Life In a Northern Town (Rhode Island, Pt 8)


Nothing truly spectacular happened on Saturday, they day the Leemings returned to Texas. Unless you count me being reunited with my cell phone charger upon hotel checkout.  (Seriously. What is it with me and phone charger incidents while in hotels?)

So I’m using this entry for some general observations of New England that I noted on my trip.  Again, the last time I was there is when I was 14 years old.  The mind sees things differently as a mid-40s guy as opposed to an early teen.  So here we go.

A Salvation Army band played
And the children drank lemonade
And the morning lasted all day, all day
And through an open window came
Like Sinatra in a younger day
Pushing the town away, away

  • The trees took some getting used to.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of trees. Some might even accuse me of hugging them.  They line every road and hide the front of just about every house.  It’s gorgeous, but it also makes giving directions by using landmarks pretty much an exercise in futility.  Even shopping centers are hidden from street view (for the most part) by rows of trees.  A house built on a forested lot in Texas would consist of the trees being cleared all the way to the road.  In New England, the trees along the road are spared and the lawn is basically a cleared area in the midst of a forest, not easily seen from the road.  Remember these two photos of houses in Connecticut?
  • The above applies to highway exits, as well.  Unless you are in a city like Boston or Providence, the only way you know which businesses are at an exit is because of those signs prior to the ramp telling you what kind of food, lodging, or gas options are available.
  • I’m going to go ahead and say this, and many southerners will probably disagree.  But here goes:  The New England accent is a treasure and will never, EVER get old.  Forget the movies you’ve seen because in real life it is not nearly that over the top.  In fact, I was pretty disappointed when I realized many of the people in Rhode Island (maybe even the majority?) don’t have the heavy accent that I remember from my mom, my dad, and my grandparents.  But when the helpful gentleman took the following photo of our lunch gang in Narragansett and said afterwards (going to spell this phonetically to the best of my ability) “Dats a good lookin group they-ah” it pretty much made my day. It was as authentic as me saying “y’all” as a default expression.imagejpeg_pppppp
  • Everyone was nice there.  I know the stereotype is of southerners being nice and hospitable while yankees are thought of as being unfriendly and cold.  But that is as ridiculous as almost all the other stereotypes that people swear by.  The only example of rude behavior I saw there was when a woman was pulling out of the parking lot of The Inside Scoop in front of our car.  We all just assumed she was cold hearted after the ice cream. (That’s pretty much an inside joke for Bob and Glenn.)

They sat on the stony ground
And he took a cigarette out
And everyone else came down to listen
It was the winter 1963
It felt like the world would freeze
With John F. Kennedy and the Beatles, yeah, yeah

  • I hadn’t seen a chipmunk in person since my last visit to Colorado.  Finally, I saw one in aunt Donna’s backyard.
  • Speaking of animals, let’s talk about the squirrels.  I’m not going to mince words here.  Rhode Island squirrels are dumb.  They are grey squirrels, which are not native to the United States but were brought over here on boats. You know how in Texas our ground squirrels run across the road?  I mean really run?  The grey squirrel basically saunters.  I can’t believe they have survived this long. Probably because people drive so slow looking for landmarks that don’t exist.
  • While on the topic, the only other wildlife I saw in Rhode Island were wild turkeys, a woodchuck, and Canadian geese.  (Glenn and I had an entire joke series about how we could tell the geese were Canadian, but I can’t remember what our witticisms were. Probably a good thing.)
  • I mentioned it in an earlier entry, but it bears repeating. You know how Dallas Cowboys fans are split into two factions, pro-Romo and anti-Romo?  Imagine if that entire fan base absolutely doted on Romo and you would get about 10% of the emotion felt by New Englanders toward Tom Brady.  Touchdown Tom was everywhere up there, even eclipsing David “Big Papi” Ortiz in what is purported to be his final season before he retires from baseball.  Such Brady love led to Glenn short changing a bartender at the Boston airport because of his never-ending fawning.receipt
  • I just noticed that the server’s name is Jurgen. I now fully endorse this tactic.
  • Finally, you haven’t lived until you’ve taken a selfie in the airplane lavatory.  Or perhaps I have a bad interpretation of “mile high club”.bathroom-selfie

And that’s it, except for one thing.

My brother Bill gave me permission to publish his eulogy for mom (that we heard on Tuesday in Rhode Island) in this space.  So look for that tomorrow.

The evening had turned to rain
Watched the water roll down the drain
As we followed him down… to the station
And he would never wave goodbye
You could see it written in his eyes
As the train pulled out of sight, right by
– “Life in a Northern Town”, Dream Academy


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