ImageJesse, my friend Greta’s fiance, was leaving the house the same time I was. He was on his way to vote. With a sousaphone. “For the line,” he said. “In case I have to wait a long time.” He also brought along a trombone in case he ran into someone who could play and wanted to jam with him. As we walked, he looked up patriotic melodies on his smartphone and played them. The Battle Hymn of the Republic kept me company most of my way to the subway.

Then I took the red line to Boston Commons and started out on the Freedom Trail, going past the Old South Meeting House, the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party, and pausing to consider Paul Revere’s house. But I spent most of my time in the King’s Chapel Graveyard trying to decipher the names of unknown people long dead and gone. Somehow, it seemed like a fitting way to spend the election day.