Philadelphia (Or How I Broke a Perfectly Nice Puppy)

Our arrival in Philly is exciting on a couple of important levels. First, we’re looking forward to seeing our friends, Larry and Linda.


Larry was Jerry’s college roommate and has stayed a very good friend since then. We get together with Larry and his wife, Linda, at least every year, generally in August, when they offer us a standing invitation to their summer home on Long Beach Island on the Jersey shore. Apart from that, we get into Philly to see them from time to time, and they’ve visted us in Vermont. Riding in to see them feels, again, like a milestone. The fact that Philly is also Jerry’s home town makes it a huge milestone.

We decide to ride to the town of Manayunk, where there’s a bike shop called Cadence. They’re going to look over the bikes and hold onto them for the few days that we’re in town. One convenient aspect of this plan is that Manayunk is accessible from the Schuylkill River Trail: a biking and walking path that runs for miles and miles. It’s a pretty trail and such a pleasure to ride along, sans traffic. We’re on that trail for something like twenty miles that day.

Before dropping off the bikes in Manayunk, we stop in Conshohocken for lunch. We find a place called Lou’s – a classic Philadelphia sandwich shop and diner. Jerry has a cheesesteak, I have a Reuben. We both have ice cream. (The hoovering continues…)

After lunch, we bring our bikes to Cadence and Larry picks us up after leaving work. We’re so happy  to see him, but also excited to meet their new puppy, George. (Or George E., in case anyone wants to call him by the “diminutive” Georgie.) When we arrive at the house, Linda greets us all with the hugs and kisses we’ve been happily awaiting, and then takes us into the kitchen to see the puppy. George is adorable. He is little and energetic and so so happy to see us. His tail has a mind of its own:

2014-04-04 19.59.50

I sit on the floor. I play with him. I hug and snuggle and rev him up through the ceiling, practically. When he jumps up and nips my pant leg, I say, “NO!” Just as we’ve been saying “NO!” to all the dogs that have rushed us from their yards and driveways along the ride. Linda gently lets me know that their command to keep him from jumping up is “Off.” Oh. Okay. But I keep accidentally saying “NO!” (which has always been the standard command with our dogs). Everyone seems to have their own command. Our friends Bill and Eva say “Not!” to their dog, Griffin. (Griffin is our dog’s father, incidentally.) They reserve the more stringent “NO,” for the big emergencies. I’ve seen people use the dog’s name as the only negative: Hey!! Milo!! In just the right tone, this alone can deter an animal. It seems you could teach your dog anything at all, and render all intruders helpless. Because, really, who would know if you taught your dog that the command to leave someone alone was really: Lemon Pie! Lemon Pie!

By the time we go to bed that night, George is a new dog. He can not calm down. He jumps at people, he throws himself, he is wild with joy at the prospect of new games. He is naughty. It is generally agreed upon: I have broken him.

Larry and Linda actually have two pets. In addition to wild little George E., they have a newt. It resides in a small tank on their kitchen counter, where it has happily floated and watched the Korff family eat three meals a day for something like twenty two years. The newt (whose name, I must admit, I don’t know) was brought home by son Sam in second grade or so – I’m doing this off the cuff. The teacher was desperate for a family to take the class newt for the summer, and the Korffs kindly stepped up to the plate. For some reason, and I don’t recall why, when the summer ended, they still had the newt. Now Sam is a grown man: married and working in Manhattan. Here he is, with his wife, Jenna; they visited while we visited:

photo 1-3

So you can see: Sam is all grown up, and still the newt sits on his parents’ kitchen counter. I took a few pictures. This is the best one:

2014-04-04 19.58.11

Having tried to photograph this creature, captive and completely visible in clear water on the kitchen counter, I now believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Because seriously: these things are hard to photograph.

We have a wonderful time at Larry and Linda’s house. We do our laundry, relax, enjoy some nice R&R with L&L, good meals, all that. Eventually, it’s time to get back on the road. We hug goodbyes. Larry drives us back to Cadence Bike Shop and we make our way back to the Schuylkill Bike Trail. As we ride north, I think about George – so adorable and excited about his new life. Nice to be around a puppy again. He was napping a lot by the time we left – I think the breakage was containable.

Posted in Biking, Dogs, Friends, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Travel | Leave a comment

Clearly, Dearly, Nearly

This trip has had the unexpected and mostly welcome effect of helping me remember events and experiences that were otherwise long forgotten. I think that’s a result of all the time that my bored mind floats around in my brain, above my peddling body.

Jerry’s mind is busily cataloging all he sees: bamboo along the side of the road – pretty but invasive…new daffodils…odd cloud patterns, is the weather changing?…more bamboo…magnolia…pothole, crack… horse lying in the dirt to cool off or rest – or is it dead?” But lately my mind tends to be all: asphalt, asphalt, asphalt, asphalt, asphalt…

I’ve already said here that the time on the bike is unproductive. It’s generative – just not in a particularly valuable way. Like the other day, I’m pedaling along under a cool, cloudy sky, and I’m suddenly immersed in the  memory of a similar day in 1983, buying speakers for my Walkman when I was a student living in Madrid. They were these six-inch square silver plastic things on which I listened to bootleg cassettes of Lionel Richie and Miguel Rios and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, bought on the street in Malasaña. I was very proud of them. And all right, yes, that was my music at the time.

Here’s another example. We head out one morning, having had a conversation over breakfast about how much this trip happens “day by day.” And so, of course, I’m launched back in time. I’m ten years old, and the new Christian Rock operas are all over the airwaves, Jesus Christ Superstar being my personal favorite, but Godspell as well. Day By Day is on the radio, and on everyone’s lips, and also in church.

