My life last week during this most enjoyable Boston summer was brimming with events that ran the spectrum of emotional experiences. It was a seesaw.
Out-of-town friends visited during the same week, overlapping by two days. One group hailed from my hometown of St. Louis and had never been to Boston. The other friend used to live in Boston but hadn’t been here in many years. It has changed so from the Boston she remembered – positively so, especially as pertains to development except for one glaring exception…and now let us take a quick moment of silence for the fact that the original Filene’s Basement doesn’t exist anymore. Both wanted to see it. Both visited the store on Boylston Street but it does not compare to the original.
Thank goodness for:
- the universities,
- the waterfront (special shout out to the Boston Harbor Hotel for the summer concerts),
- the Greenway,
- the proximity of Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and H&M downtown,
- the beaches,
- the MBTA for convenient transportation (even though finding staff for customer service was spotty),
- the restaurants,
- Duck Tours
- and the easy maneuvering from the South End to Back Bay – with all the shops and restaurants on Boylston & Newbury Street (gotta love the Apple Store) and Trinity Church and the Public Garden and The Commons.
It was good to see my city through the eyes of visitors.
The weather this summer in Boston has been mostly sunny, warm and pleasant (even when humid). I have taken advantage of free summer concerts, small spontaneous gatherings of friends, and have dined out more frequently than normal for me at Tavolo (regional pasta tour for $18 on Wednesdays), Estragon (Groupon coupon and tapas menu made it more affordable), and dbar (delish) to name but a few local faves – oh, and Legal’s (I had a better meal at Legal’s with this group of out-of-town guests, who wanted to go there ,than I’ve had in some time).
I attended two funerals last week that couldn’t have been more different in their remembrances of the departed men.
The first was festive, a true celebration and reflection of the joie de vivre of the man, felled in his early 60s by lung cancer, which quickly advanced in a matter of a few short months. He loved to cook, drink, and host gatherings; was a dedicated raconteur, connector and family anchor; and had style. He was blunt, direct, and authentically himself. The laughter about and fond remembrances of this special man kept coming through the sorrow of his passing and the minister delivered a sermon that both acknowledged this man as well as helped the mourners reflect on the meaning of life, death, and life after death. (I plan to attend a regular service at Roxbury Presbyterian as a result.)
The second, really a memorial service rather than a funeral, was for the father of a former colleague. It was formal, solemn, quietly beautiful and very mannered. The father had suffered from serious health maladies for a while.
Both men, who were anchors for their families, were sent home as befit their personalities and style.
Of course, attending funerals makes one reflect upon one’s own mortality. I did. To live one must die so I’m gonna live until I die, something I’ve been consciously trying to do for a couple of years now.
At the end of such an awesome week, I was feeling mellow on Saturday evening with the knowledge that I’d fulfilled my friendship duties and honored the departed. I was looking forward to a Saturday night with no obligation to do anything but to just be with my husband and catch up to him and my household.
And so it was that we were nearing the end of watching our second movie of the night when we heard boisterous singing and shouting, loud enough to be a rally somewhere around the corner from our street. We noted the time – around 12:45a.m. As our heads touched our pillows, I heard a girl say, “She’s been stabbed. Call an ambulance. Then the gunshots began as we called the police, they arrived during the phone call so must have been called by another neighbor. Dozens of young people scattered (hauled ass is more like it) in every direction as the ambulances, marked and unmarked police cars, and onlookers arrived. Yellow tape was stretched across the corner of my street.
I have seen nothing in the news or on the police blotter about the shooting, which I’m hoping means that no one died.
Peace broken, our oasis breached. Every time I leave my street now – for my morning walk or to drive some where, I will say a prayer for the victim and perpetrators.
Such is life in the city, in the world: a see-saw of activities and emotions.
Life and death.
- Peace and violence.
- Friends and family.
- Fun and funerals.
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