Saturday, July 10, 2010

And Now the Rest of the Story

editor's note: if you have not yet read the post prior to this, entitled Famous Last Words, you might want to scroll down to read it first.

7:00 p.m. So, we decide we're going to the fireworks in Boston. We know that our friends went down much earlier in the day to pick out a place to view the fireworks, and we wonder if we can meet up with them. Quickly, I pack a couple of bags with blankets and a small cooler with beverages. And we're off

Our first decision: drive all the way in or take the "T" (Boston's subway system). We quickly decide that the T is really our best option--we do not know the downtown area very well, parking will be difficult to find, and traffic leaving will be tough, so it seems a no-brainer. We'll take the T.

7:45 p.m. At the train station, we find parking on the very top level--we're not the only people taking the train tonight. We make our way to the platform and board a train.

8:14 p.m. We disembark from the train and make our way to the crowds. On the way we've been able to text our friends and they've given us their location, so we are actively looking for "Speaker 14" straight across from the fireworks' barges on the Cambridge side of the Charles River.

8:25 p.m. We've located our friends. They start grumbling about how we've only just shown up, and they've been hanging out for HOURS. And we all find it humorous how fitting the situation seems after the sermon we listened to that morning at church about the parable of the vineyard workers from Mathew 20. If you have time, you can listen to it here (It's Parable s #5 by Matt Beattie).

8:30 We settle in with our blankets and arrive in time for the National anthem and a fly over by some F-15C's (Ted's a little partial to those).

Now, in the following picture, you may notice the ear phones Lucy is wearing. She wore those all evening. We couldn't convince her that she didn't need them yet.

We spent a L-O-N-G time hanging out on these blankets...

Long enough, that eventually the kids all fell asleep.

10:30 p.m. When the fireworks finally started, Lucy was miserable. And Mary Beth was sound asleep. It took me multiple times of shaking her, and eventually I had to pick her up so she wouldn't miss them.

We definitely had front row seats to the show--unfortunately we hadn't been briefed on the ROE (Rules of Engagement). Apparently, it's the fashion (at least in the section we were camped out) to STAND UP for the fireworks. Why on earth would anyone do that, you ask? I'll tell you why--because at the VERY LAST minute (even more last minute than our arrival), people flooded the area to see the fireworks, and they had no where to be, except in the spot their feet were standing. So, they stood. In front of us. Which required us to stand if we wanted to actually see something besides the backs of their heads.
11:00 p.m. The fireworks are now over. Time for everyone to go home. All of them. This could take a while. So we decide to stay put in our little grassy spot for a little bit. However, it is after eleven now, and the kids are kind of tired. So at about 11:20 we start walking to the nearest train station. To say that it was crowded would be an understatement. We couldn't even make it to the stairwell, there were so many people.
At about this point we get a text from our friends who left shortly before we did. They encourage us to stay put. Too late. Now what. We have 4 tired children and 2 tired adults. Bring in the iphone. Ted begins doing his research. It appears that the next T stop up is about 1 mile away on foot.
And this, my friends, begins what we now affectionately call The Boston Death March. One soldier was down before we even began, and had to be carried. About 5 minutes into the mile walk, a second soldier fell, and she had to be carried, too. And, let's not think for a minute that someone didn't need to use the bathroom along the way--of course, there were no bathrooms to be found--not until just before we arrived at the next T stop did we find an open establishment with a restroom. Surprisingly the kids complained very little--in fact we were all very quiet. I think we were all just focused on ending our misery.
12:10a.m. We arrive at the next T station, and make our way to the platform. At least we can do that, but this station is filled, too, and the trains that are coming through are packed like sardine cans, with no one getting off. We're able to make it onto the 2nd train that comes by--but just barely.

And after the 2nd stop some seats opened up so the kids could sit down--they actually smiled for this picture, but I took it because right before the click they all had blank stares on their faces. I have them well trained--they know what to do when they see a camera, no matter what time it is.

12:30 a.m. Eventually we make it to our stop and get off the train. This sation is packed, too--and we figure it's going to be a long time getting off the TOP FLOOR of the parking garage. My friends text from their car in the same parking garage, a level below us--they haven't moved yet. Not a good sign.

Miraculously, though, the top floor had one saving grace. We were able to use one of the enter only ramps to go down--and by 1:30 we were home. (And our friends were STILL in the parking garage)

Was it worth it? Honestly, the jury's still out. But without a doubt, it was unforgettable.

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