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Independence Day in Acton, Massachusetts: It was blazing hot and the sky was a perfect New England blue with a few clouds. We went to Nara Park. The chair of the Board of Selectmen read a proclamation. Someone read the Gettysburg Address, then a color guard in Civil War uniforms fired their rifles. I ate a pulled pork sandwich I got from the Lions, Abby had fried chicken from a food truck, Jim ate a hotdog, Carol ate some of my potato chips. A Beatles cover band played. We left before the fireworks so we could sit in Abby and Jim’s living room and watch “Little Britain.” We went to bed late.
Above: Independence Day sunset, Acton, Mass.
“illustrious Circles,” Michael Thomas (polychromed steel, 2013), on the grounds of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s summer house in Lenox, Massachusetts.
The view out our eighth story window when we got up in the morning showed wet roofs on buildings you don’t see in the Bay Area: chimneys and ornamental brickwork from the first half of the nineteenth century mixed in with newer brick buildings and one or two older wood frame houses.
Carol remarked that the neighborhood we’re in looks like some of the older parts of Washington, D.C. While she was in a thrift store looking for a raincoat, I walked around Lark Street and Willet Street admiring the brickwork, ornamental ironwork, and bay windows on the townhouses (they were too grand to call rowhouses), and the old stone Methodist church around the corner from our hotel.
A short uneventful drive brought us to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. We stopped for lunch at small restaurant down a short alley, that held just eight marble-topped tables. The sign our front said, “Teresa’s Restaurant, formerly Alice’s Restaurant.” On the walls were a framed album cover of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” a small steel string guitar singed by Arlo Guthrie, a painting of a 1960s-vintage VW bus, several framed articles from various publications featuring Arlo Guthrie and Alice’s Restaurant, along with a framed photo, dated 1997, showing Alice, Arlo, and Teresa.
We are less interested in being in the restaurant made famous by Arlo Guthrie’s anti-war song than in finding a place that has good inexpensive lunches — I had a pretty good turkey burger, and excellent sweet potato fries — and, more importantly, in finding a place with free wifi. We’re not sure if we’ll have wifi the next few days. Carol’s dad and his wife were the winning bidders on a Berkshires summer house at a fundraising auction at their Unitarian Universalist church, and we’ll be staying there with them, and my dad and his best friend — but we don’t know if there will be wifi, so we have to get our Internet fix now. In the mean time, I’ve had the refrain of Arlo Guthrie’s famous song running through my head: “You can get anything you want / At Alice’s restaurant.”