Monday, April 16, 2012

Boston Marathon Day: A Celebration

Today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts. This holiday is especially important here in Boston since it's also Marathon Day. The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world, started in 1897. It is a huge and historic event. And I'm lucky enough to live about 3 miles down the road from the course.

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I moved from Vermont to a western suburb of Boston. I cried my eyes out. I absolutely loved Vermont. I loved the practical, down-to-earth people. I loved the quiet and solitude of our little spot in the woods. I loved the slow and easy pace of life.

When we first moved to Boston, I had serious culture shock. In Vermont, no one cared how big your house was. What clothes you wore. What car you drove. Or if you had the latest technological gadgets. The chief of surgery wore a Carhartt jacket, drove a pick-up truck, and had a cell phone that looked like a walkie-talkie from MASH. Suddenly, I'm in the western burbs where moms had cashmere sweater sets and Kate Spade hand-bags, everyone drove a BMW, and I was the only non-nanny at the playground. 

I was totally depressed. I HATED Boston.

And then, in April, my husband and I walked down the street to watch the Marathon. Our little town was transformed. Old people, young kids, snotty mothers, college students all lined the streets screaming and yelling and cheering for the runners in this Marathon. It was the first time I got a sense of what Boston could really be. 

It was exciting and joyful and supportive and magical. Everyone was on the same page that day. It didn't matter how rich you were. Or what neighborhood you lived in. Every single person was cheering for the runners. Some participants were in wheelchairs. There were shirtless old timers, and young mothers pushing their babies in strollers, running clubs, college students, and lots of baby boomers covered with sweat and accomplishing an amazing feat. Running 26 god-damned miles.

The by-standers cheered and pumped our fists in the air. We offered fruit and drinks. We boosted their spirits at the half-way mark. And they needed it.

When we got home that day, I told my husband I finally liked Boston.

The Marathon was, and still is (in my opinion) the very best of Boston.

Happy Patriot's Day! Happy Marathon Day! Best of luck to all the runners!