Thursday, April 8, 2010

Here comes Patriots' Day

The federal government tried to appropriate the term "Patriot Day" for September11.  Massachusetts, Maine, and a thousand re-enactors shrugged it off.  here in the Bay state, Patriots' Day (with the S - apostrophe) is still big news.  Besides the Marathon, which is its own kind of skirmish, the Yanks and Redcoats take to the woods in the early hours to declare each other "dead men."  (but politely, 18th C style.  You, sir, are a dead man.  I invite you to eat lead.  One moment while I pack this musket.  Then you, sir, will meet your divine maker,  Cuppa tea?)

Yesterday as the temperature hit 90 degrees (uninvited, we might add) I pulled off the road on my drive home down the Battle Road and decided to have a walk.  It was much cooler in the trees, and being near-dusk the wildlife was active, and the birds in high song.

Due to the recent rains (perhaps I've mentioned it), some of the paths were carved up, and the meadows very slushy.  But on days like yesterday New England calls in sick in order to hike, bike, ride in the outdoor air for as long as it lasts.  Which is never very long. 

Minuteman National Park turned 50 last year, and is all cleaned up for its big weekend.  Patriots' Weekend is actually next weekend, but the NPS maximizes school holidays by spreading this out over the next two weekends.  This also gives you time to plan a trip.  Unfortunately, I do not have the day off, so I can not entertain you.

This Saturday, the town of Concord will rally, and Paul Revere will be captured in Lincoln.  This is done in the afternoon, when the cafes and souvenir shops are open, rather than at midnight, when it happened.  But for the most part, the NPS does these things in real time.

Saturday the 17th the park is overrun with re-enactors, and this is the best time to visit if you never have, especially if you have kids and they think history is lame-o.  An may I say that Revolutionary re-enactors are more dreamy than Civil War re-enactors.  (If you need your own incentive).  If you have little-little kids, and you are up too early on a Saturday anyway, prithee come thither to the North Bridge for the shot heard round the world at about 8:00am.  A few skirmishes in the day.

Patriots' Day is for the early risers and the lovers of cold New England dew.  Whether you are a Marathoner or a re-enactor, Monday comes in the dark.  I'll confess I have never done this event -- firstly because I didn't have a car for 13 years, and was trapped inside the Marathon route, and since then because one rarely gets this day off anymore (unless you work for the state, the bank, or the Beth Israel Breast Imaging Unit of Lexington).  But here's how you do it, if you think you have the breeches.

Battle re-enactment in Lexington begins at about 5:30. Back at the bridge at 6am for a 21 gun salute.  Oh it is on.  Sun will be up in about 30 minutes.  BYO DD.  Parade at 9.  Lots of video on You Tube, though much of it is unsteady, given the crowds, chill, and level of equipment.  This one gives a good flavor, I think. 

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