Sunday, March 12, 2006

Boston - The Weekend

It has been a bee-yoo-tee-ful weekend here in the Boston area. The temperature has been in the fifties both days with lots of sun. Saturday, I was able to sleep in but that means getting out of bed around 8:30 AM. Wanted to sleep longer but just couldn’t. I spent the morning surfing the web during breakfast (Toaster Strudels) and then writing a bit on the thesis project.

At noon, the “Idaho Boys” and I went to grab a burger and then came back to play some basketball. I was amazed at how breathless I was after just a few minutes of action. We played some “21” and I “busted” on 21 twice, having to go back to 11 but still managed to hang on to win. We then played a little 1-on-1, which sent me over the edge of exhaustion.

I came back to the room and did a little more work. Then, at 3:30 PM, Daven Watkins (a young preacher (31) from Kentucky) wanted to play so we went back out again. Daven and I made up a team from the deep south and beat the northwest “Idaho Boys” 15-14 in a very tough and competitive game. At this point I think my lungs were filling up with fluids and my muscles in my legs were almost quivering. It truly was a sad sight!

I came back into the room just in time to catch the final five minutes of the UNC-Boston College game. This area is pretty proud of the BC Eagles but we are not actually in Boston. My hotel is in Danvers, which is about 25 miles north of Boston. It is a town about the size of Hickory, if I had to guess. It is all hotels and shopping centers with three MAJOR thoroughfares running parallel right through it (US 1, I-95, and Hwy 128). All are four lanes with exits. I’m sure that contributes to this town having two huge malls bigger than anything in Hickory or Statesville.

After the game, I drove over to Salem. That is a truly amazing little town. It is amazing to drive down the streets and look at the beautiful 200-hundred-year-old homes. I also saw a few “Witch Houses” that look like something out of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Salem also had the single largest comic book store I have ever seen in my life (Harrison’s). I spent a solid hour in there and saw only about half the contents. AJ and Joey, you would have loved it. They had every single action figure and statue you can imagine and posters and cars and games and just about anything else you’ve even seen.

A quick stop at the “Super Stop-N-Shop” for some more Coke and other sundries and I was home for the evening. That meant more work on the thesis project.

As I mentioned earlier, a cohort of ours was preaching this morning. Seven us piled into the Idaho Boys’ mini-van (and I thought a Taurus was a raw deal) and we headed into Boston. I had my laptop with the GPS device plugged in and we were making great time. Then, we ran into some trouble – Boston police had blocked off the very streets we needed to travel for some 10K run. All traffic was re-routed down Beacon Street along the Charles River and we were sitting still. We got from the hotel to Boston in about 20 minutes and then spent almost forty going five blocks. We ended up parking in the underground garage in the Boston Commons (a very nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon), and took off on foot for Tremont Street.

We managed to enter Tremont Temple Baptist Church right as the choir started the service. We almost walked past the church because it looks like all the stores around it. Tremont Street is a very busy street in Boston and has all the famous stores on it. Right in the middle of is this church. It was built in the 1830s and is truly magnificent on the inside. The architecture is phenomenal and I found myself looking around a lot during the singing and other activities taking place. There was a HUGE pipe organ at the front with some incredibly elegant metalwork around it. The ceiling was ornate. It had that old “theatre” look to it with a balcony and then a second balcony on top of that. Our friend, Paul, preached the morning sermon in costume as a grown-man who was the boy with the fishes and loaves in John 6. He did a fantastic job.

After church, he took us over to Yawkey Way and we met his brother at Fenway Park. We got a personalized tour of the baseball stadium and that was a true highlight for me. We went through the Red Sox offices and then out into the stands. They are doing a LOT of renovation and have only 28 days to complete it before their home opener on April 11. They have to work seven days a week, 24 hours a day and I still don’t see how they’ll do it. We went up on top of the Green Monster and then down into the center field area. Paul’s brother offered a prize to anyone who could name the Red Sox’s retired numbers: Joe Cronin, 1; Bobby Doerr, 4, Yaz, 8; Ted Williams, 9; Fisk, 27. I first said Johnny Pesky for #1 but corrected it. I’m still waiting on my prize.

After Fenway, we went for some ribs (Rodney, I think they were authentic, nowhere-else-in-the-world ribs). We got home around 5:00 and I got to work on our project for Tuesday morning. Steve, John and I have to teach a lesson to the class on using the three developmental questions of sermon development. I think we have it pretty well nailed down and I am so thankful to be on the same group as those two guys.

I have four more days of class and it begins early tomorrow.


Mike Cline said...

So you're reading "A Day at Fenway" and then you actually SPEND a day at Fenway. Does this mean you're trading in your yankee ways for some red socks?

Jeff A. Spry said...

No but I think it was Sun Tzu in "The Art of War" who said that you must know your enemy.

Besides, "A Day at Fenway" was all about a baseball game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Yankees won. I don't think I would have bought it had the Sox won the game. Who would want to relive that?

And Fenway is a place you go to just because you're a baseball fan.

There are only three stadiums currently in use built prior to 1962: Fenway in 1912, Wrigley in 1914 and Yankee Stadium in 1923.

After these three, the next "oldest" stadiums are Dodger Stadium (1962), RFK in DC (1962), Shea Stadium (1964), Anaheim (1966), Oakland (1968) and Kansas City (1973). Every other stadium has been built since the 1980s.

So, it was more of a museum visit!!!