Lexington, MA – Patriots Day – The Reinactment – The Parade … It’s something Lexingtonians experience annually, as tourists flock to town, historic episodes get played out on our streets, and everyone senses the importance of our piece of America history. Our well-worn traditions of family time, parades, fun-runs, pancake breakfast, dressing up in Colonial attire, repeating the ritual year after year … stories told and re-told… it’s the repetition of our history that makes us feel like we belong here.
However! Spin back 22+ years ago, and I have a little confession to make. I called 911 on Paul Revere.
It’s not entirely my fault. Being from Colorado I grew up studying about the Colorado Gold Rush, the Oregon Trail, and Spanish explorers, Native American tribes and cultures. I knew about mining and settling the wild west. What did I know about Colonial history?
As a relative newcomer to New England, and avid listener of NPR radio (rather than local Boston or Lexington Minuteman news), I was not, shall we say, up to the minute about hyper-local events!
Being a single mother with single focus of work and raising my young daughter, only living in Lexington for 9 months, I was taken aback early one morning in April 1991, when I got up to get a drink of water at my kitchen sink. Still dark out, I gazed on to Mass Avenue drinking my water when suddenly I was horrified to see a MAN ON A HORSE with A GUN in front of my house! I immediately grabbed my telephone (land line connected to the wall at the time) and called 911!
The man at the police station answered right away and said “Lexington Police – This Call Is Being Recorded”.
I yelled “There’s a man outside my house on a horse with a gun. He’s a Terrorist! Send the police!”
…. beep … beep … silence
I repeated myself emphatically: “You have to send someone right away! There’s a terrorist in front of my house on Mass Ave, and he’s got a GUN. He’s on a HORSE!” The man was not seeming to be hearing what I was saying.
The serious voice said, “Lady, do you know what DAY this is?”
Well, no I did not know what day this was, and it took him awhile to talk me down from my tree. Apparently I was hard to convince, and they may still be laughing down at the police department. The moral of the story is, it was my first year in Lexington, and as a newcomer I’d managed to miss all the cues leading up to this town-wide theatre event. It took a whole day to sink in, and incidentally we could not make it out of our driveway due to the clowns, horses, marching bands, floats, bicycles, and everything else that made up the hours-long parade of Patriots Day which marched right by our house. This newcomer from Colorado was delighted and relieved, as was my daughter who thought the whole thing was very funny, knowing that early that morning I called the police on Paul Revere.
Make sure you don’t get caught by surprise this year. Check the schedule here: http://www.bostoncentral.com/events/patriots_day_battle_reenactment_lexington/p1158.php