Friday, April 19, 2013

My Father's Trip to Boston

This post has nothing to do with the Tigers or Baseball, but I found this story kind of amusing on a day when not much funny is happening in Massachusetts.  

My soon to be 89-year old father got up this morning for a hearing aid appointment at the Veteran's Administration in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston.  His television was not working, so he initially was totally oblivious that the whole area was was in lock down.  So, he got in his car expecting to experience the usual traffic nightmare on the way to the city.

He was surprised to find that there was very little traffic on Route 128, a circumstance about as common as a Cecil Fielder stolen base.  He flipped on the radio and discovered that there was a manhunt going on and that people were being strongly advised to stay off the roads, but he kept going.  There were enough cars on the road where he felt it was OK to keep moving and he's a little hard of hearing, so he was probably not totally aware of everything that was happening.  Or maybe it's because, as an 89-year old former front lines soldier in World War II, he tends not to let people tell him what to do.

He next found that Route 9, a virtual parking lot most mornings, was almost abandoned going through Newton and Brookline.  There were no roadblocks or anything though, so he kept on going until he reached the VA building.

While this was going on, the VA had called my mother to tell her to call my dad and tell him to skip his appointment and go home.  They said if he entered the building, they wouldn't be able to let him out.  Since my father does not have a cell phone, there was no way to reach him and it probably would not have mattered anyway.  He would have kept moving forward.

Anyway, my father parked his car and approached the door of the VA.  He was stopped by a police officer asking for identification.  My dad showed his driver's license, but they wanted his GI Identification.  Getting a little irritated at that point, he told him he didn't have one and didn't have anything like that for years.

Next, the police man wanted to see his license plate.  When he saw that it was a Army Veteran's Bronze Star license plate, he saluted my father and ushered him in the building.  So, my father was able to have his test and I think they were happy to see him since most people had cancelled their appointments.

As it turned out, they didn't make him stay there after the test.  Or maybe he took his hearing aids out and couldn't hear them.  Emboldened even more by the salute, nobody was going to stop him anyhow.

The important thing is he made it home safe and sound.


  1. Hi Lee: Your Dad sounds like a cool guy. I wonder if you have considered buying him a pay as you go phone, just for emergencies? Load it up with minutes and important phone numbers and then give it to him. That way all he'd have to do is remember to keep the darn thing charged and add minutes every so often. I did this for my Mom a while back, since I don't like the idea of her driving alone without a cellphone. I got her a tracfone FWIW since they only require that you buy $20 of minutes every three months. You should also know that 911 works on cell phones even if there are no minutes. A lot cheaper than medic alert. Cheers.

  2. Thanks, my father and mother actually have a cell phone. She tries to get him to take it with him, but he thinks he doesn't need it. I will remind him again.

  3. Lee, Living on the southshore, but working in boston/brookline for years, I know all the areas your dad was driving through to get to the VA. You are blessed to have both of your parents. In all my years living here, this was the strangest, tragic week for something that happened in Boston. Your dad was from the same era as my late father, grew up during the depression, and have tremendous pride in the USA.
    KC Ron



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