Fire in the Thirteenth State

This post was born in Providence, RI, which recently evicted one of its most brilliant citizens from the clandestine apartment he created for himself inside the Providence Place Mall.  This dude managed to turn a vacant space within one of downtown’s most popular destinations into a cozy, fashionable home that lacked everything except the kitchen cabinets – and he had plans to install those at the time Officer Friendly discovered his secret digs.  Ingenuity meets the bum’s rush.

Rhode Island inspired me to write this trip report this past Saturday evening.  Let’s start with “Water Fire.”  Several evenings each year, Rhode Islanders gather in downtown Providence to wear black clothing, board canoe-like boats, and to float up and down the rivers that run through the heart of downtown while their friends and neighbors stand by to cheer for them.  Oh, and the rivers have been set on fire, and Goth-sounding music fills the cityscape.  The goal appears to be to bring vehicular and pedestrian traffic downtown to a state of gridlock.  It works.

Rhode Island is “The Ocean State,” and Saturday, DiGrazie’s brother showed him why.  We took his boat out onto Narragansett Bay and saw practically the whole state from the water.  Our route took us directly into the path of a famous Rhode Island water race – no, not the America’s Cup – this was described to me as a “poker card” race.  Speedboats that burn a gallon of gas every 40 seconds or so fly over the water to different places in the bay to collect their hand of cards.  The boats made wicked good turbulence (note my mastery of Rhode Island English) as they sped by to get their cards.  You might say the sea was turned into a big poker table for the day.  Who knew that water sports could include 5-card stud?

Oh, and another thing I saw this summer, and since I don’t know where it occurred, let’s pretend it happened in Rhode Island – maybe in Pawtucket, where the AAA farm team of DiGrazie’s beloved Red Sox is based.  I watched part of a televised minor league baseball game, and the cameras focused several times on a manager giving signs from the dugout to his batters, coaches and base runners.  Except I swear that this is not really what the guy was doing.  He was picking his nose, okay?  Oh, he was being clever about it, getting his fingers in and out of there quickly in between touching his face and cap, and moving his fingers in other ways to keep us all distracted.  The play-by-play guy tried to cover for him.  But I wasn’t fooled.  Sometimes, the harder you try to convince us that you’re not extracting gold from the twin mines, the more we’re convinced that you are.

All that said, I love Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders!  People in the Thirteenth State do read books, and I love people who read (my) books!  Plus, TF Green is sometimes a great alternative to Logan when I’m flying in and out of Boston.  Thanks RI for being a good sport, and for showing me a thing or two about poker.

2 thoughts on “Fire in the Thirteenth State

  1. Bill says:

    Did you get to see the mansions in Newport, home to the Great Gatsby?

    1. dave says:

      Didn’t get all the way down to Newport. We started all the way up in Cranston, which is up near Providence. We got more than halfway, though. Beautiful state, and I had a blast.
      I think Gatsby was on Long Island, no? East Egg and West Egg in the book are supposed to correspond to Great Neck and Little Neck, I think. But I am a literary illiterate – that’s why I write!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *