I was right in the middle of my latest blog Monday when my sister, who lives in Pine Mountain, Georgia, called and asked if I had the television on. I had just tuned in after receiving an alert on both my iPhone and iPad about explosions in Boston—specifically, along the finish line of the Boston Marathon. And as I write this, the terror acts in this great city are all I can think about.
I have mentioned often, I’m sure, that before Bob and I moved to beautiful Naples full-time, we lived in Beantown for nearly nine years. Of all the places we have lived during our marriage, Boston is my second favorite after Naples. We lived right downtown, directly across from the lovely Public Garden. Our home was on Boylston Street, the same street as where the explosions took place. Our former residence was a mere four blocks from the scene of the blasts.
Many of you are probably aware of Patriot’s Day. It is a holiday, of course. There is no mail delivery, nor are schools in session. Many businesses close. The rest of the country is on a regular Monday schedule but this is Boston’s unique and special day. Each year the Boston Red Sox play a midday game, as they did on Monday; Bob and I watched as the Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays. The really “big deal” on Patriot’s Day, though, is the venerable Boston Marathon.
Many thousands of runners begin the race in the suburb of Hopkinton, a little more than 26 miles outside the heart of the city. Some runners seek to make history by finishing the race in record time. The vast majority, though, just want to just cross that famous finish line. That line on Boylston Street is right in front of the historic Public Library. The street is always closed for the entire day. If you know Boston, you know the race messes up traffic for everyone, but no one cares, really, because it is Patriot’s Day. Even though the racers would eventually stream past our condo building, it was fun to walk to the finish line to watch the winners as they crossed. Scores of folks have this same idea every year, as the blocks leading to the Public Library and pretty much as far as the eye can see are always lined with spectators, 10 to 20 deep.
Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, where President Obama is speaking at a service for the bombing victims.
As I watched the newsfeed from Boston, I saw the newscasters planted again along Boylston Street close to where we used to live. In the aftermath, Boylston was closed again, but for a deeply sobering and devastating reason. In the images of where the bombs blew up, I recognize the landmarks and the stores so well. It looks almost exactly as how I remember. It creates a surreal feeling, seeing something like this hit so close to what was our home and is still to many dear friends and neighbors—and on what began as a perfectly beautiful Patriot’s Day.