When I think of all the major league baseball games I have been to it seems impossible, yet somehow I never made it to FENWAY.
Toronto can't compare. Even Miami wasn't this great. FENWAY is, after all, home of the BIG GREEN MONSTER.
The trip into the city was a walk down memory lane. Thanks to my father I was witness to many sides of Boston not seen by the casual visitor. He was stationed at the Coast Guard station there, and true to form made friends where ever he went. Which is how he was able to smooze his way into the horse track with a teen aged me in tow so many years ago. The heavy set guy at the back gate wearing a Dick Van Dyke plaid short sleeve button down shirt with a pack of Camels in the pocket knew my Dad by name. I'll admit having been fairly well read on the MOB at the time I was a bit leery when the shady lookin' guy mumbled, "The kids eighteen, right Jim?"
Well after that little white lie (okay, make it a big lie but what Dad wouldn't risk it all to bring his kid to see what would be one of the greatest race horses of all time?!) Secretariat was being walked by his trainer, who told Dad that horse was going to be famous someday. I vaguely recall Dad beginning a tangent about me riding a friend's horse in the parades at home, a grandson of the great Romulus (in a black sterling-studded saddle I must add, I loved that saddle), but I fell in love with the young horse prancing in front of me on his long lead. It seemed his feet were floating above the ground as he trotted in a circle. And yes, I did imagine that horse underneath me, his hooves flying across sodden ground, but it was fleeting as by this time I had grown far too tall to still dream of being a jockey. Billy Shoemaker had been my idol for the longest time.
Even the seedier parts of town have bright spots now.
Jack's Joke Shop (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpGvFm8ugh8) was the bomb and no trip to Boston was ever complete without stopping there. Although closed now, I am quite sure many a fake poop floats around out there purchased by a kid in a baseball hat with a stupid smirk on his/her face. My sister and I went through the fart cushions, frog in the bottom of the glass and fake poop for sure, but our favorites were always the fake ice cubes with various realistic plastic bugs in the middle. We always asked for the different bugs after trying the flies out on my mother. The first time sent her into a tizzy, twice deserved a bored look accompanied by, "I assume they only come with flies....?" as she would continue to drolly sip her iced coffee. She had trained her brain to look for the shape, so when a big ole roach in the cube appeared she just flew out of her seat. The old guy who owned Jacks would always have a certain look on his face when my sister and I would approach him. "Waddya want this time, ladies..?" It had to have been due to my sister asking him every time we went into the store if he had anything really exotic. Now that I think about it, it had to seem really strange coming out of this skinny blond kid decked out in L.L.Bean dragging her kid sister away from the poop. "Jeese Joni, don't you get sick of the poop?" "Nah, they have different colors this time." I bought two of the pea soup green piles I was so fond of the color, just in case I lost one.
We always ate at the Top of the Pru before leaving town. I have fond memories of this really tall building, as it was where I acquired my fear of heights. I was standing directly in front of the floor to ceiling glass windows zoning out on the teeny little cars in traffic far below, the only thing between me and certain death was the glass and a flimsy railing to steady oneself. So absorbed was I, when my sister approached me from the rear, and shoved me on the shoulder quite abruptly, while saying, "Your lunch is getting cold squirt." I was positive I was falling. Dad had to come over and pry my dead white fingers off the railing. High places have since been the bain of my existence.
If the traffic wasn't bad Dad always brought us to Haymarket
Square for candy to munch on the ride home.
It was not one bit modern, or sterile. Fresh fish were sold from wheeled carts, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit. Along the edges of the streets one wandered down into the cellars of old factories to look at everything from candy needing to be kept out of the sun, to work clothes and socks. Faneuil Hall is OK for tourists, but it's just not the same as having a fresh banana muffin from a wooden cart pushed along by a wizened old lady with stories to tell.
Back entrance for the players....
There was of course, The Commons.
We always hit The Commons at Christmas time. Pens were set up for Santa's reindeer, as well as the 'manger' animals. There were so many gorgeous window displays in the department stores there was no true need for street lights. My mother would assign my sister the charge card and my sister would act like Wilma Flintstone yelling 'CHARGE IT!" flying in and out of the best stores looking for the perfect gifts. One year she bought me a small stuffed perfectly pink pig. I wanted that pig. She had to buy it for me. The reason she had to buy it for me was I threatened to tell my mother she had almost clocked a lady in Filene's Basement over a pair of sandals.
A pair of sandals my sister had already decided were hers. Size elevens were not that common and she was not about to let that pair get away. I distinctly recall both were grasping an end of the sandal when my mothers tone came out of my sister's mouth. "Let go now. I'm a lefty and my left hand is free at this moment...." Think it had something to do with the look on my sisters face. It was the same look that could strike fear into me for sure. Much later in life my sister informed our parents I should have been the youngest kid ever charged with extortion and sent to Sing Sing.
All in all it was the highlight of my summer thus far, looking forward to the dog days of August and hope they seem to last a bit longer than the rest of the summer that appears to have flown past.
THE GREEN MONSTER.
On the way out of town we stopped at a light right along side of this...
Karma at it's most Karmic.