April 2022


2022 Boston Marathon

Today J and I resumed our Patriots’ Day routine of watching the Boston Marathon along Commonwealth Avenue between miles 18 and 19 in Newton. It has been three years since the Marathon happened in April: in 2020, the Marathon was canceled outright due to the pandemic, and in 2021, it was postponed until October. This year, the Marathon took its proper place in the calendar, serving as one of my favorite Boston-area rites of spring.

2022 Boston Marathon

New Englanders are known for their reticence and reserve, but Marathon Monday is a welcome exception. Patriots’ Day often falls on the first really nice day of Spring, and everyone turns out to celebrate, with parents guiding kids, kids tugging dogs, and folks of all ages waving signs and ringing cowbells to urge the runners on: go, go, go!

2022 Boston Marathon

In a region where making eye contact with strangers is verboten, on Marathon Monday people actually talk to one another. On a day I’ve called New Englanders’ high holy day of hospitality, locals welcome all manner of strangers to their streets, clapping and cheering elite runners and everyday Joes alike. If you are bold enough to run 26 miles through our proverbial backyard, then by God we’re going to show up and treat you like a champion, even though we might curse you in traffic on any other day.

2022 Boston Marathon

Although it has always seemed fitting that the Marathon happens in Spring–a chance for locals to gather outside, enjoy some sunshine, and celebrate the fact that we’ve survived another long winter–this year I’m realizing how appropriate it is to run the Marathon on Patriots’ Day. Established to commemorate the day in April, 1775 when British troops came to town and the men of Lexington and Concord took up arms to say get off my lawn, Patriots’ Day is a celebration of American liberty in general and Massachusetts resolve in particular.

2022 Boston Marathon

Patriots’ Day celebrates something fierce, but the Boston Marathon celebrates something friendly. Every year on Marathon Monday, I’m struck by the simple kindness of people showing up to cheer for random strangers. Although it was a welcome respite to watch the Marathon last October, this 26-mile-long block party with a race running through it really belongs in April. During a month when both hope and Spring spring eternal, it’s a welcome relief to see strangers come together to cheer and encourage.

2022 Boston Marathon

CLICK HERE to view photos from today’s Boston Marathon. Enjoy!

Best Good Friday ever

One year ago today, J and I took a 45-minute drive to Worcester, where we and a couple hundred other people received our first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in a gymnasium at Worcester State University.

Like seemingly everyone else in the spring of 2021, I had horror stories of trying to get the vaccine as soon as J and I were eligible. After trying for days to find an available appointment, I nearly wept with relief when I was able to book two simultaneous appointments for a Friday afternoon in April: a Friday that happened to be Good Friday, a day I immediately dubbed The Best Good Friday Ever.

Receiving the first then second Pfizer dose changed everything. In April 2021 I’d been teaching in-person since September 2020, relying upon nothing more than social distance, a KN95 mask, and my body’s own immunity to keep me safe. Getting the vaccine allowed me to continue teaching without fear of catching the virus, developing complications, and dying.

Although getting vaccinated didn’t end the pandemic–the Delta then Omicron variants dashed our naive hopes of quickly returning to our Old Normal–being able to navigate the world with a strong layer of protection has been life-changing. The vaccine isn’t a silver bullet: plenty of people have caught COVID (especially the Omicron variant) despite being fully vaccinated. But for those of us who are up-to-date with our shots, COVID is no longer a death sentence. I can’t overestimate how grateful I am for that.

Back in October, exactly six months after our second shot, J and I got boosted. And next week, just shy of six months after our booster, J and I have appointments for our fourth dose–a jab I’m calling our re-booster–at the pharmacy where I get my flu shot every year. If our New Normal means getting a COVID shot every six months or so, I’ll be the first in line.