Papa has been angling for a move back (back, for him) to Boston for years. At least two additional family members returned from a week in Provincetown (“Beach Boston”) and downtown (“City Boston”) as fans of the idea.Beach Boston, with its sand and warm water and crabs and shells and kayaks and shops and cool babysitter and friends from both home and the area and progressive/artsy population…City Boston with its hotel swimming pool and Beer Works quesadillas and brownie sundaes and aquarium turtles and seals and Boston Common swans and actual history (“Papa, who is Paul Evere?”)…what’s not to love?
C (in the car on the way to the airport): Papa, can we come back to Boston in the winter to play in the snow?
F (in the airport): Daddy, I want to stay at Boston. It snows at Boston. And, I just want to play in that snow.
C (pulling Daddy’s ear down next to her mouth in the plane): Daddy, I don’t want to leave Boston. Can we just bring Kohl, Boston, and Quincy to Boston? They would like to play in that snow, right, Daddy? I saw those pictures of the doggies in the snow. I think they like it.
F (looking out the window with a sad face, an hour left in the flight): Daddy, I really just wish it snowed at California.
Apparently, one of the main counterarguments…ain’t one.
Before heading out for a walk through Provincetown, the twins work out a wiggle or two to “Brave.” Repeated two or three times. On the street, Cory insists on everyone holding hands and skipping together, which, in Provincetown, in summer, is a perfectly natural sight.
C (the rest of the words too difficult): Ready! 1-2-3! Say what you want to say and let the words fall out…honestly…!
D: Oh, look at that black doggy! He has a shiny coat.
F: He’s as black as Kohl is, right, Daddy?
C: Hey. Come on. Ready? 1-2-3! Say what you want to say and let the words fall out…honestly!
The skipping resumes for a bit. Half of the scantily clad beach-going passers-by smile; the other half remain oblivious. A black and white Great Dane lounging on a red couch provides a welcome break. Then, 1-2-3, say what you want to say, skip, skip, skip. At the coffee shop, Cory walks around asking each patron with a dog if she can pet it. In between, she works out some more wiggles while singing, “Say what you want to say…and let the words come out…honestly…” They both beg to ride back home in a bicycle taxi.
F: Daddy, you don’t have to pedal the bicycle. The boy just does it, and you could just ride in the seat with us.
C: Please, Daddy, please!?
D: We’ll see.
The kids are experts on all the shops, having visited with their babysitter on the first night. Daddy pretends not to know anything, as they explain everything. An artist’s studio, some bears, very red steps with a nice older gentleman standing at the top…a few shops later, a bicycle taxi sits at the curb. Cory looks up, “please!?” written all over her face.
D: Hey, guys, what is that?
F: Oh, Daddy! That’s a bicycle taxi. We were telling you!
D: Oh. Do you want to take that bicycle taxi home?
F/C: Yes! Yay!
D: Cory, you have to ask the nice lady if she can cycle us home, okay?
C (turning to whisper a little shyly to the nice lady as she points at the bike): Can you take us on here to our home?
NL: Of course!
D: I don’t know how this works. So, guys, you have to show me.
C (patting the seat): Daddy, you can climb up here…
Address given and pleasantries exchanged, Daddy climbs up between Cory and Fisher. Cruising back through town, at first, Daddy takes each of their outside hands and manually waves them at people on the street. Smiles and waves back. The kids laugh. Then, they take over, using both of their hands to wave Daddy’s hands manually back and forth at people on the street. More smiles. Even some more waves.
C (loudly): Say what you want to say, and…
F (interjecting to the melody): Shut your mouth down now!
D: Hey, Fisher! That wasn’t nice.
F: Well, Daddy, she told me to say what I want to say. And, I am tired of that song. So, that’s what I just wanted to say.
The driver laughs. Daddy decides to laugh, too. Fisher smiles up at Daddy. Cory just laughs and keeps waving Daddy’s hand.
C (thirty seconds later, ear worm still crawling): Say what you want to say and…
Daddy claps his hand over Fisher’s mouth.
C: …and let the words fall out…honestly…
F (Daddy’s hand removed): What, Daddy? What?
On the way across the harbor, Fisher and Cory ride with the more experienced kayakers, Papa and Uncle Chris. On the way back, though, Fisher insists on riding in Daddy’s lap.
D (whacking Fisher’s arm with the paddle): Sorry, Fisher!
F: Oh, Daddy, that’s okay. You don’t have to say you’re sorry. Anything you do to me while we are kayaking is just okay. So, you don’t have to say your sorry, okay, Daddy?
As Fisher’s extra 55 pounds start to impose themselves, Daddy’s kayak falls well behind everyone else.
D (whacking Fisher’s leg with the paddle): Sorry, Fisher!
F: No, Daddy, I told you. You don’t have to say you’re sorry on this boat. Okay?
F: Because you are doing all that rowing. Anything that happens when you are on a kayak is just an accident. It’s not on purpose. So, you don’t have to say you’re sorry.
D: That’s very generous.
F: So, Daddy, can you please not say you’re sorry to me if you hit me again?
D: Okay, Fisher.
F: You promise, Daddy?
Daddy and Fisher eventually make it back to shore, with a few more whacks but no more apologies, Fisher’s politeness having taken the edge off of what felt like a very long row.