A Small, Small World

With apologies to the Disney Corporation, Uncle Walt surely knew what he was talking about!

It really is a small world, after all.

How small?

Well, take the 2013 “Borrow Barba 3″ contest.

Because I miss all the planning meetings, Taco has decided to make me someone else’s problem for a day.  The most recent “winner” was chosen by computer from among nearly 800 entrants, so he won me for a day (2nd prize, of course, was 2 days).

The winner was Jason Michaels of Muirfield Mechanical in Boxboro, Massachusetts. This was exciting to me for the simple reason that Boxboro is right next door to my home town of Harvard, Massachusetts, so the trip to payoff the winner could be combined with a visit to some old friends and family.

Small world, right?

Wait.  It gets smaller.

After much discussion, is was pretty clear Jason had heard past stories of my fading field skills and wanted no part of me “suiting up” and going to work.  There were no safes to crack or, since it was December, lawns to mow.  There was, however, a home game down the highway in Foxboro (not to be confused with “Boxboro,” featuring the home town favorite New England Patriots against a supposed patsy, the Cleveland Browns.

“Hey Jason, want to go the Patriots-Browns game?”

He would!

So a quick tailgate party was arranged, meeting up with the one and only Bruce Marshall, Trainer-Supreme for Emerson Swan, Taco’s New England Manufacturer’s Representative and, officially, The Smartest Man I Know. Bruce has been tailgating at Pats games for nearly 30 years and has the whole affair down to a science.  The food is plentiful, tasty, perfectly timed, and plentiful.  Did I mention that?

On the way to the game, I told Jason that I grew up right next door to his office, in Harvard.

“I actually live in Harvard,” he said.

“Really, where do you live?”

“Corner of Ayer Road and South Shaker,” he replied, with a bit of a grin.

Hey, I know that house.

“Isn’t that the old West house?”

“Yup,” says Jason.  “In fact, I’m married to a West.”

I knew the West family.  Three brothers and a sister.  We all went to grade school, middle school and high school together.

“You’re married to Anne?” It was a guess, but an educated one.

Yup. And if it hadn’t been so cold, Anne would have be at the game with us.  Anne was a year behind me in high school and was pretty good friends with my wife, who was in the same class.

“It’s a small, small world…”

And two of Jason’s brothers-in-law are “in the biz,” too.  Dan is an oil dealer in town, and Rick is a plumbing and heating contractor.

In fact, Rick was an apprentice plumber under Dana Perkins, who, years earlier, apprenticed and worked under one Mario J. Barba of Harvard.  And as an apprentice, your faithful blogger (and at the time the boss’s son), also worked under Dana.

It’s a very small place.

How small? Dudley Moore sums it up quite nicely…

Anyway, it was fun making Jason’s acquaintance, although we had met before, albeit unmemorably at our respective wives’ 30th class reunion some 4 years prior.

Now, for the full confession part.  During the Pats-Browns game – the Patriots were playing like the Tommy Hodson/Marc Wilson/Rod Rust era Pats.

In a word, crappy.

And Cleveland was walking all over them.

After a late Cleveland score put the game seemingly out of reach with just over two minutes to go, the stadium started emptying.  I see Jason pulling out of the seats and heading for the exit.  Can’t really let him go alone, can I? So my boss, son and I also left.

Big freakin’ mistake!

Now, I’m not entirely sure the Big Man Upstairs had a hand in this comeback, but it was a comeback for the ages nonetheless, one we witnessed from…

The parking lot.

Yup, we were among those B******S who left with 2 minutes to go.


Anyway, thanks to Jason for a memorable “Borrow Barba 3″ contest.

Small world.

But I wouldn’t want to pain it.

Next year, I’m looking for a winner from the Pebble Beach/Monterey area who likes to golf. And I promise to stay through all 18 holes.

I think we can re-program the computer!


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