My seminary classmates will well remember my bold claims that Quincy either is or will be - within two hundred years or so - the "Rome of the West". This past weekend I was given a small taste of this city which has been referred to by others as "Hobbiton."
Monday morning I took myself on a little walking tour of the Gem City, snapping pictures of historic places and markers and just enjoying the city with the small town feel and many sidewalks of bricks (pictures and stories to come later).
Monday evening I walked a few blocks to join a few friends at the ristorante Italiano Tiramisu for dinner. I have always been impressed with this restaurant and for a number of reasons: the food is delicious; the prices and portions are quite reasonable; and the wait staff is still the same as it was when the restaurant opened some ten years ago.
Whenever I return to Quincy I try to gather with this group of friends who call ourselves the "Tuesday Night Supper Club", even though we have not met on a Tuesday for several years now.
It was a delightful evening with good food and very dear friends. Walking back to where I was staying after dinner in the pleasantly cool evening with a gentle breeze - just a few blocks from the Mississippi River - I was taken away in my imagination to the month I spent in Rome in the winter of 2005. Many a happy evening there ended just this way.
Tuesday afternoon I met a couple of priest friends at a restuarant called Sprout's Inn, also a Quincy favorite. They have recently added an outdoor dining area and we happily took advantage of it on a gorgeous afternoon. Once again, I was reminded of my days in Rome and I gave thanks to God for the gift that is Quincy, the Rome of the West!