Weekend in New England - Day Three

Given all of the rain, nausea-inducing cab rides through the tortuous, congested streets, and enforced socializing with the slightly-less-than humble Ivy League alumni, I was relieved to find myself at the end of my time in Boston. Miraculously, the weather had cleared, so Dad and I started our morning with a pleasant walk through the Boston Commons. Proving once again that youth is wasted on the young, I discovered that Dad had never taken the time to walk through the Commons during his time in Boston, busy as he was with studying and classes. I'm glad that after thirty years of hard work, he now has the time to pause and admire the fall colors.

A sampling of the beautiful changing leaves in the Boston Commons.

Because I hadn't wanted to leave the East Coast without sampling some clam chowder, we had made a lunch reservation at Legal Sea Foods, a chain of restaurants whose original Cambridge location Dad had often patronized with his friends during his years at Harvard. We headed over to Long Wharf, home to one of the Legal Sea Foods locations and the Boston Aquarium, prompting the locals to joke that the food there is so fresh because they bring it straight from the aquarium. We got to the restaurant a little early for our reservation, so we took in some of the fresh sea air and strolled along the wharf.

Surely I must have seen the Atlantic Ocean before, but I can't remember it for the life of me.

The restaurant has since changed, but Dad was delighted to locate the place where he had his fateful interview with Newton Minow, who would ultimately inspire Dad to take a job with him at Sidley & Austin in Chicago. The rest, as they say, is history.

As it turned out, the food at Legal Sea Foods was actually a little too fresh for my liking -- the clam chowder was somewhat bland, and I was a little unsettled by the whole clams in my fried clams. Evidently, I'm too accustomed to seafood in its Midwestern incarnation. The experience was sort of par for the course considering the rest of our trip, but I was still happy that we made it out to the seaside, especially because it brought back so many fond memories for Dad of his encounter with destiny, and of his family's visit to Boston for his Harvard graduation, when he brought them to Long Wharf for dinner.

Ultimately, it doesn't much matter how much I enjoyed, or didn't enjoy Boston. When you love someone, you sometimes have to put their happiness before your own, and my accompanying him to his reunion made Dad very happy. As an oral historian, I find myself in the business of collecting stories from the past, and retracing Dad's years in law school drew out the kind of stories that he had never had the occasion to share before. When I think back to my grandfathers, and all the questions I never thought to ask, and the subsequent answers I'll never get to hear, I am all the more pleased to have this quality time to learn about my Dad.

Even so, I think it might be a while before I want to return to Boston.

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