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The motorcade rolls past

On Boston Common the mood was hushed, expectant, on this clear and fall-like afternoon. Tourists and office workers meandered quietly beneath shady trees. A saxophone keened soft and slow.

At the upper corner, across the street from the glinting State House dome, dogs panted idly as tiny kids waving tiny flags chased each other over the footpaths.

Two teenagers on bikes approached a woman standing on the granite stairs and asked why so many people had gathered.

“Senator Kennedy,” she said.

“Oh yeah,” one replied. “I thought it was that.”

On Tremont street, as the bells of the Park Street Church tolled four o’clock, a woman walked past the Granary Burying Ground talking on her cell phone. “He’s getting buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC,” she said.

Downtown, in the shadow of the Old State House, police on motorcycles were already starting to mass, circling back and parking, their blue lights flashing.

And, within a minute or so, there is was. The hearse rolled past at a brisk clip. Behind it, windows down, came a town car with Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, and his sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, in the back seat. Vicki waved and smiled as the crowd clapped quietly and men held their Red Sox caps to their chests.

I looked in at Kennedy Smith, the last living sibling, and remembered the time I met her twelve years ago, shaking her hand at the American Ambassador’s Residence in Phoenix Park, Dublin.

More cars and SUVs. More windows down. A bus. Kids. Lots and lots of kids. More faint smiles. More waves.

And that was that. It was there, it was gone. A woman daubed tears. Unshaven residents of the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans went back inside. The crowd dispersed.

Nearby, at the Bay State Coin Co. on Bromfield Street, a row of small JFK busts was arrayed on a shelf, one of them facing out toward the sidewalk.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009  |  Sign In  |  Register
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