Two years ago (as faithful readers of this blog may recall), wheelchair problems prevented us from venturing into Boston. Once the chairs were repaired, however, John and I ended our exile, and once again rolled onto the Commons, soaking in all the charm of the city. One of the Freedom Trail guides (whom we'd often seen, but had never spoken to) rushed over to us, smiling broadly. "Where have you been?" he asked. "I've been worried about you!"
So evidently, we'd become, at least in his eyes, a fixture in Downtown Boston. Humph! Actually, that's kind of cool, don't you think?
So, we'd chat with him on occasion, learning that he conducted his tours portraying James Otis, Jr. (who famously said, "Taxation without representation is tyranny!"). When we'd see him, we'd actually address him as Mr. Otis.
Finally, we took his Boston Town Crier walking tour. You can read about that wonderful experience in my blog post, Kidnapped! In fact, please do read it, just to get a little more back-story to this narrative (and, if you ever visit Boston, to know which tour you really need to take). After the tour, we chatted a bit with Mr. Otis, as he gave us pointers on other Boston attractions.
During the summer of 2009, we saw Mr. Otis now and again. It was always a delight, especially as I watched his growing regard for John. Last August, I was looking at the Boston Town Crier website, which (at the time) linked to his professional acting website and included his real name and email address. No, I won't divulge either here, since the link has been removed. But I did send an email, and suddenly the friendship moved into the 21st Century.
Our friend spends his winters in Southern California, but we had sporadic contact on Facebook and through email. When tours resumed in April, however, he wasn't there. We'd ask the other guides about him, and they kept saying "He's coming next week," or "He'll be here in May." About mid-May, he posted on Facebook that he'd landed some small jobs in California.
In June, we stopped by the Boston Common Visitors Center, and a young man in 18th Century garb introduced himself as our friend's son. He explained that, until his dad could return in July, he'd be doing the tour, portraying Samuel Gray, a rope maker who was killed in the Boston Massacre. He's as nice as his dad, though much more shy.
In late July, we saw "Mr. Otis" briefly, as he rested before having to sell tickets for his tour (now that he's back, he and his son take turns conducting tours). It was good seeing him, and he extended an open invitation to pick up one of his tours at any point.
So last Friday, we joined his group at the Old South Meeting House, and "walked" with them to Spring Street. After he did his talk there, he told John that he was about to embarrass us. Then he said loudly to his group, "These are my friends, John and DebbieLynne, who are celebrating their eighth wedding anniversary!"
At Fanueil Hall, just before I promised to embarrass him back (the true purpose of this blog post), one of the people in his tour was kind enough to take this photo:
So, my 18th and 21st Century friend, although you may be embarrassed, I hope you know that John and I appreciate you! See you soon, Lord willing.