Monday, 11 June 2012

As good as it gets with friends in Cambridge MA and Providence R.I.

Off I went to New England on Friday.  A sixty-five minute drive from my home to Tampa International Airport  (one of the best designed and organised airports in the country), then a three hour flight to Boston using Jet Blue (an extremely efficient and friendly airline).

From Boston’s Logan Airport I used public transportation to get to Porter Square “T” station, a mere 12 minute walk from the Somerville MA  home of my hosts, the Revd. Laurie Rofinot and her husband Patrick Michaels, together with their daughter Marion.

The “T” is what folks in the greater Boston area call the subway system.  It derives from the old MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority), now called the MBTA  ( Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority).  Strictly speaking the nickname “T” belongs to buses, ferry boats, commuter trains, trolleys and subways, but for most folks in the greater Boston are the letter “T” refers principally to the Subway system).

As I emerged from the very deep Red Line T at Porter Square (three escalators from the tracks to the surface) it began to rain.  “No problem” I thought “I have an umbrella”. But this was not a gentle shower, it was a torrent which blew every which way, and against which an umbrella was useless. I was soaked to the skin within a minute.

Laurie Rofinot drove from her home to rescue me. I had but one pair of pants (trousers) – the pair I was wearing - so upon arrival at the Rofinot/Michaels home I hung around in my pyjamas whilst my shirt, trousers and underwear took a few spins in the dryer.

Then the fun began. Dr. Michelle Holmes (Breast Cancer Researcher at Harvard Medical School), her husband Derrick Jackson (Boston Globe Columnist) and Canon Steve Bonsey (staff member at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston) joined us for a super dinner, and lively, witty, and at times very serious table talk.  It was a sparkling evening.

Next day I took the ‘T’ again to South Station where I boarded a Commuter train bound for Providence R.I. There I had a leisurely lunch with my dear Dr. Grace Jones.  Grace was a parishioner and Junior Warden in Pittsfield.  She is now the President of Three Rivers Community College in Norwich CT.  She drove from Norwich to Providence so that we could be together.

Then it was back to Boston on a commuter train (it was a double decker, so of course I sat on the top deck).  Incidentally the round trip fare (senior citizen rate) was $7.70 -  a bargain by any means.

I had time enough to stop by and visit with octogenarian St. James’s parishioners Ken and Mary Holmes (parents of Dr. Michelle Holmes). Ken is a WWII veteran – he fought in the tough Italian campaign.  He and Mary have been married for 58 years.  You could not hope to meet a sweeter or wiser couple than they.

Pat, Laurie, Marian and I moseyed down to Harvard Square for dinner at “Fire and Ice” –a restaurant where you pick out a selection of veggies, fish and meats, together with a sauce of your choice, and then watch as it is grilled before your very eyes.  Carol Hilliard, (another wise woman) who was Senior Warden in my St. James’s Days joined us. ‘Twas another time of great conversation and good fellowship.

Then it was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning so that Laurie could drive me to the airport in time for me to get the 8:20 a.m. “Jet Blue” flight back to Tampa.

Once home I was greeted by a melodramatic, prima-donna-ish, exuberant performance by my dog Penne. She was glad to see me back.

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