Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19, 2009 - Jackson Square, East Weymouth, Massachusetts

There's a herring run here, well inland. I wondered, as I walked past, what the chance was of seeing herring here this spring, given the collapse of the species in the North Atlantic. In my annual trips to Machias Seal Island to see the puffin breeding colony, I've watched bird after bird return to the nest to feed their youngsters with everythig but their food of choice, the herring. But that's months away, so I walked on.

Before I reached the Stephen Rennie Herrring Run Park I could smell Niko's. It was almost 11 a.m., but the scent of breakfast was still strong, the parking lot was full, and, peeking in the windows, I could tell that it was SRO. As always.

The sidewalks were a hit-and-miss proposition today, as some merchants had gone all out to clean them while others hadn't bothered at all. I crossed from Niko's and passed the Venetian, where my mother-in-law tried, in vain, unfortunately, to induce my wife's labor with some of the restaurant's famous antipasto in month nine. A Weymouth legend took a hit that day. But we didn't have to wait too much longer after that for our bundle of joy to arrive.

At the top of the hill, the soldier atop the town's Korean War Memorial was piled high with snow. It's a laughable scene, but sadly many of our fighting men have braved worse than today on our behalf, so I keep my chuckle to myself. We got seven inches or so overnight, and the temperature climbed to almost forty. Korea had its share of nasty winter weather. I wouldn't have wanted to be there, or in Europe during the winter of 1944 in World War II. For America's fighting men, it goes all the way back to Valley Forge. Their sacrifices came in many, many different ways, and I thank them all for what they gave and continue to give.

A church bell clanged eleven times. Farther up the street I found one of my favorite trees, a Camperdown elm, one of about a half dozen I know of on the South Shore. Camperdowns are grafted, all descendants of a single tree in Scotland. Their presence on a front lawn is an indicator of Victorian Age wealth. In fact, all around Jackson Square there are signs. Some of the old homes here give the auras of shoe manufacturing magnates or other champions of industry. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall around the corner also brings back the 1890s, when communication and transportation advances brought people of common interests together in ways they never had gathered before.

But I wasn't in a gathering condition today, so it was back to the car and the Cold-Eeze. But illness and snow will pass.

Time: 30 minutes.

New species: None, not a herring.

Stranger hellos: 2 (34)

What else got done: shoveled the cars out, again; read fifty more pages in Varoujan Karentz's Beavertail Light Station; generally recuperated in the face of a hectic upcoming week.

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