The Magical History Tour Continues…..ADAMS DAY!

Yesterday our personal Magical History Tour continued. It was ADAMS Day which included Jake and Brady ADAMS, along with cousins, Addy, “Yeagan” and Quinn visiting the Abigail ADAMS house in North Weymouth, the birth houses of both John ADAMS and John Quincy ADAMS in Quincy Massachusetts and the ADAMS estate on ADAMS street also in Quincy Massachusetts.

Abigail ADAMS, wife of our second president and mother to our sixth president was born in this edifice on November 22, 1744. The home is situated on the grounds of the Old North Cemetery in my home town of Weymouth Massachusetts.

We began our Magical History Tour here and to my dismay there was nobody there, the place was locked and there were no signs of operation, openings, closings. Just an air of less than indifference. And as we peeked in the one window we could around the back, nowhere could we see the picture of Senator John Kennedy signing the guestbook in 1958. Disappointing!

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Sorry Abigail, you deserved better than that!

Undaunted we moved forward and it was over the Fore River Bridge and on to Quincy.

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The Fore River Shipyard opened in 1893 and closed in 1986. During that time hundreds of ships were built, one of which, whose name I’ve forgotten, I saw christened as a kid!

When the 1918 baseball season was shortened and players had to seek employment in “essential industries”, Red Sox pitcher and outfielder Babe Ruth consideration working here and playing on their baseball team. He ended up playing a few games in Lebanon Pennsylvania.

1918 Bethlehem Steel Team Photo with Joe Jackson , Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby Photo

Babe Ruth, back row third from left on the Bethlehem Steel Team in Lebanon PA, 1918. Shoeless Joe is kneeling, third rom left in front of Babe.

We arrived at the ADAMS estate on ADAMS street and hopped the ADAMS trolley….

to the birth houses.

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Keeping busy waiting for the trolley or the “tain” as Quinny called it.

John ADAMS was born in the upstairs room (top right) on October 30, 1735.

John ADAMS sat for this portrait at 88. It hangs in the ADAMS house on ADAMS Street.

John Quincy ADAMS was: the first president to be photographed, the only president to return to serve in the Congress after serving as president and he actually died in the Capital Building. He rose from his desk to speak and suffered a stroke. That desk is on display in the library at the ADAMS estate on ADAMS street in Quincy.

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The troops listening to the remarkable story of the ADAMS family.

It was heartwarming to see these young minds absorbed in the stories of the ADAMS’. It has always been and will remain, my contention that people love history they just don’t know it! For all it is, is stories and we all love stories. Watching the attentiveness of my troops ranging in age from 12 to 3 as they were regaled with the ADAMS story was delightful.

And we were not even close to done! For it was back to the main house and when we arrived we learned that we had our own special tour of the big house!

the kids and Carol

Carol took us through the house and made every one of those kids feel how special and important was the house, all that was in it and for them to continue to tell the ADAMS story.

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A splendid time was had by all and each kid had their thing they liked the best! Brady liked the gardens and the John Quincy ADAMS library at the big house. Jake liked the visit to the Hingham Shipyard where he looked out over the water where shipbuilders worked round the clock turning out ships to stop the madness of Hitler and Hirohito. Addy liked the kitchen sink at the big house. “Yeagan” also liked the library as well as the portrait (seen above) of John Adams which hung in his living room. The eyes followed you throughout. Quinny summed it up the best; she just liked being with her cousins, Jake and Brady, the ADAMS boys.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox continued their fall into the abyss of 2015 and as a diversion I took a tip toe backwards to find that in the entire history of the franchise, there have been two players who bore the great American name of ADAMS.

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Bob ADAMS pitched two games for the Red Sox in 1925. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, gave up five runs, 10 hits had one strikeout and three walks. He’d fit right in with this year’s staff.

The other one….

Terry ADAMS had an 11 year career and pitched in 19 games for the 2004 World Champion Red Sox; going 2-0 with a 6.00 ERA in 27 innings pitched. He joined them on July 25th and beat the Angels and Orioles in September.

