Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For Boston

On those days and nights when the Red Sox play, the Bleacher Bar fills with patrons hoping to catch a ground-level glimpse of the game through a picture window onto center field. But on off-day spring afternoons, the bar is a quiet place to sip a beer, its front door propped open and the picture window raised so that a mere screen separates one from the fresh green lawn patrolled by the likes of Tris Speaker, Dom DiMaggio, Fred Lynn, Ellis Burks, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Fans drink quietly and watch such off-duty players as Diasuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield trudge silently across the outfield to the clubhouse. There are very few places outside of Ireland to better enjoy an afternoon drink...

Another small pleasure of Boston is whiling away the morning at an Au Bon Pain outside table, drinking an Americano, munching on a rasberry-cheese croissant, chatting with whomever happens to be at the next table, and perusing the Boston Globe editorial page. I come from a city with a notoriously parochial newspaper that proudly features disdainful, childish editorials that surrendered the attention and respect of the greater Puget Sound area long ago.

So, I don't take lightly the niceties of a town with big-league journalism as well as sports. It was refreshing to read an editorial that explicated the complications of voting on a defense procurement bill instead of resorting to boosterism. Paul Starobin described the difficulty that the United States faces in maintaining relations with Turkey and an Israel bent on "self-defeating policies." (Although he immediately contradicted himself by describing Israel "a country that shares core Western values with the United States and Europe." Come to think of it, though, he may have a point.) And 90-year old Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to the Senate by popular vote argued for and end to Don't Ask/Don't Tell with these ringing phrases:
Regardless of its target, prejudice is always the same. It finds novel expressions and capitalizes on new fears. But prejudice is never new and never right. One thing binds all prejudices together: irrational fear. Decades ago, black service members were the objects of this fear. Many thought that integrating black and white soldiers would harm the military and society. Today, we see that segregation itself was the threat to our values. We know that laws that elevate one class of people over another run counter to America’s ideals. Yet due to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’’ the very people who sacrifice the most to defend our values are subject to such a law. We owe them far more.
This afternoon, my son and I got in a taxi driven by a hack who looked late of an Ankaran rug bazaar. He drove us to Harvard, where we delved into a couple of bookstores, then retired to a beer garden for yet another relaxed hour.

Tonight, we met up with some friends of his and had dinner at Pomodoro in the North End, a paradiso of Italian restaurants. I had the seafood fra diviola, "an assortment of fresh fish and shellfish tossed in a spicy marinara sauce over linguini." Pomodoro was late seating us, and made up for it with complementary calimari, garlic shrimp, and tiramisu. All in all, a place that values its customers!

Love that dirty water!

For Boston!


Roy said...

Heh, heh! It always cracks me up that the unofficial "national anthem" of Boston was written and performed by a bunch of guys from California who'd never been to MA. And yet it gets played every time the Sox, the Bruins, or the Celtics win a home game. And now the local Boston NPR station, WGBH, plays it to advertise the two afternoon local radio talk shows.

Now the Dropkick Murphy's, that's a different kettle o' cod altogether!

K. said...

Now I really appreciate the line about the "River Chahlz"!

John Hayes said...

Great tribute to a great city--love "Dirty Water," have for many years. & hey, let's not forget this great Boston song!

Cowtown Pattie said...

Ahh, The DK Murphy's....not a band I listen to everyday, but they kick butt! (Obviously)

barry knister said...

After a long strike here in Detroit, my daily paper, the Free Press, has never recovered. Your comments on grown-up journalism in Boston brought that loss to mind.
And: as you suggest, one of life's small treasures is to be on the receiving end of unexpected courtesies in a good restaurant. Lucky you.

mommapolitico said...

Man, K., you really make a girl from Southern Cal wanna head back to the east coast! You've laid out a near-perfect Boston day, my friend. And Dropkick Murphys? Damn, ya can't go wrong. Great post, Pal o' Mine. You really gave the flavor of a wonderful place.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

I've got nothing to add but that you really nail it in a ways that fix my soul.

Renegade Eye said...

I haven't heard Edward Brooke's name in decades.

I've never been in that part of the country.

Really good post.

K. said...

John: Fantastic video and a great song!

CP: The DK's are from Quincy, MA, my father's hometown. That and the accent is most of what they have in common!

BK: I remember that strike. Looking back, it signaled the end of newspapers as we grew up with them.

MP: Thanks! It's always a pleasure to visit Boston (and to hear from you)!

Editilla: There's something about the place. I like walking there more than any other American city. Sometimes, the train serves as transportation between walks.

Ren: One of the great things about Boston is the connection to its own past. Bostonians not born in the 60s know Edward Brooke's significance.