Friday, February 5, 2016

A River Runs Through Boston

We went down to the River, and this time it was playing at the TD Garden in Boston.  There were nearly 20 E Streeters spread out in various sections of the Garden, adding our voices to the cacophony that surrounds any Bruce Springsteen show.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band have hit the touring circuit again, promoting the anniversary of the release of one of Springsteen's seminal albums, the double record River album.
The night was bittersweet, because it marked the first Boss show we've seen since Martin passed away.  It was made more ironic because the River album was literally the music that first brought Martin to the United States decades ago to find the American Dream that Springsteen wrote about.
But the night was made even more special and unforgettable, because we were joined for the outing by Martin's longtime and childhood friend, Paul Askew, who flew over from England to join us for the concert.
While Paul might not boast the dulcet tones that Martin could croon during the crescendos of Springsteen's greatest anthems and encores, he held his own.
But first, before the show, it was time for our sabbatical to the North End for a primo feedbag at L'Osteria to help us store up some fuel for the coming concert.
Coming across your radio station
Calling out nation to nation
If you can hear me then say alright
And if you can, meet me in the city tonight
The plates were a lot fuller for the earlier picture.
After dinner, there was a mandatory pitstop for Paul to savor his first North End cannoli (from Modern Pastry).  Noble soul that he is, Andrew didn't want Paul to have to eat alone, so he begrudgingly joined him for a cannoli toast.
Brothers in Arms from Across the Pond 
We. Are. Ready.
John, Rich, Carlos and Ann Marie were ready too.
(Carlos thought the crowd was yelling Carlooooooos, but really it was Bruce)
(I woulda added pics from Judy Burke, Craig Fennell, Scott Spence, my brother Jimmy, my sister Kathleen and her clan, and so on, but alas, there were none to share.)
Andrew donned a tee-shirt that I bought at my first Springsteen concert in December, 1980.  Don't get me wrong, it still fits me, but I felt like passing the torch to the next generation was appropo.
Official Springsteen shades.  Not everyone can pull the look off.
And the show was off and running - for the next 3 hours, 20 minutes!
Floating in that crowd in front of Jake Clemons is the 66-year-old Springsteen, doing some crowd surfing.  I only hope I'm that agile when I make it to that age!
Meet me Out in the Street
The Boss waded into a crowd of thousands in the sold-out Garden
And Andrew cheered his support
Father and son ain't got the Blues, we're just having another bonding moment during Ramrod lighting
Hitting fever pitch as we head into the encores
Show a little faith, there's Magic in the Night
You Ain't a Beauty but hey, you're alright 
We roped our surrounding fans into the excitement, making them join us in dance, sing-a-longs, selfies, and group shots
Because Tramps Like Us,
Baby, We Were Born To Run
They're really not angry or in pain, they're just caught up in the frenzy
You'd think we were at a political rally.  Nope. Just Rosalita.
Scooter and the Big Man
You know you make me wanna Shout!
(A little bit softer now)
Take a bow or two, E Street Band!
Calling it a Night
Afterwards, heading back to the car, by the Zakim bridge, there was time for one more Bruuuuuuce
And then, for my freak-out moment of the night, I got this message waiting for me on my Twitter account when I got woke up this morning.
Yeah, that's pretty damn cool.
In case you haven't figured it out, Springsteen has played a great part in the unfolding tableaus of our extended group of friends and family.  We've grown up listening to him, immersing ourselves into his songs, and growing older together alongside it.
This night, through toasts and through specific songs (Prove it All Night) we dedicated to Martin.
I'll close out in Martin's own words from an essay he wrote on life, Bruce Springsteen, the River, and everything that matters in life.

 I am in my forties with many miles in my rear-view mirror but I’ll never forget the excitement of first discovering The River. Does anybody forget their first love? I am the architect of my own destiny in life but when the waters become muddied the music of Bruce Springsteen is like a river that guides me to a place where I will always feel at home.
- Martin Brewer, July 2004

Monday, February 1, 2016

Now It's Time to Say Goodbye...

For anyone still reading along, it's finally the last of the Disney blogs, as we make another pass through the Magic Kingdom for one more round of memories.
(Regular blogs about running, Springsteen, and other important chronicles of life will resume shortly)
To gird yourself for a full day at the parks, it's always good to load up on a breakfast, the size of which you would never eat on any normal day of your life.  So that means a visit to the buffet at Chef Mickey's, where the Cooks get to thank the cooks in person.
From there, it was off to Tomorrowland, where Andrew and I proudly hung a champion's medal on Buzz Lightyear - at his request, I might add.
He was proud as a peacock to wear the medal.  Not as thrilled to have to give it back.
Speaking of medals, here's a pair of park-goers who did the Dopey Challenge - the 5K, the 10K, the Half-Marathon, and the Full-Marathon, over the span of four days - 48.6 glorious miles.  Truth be told, I tried to sign up for the Dopey Challenge, but it had sold out within minutes!
Besides the glory of boasting that you did the crazy thing, you get to brandish 6 medals as your swag (the Goofy Challenge, which is the racing series minus the 10K, gets thrown into the mix as well.)
Ah well, maybe next year?
One more visit with the park's host, this one the talking version on Main Street U.S.A.  He was quite excited to hear we were from Massachusetts.
And then he asked Andrew and I to go for a run with him.
This was the sunniest of all our days there, only bolstered by Heather's adorable smile.  Ironically, it was also the coldest temps we experienced this trip.
Like Walt Disney himself, Jack's a big fan of choo-choos.
And flying elephants, too.
Andrew and I met this dragon the previous morning, but she didn't seem to remember us today and just passed us by.
No shorts in sight for this chilled foursome
But nothing warms you up like a chili dog.  (This is for everyone worried Andrew hadn't had his fill at the a.m. feedbag.)
A fabulous mother-daughter picture, also featuring you-know-who
Because you're never too old to be a little kid again
And for yet another It's a Small World encounter, Heather ran into her Stonehill College dorm roomie, Jen Lepine!  Ears to these two buds!
Because doesn't everyone stage a Titanic moment on the bow of the steamboat?
The sun's going down on this vacation, but not this pair
Jack should actually have the medal for putting up with me this long
You can't complain about the view
Beware of Hitchhiking Cooks
And finally, a fireworks farewell in the middle of Main Street
Thanks for following along everyone, that's a wrap!  I don't expect our next marathon outing will produce a marathon series of blogs like this, but I can't help but share some of the great memories that fill a Cook family weekend in Florida.  Hopefully my fellow Disney fans out there have enjoyed tagging along via the photos.
Not sure if we'll see it next year, but I suspect there's another one of these 26.2 mile weekends packed with family memories somewhere in our not-too-distant future.
Until then, keep wishing on those stars!