Neither of them was as good as John, or John Quincy or Abigail!!!

Oh and the best part of the day for me…..

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Quinny calling everybody in for hugs!!!!

And so it is on this day in Fenway history, ADAMS day, July 23, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hanley, Papi and a Man They Called Yaz…..

The 2015 Red Sox officially, unequivocally and beyond the shadow of any possible doubt expired last night in Houston Texas.

What remains is to now find out who can be part of the 2016 solution. The first thing that should happen is that Hanley Ramirez should move to first base and see if he becomes a solution piece for “16′.

All warm and fuzzy when he signed, what was it 111 years ago? Oh no just last fall. Hanley agreed to play left field. He has balked at the suggestion of playing first base becoming the second Red Sox player to nix being a first baseman in only two weeks.

You remember Big Papi said he couldn’t go out there, “didn’t want to”, was “too old”, yada, yada, yada…..

This morning as I went for my morning coffee my mind began to wander to a time when players were, well different. Now I have been told by some that I’m turning into one of those , “well back in my day” types and if that is the case then so be it; for this morning I ask you to harken back with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

The year is 1973…August to be exact, the 21st to be even more exact. Following a 15-9 win in Texas, the Sox were in third place, 4 games behind the Orioles and a half game behind the Tigers.

Rico Petrocelli, the Sox regular third baseman was felled in early August and would spend the remainder of the season on the DL. This created a vacuum at third and manager Eddie Kasko filled the void with the likes of John Kennedy, Buddy Hunter and Danny Cater.

This trio simply was not getting it done and as the void deepened up stepped Yaz. “I’ll do it” he told the skipper and on August 24th (two days after his 34th birthday) he took the field at third base. Now mind you, Yaz played shortstop in high school as had/has most big leaguers both then and now; and he had a stint at third in the majors. Two games in 1964.

 

 

Undaunted, he took extra infield with Eddie Popowski pounding ground ball after ground ball at him at third. Yaz played the remainder of the season at third base. He was not Brooks Robinson but he was more than respectable.

It was during this time that Big Bro and I decided we had to see Yankee Stadium before its renovation. So we drove down from Boston for the night game September 12th.

Yaz was at third, Rogelio Moret was on the mound. We arrived as soon as the park opened and to be among the first people to walk into a virtually empty Yankee Stadium was a moment that will live forever in my memory.

Moret and Lindy McDaniel were locked in a scoreless duel into the fourth when Tommy Harper led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a single by Luis Aparicio. This brought up Yaz. Luis stole second and with men on second and third Yaztrzemski deposited a bomb deep into the right field seats giving the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Yaz would do it again in the sixth, this time a two run shot with Aparicio aboard giving the Sox a 5-0 advantage. They won that game 7-1 and I still have the program complete with PENCILED autographs of Carlton Fisk, Ray Culp and Bill Lee.

But this morning I have the memory of a time when a player would simply say, “I’ll do it Skip”.

So David, Hanley and whomever……How about stepping up and giving a little more thought to the name on the front of the jersey!!!

David…Take more than love from Yaz, he was the ultimate grinder…..Learn from him. Oh yea never mind, you don’t really think those guys from back in the day were all that good; after all if you couldn’t do it, nobody could….Right?

Another story for another day.

And so it is on this day in Fenway Park History, funeral day for the ’15’ Sox.

 

 

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Where the Past Meets the Future…..

While the Red Sox were alternately napping with their bats and dancing with the raindrops this weekend in Anaheim; and subsequently getting drubbed by a collective 18-4 in a Monday doubleheader; I, along with some very special peeps, took a ride in…..

Mr. Peabody’s “Way Back Machine.”

First a little background. When my kids were little I regularly orchestrated what were called “Mystery Rides.” Now a mystery ride could or would include me and up to nine or ten kids. Four or five of them mine, the remainder nieces and nephews. It was not uncommon for me to load up Auntie Nancy’s banged up “beach wagon” with a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, drinks and we were off. They usually involved some historical perspective and, if we traveled far enough, we would let some of Uncle Steven’s birds go for a training flight home.

