Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday's Words for August 5, 2009

Ah, vacation! What can I say? We’re safely ensconced in the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It’s been slightly more than a year since we last visited with our friends. The joy of our being together again is sobered, this year, by the reality of the fiscal situation for State employees in this, the Keystone State.

For those who are unaware, the state has failed to certify a budget. Whatever your politics, the bottom line is that those employed by the Great State of Pennsylvania (outside of the elected members and their staff, of course) have been required to work without receiving pay checks since July.

This includes my good friend who carries a badge and a gun.

How anyone could expect people to work 8 hours a day, five days a week, without paying them is beyond me. Perhaps the legislators have lost touch with the reality of 21st century life, wherein people are expected to pay for such inconsequential things as food, housing, and electricity. Hell, how do they expect these hard working people to even get to work in the first place without gasoline in their cars, because, surprise, the gas stations don’t let you pump the stuff until you’ve paid for it? Just late yesterday afternoon it appeared there may be hope on the horizon, and if all goes well, our friend may begin to breathe a sigh of relief by mid-August. Fingers crossed.

Despite the particularly tough and scary times our friends are enduring they graciously opened their home to us, as they have since that first time nearly five years ago. (We began with a cyber relationship, as our friend not only carries a badge and a gun, he is an aspiring screen writer.) We’ve had several spirited debates, excellent meals (badge, gun, pen and spatula. He’s single, too, ladies), and excursions out and about the area.

We visited the Pennsylvania Fire Museum in Harrisburg. This museum is run by volunteers; much as most of the firefighting in this beautiful country has been done by volunteers since Benjamin Franklin put together the Union Fire Company here in Pennsylvania in 1736. If you’ve an interest in the history of firefighting and firehouses, this museum, housed in the beautifully renovated Reily Fire House is a must-see.

I’ve learned a lot about weapons and police tactics, coal mining [this is coal country] and fire fighting, and anything at all connected to this area of the country you can imagine. An author can never have too large a store house of facts and experiences from which to draw.

You’ll be pleased to know I have indeed made my way into a grocery store, and a new one at that. Yes, there are items here that I can’t find at home. I’m the proud owner of a bottle of sugar free pancake syrup. We also took a pilgrimage to a department store in the Laurel Mall called Boscov’s. Last year, when we were there helping our friend pick out new sheets as a gift for his mother, I saw 1000 thread count sheets and fell immediately into lust.

A couple of years ago we went to the Liquidation center in our home town as we sometimes do. There we found two sets of sheets, one a 400 thread count and the other a 500 (advertised as Egyptian cotton). They were on sale for an insanely low price and we bought them.

They are the most wonderful sheets we have ever felt! So having seen the 1000 ones last year, I began to plan. [Yes, we have them in Ontario. But it is easier to justify making this purchase while we are on vacation, a time when a slight amount of free-spending is expected]. Alas, the 1000 thread count sheets are no more at that store. We bought a set of 800s and our good friend showed his man-genes by suggesting if we also bought a set that was 250 thread count, we’d be over 1000.

We’ll be on our way in the morning, toward the next stage of our odyssey: Virginia Beach. The weather doesn’t look all that promising. Could be we’re destined for a few days of rain. If that’s the case, we may just stay a single night there before we move on. The next week is going to be spent as close to the Eastern Seaboard as possible. There’s bound to be a beach and some sunshine at some point over the next few days.

Vacation is a time for new experiences, for sleeping in, slow mornings, and something we sometimes forget how to exercise in our everyday world: patience.

Feed the flames of you passion…
with a novel by Morgan Ashbury

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