Thursday, November 26, 2009

Paying our respects to Coach and the Concord Four

Fall is still hanging on here, although most will agree winter is inevitable and that such arboreal tenacity is futile, but nonetheless fascinating and rewarding to the eye.

Work is going well for both of us -- you'll be pleased to know that I now style myself an "image library designer." Just think of the pretentiousness that entails. (Still, it is difficult organizations to put their images in one place and make them accessible. That's where I come in. The question is, where do I go out?)

Susie, on the other hand, continues to make incredible desserts and has just come up with her own multi-layered version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Ummmmmmm Good!

The end of the week brought a relaxing dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood eateries: Broadway Bistro. The place was filling up -- it's not terribly large to begin with -- so we sat a the bar. Susie had the salmon and I had Pat's turkey meat loaf. His food is not only what we have come to style as "comfort" but scrumptious and filling at the same time. Good value as well.

I suppose the highlight of our week -- maybe the whole month -- was a trip we took this last Sunday to Cranston, RI and Concord, MA. Susie and I wanted to say thanks to Nick "the Coach" Colasanto who, even though he's been gone for many years now, still manages to make us laugh every time we see him on "Cheers."

The day began a little blustery but sunny as we headed off just the couple of miles or so from our house to St. Anne's cemetery in Cranston and conveniently arrived just as church was letting out. We parked the car, found the entrance in this huge burial complex wedged between St. Anne's and St. Mary's churches on Cranston Street, and with our handy guide set off on foot to find the Coach. We passed section after section of stones bearing Italian names, along with some wonderful epitaphs. (One thing New Englanders can be justly proud of is there tendency toward remembering their better sides in death.)

Using the directions out of Tod Benoit’s Where are They Buried we soon found the small, flat stone in section 31 that marked the final resting place of “the Coach.”

Thanks Coach.

As we returned to the car the clouds began rolling in and by the time we were scooting up I-95 north toward Boston the day turned overcast.

A quick hour’s drive and Susie and I pulled into the wonderful little town of Concord, MA. We were in search of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and had little difficulty finding it since it was within earshot of the town center. Our objective was to find four of the greatest writers in American literature: Henry Thoreau, Ralph “The Waldo” Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. Buried along the spine of what the locals call “Author’s Ridge,” the locations is well marked and quite easy to find.

With a few minutes we stood atop the tiny ridge amidst a cluster of family plots that demarcated the final resting place of so many great wordsmiths in such a small space.

Like Emerson:

. . . and Hawthorne:

. . . and Louisa:

. . . and the man from Walden Pond himself:

After paying our respects to the Concord Four we wandered around the cemetery for a few minutes, amazed at some of the incredible (and incredibly detailed) epitaphs these men and women from so long ago left behind (to amaze us I suppose). We also spent a little time in concord and plan on a return visit in early December. Yes, it is really that kind of a place, one that you want to return to.

The last bit of news from us here in Providence (motto: “Amorality is our middle name”) is that we said good-bye to our little red Mini Cooper.

Goodbye to Go-Kart handling and 40 mpg (highway, your experience may vary), but also an overdue good-bye to tiny tires, and an inability to deal with the incredibly bad streets (or what passes for streets) in the "Creative Capital" -- creative used here as only an adjective to describe how the city comes up with ideas to extort cash from its citizens.

But as with the closing of one door, you always open a new one and we said hello to an old friend: an Audi A4, one of the best winter vehicles there is. (Susan was fearless in our old A4, tearing up and down that back road that claimed to be a driveway in our home in Chittenden. After all, it's not many folks who can claim their driveway could easily substitute for the slalom course in the winter Olympics.) It’s gray and seems 40 feet long compared to our old Mini. But I feel less stressed driving around town in Providence.

Life is full of tradeoffs.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving. Turkey, generous Indians and pilgrims with funny-looking hats aside, remember the men and women, boys and girls who, right now, are far from their loved ones, in the service of their country.

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