Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Three Mile Island Scooter Club Christmas Party

Last evening it was my great pleasure to attend the Three Mile Island Scooter Club’s Christmas party in Harrisburg.  It was a two hour drive each way, but well worth it to spend a delightful evening with a number of old scooter friends and to meet a bunch of new ones!

When "Bar and Grille" is in the name of an establishment, I don't typically picture such a beautiful setting as Duke's provided.
 Although I’ve never been to a scooter rally on my scooter and haven't yet spent an entire weekend at one, I’ve been to a few as a drop by guest, and the Three Mile Island folks are always well represented at the few rallies that are held relatively nearby.  To have been invited to their Christmas shindig was truly an honor.

They’re a great group of people, as all scooter folks seem to be.  Whether you’ve known somebody for minutes or a few years, it just doesn’t matter; everybody fits right in like family.  I’ve yet to get to The Meltdown, their annual scooter rally, but it’s on my bucket list.

The setting was just lovely in the banquet room on the second floor at Duke’s Bar and Grille on the banks of the Susquehanna River right in downtown Harrisburg.  While it was already dark when we got there, the lights reflecting off the river added to the ambiance provided by the magical holiday decorations and festive atmosphere.  The sounds of old friends catching up with each other and the carols playing in the background completed the already plentiful delights in which we were basking.

I have no concept of "how many" it seems.  The object of the game was to guess how many things were in each jar without going over.  Typical numbers were in the low hundreds while I was guessing into the 600s and above.
There were “reindeer games” that were a lot of fun and a dirty gift exchange during which some folks stole away previously open gifts that had already thrilled their original recipients.  While I got to keep the gift I’d gotten I did feel a little bad for the ones who didn’t want to part with the presents they had to give to the Grinches who took them away from them.  It’s the only part of the evening’s events I’d have changed if I could have.
Denny whose Facebook scooter posts are plentiful and often side-splitting funny shot me while I shot him.
 The food, served buffet style, was fantastic!  For the price I had MUCH more glazed salmon than I’d ever have gotten in any restaurant for the same amount.  Of course I waited till seconds were available before having a much more generous portion than I’d originally taken.  Lucky for me, more guests were going for the chicken Parmesan (also delicious) than the fish!
We were delighted that Trish and Heather, friends we've known for quite some time were not only there, but dressed so sweetly!
 The evening ended a little after 9 PM which left us with nearly a two hour drive back, but the time passed quickly as we talked about the great time we’d had and how thrilled we’d been to have been invited to join the TMISC for their party.  Although I’m a little envious that we don’t have as active a scooter group up here as they do down there, but I can’t complain because I’m not at all the organizing type and admire greatly the folks who are able to jump in and plan rallies and parties and such great events on behalf of the rank and file and honored guests.
Photo borrowed from Tony Parker's lovely video of the party.
Thank you again to the great members of the Three Mile Island Scooter Club for helping to have made my celebration of Christmas all the better with your friendship and generosity!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Savoring the Warmer Cold Days

With a bright sun and temperatures in the mid fifties there would be no keeping the scooter in dry dock today.  Hunting for Christmas decorations was the reason I gave myself for going out, not for justification which I never need for scootering, but to motivate myself to get up and get moving.  It’s all too easy to stay in a comy and cozy recliner since there’s no more getting up at 5:50 AM and heading out into the cold and dark to begin a work day so scootering is a wonderful way to force myself not to squander a day away in doing in nothing and loving it far more than I should.

 A month or so ago I got a picture of this same house decked out just as ostentatiously for Halloween as it is now for Christmas.  Call it tacky, but I kind of like it when somebody is this much into celebrating anything, but especially Christmas!  

Sugar Notch is ready for the season with its giant snowflakes.  So many great pictures get ruined here in 19th century coal town Pennsylvania because it’s almost impossible to take outdoor pictures without getting electric, phone, and cable wires in them.  Although they make for interesting geometry with their, perpendicular, parallel, and oblique patterns, they’re a certain throw back to when function during times of progress took center stage to any consideration of form or appearance.

With the camera held high atop a hill in Warrior Run one might think I’m paying a visit to the Grinch in his perch on Mt. Crumpet...

However, angling the camera just a little changes the view dramatically.  Once again the wires that connect everybody with everybody else are impossible to ignore although in this particular shot they appear to be part of the small town charm itself.

Just around the corner there’s the old Grinch himself popping up out of the chimney as his trusty reindeer, Max, waits for him to complete his task of robbing the Whos of their Christmas joy.  Little does he know that the joy really comes from within, though the props and fancies of Christmas do make it all more celebratory.

