Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sometimes, You Get What You Want

We're walking the streets of Boston and it's got to be 95 degrees.  


The 100 percent humidity threatens to steal my breath, but instead, it cascades down my face and soaks my shirt.

The heat helps us decide to hop on a motorized tour of the city instead of taking the Freedom Trail, a walking tour I've wanted to do for years.

I'm sad, yes! The Freedom Tour immerses walkers in the American  Revolution, brings them alongside Paul Revere, Bunker Hill and the Boston Massacre. I want to brush up against history. But, it's too darn hot.

So, we hop on THE DUCK, and explore Bean Town through the eyes of a sarcastic 50-something who shouts out "Hey!" to all his buddies along the route and cracks sick jokes about bombing the Teletubbies and
failing to notice Jennifer Lopez's physique. Ergh.

OK. It's not that bad. We're in Boston, after all. And we've got a steady breeze in our faces to cool us down. We get to cruise on the Charles River and see a lot of the city from the back of that Duck. Then we enjoy a fantastic tour of Fenway Park, where we get to crawl through the entire stadium and watch workers prepare the field for the upcoming series against the Yankees.

At the end of the day, we're still too darn hot. The sun is relentless. There's no breeze. We return to the famous Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, where I lose my battle with the heat. I'm wiped. I  seek shade, preferably from a seat.

Oh, look. Over there. Benches. Shaded benches. Thank you, God!

We head that way.

But wait.

Oh, no. There's a man sitting there. In odd clothes. Sipping a Pepsi.
In all this heat, he wears a three-corner cap, a multi-button vest
over a white shirt with long billowing sleeves, trousers, knee-high
tights. Wool/cotton clothing covers this man from head to toe.

I get it. He's not odd at all. He's wearing the clothes of a patriot
and, after all, this IS Boston.

I head his way because I have to ask: "Why are you dressed this way in
all this heat?"

Turns out this man, Cliff Odle, leads tours of the Freedom Trail
(yeah! The Freedom Trail!). He wears period clothing and portrays a
real patriot, Barzillai Lew, a musician and soldier who served in the
American Revolution.

It's the end of the day, a very hot day, so we can't take the tour. But Cliff engages us with  tales about Barzillai and himself (he's a playwright, actor and historian). And admits that he, too, is too darn hot.

On the way out of town, I consider the day's fortunes: the Duck, Fenway, my Boston patriot, and, oddly, the heat. Because without it (and my intense curiosity), I would not have met Cliff Odle and his character, the revolutionary Barzillai Lew.

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