When we got up this morning, there was a red squirrel settled in the seed box, I took some pictures. We drove down to Dartmouth, which is about 45 miles south towards the Cape. Traffic was surprisingly heavy for a Saturday, off-season for Cape traffic and not a work day, so I was glad we left early. We got there almost exactly on time. You can never account for traffic in Massachusetts.
A couple of months ago, a wrote a short article about how they are renumbering all the exits on our highways. What we have now are exits that have been renumbered, but still show the previous number on the sign — and then a bunch of exits that either have been renumbered, but the GPS on the iPhone doesn’t know about it or have not been renumbered, but the iPhone thinks they have been renumbered. Garry was very glad to have me navigating.
The roads in Massachusetts — even before today — have caused me to rethink the meaning of roads. In New York, you were pretty sure the road you were on was the road you were supposed to be on. From end to end, it was the same road. In this state which has designed its roads from old Native American trails and mail routes from the 1600s have no logic or reason to them. As a start, a “route” isn’t a “road.” A route is a bunch of roads linked together by a number (like, say Route 16) and is often part of dozens of roads. Many roads are more than one route who knows how many roads.
There’s one place near Quincy (pronounced ” Quinzy”) where three routes run together: Routes 95 South, 6 East, and 1 North. It’s the whole north-south combination that can be really confusing. Massachusetts has spent billions of dollars trying to get their roads to make sense, but with each major construction, somehow it ends of up worse than before. For reasons that pass understanding, the GPS (ALL GPS’s) give you the names of the road rather than their route numbers. They usually will give you both, or all three or four of them, as in “bear right onto 6 east then left onto 195 north, then left at the next exit for 1 North and follow the sign that says “MALL.” What?
We got there by ignoring the number and just looking for the signs that told us where we were heading. This isn’t too bad during the day, but it’s a killer at night. Anyway, we got there just on time. Garry went directly in, got his vaccination, had a nice chat with another elderly Marine (they are never “ex” marines, Sempe Fi, guys) and was out in half and hour with an appointment for part two of the vaccine in three weeks. He had a great experience. A lot of people got where they thought they’d get a vaccination only to discover that they only give shots to people who in in that town or village — which is why we had to drive that far to get a vaccine. All the closer location only took people who lived in that town.
Garry came back out and we went home.
The squirrel was still sitting in the feeder. For reasons that defy logic, I decided to bake pretzels, which are three times harder than a loaf of bread and needs at least two people to handle all the implements. Garry went out to give them more seeds while I set up the yeast and flour. I had to let the dough rise for an hour, but when I came back, the squirrel was still in the feeder. He finally left around 5 as darkness was hitting us.
Birds came and sat on the feeder with him. He didn’t care. As long as he could sit in the feeder and keep eating, he was a happy squirrel. And thus went the day. I’m going to have to do this same thing again in a few weeks for myself and I’m dreading it. But maybe, if I’m lucky, I can get a shot in the same place. The squirrel will still most likely be sitting in the feeder.