Loran Smith: On Boston

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Loran Smith: On Boston

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

 Beantown has always been a favorite city, owing to a lifelong infatuation with the Red Sox, who have fallen on hard times again—but that is for the sports pages.

Here last week, there was more talk about the weather than usual, and it wasn’t about an unrelenting snowstorm.  When you wear rubber overshoes for four months out of the year, you treasure those summer days when you can bask in the sun in short sleeves and grab a windbreaker for dinner on the water in the evening.  





However, as hearty as Bostonians are, temperatures approaching 100 degrees were too much.  Everybody was in shorts and looking for a spot of shade in a city that is not overrun with hardwoods or clusters of loblolly pines.

Nonetheless, there was plenty to enjoy on a brief stop here.  This is where varied cultures—the Pilgrims started that tradition, you know, four centuries ago—founder’s history, which is not exempt from myth, scrod, Old Ironsides, and a walk in the park left one visitor blissfully fulfilled.

Interestingly, you can embark on a walk in the park in Boston without an armed escort, even at night.  Returning home from dinner on a recent evening, I was bowled over by the great number of young people out in the streets, even single girls, with no apprehension.   What I saw taking place in Boston, I would never embrace in Atlanta.  While I did no research and did not consult with anyone who could provide conclusive facts, I would suggest that Boston is not overrun with gangs. You can’t say that about Georgia’s capital city.





I can’t get enough of traditional Boston.  I am an incorrigible tourist to begin with, and I still enjoy making a reservation at “Ye Olde Oyster House,” sitting in the booth, which was John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s favorite.  I enjoy riding the “T” out to Fenway Park.  Another visit to the Old North Church and Faneuil Hall, along with browsing the Quincy Market, where every pub is my favorite, brings a rush to my patriotic heart.

Boston is home to a longtime friend, a California girl who found love with a Georgia boy who was a successful agent/executive with National Life of Vermont Insurance.  They, both warm weather aficionados, favored the lively lifestyle of this town, also known as the “Hub,” and especially its cultural trimmings.

Jonnet Holladay became as attached to Boston’s heart and soul as any blueblood who pronounces car “cah,” and orders “pizzer” at a fast-food restaurant.  “If you pass the Citgo station, my friend, you have gone too “fah.”

Her heart still aches for the theft of the paintings, which included Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” at the Gardner Museum in 1990.  It is an unspeakable tragedy from which she will never fully recover.

She lives in the heart of downtown Boston, walks most everywhere she goes, but has given up her job as a tour guide in her adopted city, making do after her husband, Howard, passed away.  Following intellectual pursuits, fanning her passion for the arts, and staying active keep her healthy and happy after a devastating personal loss.

A recurring highlight in her life is finding her way to her favorite restaurant, Ma Maison, at 272 Cambridge Street, where she is greeted warmly by Chef Jacky Robert and his staff, who serve classic French dishes along with Gallic-style cocktails in this corner restaurant.  Ma Maison is embedded in a red brick perimeter where the best French wines rest in peace at an indention into the brick high up in the wall but awaiting your selection if you come for dining pleasure which is as good as it gets in Boston.

Joining Jonnet and us recently at Ma Maison’s were Matt and Jenny Brinkley from back home.  We had the good fortune to have a pretty, charming, and ebullient French waitress by the name of Emilee, who made our day as much as the extraordinary food and vintage Pinot Noir did.

Her accent was soft and dripped with charm as she offered insights into the dishes she recommended. Her eyes sparkled as she talked, and there was an engaging mischievousness about her way.  Coy with her smile and bringing about a stimulating lift with her menu presentations, Emilee had a captivating wink that garnished the pouring of the wine.

Jonnet is a loyal friend who knows Boston as well as any local, and the highest of high fives are reserved for her for introducing us to Ma Maison’s.  I am not sure when I will return to Boston, but you can bet your house that I will return to Ma Maison, but only if Emilee waits my table.





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