Friday, March 18, 2011

Other hills

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy Evacuation Day!

Here in Boston, we celebrate both...sort of. Everyone's running around in green themed attire, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, and reveling in boiled dinners (mmm!). Public offices observe March 17 by taking the day off from work. School's out. It's a grand day. The reason? We don't revere March 17 just because our basketball team is the Celtics and we're soooo Irish centric out here. It's actually a day of remembrance for the great day in American history when General George Washington loosened the lobsterback stranglehold on Boston and repelled the British from the city in 1776.

The colonists rebel uprising managed to show some impressive toughness in the previous June across the channel at Bunker Hill. (We celebrate June 17). Evacuation Day celebrates feats from atop Dorchester Heights. This is the tallest point in the surrounding Boston area, currently located in the South Boston neighborhood.

Coincidence that this area is also traditionally heavily Irish and therefore bangs out a MASSIVE party complete with road race and parade? Hmmm

But back in the 1770s, no one was really settled out here. Just a thin strip of land, unconnected directly to the Boston of Old North Church etc. But when surveying the area, Washington and his advisers recognized the Heights as a strategic gem. So the plan? Fortify the hill with the newly acquired cannons (which had been ransacked from British Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York). After a long 183 (ish) mile haul through the snowy Berkshires that winter, one would think the good General Washington might give Colonel Knox a break. But no, Washington ordered Knox to push past "the wall" and finish the climb: perch those cannons on the top of Dorchester Heights. And so they did.

So I call to you my loyal readers/runners: push past the wall. Reach the lower parking lot, reach the upper parking lot, stare down that obscene climb to the tip top house and drag your guns to the top of our beloved other hill: Mt Washington.


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