First stop, Boston. Following morning miles along the Charles River, our party of three sought serious caffeine and refreshment from Boston’s The Thinking Cup. Refueled with a wedge of blueberry-studded cornmeal cake, we headed North to visit the new Public Market. Sadly discovering the Market was closed on Tuesdays, we wandered the back streets while the car cooled its wheels in a multi-level parking garage. Sure, Paul Revere’s residence was right up the block, but more importantly, we were in the neighborhood of Modern Pastry. Rationalizing the need for a dark chocolate-dipped pizzelle, we stopped in for a treat then meandered back to collect the car.
On rare occasions, the use of the word cacophony is warranted as in the cacophony of car horns was deafening as we approached the parking garage. Was a slight altercation inside the garage between two short-tempered individuals causing the incessant horn blowing? The reality proved to be two malfunctioning credit card machines requiring those exiting the garage to pay with cash. One man had abandoned his car at the very front of the exit line to withdraw cash from an ATM. Tempers were short, the line of cars looping several levels up the ramp was long. By the time we neared the pay station, a kindly Boston Policeman had opened the floodgates and waved us out into the street. Free parking? Apparently so.
The next morning we assembled our now party of five, traveling north towards Vacationland. Every holiday features a food pilgrimage, an opportunity to explore great local eats. Additionally, vacation provides a time of healing. The carpal-tunnel-achy-back-piecrust-rolling-wrist-pains settle down. The only possible hazard might result from an unsteady scoop of homemade ice cream tumbling off a fragile sugar cone. I am aware of this possibility and make a mental note to tread cautiously should ice cream present itself. It does not occur to me to fear an innocent cup of local clam chowder.
Enroute to the chowder, we pass a brick building with signage indicating Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In my vacation state of mind, I wonder out loud what Pilgrim Health Care might entail. Master/Master suggests it might be the go-to place should one succumb to scurvy. I’m envisioning medical professionals attired in serious waistcoats, aprons and sensible stockings. Perhaps white collars and black hats with buckles to complete the uniform. I will soon learn, it is unkind to mock the Pilgrims.
As stated in previous posts, there is an instant in every mishap when you wish you could take that moment back. And so it was when the white soles of my gray sneakers met a patch of runaway butter. Years of college Voice and Movement training echoed in my head admonishing me to “Be one with the floor.” Literally.
You might call my spill a combination Sprawled Plank/Half Moon Pose. Or more accurately, the “I’m goin’ down, down, downward still.” Frantically trying to stop the momentum, arms flailing against thin air, I grazed the edge of a wooden table with both elbow and head. The end result is referred to in yoga as the Corpse Pose.
Flat on my back, two fellows seated at the very table I hit, jumped up. There was deafening silence in the room. You could hear an oyster cracker drop. Lying on the wooden floor, I had the wherewithal not to move without assessing the damage. Master/Master wanted to know if I had blacked out. I had not. All I remember was telling him emphatically that I didn’t want to go to the Pilgrim Hospital.
I didn’t. The fact is, I couldn’t. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is an insurance company. Armed with a large bag of ice and sufficient ibuprofen, we continued on, stopping to indulge in a sparkling soda at Vena’s Fizz House and take a gander at the pie offerings at Two Fat Cats. And by the way, when you slip and fall on wayward melted butter, there is such a thing as a free lunch.
On Thursday, we took advantage of the brilliant sunshine and headed to the beach. A bald eagle was perched regally atop a massive rock submerged in the sea. He afforded us a brief photo op before taking flight and vanishing into the distance. We dipped our toes into the bracing saltwater debating a swim. Like the mommy on every class trip, I held on to cameras, sunglasses and baseball caps while my fellow travelers braved the waves. Wading in up to my knees provided more than enough arctic chill, thank you.
Our trifecta of free was completed at the Boynton-McKay Food Company. The former apothecary/soda fountain has been revamped into an all day breakfast spot. Our waitress set down a plate of three doughnuts, fragrant with cinnamon and nutmeg. “These are for you,” she said, “on the house.” Always the skeptic, it’s hard to believe. But as Blondilocks assures me, every once in a great while, free really is free.