Drink 1: Periodista

The Date: July 7

The Friend: Adrian Walker

The Place: Eastern Standard, Kenmore Square, Boston, MA

The Drink: Periodista

AdrianThe Story:  I first met Adrian in 1991 at Fenway Park. I was at a game with Jim Sullivan, then one of the music critics for The Boston Globe. Adrian was a reporter in the newsroom at the time and had seen me around the building; I was a co-op in the Living/Arts section. He stopped me on the concourse and said “hey, I know you; you’re one of the co-ops,” and a friendship was born.

In 1993 I worked in the City Hall Bureau, where Adrian was now posted. Thinking back, I must have done at least three tours through that bureau since I worked with three bureau chiefs: Chris Black, Peter Canellos and, ultimately, Adrian.

By the time Adrian was bureau chief, I can’t even remember if there was another reporter in the bureau. I remember it was just the two of us most of the time. I also remember that he used to fire me every Friday afternoon for what he called “chronic insubordination.” Then, we’d go out and drink on Friday nights and all would be well by Monday morning when I strolled back into the office, typically 10 minutes late.

A lot of friends come and go throughout your life. Whether you’re in college or at your internship or your first job, there are always people who you knew and spent time with during that period. And maybe you were great friends then but drifted apart when the common bond or circumstance passed.

My friendship with Adrian has been exactly the opposite. He has been my best friend since the early 1990s and, even though we don’t see each other as much as we used to (or as much as we’d like), I still consider him exactly that.

Our friendship has lasted through all sorts of changes in my life: jobs, boyfriends, heartbreaks, a move 50+ miles away, starting my own business, and, above all, the test of time.

One of our best moments came in 1994 when organizers cancelled the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade rather than let gays march. A white supremacist named Richard Barrett from Mississippi decided that he would hold his own parade in its place and so he assembled a motley cast of about 20 teenagers to march with him in front of South Boston High School on a Sunday morning. This event drew several hundred spectators and the situation was highly charged.

Adrian covered the event for The Boston Globe and I went along because we thought it was going to be quite the scene…and it was.

While we were in the cordoned off area for the press, it was just a spectacle of a twisted pied piper and a couple handfuls of kids looking for some attention. When we tried to leave, though, that’s when things got interesting.

We made it about a dozen steps out of the press area into an enormous crowd of unruly, drunk, charged-up townies, kids and hoodlums. With the white supremacist setting the tone, you can only imagine what the crowd thought of a black guy and a white girl making their way through the crowd.

The crowd separated us and started pushing, jostling and yelling at each of us. If either one of us had fallen to the ground, there is no question that we would have been leaving the scene in an ambulance. Somehow, we grabbed each other and made it back to the press area. We found the very dapper Deputy Superintendent Bob O’Toole and told him what happened and that we needed help getting out of there.

Bob rounded up six officers in full riot gear who surrounded us and escorted us down West 6th Street with guns drawn. They didn’t step back or holster their weapons until we were not only installed in the car, but driving back to the Globe to file the story.

I think that was the day we coined what has become our catchphrase: “cooler today than we were yesterday.”

Seriously, who gets escorted out of a situation surrounded by six officers in full riot gear. This girl, that’s who!

There are so many stories I could tell about Adrian.

  • Like the time he demanded we be seated in the main dining room with all the stuffy Brahmins at Locke Ober after being led to some upstairs, back, completely empty room.
  • Or the time we went to Burger King after the bars closed because I was hungry and, since my French Fries were too hot to eat, I would hold one out the window to cool before I ate it.
  • Or the time we were standing on the corner of West and Tremont Streets and a convertible pulled up to the light blaring “our song” out the window – Summer Wind by Frank Sinatra, btw – and, without a thought, we both dropped our bags and danced right there on the sidewalk until the light changed and the car pulled away.
  • Or any of the times we’d go out for “lunch” at our favorite place at Faneuil Hall (the name of which neither of us can remember as it has been gone so long at this point!), retire to the upstairs bar and drink until it was quitting time, go back to City Hall, grab our bags and go out for the evening.
  • Or….the list goes on. And on.

When I moved back to NH ten years ago, I’d make a point of going back to Boston to play at least once or twice a month. I’ve even got my own keys to his place and he still calls the pull-out in his living room “your bed.” In fact, I was around so much that a bartender friend at Anchovy’s in the South End said one night that I was the only regular that drove 50 miles to drink at his bar.

That schedule lasted a long (long) time but, in recent years, it’s become harder to get down there as often and now I, sadly, don’t Adrian nearly enough.

I say sadly only because I would really love to see him more. When we do see each other, there’s nothing sad about it. You’ll find us ensconced in some booth or pulled up to some bar, talking, telling both tall tales and secrets, plotting our fortunes and adventures, and laughing hysterically.

The PeriodistaThe Drink: Adrian is a columnist at The Boston Globe, and originally from Miami. The Periodista (which we found on the restaurant’s drink menu) is the Spanish word for journalist, making this a perfect fit!!

3 thoughts on “Drink 1: Periodista”

    1. I’m glad you like, AW. Writing this brought back a LOT of memories. Feel free to share any of our other stories here – so long as they’re not the ones you need security clearance for!!! What other mischief of ours do you remember? <3

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