Saturday, October 27, 2012

Heading Home. Hurricane Be Damned!

With a Delta flight due to get me out of Boston in 24 hours I'm refusing to acknowledge the possibility that something stupid like a hurricane named "Sandy" is going to interfere with my polling place presence on Nov. 6.

"Sandy," for cryin' out loud.

That's a name for a big-eyed dog from a comic book or a play or a movie called "Annie," not some force of nature that, as I understand it (as of this posting on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 1:44 EDT) has already wreaked havoc with poor ole Cuba and can't make up its mind whether it's going to muscle its way up the Eastern seaboard, go inland a bit or slap the snot out of New England, including Boston. Meanwhile I'm trying to divine a voodoo ritual for sending the sucker out to sea without bothering any fishing, leisure or cruise boats.

So, barring the unforeseeable, this will be my last post until Austin is once again terra firma.

It has been a wild ride: got sick in Odessa, sicker in St. Louis, almost well in Wisconsin and healthy by Beantown.

Wisconsin was receptive and more than a few people had met and known Molly and were surprised to know her food-loving side. Minneapolis, of course, remembered her from her days at the Tribune -- which is still in print, thank goodness, but looking slim like too many dailies.

The Boston sojourn was organized by a friend and former neighbor from our days in Summit, N.J. Susan Chase is part of a remarkable group of women who have founded a non-profit that provides potable water by digging wells in a village in Ghana, and is now installing latrines to augment the one already in existence. And yes, that's one latrine for the entire village.

(This might not sound like much, but the World Health Organization says roughly 2.2 million people -- mostly children -- die annually from cholera, dysentery and other waterborne diseases carried in polluted water. So while masters of the universe are manning oil fields and planning pipelines to bring black gold to freighters for distribution around the globe, the Skidmore class of '71 is bringing water to children who can now live long enough to work those oil fields. If you want to know more about the program, go to

In all, it was a wonderful evening with alumnae coming from as nearby as New Hampshire and as far away as St. Croix. This is a bunch of no-nonsense, Elizabeth Warren-supporting, vote-or-die women who would take great umbrage at being labeled do-gooders. They are committed to doing good because that's what decent people who can afford to help others should do.

While others might take advantage of a visit to an historic city like Boston, I went in search of good food guided by advice from another friend and former colleague -- this time dating to my time as a reporter for the Denver Post. Kelli, her husband Andy and their baby Biscuit (whose real name is Parker) now live here and are as devoted to good food as your above-average food freak. Kelli proffered two recommendations, one of which was worth the week's salary it cost to park in the nearest garage.

The Boston clam chowder at City Landing on Boston Harbor was outstanding, but the lobster mac'n'cheese at Max & Dylan's Kitchen and Bar was a proper way to celebrate the end of the lobster season. Situated in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood, M&D's clam chowder wasn't as artery-clogging as City Landing's, but their blackened scallops -- a half dozen good-sized day-boat bivalves atop a drizzle of orange-horseradish marmalade -- were worth the forever it took to find a parking space.

So yeah, as the 2012 book tour winds to a close and funds threaten to dry up completely, it has been a worthwhile ride, notwithstanding Sandy's threats to keep stirring things up.

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