Thursday, August 1, 2013

Home Stretch

There are days when I want to have a post here, but I am too lazy to write.  This would be one of those days, but I'm giving it the old college try using Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software as if to fool myself into somehow thinking that dictating isn't quite the same as having to write.  There is a quirkiness though, as I recognize that there are differences between what my fingertips hammer out on the keyboard and what comes rolling off my tongue.  They are not necessarily differences that I can discern and point out, nevertheless I recognize that my style of writing is noticeably distinct depending on which medium of communication I am using.

I spent all of last week and the first few days of this week on a vacation in the Poconos that I had looked forward to with relish.  I planned it for the end of July recognizing that as soon as August first would hit that the predictable emotional thermostat of mine would begin to indicate that summer vacation is winding down.  Here I am on that very date feeling all too well what I knew I would - that angst, depression, misery which annually heralds the inevitable return to school.  I am not going to dwell on that here because when I took up writing again after my rather long hiatus I promised myself (though not firmly) not to use this blog too much as a sounding board for my negativity in that regard, but I did figure that it was worth some mention should the returning reader noticed the subtle paradigm shift in whatever part of my mood that I am able to communicate here between the lines.

I did ride a bit yesterday, my first full day back, and my first stop was Mom's house where I was to pick up some piggies that she had made for me.  For those unfortunate folks who don't know, piggies are pigs in the blanket or stuffed cabbage, and in spite of being able to cook many traditional Slovak meals simply from having watched them being prepared when I was growing up, I have never taken on the challenge of making piggies myself because it just seems so time-consuming.  The piggies would be an excellent lunch for me later.

I also scored a bonus - "Grandma pickles" as my younger daughter affectionately calls them.  They are 24 hour dill pickles, simply bottled and not canned, and meant to be eaten soon.  Don't worry, Mom, they'll be gone in no time!

Grandma pickles ready for the trip back to my house.

Piggies!  Soon the chance to have a cold one with lunch will be gone.

There was a big toss up in my head this morning over whether or not I should take the bike out at all.  The forecast was miserable when I went to bed last evening, and upon awakening this morning the sky seemed to indicate that the weatherman was going to be correct.  After checking the breakdown in 15 min. increments on one of my favorite weather forecasting websites, however, there did seem to be a window of a few hours during which I would be able to ride without getting soaked.  So, I risked it and, it was worth it!

As I often do, I rode to nowhere in particular and enjoyed the riding even though it was essentially purposeless.  No, wait!  Not having a distinct endpoint does not preclude a ride from having purpose even if that purpose is the mere joyful frivolity of being on two wheels and not having to pedal, so I sit corrected on that last sentence.  I had considered visiting the farmers' market on Public Square, but sadly, a trip to the downtown in this city is sometimes more like a visit to the zoo and I was in no mood to watch mothers with their out-of-control children running amok, and juvenile delinquents with their underwear hanging out of the tops of their pants zooming between people on their skateboards.

So I rode across the river passing by the demolition site of the Hotel Sterling, a once stately establishment alongside the Susquehanna river.  Back in the 70s a few of my classmates and I formed an all occasions band and often played there at weddings in one of the ballrooms.  Now, only a few more than 30 years later, and it was practically falling down on its own, so much so that even committed preservationists could do nothing to restore and revitalize it.

I ended up as some gentle sprinkles started falling near a shopping center that has been standing long since before I was born.  A portion of the side of one building has a roof over it, having served a long time ago as the drive-through portion of a drive in beer distributor and it was the perfect place for me to park for a little while because I hate getting wet with my clothes on and taking them off was not an option.

I was more or less headed back to the house after that and as I made my way to the main avenue on the west side of the valley and rolled around the corner onto the avenue proper, I came upon a sight that filled my little Grich heart with much glee.  A big Turkey Hill cow on wheels headed in the opposite direction.  I did what any self-respecting scooterist would have done - an immediate U-turn!  I figured it was headed to the Turkey Hill store a few towns over and planned to follow it the whole way, but as luck would have it, it turned into a Price Chopper parking lot and stopped out in the middle of no man's land.

Yes, I am following the butt of a large cow on wheels!

Now, a picture beside something such as this is not an option.  It is a necessity.  I pulled right up beside the driver's door of the box van that was pulling the cow "float" and shamelessly asked the elderly driver if he would take a picture of me perched on my scooter next to his big cow.  With a twinkle in his eye he hopped out of the truck more spryly than I might have and chuckled, "Why certainly, young man," which made my own smile widen even more broadly.

Although at times I tend to be cynical, suspicious and, jaded about the state of humanity, random interactions such as this one restore my faith in our species at least for a little while.  And the risk of interacting at all is always worth it when the payoff is as huge as a picture of one's self on his scooter beside a big cow.

I tried posting comments at two other Blogger blogs today, but every time I hit PUBLISH my comment just disappeared.  Any idea if I'm doing anything wrong?


Deb said...

I got your post, BTW!

That cow is pretty cool! I would have found myself drawn into chasing her down the road too!

Michael Sulzinski said...

Good to have you back---missed your postings!

Michael Sulzinski said...

Glad to have you back, missed your postings!

Lucky said...

Grandma pickles are the best pickles.

Love the cow photo! Good thing you decided to ride!

Doug said...


I'm like you, I guess, I leave the house and often don't know if I'll turn left or right at the end of the street. I enjoy serendipity in a ride.

Re: blogger comments

Make sure you're really completing the verification code if it's being used on a blog. Sometimes if the code it typed wrong the page appears to reset but the text entered is gone. I always copy what I write before I hit Submit. Might be an issue with your browser or the Adobe Flash installation in it. Make sure you've got the latest version.

Your comment came through fine on my blog, I approved it the other day.

RichardM said...

Stuffed cabbage, one of my comfort foods. (One of many, I'm afraid!). Not difficult at all to make as long as you steam or microwave the cabbage leaves first.

As far as the Blogger comments, if you are using a phone, then I wish you the best of luck as it doesn't work reliably.

Joe said...

Nope, Richard. Using my big old Dell tower.