It’s been said that confession is good for the soul; if that’s true, I hope I begin to feel better soon. I haven’t posted here for several weeks. And even this post is late because I lost the photos and the word document somewhere in the labyrinth of my computer.
My problem over the past two weeks has been a paralysis of the will. I haven’t been able to function much because of a terrifying event that would occur on August 5. I confess I didn’t handle the pressure like a grownup, and everything from riding to blogging to writing to eating and exercise suffered drastically.
The event I dreaded was the trip to the wedding of my niece in Boston. I was invited with my dear wife Kathy, and while she played the adult, I served as a reminder that some people never truly grow up.
You must understand that this involved things I fear like the plague, dread like a trip to the dentist. For a moment, it might help to picture me as a six-year-old spoiled brat, instead of a 62-year-old – well – spoiled brat.
First, I had to get to Boston. I am a life-long, deeply committed Red Sox fan, but when I had the opportunity several years ago to go to Fenway to watch Boston’s Double A team from Portland play in a minor league game, not just as a fan, but as a writer (I have covered the Portland Sea Dogs for 10 years for various newspapers and magazines), I did not go. I could have walked on the grass, stood behind the batting cage, sat in the dugout and talked to the players before the game. But I would have to get to Boston. Fear won and I stayed home.
This time, I promised my brother I surely be there for his daughter’s wedding. Long story short – we took the Amtrak Downeaster. Nice trip, actually. But once in Boston, we had to get to the Old North Church. Too far to walk – we took a taxi. No big deal, you say?
I am 62 and have never, ever been in a taxi. My philosophy is simple: If I don’t drive, I don’t go. But I’d made a promise to a man whom I have spent a lifetime disappointing. We took the taxi. To keep from falling into a coma, I talked. I talked a lot. I mean, I talked like a politician – a lot of words without a shred of meaning or sincerity.
Now we are at one of America’s most famous historical sites; the Old North Church, where a pair of lanterns informed Paul Revere that the British were coming, and by sea. It’s truly inspiring and beautiful. But the church was hot, crowded, noisy, filled with people I did not know. And I was becoming very nervous.
Suddenly, a pipe organ began to play. Softly at first, a familiar tune. Bach, I thought. Yes. Bach. But this sound was astounding, the organist’s touch perfect.
I have heard E. Power Biggs play Bach on the Kotzschmar Organ in Portland’s City Hall; built in 1912, it is one of the largest organs in the world.
This was better, finer, sweeter. My son Tim looked at me with deeply worried eyes. (He told me later that he believed I was having a stroke.) I cannot find words to explain it. It’s useless to try. I just kept saying, “That sound, that organ …
From that point on, until Kathy and I returned home 13 hours after leaving, nothing could burst the aural bubble surrounding me. After the service ended, I climbed to the organ loft and met Peter Krasinski, the organist. He asked if he could play something for me; I asked for “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” As the happy folks below headed to the wedding reception, I heard a sound far beyond my ability to describe. (Mr. Krasinski’s website is http://www.krasinski.org/index. It’s really good – especially the silent movie videos.)
Two young lives about to be made one. Both look a tad nervous.
No nerves now! And Craig has already learned that even a half-decent looking groom walks behind a most stunning and beautiful bride.
Speaking of beautiful - the blonde in the sunlight is my niece Krista.
And while we're talking about beauty, the young lady on the left is my niece Leaha, with Krista on the right, and my brother David in the middle.
Lowering the level a bit - here I am, on the right, with David and my sister Kate. Just after this picture was taken, a friend of my brother's said, "Dave, you don't look anything like your brother." Kate explained that, in fact, both she and I were adopted, while Dave came along naturally.
"Well, David, you've got some lovely daughters; I see where they got their good looks." Then, with a little laugh, glancing from Dave's trim figure, to Kate's glowing smile, to my pot belly, he said, "Well, nice to meet you, Kate. And you too, Tom."
The young man is my youngest son, Tim, with his wife Meredith.
And I assure you, my other two sons are handsome as well. (It's easy if one marries a beautiful girl.)
Dad and daughter dance. David wore the biggest, happiest smile I have ever seen on his face!
After an spectacular reception, Kathy and I took a taxi back to North Station. We were the only people who didn’t stay at a hotel. I have a house and a bed, and I see no reason not to sleep in my own home. (Kathy has stayed with me for 38 years – she is unquestionably the most patient and understanding person in the world. People who know us always ask, softly so I don’t hear, “How do you do it?”)