I Love New England

I Love New England April 22, 2013

A quick reflection on this past week in New England.

Returning from the cafeteria to my office prior to class this morning, I walked past “McPhail’s,” our on-campus pub and eating establishment. Apparently last Saturday a group called “Cactus Gang” played there–the poster describes Cactus Gang as “New England’s Premier Country Band.” One of the great things about living in New England, for me at least, is recognizing the oxymoronic nature of that description. New England and country music are about as awkward a fit as ordering clam chowder in Memphis. I did it once, and my advice is: Don’t. We New Englanders know what we’re about (not country music); would that the seafood place in Memphis had known what it was about.

The events of the past week have been covered, discussed, dissected and analyzed from every conceivable angle so thoroughly that I have little additional to contribute. My favorite comments from the past week–just about anything said at the memorial service at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston. My vote for the “hall of shame” comment–a tweet from an Alabama state legislator suggesting that he bet that the liberals in the Boston area in their homes during the fire fight on Thursday night wished they had an AK-47 and a multi-round clip. My one contribution: I’ve never been prouder to be a New Englander. From law enforcement efforts, to community grieving and solidarity, to spontaneous outbursts of real rather than manufactured patriotism, to the unquenchable, continuing spirit  of those who first came to these rocky shores with freedom in their hearts, creative ideas in their minds, and new lives in their plans–Bostonians both by geography and in spirit did themselves proud.

I have never seen a stronger and clearer statement of love, support, cooperation and community. I’m proud of my favorite big city and proud to be a native New Englander. I was raised in northern New England, lived for many years in many other parts of the country, and never realized how deeply I was a New Englander at heart until I returned eighteen years ago. I love my home city of Providence, but this past week have thought of Providence as a suburb of the great city forty miles to the north, Boston. Boston strong–that’s not a slogan or a gimmick. It’s a fact.

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