Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Querétaro and Boston: Ties that Bind

We here at Burro Hall are veteran marathoners. "Veteran" in the military sense of the word - it's something we did once, briefly, a long time ago, under duress, which we immediately regretted but have nonetheless bragged about for more than two decades. So this morning as we perusing the horrible news from our hometown, and how the world's greatest road race was never going to be the same, we said to ourselves, "Selves... we're gonna run the Boston Marathon next year!" Then we walked to the kitchen for some more coffee, keenly feeling all 206 bones in our bodies, took a deep breath, shuffled back to the sofa, and put that whole crazy idea out of our heads.

"Run the Boston Marathon!"  As if.

We alternately refer to New York and Boston as our hometowns here because we lived in both places for decades.  But Boston is where we were born - and our parents, and our grandparents, and most of our great-grandparents.  We used to go to Boston College every year to watch the marathon.  Lots of friends and family were at least occasional participants.  Our high school track coach was an important guy with Nike, and he used to draft us all as unpaid labor to work near the finish line.  In 1990, just graduated from BC, we even ran the race ourselves - one in a very long line of poorly-thought out decisions in our lives.  Just's just say we made it to the end and leave it at that.  That year, as had been the case for many years before and all the years since, including yesterday, the finish area was constructed of scaffolding from the company from which our dad is days away from retiring as CEO.

Photo: Boston Globe

Is it too soon to note how well those four-foot frame-and-brace combinations held up under pressure?

So it was a bit surreal, and extremely personal, to open up the local papers this morning and see the usual panic, heartbreak, and gore that are the stapels of Mexican news, but this time featuring Boston cops, BAA windbreakers, and dad's scaffolding.

Of course, given the international nature of the marathon, the stories eventually get around to focusing on the 231 Mexicans in Boston for the race, all of whom are safe (and one of whom took seventh place in the women's division).  And inevitably, there's a queretano in the mix: 44-year-old Alberto Herrera, who the government has announced is fine and is coming home soon.  Mexicans do not for some odd reason tend to look at marathoning as a sporting event, so it apparently never occurred to anyone to report how Herrera did in the race. (Our review of the BAA website doesn't show him finishing.)

With all the world tripping over themselves to see who can make the most maudlin show of support (the current leader is the Yankees playing the cloying "Sweet Caroline" at their next game - just fucking shoot us now), it's actually nice to see the local papers putting local news first. But in pursuit of the "Queretanos en Boston" angle, they seem to have missed the "Bostonians en Querétaro" story.  For whatever strange quirk of fate, in addition to us, there are our (now former) neighbors Lenny, from the North End, and David, from Concord. (The Marathon is held on Patriot's Day, commemorating the Battle of Lexington and Concord.) They - Bostonians! - wrote a book, published in Spanish, and set partly in Querétaro - but it got no coverage here because they wouldn't pay the local media to write about it.

Ray, who owns the Querétaro Language School, calls Boston one of his many hometowns.  His family still lives there, we think, and he and his wife just got back from vacation there.  Frequent commenter DonAlberto is a Boston boy.  Another local reader, Jeremy, who's married to a mexicana here, is from Framingham.  Even Pierre and Sophie, who appear to be French, are long-time residents of the Bay State.  This is a substantial colony of Massholes culled from a not-very-large pool of gringos. (Remind us in comments if there's anyone we're forgetting.)

In other words, amigos, if you're looking for QRO-BOS connections, there's a lot more than just Alberto Herrera and Burro Hall.  For a while we were running a half-assed campaign to name the two of them Sister Cities.  We may have to revive it.  The two have a lot in common.  Both are where their respective nations' wars for independence kicked off. Both have inferiority-based rivalries with a much larger city a couple hundred miles to the south.  Both are destinations for history-oriented high school field trips. Both have crazy drivers, shitty traffic, and an unconstitutionally influential Catholic Church. Querétaro even has a marathon which, like Boston, was swept by lanky East Africans last year.

Y'know, maybe we'll run that one next year.

1 comment:

DonAlbertoDoyle said...

And remember that Los San Patricios, chockfull of Boston Irish, re-organized here in Queretaro for one last stand at Mexico City.