Thursday, April 11, 2013
Tom Terrific's Victory Laps
Without shoveling figurative dirt on the mayor's casket, Bostonians are easing into acceptance that our longest-serving head guy, Tom Menino, truly is not running for a sixth four-year term. That doesn't count the head-start Ray Flynn gave him by running off to become ambassador to the Vatican.
The stereotypers are hard at work echoing each other. They previously sang the chorus of how a re-elected POTUS only has 12 to 18 months of any conceivable power and accomplishing — here's betting that's so much crap for Obama's last four years. Now and more more locally it's, "Oh, that Menino was so powerful, now no one's afraid of him any more and the power brokers and their interests will all run from him. I say even that is not so simple and obvious.
Instead, today I thought about the many small joys he'll be doing one more time. I've never seen a pol who loves contact with the voters as much as he does. I'm sure he'll do them all.
I thought of those today when the sked appeared for his neighborhood coffee hours. He shows at all 14 parts of Boston, hands out potted plants from the city greenhouses, but really does his favorite thing of shaking hands, calling out names, asking about family, and being the populist. A report and pic from two years ago is here.
It doesn't hurt that Dunkin' Donuts supplies the coffee and sugary stuff. They are smart to have affiliated themselves. Those are nearly sacramental items here and they lubricate interaction as people gather while awaiting himself.
Da Mare shows at Bike Friday on city hall plaza and hundreds of constituent events big and small. He's noted more quietly for comforting parents of murdered children. Clearly it's a lot jollier to glad hand and joke.
For the fun part, the best has long been his annual July 12th block party by his Chesterfield Street house in Hyde Park's Readville section. That's the anniversary of the day Flynn hightailed it out of town for Rome and Menino elevated from City Council President to Mayor.
There are some sponsors and sops for the masses. A local radio station sets up a tent and table to play tunes. Others hand out ice-cream cones, hot dogs and tchotchkes.
He bestrides his street like s lesser colossus, one who does not tower above the lesser mortals. Tom Menino tends to stand in the middle of Chesterfield Street, meeting. greeting and chatting up all comers...for hours at a time.
This go, he's likely to still be using a cane, but I bet he doesn't miss a moment on his last such celebration. I've been to many of these and sure won't miss this one.