Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pilgrims' Progress

Sunday, we headed to Plymouth to dine with Mrs. Agricola's father -- he lives on Cape Cod and it's mid-way between our plots of land. I hadn't visited Plymouth in perhaps 25 years. What I remember from that trip was the sad little Mayflower II and the even sadder, caged-1620 Plymouth Rock surrounded by flotsam and seaweed.

The Mayflower II seems sadder today, surrounded by fencing so that you have to pay to see her hull. We didn't even see Plymouth Rock . . . what was really surprising in Plymouth however, were the people. At the risk of sounding like a snob (which, basically I am, I suppose) the visitors to Plymouth on Fathers' Day were somewhat . . . louche. There were lots of mullets, bad tattoos -- some acquired in prison -- lots of smoking 120 Virginia Slims and Marlboro Reds as well tons of Harleys.

The Harley riders kept cruising up and down the street, back and forth, for much of the afternoon. It reminded me of what goes in other seaside towns along the coast of Massachusetts and New Hampshire -- especially at Revere, Nantasket, Salisbury and Hampton Beaches. I'm not sure what it is about seaside towns like these that attracts this social element and what compels them to cruise the strip, though I have a theory. Three of these four towns are near old, yet still operating, nuclear reactors -- Seabrook in NH, and Pilgrim in Plymouth. Perhaps there is something in the air that attracts these people. I am all for nuclear power, but may have to reconsider my support of it until I can do some more research into the social element that congregates in towns near the reactors.

Miles Standish, John Smith and the other Pilgrims would hardly recognize Plymouth today. When you go to Revere, as we did Friday with my father, you expect the seediness so you're ready for it. The seediness of Plymouth, however, shocked me -- though I'm not sure why, tourist destinations always have a less than lovely underside when you scratch the surface. Be that as it may, we'll leave the seaside strip in Plymouth to the inked, mulleted and smokey masses.

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