Travel notes: pink, New Castle, return

abby!Reserved for R.D.On Sunday, Mom, Dad, Estee, Grandma, and I trekked up to New Wilmington, PA, to visit Abby at Westminster College (if by ‘visit’ you mean ‘paint her room’). She’s a Residential Director in this, her senior year, so she’s sort of the head R.A. for her building, and she gets a reserved parking spot and an apartment to herself. An apartment which she swears she’s allowed to paint. So we painted the upper border of her bedroom and the kitchen/dining room/R.A. office hot pink.

Rachel's RoadhouseI hadn’t been to Westminster while Abby’s been there, so it was interesting to see her in context. We went to a very tasty local restaurant, Rachel’s Roadhouse, which had these homemade potato chips with a dipping sauce that I still keep thinking about.

industryAbby had to get back to go to some sort of orientation meeting she was in charge of (if by ‘meeting’ you mean ‘scavenger hunt’), so after that, we went back to her room and cleaned up the painting stuff and headed out.

On the way back, we drove through New Castle, the Toth family ancestral homeland, where my grandmother’s mother’s parents settled after coming over from Hungary. Grandma pointed out the street she lived on until she was 7, the street my great-great-grandparents lived, the WPA-built stone retaining wall my great-grandfather worked on, etc.

Farm equipmentMonday morning, I went with my Mom to a farm supply store to get protein blocks for the sheep. Despite the storm Saturday, with all the lightning and the inch and a half of rain, the water situation was as dire as ever. So a fair bit of the afternoon was spent trying to locate a pump to use to pump water from the spring down the hill up to the cistern near the house. Most pumps for sale seemed to be either for pumping out basements or for various commercial applications and way too powerful for the job. After dad got home from work, we trekked with my uncle, aunt, and cousin to a pretty authentic Mexican restaurant in Mount Pleasant, PA, which is conveniently across the highway from a tractor supply store which sold pumps (not quite what we needed again, though).

countryside near Mount PleasantTuesday, I set off for State College at about 8am, and the music in rotation was very much what I was listening to in 1996-7: Liz Phair (I really like Whip Smart and not much before or after), Rashaan Roland Kirk, Rasputina (OK, I didn’t discover her/them until later, but the album was from 1996 and has the spirit of 1996), with some oddities thrown in (the Incredible String Band, the Carter Family). Terri and I had our happy reunion when I got to S.C.; we grabbed some lunch, picked up 2 cases of Yuengling (one for us, one for Ed & Juliet for watching the cats) at the beer distributor (no, we did not drive through, though we could have), bought a card for her parents’ anniversary, and set off. I drove, and Terri read the latest Harry Potter aloud from where we left off last week. We made record time, clocking in at just over 7 hours. If we’d have taken another 5 minutes, we would have pulled into the driveway just as we finished the book.

Theology

In the kitchen, my uncle was telling a story he saw on TV about two skydivers who jumped out of a plane in some sort of winged bat suits. They intended to glide past a bridge, one above and one below. The one who was supposed to glide above miscalculated, hit the bridge, and died in a rather instant and grotesque fashion.

Grandma: “The bible says something about that.”

Silence.

Mom: “About bat suits?”
Grandma: “Don’t expect God to protect you if you’re going to do something stupid!”