Saturday, September 25, 2004

the charles falls

Imagine me sitting on the common in South Natick by the Charles River falls with a laptop. The Charles has that same muddy-algae smell that the Sudbury River did when I used to spend hours catching sunfish from it over in Framingham. My father called the fish “kivvers,” and I don’t think he ever fished there with me. He was too proud for that. He would take me to the Connecticut Lakes for Lake Trout, or we'd sneak a pole into someone’s back yard to grab some rainbow or brook trout. But he would not be caught dead fishing for kivvers. For a while, I was able to sell my catch to some black people. I was never able, I don’t recall, to bag the coveted pickerel from the Sudbury River.

But here in the Common… I can remember climbing a very tall ladder to the roof the library over there. My father was repairing one of the copper gutters, I seem to recall. I climbed another ladder there as a young man of 21 or so when my cousin was hired to do some roof repairs on the old tar-and-gravel. I always thought it was too high, and I climbed the ladder with a white-knuckle grip. That is probably the main reason that I had no interest in carrying on the family business.

And I remember the time Bridget and I came to this Common on our vacation, later in our twenties. I took her to all the places I had known as a boy. She loved them too. It was like she became my childhood buddy on that trip. We went over to those extremely high-end zero-lot-line houses my father did the roofing and sheet metal work for. I helped a little on those, not much. He used a composite roof tile meant to mimic slate. Lots of copper, too. He said something about the developer, an MIT educated international lawyer, not paying him fully. It was one of his dream jobs, too.

I’ve come to this park since, by myself. Whenever I’m in Mass, which isn’t too often, I will come here if I have time and transportation. This lovely afternoon I am joined by a half dozen Mallards and one assertive goose. Nearby a swarm of sparrows is grazing. The falls churn a short distance away. Across the falls, a lad fishes for…what, kivvers? That could be me, 30 years removed. I hope that boy's childhood better prepares him for adulthood than mine did. Enough whining.

Corrado’s South is still there, and they still won’t let you use their bathroom. I am giving serious thought to going into town to catch the Sox/Yankees game. I’d have to scalp tickets. I’ve never done this and I hate doing stuff like this alone. I think I’ll price them on eBay…hmmm…they start at $399 for a pair…that’s just not worth it. I’m not going to pay a sucker’s premium. But, oh, it will be mayhem inside that stadium tonight. The Sox may muster some last minute fight knowing they will not finish in first place. So if they do find their backbones, it’s doubtful they’ll find their cajones. They’ll fight like women scorned. Look for lots of bad calls and really obnoxious fan behavior.

This is a great moment. I will lay me down and catch some gentle z’s here.


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