#1 did not come home for Thanksgiving. My godson was having an engagement party five miles from #1's dorm this past Saturday night. Time to hop on a plane, don't you think? There was a small logistical problem. Of course, I had to be in town for Thanksgiving at my sister's. And I didn't want to skip out early on my brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews who were in town for the holiday. The upshot was that, despite vowing to never take another red-eye to the East Coast, after shabbat dinner Friday night, I drove to Oakland and left on a JetBlue flight at 11.45PM. I did manage to sleep for a few hours. Good thing, too. #1 and I had a busy Saturday.
We breakfasted at a local diner and then checked out the art at the Gardner and MFA. #1 loved the sense the Gardner gave her of being in a villa. As always, I feasted my eyes on the Sargents including the MFA's wondrous "An Artist in His Studio." We then made it to the Brattle to see the William Powell-Myrna Low 1934 mystery classic, The Thin Man, one of #1's all-time favorites. I think I caught a fifteen minute catnap which was the freshening I needed before heading to the country club for the engagement party.
Couper and Julia's wedding is in just a few weeks, which means they're in the home stretch. The party was great, especially toward the end when we had time to catch up with Couper and Julia (on the left with me) and we had a chance to meet Julia's parents. I knew a fair amount about them since I'd read Julia's mom's witty, nostalgic, and perceptive memoir. Couper's mom regaled the attendees with the true story of how the couple's paternal grandfathers had lived on the same block as grad students in the 1930's. BTW, it was Couper who generated the all-time busy day for this blog when he linked my posting on Mel Gibson and Hebrew National to defamer.com. Julia's blog attracts plenty of hits on its own.
Sunday morning #1 and I did the crossword puzzle over breakfast in a cafe and then strolled over to Kate's Mystery Books in Cambridge. Proprietor Kate Mattes and I shmoozed about books, California, publishing, and such for an hour or so. I walked out with two mysteries set in Turkey (The Janissary Tree and Belshazzar's Daughter) with nary a clue that her store would be named a winner of MWA's Raven Award the very next day.
Monday and Tuesday I checked out three of #1's classes including the Cuban Revolution (the Castroites were not nice to the opposition), Introduction to History of Science (heard a lecture on Darwin), and Introduction to Comparative Politics (learned lots about how countries regard their constitutions -- I think the professor said Bolivia has had 18).
I ate awfully well, too. For dinner we hit the extremes from Oleana, a yummy and not cheap Mediterrenean restaurant where I had fish in a claypot, to Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, whose fare was called out in a Wall Street Journal article last spring as among the best in the nation. I made friends with the server at Hi-Rise where #1 and I had breakfast one morning and I met Couper's parents, Bill and Susan, my treasured friends from grad school days, for tea another afternoon.
#1 and I also managed to fit in another mystery film, Gone Baby Gone which, like last year's Oscar-winner The Departed, was set in South Boston amidst police corruption. It was also the better movie. Critics must not have noticed or perhaps been a little reluctant to say a film directed by Ben Affleck is superior to the one Martin Scorsese finally won an Oscar for. Monday and Tuesday we checked out other museums and other cafes. Along the way, I met a lot of #1's classmates.
All in all, one great trip. It did end on a bit of a sour note, though. The winds were blowing so hard that our plane (manufactured by Airbus) could not make it all the way across the country. We stopped to refuel in Denver which meant I got home at 1.30 AM. I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight.