This is the kind of crowd us Country Mice are most used to- a bevy of summer blossoms.
But last weekend, the dear man who has made our bottle boxes in all those playful colors for the last twenty years, Frank St Aubin of Bay State Box, gave us two tickets to a Red Sox game. He has been a fan for close to eight decades which gives him some serious street credit as a Red Sox die hard fan.
And believe me, this kind of time spent as a fan is de rigeur to be considered a REAL fan. Jim found this out when he was 17 and mentioned to a old family friend that he was a Red Sox fan and the man told him in no uncertain terms that Jim had not been alive long enough to be considered a fan.
As this suggests, going to a Red Sox game is a serious big deal to most people in northern New England. It certainly was a big deal for me and Jim. Most people we know can tell you exactly the last time they went to a game, where they sat, what the weather was, and then can share more stats from the game than anyone really needs to know.
For me it had been a long long time since I went to a game in Fenway. In fact it was 1980 and I went to a Detroit game in the rain and sat behind one of the poles way way way up behind first base. For Jim, it was June 1998 when Lizzie’s eighth grade class trip was a trip to Fenway on a hot Sunday afternoon. High points of this trip included one of Jim’s student’s throwing up the bag of candy he had just eaten ON JIM.
Since we were lucky enough to get tickets for a Saturday night game, we decided to rendezvous with Emily on Saturday morning. She is working at a camp on Cape Cod this summer and we miss her! Being naive Country Mice, we did not expect the bumper to bumper traffic south out of Boston.
To travel the twenty or thirty miles from Boston to Plymouth where we met Emily took us several hours!!!!!!!!
In Meriden there are no traffic jams unless you consider the scene when it starts to rain and all the Honeybees try to get into the hive at the same time.
I give all of you courageous people who face any other sort of traffic as part of your daily lives serious props for hanging in there. Nota bene: If I had to face that kind of traffic to get to water on a hot summer’s day, I would buy a kiddie pool and call it a day.
The sea of people at Plymouth rock also startled us Country Mice. There was so much traffic we couldn’t do anything but drive by the hideous mausoleum plunked over Plymouth rock ( And what is that all about anyways? Does anyone really believe Miles Standish even saw that rock let alone step foot on it as he got off the Mayflower?).
When we needed a cold drink, we couldn’t find anywhere to park to patronize all the inviting tourist filled smoothie cafes. Instead we had to go where apparently all of America is going, Ye Olde Dunkin Donuts in Ye Olde Gas Station. We really have this tourist thing down pat, don’t we?
Soon it was time to leave Emily to fight her way through traffic back onto the Cape while we fought traffic back into and across Boston. It’s a city we have known for thirty years and still we found ourselves navigating across the city by looking out the windows to use the Prudential Center as our guidepost. Yes, we really are Country Mice. No Tom Toms, no GPS, not even a current map.
But it was all worth it.
Jim outside the shrine. At 52 maybe old enough to be considered a junior fan.
Look at our seats over the opposing team dugout. Leave it to me to be fascinated by the pre game turf management activities- the raking, the smoothing, the clipping, the watering.
Here Jim watches as the place begins to fill with 38,000 people- more than we see in a year in our world. It was the only nice summer night in weeks and we were practically spitting distance to the field (not behind one of those green poles like last time). And the game was fabulous! We even saw Big Papi hit a three run home run!
Jon Lester pitched a great game for us and my boyfriend Jacoby even stole a couple of bases for me.
When Lester tired, we saw 100 mph pitches from the relief pitcher. And during any lull in activity, we yucked it up with the season ticket holders who wanted to know HOW ON EARTH we had landed such nice seats for the night. We also ate peanuts and cracker jacks and sang “Take me Out to the Ball Game.” At once point, Wally, the Green Monster mascot came over and gave Jim a hug. As a fellow animal, he must have recognized a serious Country Mouse when he saw one.
Or maybe he was just trying to give Jim the gumption to take on Boston traffic one more time on our way home to sleepy Meriden, population 309.