Susan's Blog

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

They’re My Blue Sky

Walk along the river,
sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing,
It don’t worry ’bout where it’s going, no, no.
–Allman Brothers

Yesterday, Patriot’s Day, was a double header for Boston: the Marathon, and the Red Sox. I think Patriot’s Day is one of my favorite state holidays here because it is almost always a beautiful day. The combination of outdoor activity + late April in Boston makes people want to go outside in droves and feel their hearts beating and their muscles working.

When I was driving back from my morning work out at the gym, I heard Ned’s voice in my head, asking me to try to take Ben with me food shopping. We are feeling so anxious about Ben’s love for the Great Indoors that even a trip to the supermarket would be something of an accomplishment. Truly, we are worried a bit about him and we continue to wrestle with his truculent, overly-focused psyche and infuse him with gentle flexibility, open air, and empathy.

But, I thought, food shopping? I hate food shopping. There is very little to love about it. Why treat Benji like an appendage to my shopping cart? I knew what Ned really wanted: to get Ben out into the world a little more. And I wanted it, too. Especially given the day.

I told Ben and Max, when I got home, that we were going to take a little walk with our cameras, and we would see what they photographed afterward. I thought maybe the Arboretum, which is in bloom with pear trees, crabapples, and cherries right now. Ben seemed mildly interested, especially when I mentioned the trails. Max looked at me as if I had told him it was time for his surgery.

“Just an hour,” I said. “You guys can pick the place we walk, okay?”
Max brightened at that, and said, “Can it end in Best Buy?”
Being a veteran shopper myself, I couldn’t see why not. “Sure,” I said, “I’ll try out Rock Band again.”

They gave me no trouble, and as we walked over to Brookline Ave., Ben said, “Do I have to take pictures?”
“No,” I replied. Max offered to carry his camera. Ben began to complain about the distance right away, but we kept going. Max wanted to show us where he liked to walk with his friends when they didn’t have enough money to take the T there. It was a dirt path along the Muddy River, for which our town was originally named, that led along The Riverway through to the Emerald Necklace, the riverside park leading into Boston and designed, I believe, by Frederick Law Olmsted himself (who created Central Park in NYC) in the 19th century (The Olmsted Homestead is actually a National Historic Site and is located in Brookline). I had never seen The Riverway this way, because I had always kept to the sidewalks or, of course, the road.

We passed people lounging on benches, Canadian geese sitting and staring, and even a pair of perfectly good, vacated Bean boots. Max kept taking pictures, I think he was looking for graffiti. We went under bridges and up an embankment to a small, circular building with a cone-shaped roof, clearly an old fixture from the park’s beginnings. Utterly dirty and smelly inside. I felt a moment’s irritation with the City of Boston for allowing this bit of history to just crumble away, and for allowing the homelessness of its inhabitants to begin with.

But the day was for my sons and the sun and not for political invective, so we kept going, arriving at Best Buy tired but psyched to play. After our time there, we went to Coldstone Creamery, a strangely dark red ice cream store, and we all had ice creams (they had a fat-free, sugar free white flavor, which also turned out to be flavor-free). At first an exciting place, filled with over-the-top flavors like “cake batter” and things like that, but it is very confusing, hard to decipher the offerings, and the help is all college students who could barely give a shit. I spent nearly $15 on three ice creams. But sitting outside in the sun with my boys made it all worth it.

We took the T home, and it was full of happy Red Sox fans who had left after the sixth inning because the Sox were ahead 8-0. There was also a Marathon runner or two, finished with their 26-mile mission. Within minutes we got to our stop and after the brief walk home, we were finished with ours. A good day.


Sounds like a great day!

I have a slight correction … Yesterday, Patriot’s Day, was a TRIPLE header for Boston: the Marathon, the Red Sox, and the Bruins. Sadly, the B’s couldn’t pull off the magical Game 7 miracle against the hated Habs.

— added by Don on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 10:29 am

Good plan and execution, Susan! We are working on branching out too. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 10:58 am

Yes, Olmstead did the Emerald Necklace. I went around it a bit, years ago, when I went to the Gardner Museum. Coldstone Creamery is underwhelming.

Cool walk with the boys.

— added by Someone Said on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 12:28 pm