Â In my last post, the cat returned safely home just prior to my departure for Boston.Â I mentioned that she was very, very cold, but I don't think I said that she was so traumatized by her encounter with the bear that for the rest of the day she huddled in her basket, unable or unwilling toÂ move or to eat.
It was raining when I left Duluth for Boston on Tuesday morning, May 9.Â It rained the entire time I was in Boston. It rained when I flew to Chicago and was still raining when I left Chicago. And, when IÂ returned to the Duluth airport, the rain continued to fall. Today, the sun came out at home but, asÂ far as I know,Â it is still raining in Boston.
Boston might have been cold and wet externally, butÂ my experience there was quite the opposite.Â It was so warm and welcoming that I am still glowing.
Let me start by sharing the experience of being an author on tour. I'd been told a driver would pick me up at the airport, but I was quiteÂ taken aback to seeÂ one of those men who usually wave signs at others, holding a sign with my name on it.Â My head actually swelled a bit. A limo to meet me? Imagine! It swelled a bit more when I entered the lobby of the Inn at Harvard. I, who have always professedÂ love for a simple life, enjoyed being treated like the rich and famous. Ah, how easily seduced I am.
The Inn is situated in the heart of Harvard Square and is built around a central courtyard. Each floor circles this courtyard which is topped by a vast glass roof. The courtyard functions as a classy restaurant and lounge, with sofas and arm chairs, coffee tablesÂ and huge vases of flowers. A marble god and goddess gaze benevolently from either end of the courtyard.
I arrived after the restaurant had closed for the night, but room service â€“ I was told â€“ would be delighted to serve me. Room service was another item I thoroughly enjoyed.Â Trusting in my publisher's generosity, I ordered a meal sent to my room. I was hungry. I'd been traveling meal-less, for most of the day. I ate my squash soup andÂ mescaline salad while watching Cold Case on TV. Then, taking my journal and notebook into the luxurious bed, intending to capture the day on paper, IÂ fellÂ asleep instead.
I woke the next morning to more rain and ditched the idea of taking the Red LineÂ to downtown Cambridge where I planned to visitÂ the Gather.com headquarters and took a taxi instead. On my arrival at 85 Devonshire Street, 3rd Floor, I was greeted at the door by Maria DawsonÂ who swept me into what I can only describe as Gather warmth.Â Perhaps that is why I've experienced such an exhilarating experience connecting with the other writers on Gather. The warmth is catching.Â It's a virus of the most blessed kind.
I spent close to two hours at Gather, talking with practically everyone, discussing what was up and coming at the site, being asked for suggestions (I always have so many of those). And, as my cell phone had decided to loop the loop -- booting up and shutting down in a never ending cycle -- they located the nearest Verizon store so I could replace that recalcitrant battery. (How did we ever get along without those things? Have you noticed the increase in emergencies that make it a prerogative to have such instant access? DoÂ we really need to talk on the telephone while in the bathroom stall?)
To make sure that I headed off in the right direction, Maria took me out into the rain and pointed me toward the Verizon store. From there is was an easy descent to the trains.Â Even the taxi driver said I should not miss taking the Red Line to Harvard Square.
Â "You'll see 'everything' there, and I do mean everything," he said, laughing.
Well, it mustÂ have been the rain, because everyone and everything looked fairly normal both on the train and in the square -- unless sights in Minnesota are so far out that anything looks normal which I am inclined to doubt. Sure, we wear lots of flannel and blaze orange fleece, but hey, that's normal don't you think?
On the way backÂ to the hotel, I sauntered through the rain around Harvard Square, introduced myself to a clerk at the Harvard Bookstore and signed some books, then returned Â to the hotel to prepare for my reading of The Scent of God that night at the Harvard Coop.Â
Rather than run on at the mouth (what my brother Greg called oral diarrhea), I'll post more about that tomorrow.Â