Ideas and Ersters
|photo courtesy of |
All that AND oysters. What's not to love?
I've been back since that trip and now Boston is standard anytime we are on the East Coast. This time, I was again at a lack for specific plans--save for the MFA, of course, also standard. So, I employed a little deductive reasoning which went something like, "Big city. Symphony? Boston has a symphony. Is it symphony season? Wait, Boston has the Boston Pops. (checking Internet) What's playing at the Pops today or tomorrow, the 3rd or 4th of July? ...Boston Pops on the 4th...that rings a bell. Why does that sound so familiar...? Oh, oh, wait, OMG, THE POPS ON THE 4TH? THE BIGGEST FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN THE COUNTY, THAT'S ALL! OMG, WHAT SERENDIPITY, WHAT LUCK!+! ...Well then, that takes care of tomorrow. Wonder what I should do tonight?" (In the interest of complete accuracy, I actually arrived on the night of the second, but after a full day's drive and what would have entailed a long train ride into the city (far too expensive to stay in Boston proper, and no need with their awesome T system), I opted to hike over to the local Legal Seafood and begin "Oysterfest" with all due haste.
|Me and Buddha, we go back |
more than a decade
Seeing again much admired objects of art is like seeing old friends only I do most of the talking. And so many old friends to see! Not to mention new ones to meet. As it happened, I ran out
|Hey, whatcha doin' up there?|
The place was so crowded (can't imagine why on the 3rd of July. It's a good thing I never remember to take crowds into account before I decide to go somewhere--I'd never go anywhere cool), I was lucky to get a seat at the bar. But there I happily sat with my water and beer and JD on the rocks and salad and dozen oysters leaving little room for the patrons to either side of me. Oh, well.
I confess--if "confess" is the correct word to denote something one does which feels very right--to having an ulterior motive for wanting to be at the Pops 4th Celebration. Boston, as I've said is where I go to feel American, especially when it is where I can stand in solidarity with other Americans deeply unnerved by a recent terrorist attack. Boston, could have, would have been well within their rights to have, and in light of the fact that they'd received threats maybe should have cancelled the whole event. But then again, how could they? Bostonians, too, feel very American. It is their birthright. And as such, they feel they bear a special responsibility to show the world they will not be cowed.
I expected that attendance would be comparatively small, but having nothing to compare it to, I decided not to take any chances on getting a good seat, or rather, bit of ground and arrived just before 1p.m., six-and-a-half hours before the start of the show, my iPad and a book alone for company. What followed was the longest six-and-a-half land-based hours of my life. However, knowing that once I chose my spot, further sustenance would be long in coming, I began the day with...why oysters, of course. On the recommendation of my server of the night before, I headed to the North End to a place renowned for their oysters, only to find that, alas, they were closed for the holiday. No matter, or not much, at any rate; the restaurant two doors down boasted a selection of oysters and was open for business. I was their first customer. I ordered 2 each of 6 different types and an antipasto plate--it is the North End, after all. Happy was I to discover that by the last oyster, I had had my fill of oysters. Off to the esplanade!
You already know that the festivities went off without a hitch because you heard nothing about it. Upon entering the park I was asked whether I wanted to see the show or the fireworks. "Can't I see both?" "No," the gate person responded and doing an admirable, albeit unintended, impression of the scarecrow, explained that the fireworks display was on one end of the esplanade and the show on the other. Having a presence of mind with which I surprised myself, I asked if I would be able to see the fireworks from the stage area and was told no. "Well, can I hear the music from where I can see the fireworks?" There were speakers throughout the park and so, I was told, I could. That decided that. In fact, there was a jumbotron LED screen about halfway back upon which I was able to see as well as hear the whole show.
...And then the fireworks.
I thought it was just for the 1812 Overture, it and the cannons that boomed and reverberated to the beat. But that was just the preview, the pre-dusk appetizer, if you will. The main event was no less than 30 minutes long with illuminations I've never seen before. Smiley faces!? Clusters of lanternlike flairs hanging motionless, drifting on the wind, extinguishing themselves slowly, slowly (no shots of either, sadly; I was too mesmerized to move). Color combinations and monochromatic explosions were accompanied by a medley of songs, triumphant, sad, and grateful.
Afterward, I followed the ever-attenuating crowd toward what I hoped would be a useable T station and despite a few missteps found a train that would return me to the parking garage where my car would, in turn, carry me back my dank, little chamber of a room (or so I told Jane).
Farewell, Boston, heart of my American heart. Until next time.
Next stop: The Big Apple