I Left Something Precious Behind

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy being strapped inside a 820,000 pound tin box, traveling at speeds of 200 mph, while precariously landing on an icy runway. It seems irresponsible. Who’s idea was this anyway? Oh yeah, my husband Larry, and I’m ever so grateful. Arriving in Boston during the winter comes with its own set of challenges, but I’m in search of something precious, and will not be deterred. 

Rick Riordan says, “I guess no true Bostonian would trust a place that was sunny and pleasant all the time. But a gritty, perpetually cold and gloomy neighborhood? Thrown in a couple of Dunkin’ Donuts location, and I right at home.” Not that I purposely try to complicate things, but I do have a broken foot (praying my foot doctor doesn’t read The Boston Globe), and Dr. Kahan would not approve of a six hour flight across the country just weeks after a clumsy fall. If you happen to survive the flight (in economy) you end up with a great deal of swelling of the appendages. It’s not conducive to healing, in fact Dr. Kahan claims it counterproductive, thank God I’m not a rule follower.

We took the red-eye (appropriately named) so we could maximize our time with Kelley, our youngest daughter, who has relocated to Boston for various reasons, predominately a handsome young man who has captured her heart.  

On a wing and a prayer, we narrowly survive a tricky landing, I don’t usually dwell on the negatives, but dragging our sleepy asses off the plane at 4:00 am is excruciating, not to mention limping a mile to baggage with a swollen foot, no less than heroic, I may have been the only one to notice.

Bill Bryson claims, “Boston’s freeway system is insane. It was clearly designed by a person who had spent his childhood crashing toy trains.” We hail a taxi, grateful for the warm coach, the drive across town is nothing less than enchanting. It’s like watching a historical film, whisking by seventeenth century buildings with elaborate copper accents, elegant arched bridges, an iconic waterfront, and the lighting is simply magical. 

We arrive at Kelley’s apartment in swanky BackBay by 4:30 am. Kelley meets us at the door, in rumpled pajamas, with a huge smile. I say bravo, show me the bed. Oh, one small detail, the elevator is out. She lives on the fourth floor. Yeah, and Job thought he had it bad. 

We are unconscious until 10:00 am.

Her swanky domicile is a beautiful brownstone walk up on Commonwealth Avenue in a fetching part of town. The apartment is open, spacious, and airy, with hardwood floors throughout (I sound like a real estate agent), and a mahogany framed fireplace that centers the living room. The furniture, a mixture of classic modern, invites one warmly into the space. I must say I feel right at home. Maybe a little too comfortable, as I make room in her closet for my wrinkled clothes, and took over the front bath with my grooming supplies (the older I get the more I need). Kelley is ever so accommodating, this might be wishful thinking, but I do believe she’s hoping to prolong our stay?

Sipping coffee in the office, watching the news, as the morning sun flows into a trio of bay windows is the ultimate in relaxing. I’m overjoyed to note my appendages have returned to normal. 

Taking an Uber into town, we land at the Blue Dragon for lunch, sharing the ‘best’ hamburger I’ve ever eaten, along with fries, and a pesto sandwich. I say to hell with the diet while I’m in Boston. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough,” claims Mae West. I’m forced to agree. 

If one were to believe everything one read of Boston’s notable eating establishments, one would think Boston had the ‘best’ of everything. The best delicate crudo would be found at Cafe Sushi, the best gourmet doughnuts at Kane’s, the best Neapolitan pizza under the Tobin Bridge, the best lobster rolls at Alive and Kickin, the best cannoli at Maria’s, the best chowder at Atlantic Fish, the best oysters at Union Oyster, and the possibly the best Irish coffees at Kelley’s Pub (although nothing comes close to the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco). Kelley says, “every restaurant claims to have the ‘best’ of something, this is Boston, they’re a little taken with themselves.” I completely understand, I’m taken with my own, and known to gush on occasion. 

We spent several hours strolling along cobblestone streets in the South End surrounded by a robust combination of old and new architecture. Brick, granite, and stone structures dominate the landscape. We spent hours browsing through dusty antique stores, vintage dress shops, and when we can no longer feel our toes, stopping in a quaint pub for a pint. Purely medicinal of course. Julia Ward Howe claims Boston is an oasis in the desert, a place where the larger proportion of people are loving, rational and happy. Amidst all this irrational joy, exhaustion took us down, after a spectacular dining experience at Eataly, a vibrant Italian market blocks from my daughters apartment, we watched The Town with Ben Affleck, and retired early.

Rising with with sun, we spent the day shopping and eating along Newbury Street, after a stroll through the Boston Public Gardens. There is still snow on the ground but that doesn’t seem to deter the swarms of people walking the streets after the first appearance of the sun in weeks. The atmosphere is electric, spontaneous, lively. 

As a mother, I couldn’t help but notice Kelley’s lack of proper coffee mugs (she has two yeti mugs and one ceramic type procured from a dubious source). She also has a gorgeous bouquet of flowers wilting on the counter without a vase? I consider this an emergency, we stop in at Simon Pearce to rectify the situation, and leave enormously satisfied with four charcoal mugs, and a gorgeous hand blown clear glass vase. Returning to the apartment to ice the foot, touch-up our hair (Kelley worked miracles on my locks with her Dyson styler), we hail an Uber, and roll into an epic evening.

“Boston does not represent the quintessential excellence of all the world’s cities synthesized into a paradigm of urban beauty and virtue, but it is a place at once characteristic, mellow and mature, and possessed of many qualities not entirely divorced from charm,” writes Lucius Beebe. Kelley suggests we start off with appetizers at Kava Neo Taverna, a Greek restaurant known for their deep fried cucumber chips with tzatziki sauce, and it’s absolutely appropriate to moan while eating. I can’t say why but she insisted we have a drink at The Gallows before dining, the actual site of heinous executions back in the day, felt a little ghoulish, but more lively in 2019. 

