Hill of Beans

A heary Beacon Hill dame surveyed Boston's historic Common Saturday evening. To a little girl who had just spilt a plate of beans on the historic Mall, she snapped, "You should be ashamed of yourself for making such a mess. Clean it right up." Apparently the spectacle of ten thousand people eating five tons of beans rubbled her sensitively.

For sheer quantity the mammoth bean dinner was the high spot of Boston's five-day Jubilee. The beans alone would have stretched from the Common to Central Park if placed bean to bean rather than gobbled by Boston citizenry. And from beans, the dinners gulped on to three tons of potato salad and to 12,000 oven-hot miniature pies. "The most historic event in centuries," said Mayor Hynes in an after-dinner speech.

A plate of Common beans breaks social conventions. Diners conversed genially with people they had never eaten beans with before. And at one table a graying spinster pocketed all the sugar lumps; when a search ensued for coffee sweetening, she dug into her pockets, produced two handfuls of sugar, and grinned, "I took then for my horse."

Two hundred and fifty policemen guarded the bean eaters from thousands of hungry spectators. Local politicians, speaking after dinner, took a sharp look into the political future, apologized for the shortage of tickets, and promised more bean fetes to come.

Following the politicians, Chamber of Commerce officials thanked unheard of committees and unheard of committee heads for "splendid efforts;" the crowd applauded politely, and dwindled. People perked up, though, when Burl Ives appeared to banjo "The Blue Tail Fly," and they joined in the "cracked corn" chorus. Then the dinner chairman arose and introduced a bagpipe band. Cranced necks and scampering children greeted it with curiosity; but when it played "Auld Lang Syne" only a few voices followed the chairman's plea for song. Instead, most people started moving away.

By eight o'clock the crowd had gone. The historic Hall was littered with bean-smeared paper plates, and dirty-faced children ran from table to table, swiping pickles, rolls, and ketchup bottles. Despite the old lady, no one was ashamed.