A Little Work - A Little Play
20 July 2008 | Boston
Beth - 30C, hazy, humid
Before Jim left for Ottawa we spent a little time browsing around Boston, and I've done some more of it each day after I knocked something off my to-do list.
On Thursday, we strolled along Salem St in the North End - an area we enjoyed when we were here in the fall. It's the Italian section, and we loved the narrow street, the alleys, the fire-stairs zigzagging down the sides of the brick buildings, the window boxes and little shops. At Mercato del Mare, we bought two halibut steaks and a half-pound of shrimp. This was the first halibut we've had in some time, and the lady said our little pieces came from a 135 pounder! They were wonderfully fresh and Jim BBQ'd them perfectly - just nicely seared on the outside and still moist inside. A squeeze of lemon, some pepper and they were ready to eat along with grilled potatoes and a broccoli salad. I sautéed the shrimp in olive oil and garlic with a splash of white wine another night - juicy and tender and oh so good - and all for me because Jim was gone!
The so-called farmers market I went to on Friday was a disappointment; there wasn't a single local vendor. All the veggies came out of the same boxes I could have found in the grocery stores. I'm missing the magnificent veggies Tina and I bought from Jodi in Fernandina Beach. Grumble, grumble.
I must say, the Americans know how to do memorials. Another stroll Jim and I took was through the Holocaust Memorial. It is a deceptively simple memorial - designed to be walked through - consisting of a series of tall glass towers inscribed with thousands of tattoo numbers overlaid with short statements from survivors. A time-line of events is inscribed on one wall, and along the walkways are other statements of fact that made us pause. It is a moving walk, and extremely well designed with visual and kinesthetic layers to it. What's more, it is right in the touristy area - just down the way from the fountains with children playing - where families can walk together and talk about that part of our world history.
In the other direction from the dinghy dock, another plaza has statements from immigrants inscribed in the paving stones, and over at the new North End Park, panels detailing the history of the area circle the gardens. Last year when we followed the Freedom Trail through this area we visited more tributes to those who lived and worked here.
I took the subway out to the JFK Museum on Sunday afternoon, and it's a winner. For starters, it's an absolutely gorgeous granite and glass building on a beautiful piece of waterfront over in South Boston. Designed by I.M.Pei, the proportions and vistas seem just right. At the end we emerged into a glorious high atrium - all glass and girders and views of the water and the sky.
I had forgotten that he served only three short years; I'd forgotten that he insisted on desegregation of schools and backed it up with action, and that, along with his sister Eunice, he had done so much for the good of mentally challenged and mentally ill people; I'd forgotten that he pushed ahead the space exploration program and I didn't ever know that he initiated the Peace Corps or the Special Olympics.
There are many displays of letters to and from the President, video footage and audio recordings of his life leading up to his presidency and the highlights of his term in office.
At the end, we turned a corner, walked between black walls and came to the TV screens where we saw Walter Cronkite announcing the shooting in Dallas that finished his presidency. It didn't finish his legacy.
Reviewing the life and work of this man reinforced my belief that you don't have to be perfect to be great. It's kind of like a multifaceted gemstone - even if one facet is scratched, the stone still sparkles.
On my way back to the harbour, I took a walk through the Granary Cemetery and found among all the illustrious ones, an intriguing little headstone inscribed to the "Elizabeth Hurd, amiable and virtuous comfort to John Hurd." It was a nice variation from "wife of" and it made me chuckle.
When I haven't been out exploring, I've been doing some badly needed boat chores. I scraped the brightwork and put on a fresh coat of cetol. It certainly isn't a perfect job, and will need to be redone later, but I just couldn't stand to see all the bare bits on the rub rails. Madcap is such a beautiful boat and she was looking pretty sad. I also sprayed lemon juice over the ICW moustache and it cleaned it up pretty well. The cockpit is shiny again, and in another 24 hours the stainless will be too.
I thought we might get the storm that I heard the Coast Guard warning about on Saturday night - with gusts up above 30 knots and hail - so I double secured everything, took the flags down and reviewed our "what to do if" procedures, but it passed us by completely. We haven't had even enough wind to run the wind generator so I've had to turn on the engine for an hour each morning. We did get a good soaking rain on Sunday afternoon, and another one during the night; back in the days when I had a garden, I'd have been delighted!
In the meantime, Jim is having an excellent time in Ottawa - visiting with old friends, seeing our boys and meeting with his boss to come up with a plan for some meaningful work next year!