Then on to our main meal at Boston Chops, an extremely popular restaurant, but foolishly we arrive without a reservation. As one would expect, it’s packed. My foot is swelling, the first available table is a two hour wait, so with a twenty dollar bill Kelley works her magic on the maitre d, and we totally score a table. I can’t believe it. Larry is duly impressed, I am thankful, Kelley remains unscathed. I admit the steak was the ‘best’.

On the day before President’s Day we decide to hit the John F. Kennedy Library. It seems small for a presidential library, unique Kennedy paraphernalia categorized and beautifully displayed, with interesting detail about the Kennedy dynasty, but nothing about his assassination, or his notorious affair with Marilynn Monroe. I can see leaving Marilynn in the dust but his death is certainly paramount to his legacy? We left feeling slightly jilted. 

Our return flight leaves at the crack of dawn, not my favorite time of day, so we book a room in the north end, close to the airport, and a vibrant downtown. Leaving Kelley’s apartment is difficult, the time went so quickly, well at least for me. I consider leaving something important behind, something that would require retrieving, but then I realize I already have, my sweet daughter. 

The three of us Uber over to The Bostonian, check in, and walk around Faneuil Hall Marketplace until the cold chases us into Kelley’s Pub for the ‘best’ Irish coffee. Totally hit the spot. After which I am forced to walk a mile or so, past Paul Revere’s house mind you, finally stopping at a little pub for a glass of wine. 

We sent Kelley over to the famous Ristorante Limoncello, as a huge line is forming on the sidewalk, and of course we don’t have a reservation. Once again, after a brief chat with the owner, Kelley manages to score a cozy table, with an extra chair to elevate my foot. I have no idea how she does it? 

Not wanting to say goodbye, we end our evening at The Bostonian hotel bar, and land next to a lively couple doing much the same. They have this incredible lobster cannelloni which they graciously share with us. While exchanging pleasantries we discover some unique similarities, all of us married in 1983, ended up with four kids, one of which transplanted to Boston. I think their contact info ended up in my phone? Kelley picked up the tab for the entire group before Ubering home. It’s been said that liking Boston is like saluting the flag, I couldn’t agree more, hoping to return in the very near future. As you know I left something precious behind. 



PS – I hate to admit it, but I woke up with the flu, apparently it’s not enough to have a broken foot, but let’s add severe nausea, excruciating head ache, hourly retching, and various other unmentionables. Job’s got nothing on me, I think God is testing me, and I may have failed.  



I’m Limping in the Gap, drop by anytime, we’ll ice our appendages. 


Anecdotes:

  • Boston is actually the capital of the world. You didn’t know that? We breed smart-ass, quippy, funny people. Not that I’m one of them. I just sorta sneaked in under the radar. John Krasinski
  • When you think about Boston, Harvard and M.I.T. are the brains of the city, and its soul might be Faneuil Hall or the State House or the Old Church. But I think the pulsing, pounding heart of Boston is Fenway Park. John Williams
  • Growing up, I think I was arrested 20-odd times by the Boston police. The good news is that I’ve been able to use those experiences in a lot of my roles, and that has been a blessing. Mark Wahlberg






4 Comments

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  1. Great blog!!! Made me feel like was back there again….and OK, I’ll admit to a bit of drooling while reading!! Sometimes your blogs need to come with a warning!!!Ps….sorry to hear you’re sick!! That so sucks!!

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  2. So excited to see your name appear in the comments Sue, thanks for posting. Visiting Boston was one of the best weekends we've had in a while, so much to see, eat, and explore! I can't wait to return. Kelley lives in an amazing neighbor, fabulous shops and restaurants, all within walking distance (assuming you have no broken parts). What a beautiful city, vibrant, colorful, and alive. Eating our way through Boston extraordinary, the flu was not the homecoming I expected, I may survive.

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  3. Hi! Enjoyed reading this entry. Nothing like a visit to one’s child to induce a cross country red eye flight. Kids are worth it though. Every time I read your blog, I seem to get hungry (not sure why) and may even gain weight. Boston does seem to have a certain historical charm. I visited once right after the Celtics won an NBA title. It was a madhouse. Most recently I had to go see the Giants at Fenway. Gail commented that when she and a friend sat on the steps of Faneuil Hall, they saw a mom with a stroller and at that moment they both decided it was time to have kids. (I think my son Tyler owes someone for that.) Love that you quoted Julia Ward Howe. A truly amazing person. Abolitionist, suffragette and poet. I love reading of what prompted her to write the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Stunningly brilliant lyrics. Really glad that you are back on Facebook. I think it will help your blog prosper, so to speak. Please be careful. No more tragedies, fractures, sprains or flu’s. Get some sleep!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5iOF0_z7MM

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  4. Greetings Michael, I had absolutely no idea I would fall so quickly for Boston, it's true, I'm in love, and my travel budget might me in deep trouble! When Tim asked us to fly back the following weekend I was secretly thrilled for various obvious reasons but also to be reunited with this beloved city. It takes a week for my stomach to stop expecting deposits of extraordinary food every hour. Seriously, it's a problem. \”You had to go see the Giants at Fenway,\” Larry has the same need? We're planning to attend a few sporting events next time we're in town, give us something to do besides eating and drinking. Love Gail's story about catching the motherhood bug at Faneuil Hall! That's a keeper, along with Tyler. The thing I fantasized about while limping about Faneuil was lobster? I'll have to read up on Julia's inspiration for writing the Battle Hymn of the Republic? Intriguing. Nancy and I are moving about with extra care and I can report no recent bouts with invisible objects or flus! We're rolling!

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