….Back to the Old State House….
It is early Saturday morning, Dec. 8, and the Troop is arousing for the day’s activity. We have, of course, finished the March, yesterday, however, we have no portrait evidence of having done so. As we walk about the Church Great Room, trying to get our morning bearing and get our minds cleared, Rev. Michael arrives. We briefly chat about the past evening’s excitement, then start to gather up the sleeping gear for placement in ‘George’, our trusted baggage train.
A rush at the door is followed by the arrival of Nick Spada, with offerings of coffee and pastry in hand, all of which are well received, of course. The weather is still not very good, with the sky overcast, chill and grey, a light December rain falling. We finish our conversations, and start the planning of the day. It is decided that we shall first visit a local Ceremonial Stone, some 3 blocks away from the Church It marks the vicinity of where the French Camp #54 was located, in these environs. It will be a short walk, and we all (Mike, David, Dave, Judi, Nick and myself) decide to take the walk, with Nick, as our guide. We had done a quick search for the monument in this area, when we marched through yesterday, but had not located the marker. Had we gone just a wee bit further afield, we might have spotted it, however, having Nick as our guide made the task easy.
We all take some portraits around the stone, the light rain being relentless. The folks in the area, passing in their carriages, give us many greetings. That helps lighten the mild depression of the moment, grey and rain. After some minutes, we follow the return walk back to the Church. Already, we have been soaked and we still have a day’s effort ahead of us.
We meet some new arrivals at the Church upon our return, folks who normally carry out the task of helping to keep that organization running. We are allowed to visit the Church Sanctuary, the lights are turned on, and the inside of the Church comes alive. It seems to be, to my untrained eye, restored to an era of time, perhaps of the Victorian era. High vaulted ceilings, wrought iron work, muted but warm colors…this is a high Episcopal Church, imposing, more Catholic like in appearance than others, it seems, including my own rather rustic stone Episcopal Church, back home in Windham, Ct. Both Churches are named after St. Paul.
But again, finally, it is time for us to take our leave. We offer heart felt thanks to the Vicar, Fr. Michael Hodges, to Nick Spada, and to the others gathered there, we load ‘George’ with the camp gear, and start to make our way back to the Old State House, Boston.
The plan is pretty simple, we will go into Boston, find a carriage park, and then walk from there to the Old State House. We arrive in that area, and it is ablaze with activity, the streets jammed with both carriages and pedestrians. It is Saturday morning of course, and this is expected. Some of the street areas are not allowing carriage traffic, only pedestrian traffic. We actually are able to find a carriage park that can take a carriage the size of ‘George’ and we do not hesitate to take advantage. We park, gather the Colors, and head out for the Old State House, some 7-8 blocks away.
In the hub-bub of the season, we are hardly noticed, but because it seems that there are so many folks about, being hardly noticed means we were noticed a lot. Many folks taking portraits of us as we pass, our reflection in the Holiday dressed windows, the Colors whirling in the wind. I take as many portraits as I can, and try to keep up with the Marchers.
They are kind and tolerate my slow shuffle and limp, making sure I am not lost in the crowds. I am carrying the Colors of my own Regiment, the 6th Connecticut Regiment. It helps my mates keep an eye on me in this sea of humanity.
After about 20 minutes we reach our destination, the Old State House. We gather to take portraits to document the moment as proof of our arrival. We are besieged by others wishing to have pictures taken with us, and we oblidge, over and over. Finally, we think, it would be good to get warm, thus we move inside to the Old State House. The friendly and historic atmosphere of that place envelops us. The staff is kind and allows us a ‘free’ admission, of course, we are in our Uniforms, circa 1780, so in fact, we look more at home, and more Colonial, than anyone else there, including the Staff. We are confused occasionally, with being members of the Staff and we must politely tell folks that, no, we are not Staff, the folks in Gren are the Staff. It goes very well, we stay for some hours, taking in the exhibits and some of the well presented lectures offered up by the Staff there.
The day has passed quickly. We do have plans for a night in a lodge, with showers. Our ladies, coming up for the evening, will join with us in a last night here in this area, and a communal dinner. The Ladies have already arrived at the Lodge, so, we gather our things and head back to ‘George’, pack up and head out to the Lodge. We must take time so we might shower and change into some cleaner clothes for the evenings festivities.
In short order, we arrive at the Lodge, and indeed, the Ladies are in place, and much to our relief, everyone is safe. Repairing to our separate abodes, we agree to meet shortly for the ride to the Tavern for dinner, a well respected house of food in this area.
A dinning table is set for all of us, a total of 10 now, of friends and lovers and wives, all enjoying the friendship of the moment and the end of another achievement, the March to Boston. Some 5 days, and 50 miles or so through two Colonies, including some of the nicest farm country, small towns and large cities, that you will see in America. We toast our good fortune, we toast our ancesters, we toast those that came before, vowing to help keep the memory of those folks alive. We toast, we drink, we eat…
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