Hey everyone! It feels good to have enough time to sit down and crank one of these out – the time since my last blog (Commencement for the Class of ’14) has been a little too hectic for my taste, but the upside of that is that I’ve got a whole bunch of material here to give you. The count stands at 46 days until move-in back at The Cross – not that I’m keeping track or anything – so there’s plenty more to accomplish still this summer, but just to give you an idea of how I’ve been keeping myself distracted until school starts back up again, here’s a CliffsNotes version of the summer thus far!
The first big occasion of the summer saw my dad Patrick hitting the half-century mark; yes, the Big-Man finally turned the big 5-0. Naturally, the rest of the family had to observe the event with all due pomp and circumstance, and so set about with the HERCULEAN effort of trying to pull a surprise party over on him. Dealing as we were with a man who got his career started in crime reporting and who is more attuned to the power of social media than his 17 and 20 year old combined (he had a Facebook and Twitter account before I’d even heard of either), this was actually much harder than you may be thinking. But after months of planning and several acts of light espionage, we were able to pull it off in the end, and the result was a better afternoon than any of our scheming could possibly have wished for.
We toyed around with the idea of inviting master red carpet photobomber Benedict Cumberbatch to the event, but alas, the man was too busy solving crimes, and more than a few of the womenfolk (hi Heather) may have been a bit distracted by his presence. The heavy, heavy burden therefore fell on to my shoulders to add a certain je ne sais pas to the photos taken during the party. As a result, the afternoon has been recorded for posterity as essentially a record of my ruining otherwise-perfect photos.
Just to provide some examples of my finer work:
It’s a month later and it’s already been said, but happy birthday (again) Dad, here’s to the next 50!
Party preparations out of the way, it was time for some unwinding. I rang up two of my cousins, blog veteran Ben Nicholson (HC Class of ’17) and blog newcomer John Blake (son of Anne Blake, née Nicholson, HC Class of ’86), and we headed off to go catch America’s most romanticized game in its most romanticized venue – yes, it was this year’s first trip to Fenway Park!
“Sweeeeet Caroline BUM BUM BUMMMM”
We’re all Sox fans in the family, but as the night went on we found ourselves rooting more and more for opposing Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta, as he made it all the way into the 8th inning on a no-hitter.
The Sox have fallen a bit from grace this season, but we’re all still riding pretty high on the blazing cloud of bearded glory that was last year’s championship.
One of these two is old enough to grow hairs on his chinny-chin-chin. The other one is wishing realllllly hard.
For the past five summers, actually, my time’s been pretty occupied by baseball. My sophomore year of high school I started working at the Red Sox’s single-A affiliate team in my hometown, the Lowell Spinners, and it’s a gig I still retain. It’s hands-down one of the nicest single-A ballparks in the entire country, and even better, it’s a FRACTION of the price of its big green brother 30 miles southeast. The last two summers have seen me in a close working relationship with the Spinners’ mascot, the Canaligator (so-named for Lowell’s expansive network of canals – the 2nd largest in the world, only behind Venice, in terms of the amount canals it has – fun fact for the day). It’s the perfect summer job, and one that I’m lucky to have!
Mr. C. Gator himself. He gets cranky some days, and takes it out on his handler. I just hope one day he doesn’t send me the Steve Irwin route.
Even on some of my tougher nights, I just have to remind myself, “Hey: I’m working in a ballpark.” Could be worse, I’m telling you.
But maybe the only thing more American than baseball? The 4th of July! *accepts award for best segue of the year* It’s a yearly tradition in my extended family to commemorate the birthday of America with a two-mile roadrace in the neighboring town of Chelmsford. This go-around marked the first time my aforementioned cousin Ben laced up his sneaks for the event, and I want to put it out there for all the Internet to see, he CRUSHED it out there! Here’s to the start of a long, prosperous career of distance running Ben!
Just as cool, in a crowd of as-near-as-doesn’t-matter-to-2000 runners out there, I still managed to bump into not one, not two, but three Crusaders before the race had even started!
Representing the old guard, two of the recent Class of ’14 graduates, and my roomates for the past year, HC Track stars Tom Santa-Maria and Sam McGrath
And the new kid on the block, incoming Class of ’18 Crusader Liv Paulo! Keep an eye out for Liv, she’s soon to be doing big things up on the Hill!
Ben, you earned every hot dog, burger, and rib you ate that day. Heck, I’ll even give you a pass for the day afterwards too.
Exercise in, it was time to get all spiffy-ed up, for this year’s annual Middlesex Community College Celebrity Forum. My Dad’s been working at MCC now for nearly a decade, and Celebrity Forum has consistently been one of their biggest events of the entire year. Previous Forum alums include actor Michael J. Fox, comedian and talk-show host Jay Leno, and ex-First Lady and First Daughter Laura and Jenna Bush, just to name a few. This year, though, MCC brought in perhaps one of their highest-ranking stars ever, in the person of Hollywood legend Robert Redford. Redford’s incredible career spans four decades at this point, from earlier his iconic roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting (both alongside Redford’s dearest lifelong friend, Paul Newman) to his more recent roles in last year’s Oscar-nominated All Is Lost and this year’s (my favorite movie of the year so far) Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Beyond acting, Redford’s equally known for his philanthropic endeavors, founding the Sundance Institute and Film Festival to give starter film productions a venue to showcase their work in and almost single-handedly raising global awareness towards a staggering amount of environmental issues.
You heard it here on this blog first, though, that through it all, Redford could not possibly be a more grounded, less egocentric individual. It was an absolute privilege not only to meet him, but to hear him interviewed over the course of the evening (by my Dad, no less. Dad, you rocked it *taps nose*). My personal favorite of the night’s stories came in his recounting of a particularly long, expensive sounding practical joke between him and Paul Newman that involved a crushed Porsche and a block of sculpted metal – the rest I’ll leave unsaid. Anyone would be lucky to have a friendship like their’s seems to have been.
When meeting Hollywood royalty, I OF COURSE had to represent Holy Cross (the tie). Purple and white all the way!
One of these guys is an absolute legend. The other is a Hollywood actor and philanthropist.
And finally, the Circle of Life added a new member into its midst; a BIG congratulations to our dear family friends the Vergadoses/Simoneaus on the birth of their new baby, Desmond! Knowing (and sharing) the family’s love of the TV show LOST, I couldn’t let my first meeting with the lad go past without slipping in a reference to one of the potential inspirations for his name.
“See ya in anutha’ life, brutha.”
Even more importantly, I think I started Desmond’s initiation into Red Sox Nation. Coming as he does from a family of Yankees fans, I figured I’d make a claim for Desmond’s fandom early on, and so save his soul. Desmond, we’re glad to have you buddy!
That about wraps it up; if I continue on, this blog will stop being a mid-summer check in and become instead a summer send-off! It’s been a lot of work and some pretty sweltering heat so far, but as you can see, I’ve hardly been idle, and the next month doesn’t seem like it’ll be any slower by any means, so until the next post, stay cool, and have a nice summer!!!