On Sunday afternoon, we were feeling adventurous. The weather wasn’t quite warm enough for the four-mile walk into town that we’ve made as a family each of the last couple of weekends. We considered a trip to the local Arboretum or a bike ride in the parking lot of a nearby school, but none of the options really seemed inviting with the chill in the air.
We decided to head to Quincy Market for lunch. The market is essentially a colonnade made up of forty or so stalls that sell just about every type of food imaginable. Flanking the colonnade are seventeen different restaurants, just in case one hasn’t had their fill inside.
The market gets loud and crowded and could easily be a disaster for Brooke, but we packed up her headphones and decided to give it a shot. We figured it would be easy enough to pull the ripcord and head straight outside if need be. The harbor is right across the street and she loves to walk along the water, so one way or another we’d find some fun.
As we got closer to the market square, Brooke spotted a dog and scrambled onto Luau. He swung her up onto his shoulders, as he often does. Brooke loves to be on her Dad’s shoulders. For years, she spent most of her time up there, perched far above the various stressors of the world below. From a safe distance, she was able to watch everything and everyone go by. Little by little, she has come down to earth, but when things get tough, Daddy’s shoulders are always there.
We made our way through the market, exploring the vivid tapestry of colors and scents. Each vendor vied for attention, hawking their offerings in varied styles and accents. Tandoori chicken and saag paneer were displayed next to bread bowls of steaming New England clam chowdah and spicy strombolis to stroll. Brooke watched it all from her perch, safely removed from the madness.
We all made our choices and settled into a relatively quiet spot to eat.
After lunch, I hoisted Brooke up onto my shoulders and we headed back into the colonnade in search of a sweet treat for dessert. Mama’s shoulders may be better than walking, but they’re a full foot closer to the action than Daddy’s. Somehow, it’s just not the same. As Luau and Katie walked ahead to find a gelato stand, Brooke and I wound our way slowly through the crowd. Over and over again, she yelled “Konnichiwa!” to passersby. I’m not sure why. I can only assume that she had spotted Japanese tourists. As we walked, I tried to draw her attention to some of the more interesting things we passed.
We came to a booth selling ice creams and frappes. I hadn’t noticed a display of lemons overflowing from their counter until Brooke shouted excitedly, “Lemons!” I turned and saw the bright yellow pile, next to a juicer and a big sign offering fresh lemonade for sale. I asked if she’d like a lemonade, but apparently that wasn’t her plan. “Lemons!” she shouted again. “Yes, baby, they have lemons – lots of lemons!” I said as we continued to walk.
“They had lemons,” she told me again as we caught up to Luau and Katie, still scouting out gelato flavors. “Yes, honey, they sure did have lemons,” I said (yet again).
Luau was crouched behind Katie, discussing the merits of strawberry versus chocolate when he looked up at us. He cocked his head to the side and asked, “Where’d she get the lemon?”
We walked back to the lemonade stand and I explained that we had, uh, inadvertently swiped a lemon. Apparently, Mama’s shoulders were just the right height for something. Brooke relinquished the fruit to its rightful owner and the vendor gave her a big smile in return.
I scooped her off my shoulders and into my arms, where I could keep a better eye on my little Swiper. She looked over my shoulder as we walked away. “They had lemons!” she repeated with a satisfied grin.