The cast of characters has been added to and now we go out to lunch but the constant common denominator is the history flavor. Last week I wrote about a trip to visit Myles Standish with my girls. Well my boys arrived from Florida last week so this weekend they were added to the mix.

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The cast; Quinn(3), Addy(8), Jake(12), Reagan(6) and Brady(8).

Oh and their Moms were there too, no ages please.

We began here…..

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This is where JFK spent the first three years of his life. It was designated as a National Landmark on May 26, 1964, three days before what would have been his 47th birthday. The family repurchased the home in 1966 and for the next three years Rose Kennedy worked at restoring the house to how it was in the years JFK was a toddler. It was opened to the public in 1969.

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Daughter #2 helps Reagan set up her Junior Ranger booklet while Addy and Brady appear ready to go.

There is a special flavor to this tour, especially for kids. It begins on the front porch with a presentation of a series of photos of JFK as a kid. The first taken in the front yard. It encompasses the first three years of his life and he is thus referred to throughout as “Jack.”

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                 Heather shows the kids one of “Jack’s” favorite books, Billy Whiskers.

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       John F Kennedy was born in this bed by the window on May 29, 1917 at 3 PM.

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The kids got a kick out of the kitchen with NO REFRIDERATOR and the fact that the Kennedy Family ate Boston Baked Beans, cooked on that very stove, every Saturday night with some leftovers served with Sunday breakfast.

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Papa got a kick learning that, in Boston Society back in the day, a young woman would bring to her marriage, bathroom towels monogrammed with her maiden name; and they would be replaced with her married initials. Oh and Papa also liked the fact that all clocks in the house were set for 3:00, the time of the future president’s birth.

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The tour lasted about 40 minutes which was perfect for the kids and each of them made the grade and were named Junior Rangers equipped with badges, stickers and certificates!

A little over two miles from JFK’s place lay another landmark of historical significance.

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Being one for marking moments; Papa was not going to miss the opportunity to introduce the kids to some of Boston’s all time greats.

So we made our way down Yawkey Way….

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And then on to Van Ness Street. I told Jake about the 2004 World Series and that we pushed him in a stroller around the park as we were absorbing the joy of what was taking place.

I wanted a picture of all my cherubs and I at the Ted Williams Statue. This work of art holds  special significance to me as those of you who read this blog may remember. It involves the sculptor Franc Talarico who was my neighbor in Venice Florida. That story is told in several parts within this blog.

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Anyway things looked bleak as there was a contrarian in the group and it appeared as if a mutiny was on our hands.

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But alas……Mutiny quelled and Papa’s moment was marked!

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And my team stood with The Teammates while Yaz looked on bringing a smile to Papa’s heart.

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And just to connect the past with the future, I took a snapshot of one of Dad’s all time favorite players, Domenic DiMaggio, the Little Professor.

Recently my brother and I were discussing that expression about, you know, the autumn of your life, the winter of your life. We, with the help of his son Marc, actually put a mathematical equation to it and here’s what we came up with, I’m actually in early autumn, about September 25th. Not bad!!! Willie is putting on his snow boots.

With each passing day, each passing season I am reminded how very fragile and finite is our existence and on the rare occasions when all the grandkids are gathered I simply step back and watch them interact. My troops are separated by 1500 miles so seeing them together is something special. The times together may be brief but they are rich! Being with them can brighten even the darkest days and during this most tumultuous summer of my “Early Autumn” this crew has brought me light and I am grateful for their energy.

So as the Red Sox flounder and try to decide if they’re selling or buying; living or dying I will chase one of these…..

Take another trip here…..

And best of all, gather up those youngins for one more mystery ride where I promise to take them “Where the past meets the future”.

                And so it is on this dismal day in Fenway Park history, July 21,2015.

 

 

 

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Miley’s Roller Coaster Ride to the Top of the Staff?????

If you stayed up late last night you got to see the continuation of Wade Miley’s roller coaster season in Anaheim.

