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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Parental (Tour) Guidance

My parents came for a visit a couple of weekends ago. It’s always nice to have them here on ‘our turf’, where the missus and I can show them around Boston and take in the sights and tastes and history of the area.


We’ve been here for over a decade now. In terms of ‘touristy’, we’re all tapped out. At the same time, I don’t have a great memory — so the first few hours of the trip were spent being reminded that the things I’d thought of doing, they’d already done. As in:

Me: Hey, you guys want to check out Faneuil Hall?

Mom: Well, sure. But… isn’t that the place we went to a few years ago?

Dad: Yep, I think it was. Near downtown, right?

Me: Oh… right. Well, what about a whale watch?

Mom: I don’t know if I’d want to do that… again.

Me: Ah. Crap. Uh… catch a Red Sox game?

Dad: Like we did last year?

Me: Dammit. Museum of Fine Arts?

Mom: Seen it.

Me: Sam Adams brewery tour?

Dad: Done it.

Me: Wanna ride around on a duck boat?

Parents: Again? Yawn.

“Salem, to see the witch kitsch. Plymouth, to see the rock. Providence, Rhode Island, to see… well, to see how far out of the city she’s willing to go, apparently.”

What do you do with a couple who’s done everything? I don’t have a good answer for that.

My wife is much better at these things. Her mother’s in the same boat, having seen all the touristy sites around Boston proper. So when she comes to town these days, she gets whisked off to the outlying areas for entertainment. Salem, to see the witch kitsch. Plymouth, to see the rock. Providence, Rhode Island, to see… well, to see how far out of the city she’s willing to go, apparently. If we’re here a few more years, I’m pretty sure they’ll end up in Canada at some point.

I don’t have that option. My mother-in-law flies up to visit. But my parents drive — a two-day trek through, what, six states or more — and I just don’t have the heart to get them here and then say, ‘Okay, hop back in the car — we’re driving two hours to Maine!

(Oh, I’ve considered it. But they always give me the sad puppy dog ‘I don’t wanna go back in the car’ eyes, and I just can’t do it.

I tell myself, these are the people who sent you to cotillion in junior high school. And that gets me close. Very close. But eventually, I take pity.)

So we stayed local. And in lieu of new and exciting sights to see, I stuffed them full of food all weekend. Italian, sushi, seafood, Chinese — you name it. The way restaurants come and go in Boston, there’s no way we’ll run out of places to eat. I don’t know whether it counts as ‘touristy’, but they seemed pretty happy when they left.

Or maybe just happy to leave, so they wouldn’t have to eat again every four hours.

Hey, don’t blame me. I asked if they wanted to go whale watching.

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