Be strong, be brave, be a badass

Boston-StrongWe’ve been in Virginia for seven years, but when Patriot’s Day rolls around, I really miss  Boston. We lived in Lexington, the cradle of the revolution, where relatively sane people get up at the crack of dawn to watch the reenactment of the first skirmish on the battle green. It’s over by 6:00 a.m. Then everyone leaves to eat pancakes.

Over and over again, the Dude and vowed to get up in time to see it. When 5:00 a.m. rolled around, my husband would go to work and the Dude and I would go back to sleep. We’d make pancakes at a more reasonable hour and say “next year.” Next year never came. We moved.

Virginia doesn’t recognize Patriot’s Day as a holiday. Most of the United States doesn’t recognize Patriot’s Day. I do in my own way, by watching the Red Sox game. The Dude sometimes gets home from school to see the end. Last year he got home in time to see all hell break loose.

Boston owns its position at the center of the revolution story with pride. The city does not capitulate and it does not forget. Just say the name “Bucky Dent” in a Boston bar and you’ll see what I mean.  It only makes sense that one of the world’s most grueling, challenging tests of human endurance takes place  in Boston. The Marathon has always been one of the city’s hallmark events, but now it’s sacred.

It’s so easy to sleepwalk through our days, lulled by routine and repetition. Then something happens to remind us that life is not endless and time is finite. We say “someday” or “next year” or “tomorrow” knowing that, of course, we will. Right?

You can’t finish the race if you don’t start. Do something defiant today. Something audacious and exhilarating and maybe even a little crazy. Because next year is 365 days away and there’s no good reason to wait. Because in 1775 people in Boston said “now.” Because today 35,000 people will run 26 miles because they can. Because there will always be people who say you can’t, or you shouldn’t, or you won’t be able to in ways both dramatic and mundane. Because sometimes that person is you.

Do it. Be strong. Be Boston Strong.

What badass thing will you do today?


To Quote Big Papi, This is our *^&#)$@ city

Boston-StrongI’ve lived all over the country. I was born in Detroit, moved to Cincinnati, and then Chicago. After a number of years, I left the Midwest for Silicon Valley where they have climate as opposed to weather. I didn’t miss the seasons. Then I moved to Boston.

I don’t know what it is, but Boston wedged itself in my heart. It really shouldn’t have.

First of all, the weather sucks. We moved into our house in April. It had been a warm winter for Boston, and Spring came early. By mid-April it was in the 70’s every day. One sunny Saturday I put plants out on our deck. Basil, and petunias and some Impatiens. I even got a sunburn.

Two days later we got two inches of snow.

Every year after that, Boston got epic levels of the white stuff. I grew up in Michigan, so I’m no stranger to blizzard conditions, but not until Boston did I understand what a white out really looked like. I remember when I was little, reading the “Little House” books, I wondered why everyone got all tragic when Pa had to go to the barn during a snowstorm. After Boston, I got it. One time I walked to the dude’s school during a storm to get him and wasn’t sure if I was even going in the right direction. I planned ahead, however. I had Oreos packed in my coat pockets. It took an hour and a half to get one mile.

Boston has  too much traffic, and the drivers are awful. I know that every city says their drivers are awful, but in Boston, it’s true. And they’re proud of it. The street names change every two miles. Giving directions is not simple. Turn left on Waltham, but then it turns into Ridge, then Forest, and then Park, but just keep going until you get to Lowell, which looks like it should be Bow, but it’s not. Just trust me. Don’t even get me started on people that run red lights, traffic circles or Storrow Drive.

The road construction was endless. There were so many detours, even the Garmin got pissed off. Recalculating. Again. What’s wrong with you people?

And yet, here I am in Virginia, and my basement wall is painted like the Green Monster. The dude has Patriots stuff all over everywhere. I stream The River, which is the only decent radio station in the universe, from every electronic device I own, and I feel a rush of pride when I hear “Dirty Water.” I miss the accent, and Wilson Farms, and Crane Beach, which is actually in Ipswich, but it’s close enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy in Virginia. I have an amazing group of friends that make my heart light. I can run year-round. The dude can play baseball Spring, Summer and Fall. In so many ways, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my lifetime. Yet, when everything went down in Boston last week, it felt personal.

I will never understand the heinous things people do, or how they rationalize their actions. I do know this–they messed with the wrong city. I’m not the first to say it, or even the most eloquent. That would be Dennis Lehane.  Boston is the most stubborn, f*** you, this is me, take-it-or-leave-it city I have ever known. And in the few years that I called it home, it left a mark on me that will last forever.

Love that dirty water. Boston Strong.

The city of Boston is observing a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. this afternoon in honor of the victims of Monday’s bombing. Find a moment today to do the same, and pray for peace and understanding.

J. B. Everett