Although the Minions are quite adorable as they are in themselves, adding a Santa hat to one just makes him all the more whimsically delightful.  I was thinking that I wish we’d had such lovable characters when I was a kid in the early 60s, but upon reflection we did.  Rudolph came to life through Rankin and Bass in 1964 when I was a mere lad of six and the whole bunch of them are still dear to my old heart.  Other cartoons which are now classics that I look forward to seeing each season also came out during my childhood.

I came upon this unlikely juxtaposition of old metal things on the way to the foot of Alden Mountain.

Just across the street on part of the same property, a line up of boys’ toys from childhood to ripe middle age.


How I wish that the folks who put out inflatables for Christmas would spare the loose change to keep the poor things blown up by day to delight those of us who aren’t vampires traveling about exclusively in the dark.  It disgusts me every time I see one of these melted puddles of Christmas lying on a lawn until it gets dark and they can spring to life once more.  They just look so darned sad lying there in heaps.

As I turned from the deflated and defeated Christmas blow ups to pull back into traffic I released the throttle and grabbed the brakes again in spying this beautiful Autumn scene just across the street.  There’s always something to delight the eyes when one’s taking in the sights on a scooter.  The view from the saddle is unique and totally different than the same view as seen from the inside of a car.  I’d be hard pressed to say why that is, but I know it’s true from my own experiences.  My own simple but wonderful experiences!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bring on Christmas!

Three days ago it was the day before Thanksgiving and I was turning my head away from every Christmas sight and sound that was out there because it was simply too early for the next season to be paraded out before me so soon.  What a difference a day makes!  Yesterday I put up the new Nativity cut-out in the front window and set the App Lights to the multicolored Christmas theme.  Voila!  Just like that I was ready for Christmas!

I started out the day around 9 AM when I got up, started the coffee, and checked my e-mail until the first cup as ready.  After a few more cups, and yes, it’s the fully caffeinated variety, and an hour or so of surfing the web and checking through Facebook, I was ready for what I call a long winter’s nap though a little shorter than the one that’s enjoyed by the speaker in “A Visit from St. Nick”, aka, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and his Mama.  I settled myself into the recliner disappointed that I wasn’t going out on the scooter to enjoy the relatively warm day, but I was THAT tired.  Two hours later, refreshed and eager not to waste the afternoon away, I layered up, hopped on the scooter, and took off!

I had to pause in the very center of Plains, Pennsylvania, about 1.3 miles from where I hang my helmet to get this picture of their Christmas lights strung over the main intersection in their downtown area.  When I was a kid they were full sized light bulbs in a variety of festive colors up there with the red bell in the center.  They appear to be LED lights now, but just as delightful and wonderfully traditional in their simplicity as the big bulbs were a generation ago.  Seeing them fills me with a childlike glee and every time I’ll pass by there until the Christmas sesaon will be put to bed I’ll grin like a schoolboy who’s waiting for Santa and counting the days till his arrival.

I pulled over as often as there was nobody behind me and I spied some early Christmas decorations.  Although I didn’t find many yet, I did find a few to share.  I was thrilled to be out on the Piaggio after having lain in the recliner choosing to nap instead of going out earlier.  I really didn’t think I was going to feel like getting dressed and going out when I laid down with Google Home streaming some soft Christmas music.

After getting home and getting supper together I was ready to finish watching whatever Christmas movie was playing on the Hallmark Channel as I filled my belly.  I can usually jump into a mostly spent show or movie and enjoy it till the end even though I have no idea what the first half or better was about.  And so it was while I made some Italian wedding soup, stuffing, green bean casserole, and a turkey sandwich disappear that I saw the inevitable “they kiss and fall in love” ending that I was expecting.

Since last night the Hallmark Channel displayed a countdown in the lower left hand corner of the screen for some Christmas Train movie they’ll be airing this evening.  I find that practice of wasting screen space during a show with obnoxious advertising to be quite detestable, and after a full 24 hours, maybe more of it, that damned train better be raising people from the dead or something for how they’re touting it.

When I finished with supper and added my dishes and things to the dishwasher I brewed yet another cup of coffee to take to the deck while I’d contemplate what I might write here.  I do like the look of my new eyeglasses and I’m still getting used to seeing them on me.  I fancy myself to look a little like Tom Selleck in “Blue Bloods” but that’s probably more wishful thinking than anything else.  Well, here I am at the end and ready to mark some time till that train movie comes on.  I’m not caving into their advertising; I just happen to like trains.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Stay tuned for more Christmas decoration pics in the days ahead.  The nice days at least.