The Sox southpaw was perfect through five innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh and left in the eighth having surrendered zero runs, one hit striking out six and walking two. His stellar effort left him with…..A no decision.

You see his mates couldn’t muster him a run!

It was his fourth outing this season in which he has gone more than five innings without surrendering a run. The previous three resulted in wins.

The good news is, it was his best outing of the season. The bad news is, that he has a tendency to cycle through some pretty bad stuff after a shut down outing. His last scoreless outing was June 21 in Kansas City; a six inning effort in a 13-2 Sox win. His next four outings he surrendered 15 runs in a total of 24 1/3 innings; going 1-2.

More bad news. Last night marked the beginning of the second half of the season. Thus it is customary that the pitching rotation gets reset. That meaning that the “Ace” starts the first game of the second half.

Hmmm. The Red Sox “ace” Clay Buchholz is on his way to see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his elbow. He just wants to be sure! Last week he was telling all that his MRI showed that his elbow looked like he “never threw a pitch.” Confusing? Not really, it took him two and a half months to “be sure” about his neck strain.

Sooo, does that mean that Miley is now viewed as the ace??? Really? Ouch!

This morning despite a great pitching performance, the Red Sox look like sellers!

If you stayed up late last night, you got to see Mike Trout’s continued rise to the mega heights as the games best player.

Trout took an 0-1 pitch from Koji into the left field seats making the Angels 1-0 winners! Trout is in his fourth big league season. He is 23 years old!!!! Absorb that a second! In a traditional look at stats I’ll tell you he has in his four short a 162 game average of .306 with 35 home runs and 101 RBI.

On the modern stat evaluation of WAR (Wins Above Replacement) he has led the league in 2012, 13, 14 and he leads it now! In that same vain, the good folks at baseball-reference.com evaluate players historically as to where they are at similar ages in their careers.

Mike Trout is in the company of these folks through their 22nd year.

                                                       Mickey Mantle

                              Frank Robinson

                                                                                                  Hank Aaron

And…..

                                                                                              Ken Griffey Jr.

Pay attention folks……He’s something special!

Oh and I am wondering this morning….Do you remember when a pitchers “scoreless outing” was called a shutout?

                                   And so it is on this day in Fenway History, July 18, 2015

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You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too. Roy Campanella

It’s pre-dawn and I’m heading out the door heading toward this place….

The little boy in me will pay homage here…..

Then at 1:00 today July 15th I’ll speak here…..

Hall of Fame Bullpen Theater….

The topic……

If you’re in Cooperstown today…….Stop by and say hi!

Bring the little boy with you!

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Lacking in vitality, force, or conviction; uninspired or uninspiring….

Lackluster is the only word to describe Sunday’s effort at Fenway! A good word for a vapid performance. In all fairness, there was a flash of vitality; that coming in the third inning following the Yankees taking a 2-0 lead in the second. Oh there were those two runs in the ninth but they were induced by Yankee miscues.

The reality of the 2015 edition of the Old Towne Team came into clear focus this weekend. And the reality is simply this; the only reason they are really in it at all is because the AL East is simply that bad!

Problems abound; in no particular order:

1. Napoli appears at the end of the line.

2. Ramirez is a prototypical DH. (They have one)

3. Panda seems like an OK guy, pretty good player, great history in the post season (won’t matter this year) but uninspiring.

4. There is a vacuum of veteran leadership which will hopefully be filled when Pedroia returns.

5. They have too many egos for too few spots. (Have fun Farrell)

6. And then there is the PITCHING, or lack thereof! Right now it’s Rodriquez, Koji and a crap shoot. It will be fun to watch Johnson take his shot!

The bookends on the weekend performance were:

Buchholz leaving with an elbow strain on Friday…..

And,

David Ortiz sent home sick! Really? On Sunday! The doctor sent him home with an “upper respiratory infection.”

Now I hate to say this but…..Ain’t that what they used to call…..A cold?

Now I don’t want to be hyper critical but…..I remember having colds. A lot of em. Not once did I “receive fluids.”

At the game on Sunday, I was unaware that the big fella went home. So I was surprised when Ryan Hanigan came up in the eighth with a man on, two outs, a righty on the mound and the Sox down two.

Twas then that I learned that Papi was sick. If you read this blog you are probably aware of my involvement with high school baseball in Venice Florida. That said, I must tell you the rules about being sick. They go like this; if you are not in school, you cannot play in a game that night. The point to this is…..I have seen many a HIGH SCHOOL KID battle through a cough due to cold, stomach flu and more because there was simply NO WAY THEY WERE NOT PLAYING!

So I’m a wondering here, why on what was clearly the biggest game of the year for the Sox, why Sir Papi would go home with a cold. Am I off base here? My brother says I’m turning into a grumpy old curmudgeon so I need another barometer.

Coming off of his “I don’t want to play first base” act last week I have to say I’m disappointed.

I wish to offer this caveat. I love David Ortiz and what he has meant to this franchise. I marvel at his accomplishments with a bat in his hands and he will forevermore hold a warm place in my heart for his efforts which brought all of us the joys of 2004, 07 and 13.

But David, David, David. If I might offer a suggestion…..How about this if that question of first base comes up again.

“You know I’m an old dude and my pins (legs) are not what they once were……But, you know, I’m gonna do whatever I can to help this team and if John (Farrell the manager) thinks we have the best shot with me at first, I’ll do whatever it takes.” Now if you want to close John’s (Farrell the manger) door and say… “Hey buddy Are you bleeping kidding me, you’re gonna kill me out there.” I’m fine with that, work it out. But I must tell you that, for the most part, the “Nation” thinks it’s no big deal for you to grab the leather a couple of times a week

I’m just sayin, is all.

As for the team and where it sits at the all star break, I think pretty close to where they will sit at the October break. They’re just not that good. Don’t get me wrong, there are young kids that I love on this team…..

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Xander Bogaerts appears destined for the stardom which was predicted.

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                                                    Mookie can flat out play.

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                                                And how do you not love Brock Holt?

Now I must confess it bugs the bejesus out of me that he wears Wade Boggs number but that’s a story for another day.

And how about this kid?

Eduardo Rodriquez went from #79 in spring training to # 1 in the rotation at the all star break!

Soooo, here’s what I’d like to see, not that anybody asked.

1. Move Victorino and/or Napoli.

2. They seem to have given up on Jackie Bradley Jr. I have not. I would like to see him penciled in, for the bulk of what remains of the season and then decide once and for all what to do with him.

3. Show me some hungry kids……

Oh and in the sentimentality of my age…..More of this please.

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Lovely little 10 year old girl from Connecticut who rocked God Bless America Sunday at Fenway!

Bring on the second half……Such as it is!

                            And so it is at this time in Fenway history, All Star break, 2015.

 

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“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature….. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller

My dad once told me that there are two types of people in the world. There are those who kick the $#!% out of life and those who let life kick the $#!% out of them.

You have to decide if you’re a kicker or a kickee!

The kickers are those who see life as an adventure, dripping with challenges.

The challenges themselves come in two forms. Those which other people and life circumstances place before us and those which we seek. Each calling upon varying degrees of intestinal fortitude which each of us must seek, find and implement.

The kickee, on the other hand, will choose to sit among their own illusion of security. They will never dare themselves, never take a risk and sadly maybe never realize that their security will steal from the essence of life itself!

Yesterday marked the 101st anniversary of the debut of this 19 year old Red Sox southpaw.

A kicker for sure, Babe Ruth overcame a myriad of challenges as a kid to become the greatest and most beloved baseball player in the history of the world.

Five score plus one to the day, this 22 year old southpaw took the hill against the Yankees in his team’s biggest game of the year.

                                                             Eduardo Rodriquez, a kicker

After surrendering a first inning solo home run to Alex Rodriquez (thankfully no relation); he shut New York down; scattering 4 more hits while going 6 1/3 innings. His team rallied behind him winning 5-3 and setting up today’s biggest game of the year.

