbing it with a fork.