Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury


We spent a few days this past week, visiting our friends in Pennsylvania. Over the last few years this has become an annual event for us, although we had to miss out last year. We’d been set to go but then the gentleman, who’d retired from one career, had decided to embark upon another. This trip, our daughter accompanied us—the first time for her since she went with us in 2006. We also took Mr. Tuffy, too.

We were grateful to have our daughter on hand as we had never, ever taken a trip with a pet and weren’t sure what to expect.

There were a couple of reasons that Tuffy got to be a traveling dog. First reason, of course, was that after having seen pictures of the little guy, our friend, John, wanted to meet him. And second, we needed to know if traveling with the dog was something we’d be able to do, since it’s our hope to begin taking the coldest two months of our year—January and February—down where the weather is warmer, likely in Texas.

It’s always good when you can get together with old friends. That reunion is sweeter when the time in between is unexpectedly longer. Despite fervent use of the Internet and all forms of modern means of communication, nothing beats being face to face with good friends.

We were happy that our favorite hotel was also one of two pet friendly hotels in the area. We’d booked a two room suite a few months ago. At the time, I did something that I thought was likely pure silliness and a waste of the few dollars extra per night: I arranged for us to have a suite with a fireplace in it.

As it turned out, no silliness at all, as the weather took a bit of a chill while we were there. It was an actual gas fireplace, and worked on a timer – you could choose five minutes to thirty minutes and it threw out quite a nice heat.

We didn’t, this time, indulge in sightseeing. Previous trips found us traveling all over, which I considered as doing research on the area. There’s a rich history in Northeastern Pennsylvania; coal country, the area is dotted with “patch towns”, settlements born of the mining industry that boomed in centuries past, as man sought to extract the anthracite coal from the veins that run so richly there.

We’ve visited Eckley Miner’s Village, an authentic patch town where the movie, The Molly Maguires was filmed in 1969. We’ve been to Jim Thorpe, and the haunted jail. We got out and read the plaque near the site of the Lattimer Mine Massacre in September of 1897. We also visited the sad site of the former town of Centralia, where an underground fire still burns.

On past visits we’ve toured the Mid-Atlantic Airplane Museum, in Reading, the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, the state’s capital, Steamtown, USA an extensive railway museum, in Scranton, and two mines: The Lackawanna Mine, also in Scranton, and the Number 9 Coal Mine and Museum, in Lansford.

Here I must confess that I did not accompany my beloved and our friend John underground. The only other place where I felt a complete and total inability to accompany him while on vacation was the tour of the engine room on the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point Naval Museum in Charleston Harbor.

Wherever we went, our friend provided knowledgeable commentary. We’ve come to know the area, and some of the people there quite well. We could see definite signs of economic recovery since our last visit, and that was a good thing to witness.

And Mr. Tuffy, I am so proud to report, behaved like a true gentleman the entire time. He was well behaved in the car, friendly with the people he met, and very much like us, in that while he enjoyed himself, he was very happy to come home again.

He’s happy to be back to his normal daily routines, like dozing on my computer desk, as I write these words.



Love,

Morgan



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