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Salem and Gloucester

April 7, 2013

Massachusetts – Monday, April 1

Today I was going to head up to a couple of the coastal towns in the northern part of Massachusetts. The first one I stopped in was Salem, site of the witch trials in the 1620s. I made a donation there to the Harvest of Hope and their North Shore Moving Market – they have colorful vans to deliver healthy food to low-income and disabled people in Salem. I stopped by to ask them if a food or financial donation would be best, and they said a financial one would be great because there was a challenge going on where all donations would be matched dollar-for-dollar by some wealthy person. Plus, they can shop at a food bank and stretch their dollars farther than I can. So I gave them the donation, and when they heard what I was doing, one of the ladies told me ’11’ was a very powerful number to be traveling under. At first I didn’t know what she meant, but it’s 5+6 added together, so I guess I’m happy she said it’s a powerful number that will bring luck!

I went to the National Park Visitor Center, and then Tula and I headed out for a walk, and covered a little over 5 miles walking all over town and some neighborhoods and down by the harbor, where the National Park Service keeps a full-size, fully functioning ship like the ones that used to sail off to the East Indies. This ship is an exact replica of one that made 15 journeys to the South Seas – trading dried cod and timber for pepper, spices, sugar, coffee, tea and silk. We also walked past witch museums and witch tours, and magic shops and places that offer palm readings and all. Even the police insignia has a witch on it! October is the month when things are craziest in town! I sort of debated about visiting one of the witch museums, but then I knew I wouldn’t be able to go up to Gloucester, which I really wanted to do. Once again, there simply aren’t enough hours in a day!

It started to rain while I was driving to Gloucester, which is America’s oldest seaport, and I stopped to shop for items on the wish list for the Open Door Food Pantry in Gloucester. I wanted to make a donation in that town too – sort of to honor one of my favorite photos on my mantel with my whole family all gathered near the fisherman’s memorial after one of my brother’s graduation from MIT. It was a fun weekend then, and I was glad to be back now. According to their website and answering machine, The Open Door food pantry was open most of the day on Monday, then closed for an hour, then open again between 6 and 7 in the evening. I wanted to get some more walking in, so I figured I’d drop off my donation after 6:00. It started to rain again shortly after we started our walk in Gloucester, so I put Tula back in the car so she didn’t get soaked, and got my umbrella, and proceeded to battle the wind to keep it from blowing away, and finally gave up and just used my hood. I went down by the harbor, and walked all along the walkway there – admiring the Fisherman’s Memorial dedicated to “they that go down to the sea in ships” – the whole verse is “They that go down to the sea in ships, and that do business in great water; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.” Over 5300 men made their final voyage from this port and never returned and many of their names are inscribed on part of the memorial – starting in 1716 and going through 2011. And there’s another memorial – a statue of a woman holding 2 children, and it honors the wives and families of fishermen and mariners everywhere for their faith, diligence and fortitude. The rain let up while I was walking, and I finished more than 3 miles, then headed back to the van to go drop off my food donation. But when I got to the Open Door, there wasn’t a soul around! The signs on the doors all said they’d be open between 6 and 7, but they weren’t. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the food I had brought because I wouldn’t be coming back. I drove around to see who their neighbors were, in case I could leave it with someone, but it was mostly apartments. There was a dance studio, so I went in there, but the only adult was an instructor who was teaching, and I didn’t want to bother her. So I went to the back side of the Open Door again (where donations are dropped off) and figured I would put the bags of food in one of the shopping carts that I could wedge into the railing between the building and one of their food trucks. Even though it didn’t look like it’d be raining anymore, I found a rubbermaid lid that fit over the cart almost perfectly. I wrote a note of explanation and left it for them to find in the morning – hopefully!

Then I headed back to Harold and Edie’s condo again, and even though it was late when I got back, they had some dinner waiting for me!
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