Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 14 September 2012 08:16
As I looked at the bills in my hand, my heart skipped a few beats as I realized that only the singles remained, and the twenties and tens were missing. I had brought some extra cash with me on a trip to Boston to purchase Red Sox and Patriots merchandise. I know Karl Malden used to say, “Don’t carry cash, carry American Express Traveler’s Checks,” but the vendors outside of Fenway seem to prefer cash. So I stood in the McDonald’s frantically looking for my vacation money, which I had been saving in a bank account throughout the summer and had just withdrawn from the bank only two days prior. It wasn’t a whole lot of money. Not even enough to buy an iPad or even a Kindle Fire, but it was enough to take a little piece of Boston home with me.
Unbeknown to me, when I had reached into my pocket to retrieve a dollar for the iced tea I was purchasing, many of the bills I was carrying had fallen out and had landed right by my foot. A patron apparently spotted the money and although he said nothing as I searched, as my head was tilting in such a direction that I would have seen the money, he sprang into action.
“Hey you dropped money,” he said.
“Thanks, I replied,” as I picked it up.
“What are you going to give me for it?” he asked.
I was a little shocked by the question. Yet, I asked him what he was ordering. He told me that he finished dining.
“You could pay for the milkshake I had,” he said.
Completely surprised, I handed him three dollars. The woman on the line in front of me began scolding him at the nerve of asking for money. She even told him to give me the three dollars back. Thinking about it later, I realized that being good for goodness sake just didn’t resonate with this individual, and I probably should have just given him my thanks and not my three dollars. But for three dollars, I figured that I had an amusing anecdote to share with all of my readers.
“Please don’t think all Bostonians are like that,” she told me as we left the fast food store.
I didn’t think that all. And she is absolutely right. Almost everyone that I encountered while spending a few days in Boston was absolutely wonderful. Bill Finn, a letter carrier, took a significant amount of time out his busy day to share his knowledge of the Boston area, which included how to navigate Boston traffic and how to find a parking spot near Fenway. He was quite friendly and also commented that he thoroughly enjoys visiting New York. Even though I’m a Red Sox fan, I expected to encounter a little hostility being from New York. However, everyone I met greeted me with the same welcoming attitude that Bill has. Peter Shapiro, a videographer, originally from Jericho now living in Massachusetts, overheard a conversation I was having about being from Long Island, and he also spent a great deal of time sharing his insights about Boston. I don’t know if Long Island or Massachusetts can take credit for his friendliness. It’s probably a combination of both regions.
And even though Boston is about 200 miles away, they know of our plight with high taxes. As the friendly hotel employee, Danessa, explained my bill, she mentioned that the price also included taxes.
“Oh yeah, we have taxes – we’re Taxachusetts,” she said with a chuckle. When I told her that I was from Long Island she replied, “Oh gosh, you have it worse.”
A little sympathy helps when miles away from home. If you have the chance to visit the area, I strongly advise that you do so. Boston and nearby Cambridge are really beautiful cities. The view from the JFK Library overlooking Dorchester Bay is breathtaking. And there’s something special about watching a game at Fenway Park. I know some Yankee fans will disagree, but if you’re a baseball fan, you have to visit there. And Yankee fans, if it helps, appease yourself in knowing that you’re watching a game in a stadium where Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth once played. That can’t be said about the current Yankee Stadium. Met fans can cheer themselves up by looking at the Green Monster (or as New Englanders call it, “The Wall”) and recall that Gary Carter slugged two home runs over it during the 1986 World Series.
It’s a great region, with some really wonderful people. Just don’t drop your money in a fast food restaurant, unless you want to part with three dollars for an already consumed shake.
Ron Scaglia is the Special Sections editor of Anton Newspapers.