Speaking of kickers, anyone remember this guy?

                                                  Myles Standish

Myles was a passenger on the Mayflower, you may recall that 100 foot ship that left England almost 400 years ago. Aboard were Myles, his wife and 130 of their closest friends and crew. Now keep in mind this was no Carnival Cruise to Cancun. There were no reservations booked, no guy waiting at the dock with a placard that read Standish Family. Nope; their destination was um, ah, oh that’s right, the New World.

Oh and their were no bathrooms, buckets did the trick. Sounds like a boatload of kickers to me!

           Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor.

Yesterday the energies of Babe and Eduardo, and Myles merged in the lives of folks near and dear to me. And it did so in Myles’ old stomping grounds of Duxbury Massachusetts.

Among Myles’ many duties was the protectorate of Plymouth Colony. Known for a fiery temper, he was also known to exhibit calm in crisis and he worked very closely with Governor William Bradford in the nascent years of Plymouth Massachusetts. So revered was he that a full 200 years after his death, the good people of Duxbury constructed a monument to him.

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                                                  Myles Standish Monument.

This granite edifice stands 116 feet high (roughly 10 stories) and inside you can climb 125 steps up a spiral staircase to the top. It’s a tad unkempt inside, I’m sad to say because I don’t think too many people care too much about such things these days. But that just becomes another obstacle to overcome.

Enter these three…..

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                                    Addy, Quinn and Reagan, my three granddaughters!

A “mystery ride” brought us here Saturday afternoon. But first a true confession; Papa (me) has a bit of difficulty with a couple of things, heights and edges. It dawned on me that these two minor obstacles would come into play during this excursion. So before I went to pick up the girls, I swung by to say hello to old Myles and take on the challenge.

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This greeted me at the foot of the stairs.

I began the journey skyward and I must say I can’t confirm the exact number of steps but battling through all the physical sensations heights and edges bring to me I made it up and down…..It was time to get the girls.

We arrived and the girls didn’t take the stairs up to the monument entrance, they chose the grass hill climb instead and then we were there! Reagan and Addy charged ahead while Papa and Quinn trailed. Reagan announced every time she passed a window and Addy kept checking back with Papa and Quinn whose every step Papa was closely guarding; all the while disguising my hoverability factor (is that even a word?)

WE MADE IT!!!!! And as we circled the apex Addy said “Papa you look dizzy.” Smart girl that one! The reward was spectacular!!!!

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Duxbury Beach on one side…….

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Duxbury Harbor (low tide) on the other…..WE WERE KICKERS!!!!!!!

And if I might offer an observation. There was not an ounce of fear or trepidation in one step that each of the girls took. NOT EVEN A TINY LITTLE BIT!!!!

But we were not done. Upon decent the girls had another thought in mind…

Of course the girls wanted to know all about Myles so we googled him up and learned all about him. And then it was off to pay our respects…..

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The Myles Standish Burial Grounds is the oldest continually maintained cemetery in the country.

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But there was still more!

A short trip to the other side of this wonderful little town, a nature walk and voila!!!

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There was old Myles again…….

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Looking right over our shoulder……The girls got a kick out of that!!!!!

The day came to an end here; where a gathering of family celebrated the upcoming wedding of Danni and Jarrett.

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This is a true collection of kickers and it emanates an energy that is palpable and inspiring to be around. We sat crowded in the greatest room in the world. We chatted, we laughed, we remembered and we loved. All the while looking down on us was the Red Sox battling the Yankees. It’s summer isn’t it?

There is a moral in this story…..And the moral is simple. Do not let the creature comforts which, we all love, make you a prisoner. Do not allow them to make you so comfortable that the challenges of life paralyze you! Do not let them steal from you the adventure that is this thing we call life!

Today Big Bro and I will head into Fenway! It’s been a while since the two of us went to Fenway together and a while longer since it was the biggest game of the year.

Let’s kick it!

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Myles will be watching!

And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history; July 12, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

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