While we don’t get to Boston often, when we do, we visit relatives, not historical landmarks. However, one fine June day, our family function concluded and our flight home to Alabama still four hours away, we decided to take a riding tour loosely based on Boston’s “Freedom Trail.” Our tour was unusual, to say the least.
We started our tour at the end of the Freedom Trail, with a visit to the Bunker Hill monument. In addition to learning about the battle, we saw the city from the hill, and received a tourist’s map of downtown Boston. We then wound our way through the city streets, turning down any alley or street that seemed interesting.
According to the map, a small Revolutionary era cemetery lingered among surrounding skyscrapers. What little we could see of it from the main road looked interesting, so, even though it wasn’t part of the Freedom Trail, we swung off the main road and started down the particularly narrow alley.
Our timing was impeccable. Once we reached the point of no return, a 12 piece brass band with cherry red uniforms swung out of the graveyard gate before us, marching sedately. Our neon yellow Sportage contrasted nicely with the brass in the instruments and the red in the uniforms, which was fortunate since we had no choice but to follow the band.
In the time it took both of us to look back and check that we really wouldn’t be able to back out of the alley, our parade also acquired a grand marshal. He was either an eccentric millionaire who liked to dwell on street grates and drink Perrier water from paper bags or a homeless man. He had swung into line at the front of the parade. As grand marshal, he waved at all and sundry, which consisted of a few stray tourists who had wandered into the alley. His solemn parade wave was an instant hit!
At the foot of the hill, where the alley and the main road intersected, a crowd of people stared up the hill in anticipation, although I don’t think they were expecting to see the procession that was approaching.
One of Boston’s finest was directing traffic. The mere sight of the policeman caused our grand marshal to fade gently into the sunset, but my husband and I had nowhere to go. The band and our car came to a stop at the bottom of the alley, the band steadily playing and marching in place.
The policeman viewed the procession for a second with a twitching upper lip, then, keeping a straight face with some difficulty, waved his hand to part the band like the Red Sea, which allowed us to start towards the airport. We gave the crowd our best good-bye parade wave as we left. That was the last time we tried sight-seeing by car in Boston.