Some guy in his twenties is doing the folk mass, much to my father’s irritation. The guy has these big chunky sideburns, and a multi-colored striped shirt, open at the collar, and the requisite red bell bottoms, and he’s playing guitar. The congregation of St. Edward’s Church in Granville, Ohio, is of three minds. There are people like my father, who are gritting their teeth and wishing the whole mass could still be in Latin, which they understood so much better. And there are younger adults and hipper adults who are pouring themselves into the thing, even that part at the end that dies out (day by day by day by day by day…) but they sound phenomenally stupid, and so a third group of adults with a sense of humor joins kids like me in just cracking up. The best the folk mass got was when that same guy sang Feelin’ Groovy one week, but we mostly missed it because my Dad made us leave, literally pulling me by the hand, leaving Maura and Mom no choice but to follow, embarrassed, looking at the floor as they exited. Floor, floor, floor, floor, floor, floor… (This was classic Dad. He once packed us into the car and drove us all home – hundreds of miles – from my Aunt Evelyn’s and Uncle Bud’s house because Aunt Evelyn pronounced my sister’s name wrong one too many times. (“Maara,” in her Boston accent, rather than “MOra.”) Dad wouldn’t have been big on Jerry’s musings on philology. He could be very difficult, but I miss him every day.

Sorry. I digress (as that annoying guy in the Cadillac commerical says). Day By Day… On my bike in 2014, I can still hear these songs.  But now I’m sort of in my Dad’s camp. I mean, honestly… how do you mix contrition and the Virgin Mary and incense and communion wafers with Feelin’ Groovy? Even now, it just feels wrong.

If this blog seems incredibly random lately, you’re getting a nice feel for what it’s like on the bike.

Posted in Biking, Godspell, Memories, Travel | 3 Comments

Philology … from a Philadelphian … trying to get to Philadelphia

Linguists make it clear that the meaning of words changes with time. Check out the meaning of “silly” as it changes from Shakespeare’s to our present usage. Very interesting. They tell us that to try to keep our language usage constant destroys the meaning of a living language.

So one of the words that has undergone a lot of change in recent years is “Friend.” To the detriment IMHO. When I was a young man my dad would often say to me that friendship should be treasured, that if you can make a few good friends in your life then you are very lucky.

Clearly this has changed in recent years. Probably it started with Facebook. What did it mean when I overheard someone talking about their 2083 friends? Another change that confused me was when people started talking about “friends with benefits.” This was always said with a wink and a smirk and I would smile along, although I had no real idea what they were talking about. Not until this trip. When we arrived at Elden’s it began to hit me, and then when we got to Jim and Mary’s it started to sink in. Now, as we are approaching the City of Brotherly Love, I get it. When Shelagh and I get there and Larry and Linda open the door, and they ask us “would you like to use the laundry? You can use the washing machine and dryer as much as you want…” we are “friends with benefits.”

Now I finally get it.

Posted in Biking, Friends, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Philology, Travel | 2 Comments

A Post With Footnotes (1)

Some of my favorite riding has been through Amish country in Pennsylvania. When I was little, my parents took our family on a cross-country trip in a car and a camper, and I do recall seeing the Amish on that trip. Jerry’s early impressions are stronger than mine, because he grew up in Pennsylvania, and went to school at Penn State. He did a lot of driving through Pennsylvania Dutch country. (2)

He’s very surprised on our trip to see that the Amish people will wave at us, sometimes even before we wave at them. His memories are that the Amish used to turn away from him and the other “English,” (3) and they would turn their children away as well. He decides it has to do with our being on bicycles, rather than in cars. I privately decide it has to do with how he looked in college. I’ve seen his I.D. from his internship year in Burlington: Charles Manson with a stethoscope. I’d have turned my children away, too.

The first that we see of the Pennsylvania Dutch is actually in Maryland. Jerry already wrote about this in his blog titled “What? No Starbucks?” So you know that we have a bit of trouble finding a Starbucks. We are frankly disgusted with the chain by a certain point. Where is their sense of completion in coffee hegemony over the United States? For heaven’s sake… After a few false starts, Jerry sees the cafe that leads us to the Pennsylvania Dutch Marketplace, and so on. I won’t repeat the story, but I’ll share some pictures.

2014-03-29 12.27.07 2014-03-29 12.28.11 2014-03-29 12.28.46 2014-03-29 12.29.05

I did ask permission before taking these pictures. The woman I asked said yes with an actual waving-off hand motion indicative of, “Sure, no problem.”

It is days later that I discover a real love for Amish country, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The rain has stopped, the sun is out, and we are riding through beautiful towns and farms, one after another. We see Amish in horse-drawn carriages, (4) and on farms, and driving cars. This last comes as a bit of surprise to me, but Jerry informs me (because he knows everything – kind of irritating, sometimes) that different Amish sects practice differently, just as Reform Jews used to be less stringent than conservative, but now that’s all gotten very confusing, too…

Anyway, about the Amish, one woman is actually out cleaning up her driveway with a leaf-blower (!) while her children play in the yard. They all wave. They all seem happy to see us on our bikes, working our way north.

At one point, I pass two women (of the “English” variety), out for a walk. Just beyond them, I see the most lovely scene: a wagon, pulled by very large horses, being loaded with hay by two Amish farmers. The sun is low in the sky, and everything has this honeyed glow. I stop, park my bike by the side of the road, and take a picture of the scene.


Just then, the walkers reach me.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” asks one woman.

I avoid looking pointedly at my loaded touring bike, because that might seem a little rude. “No,” I say.

“Thought so,” she says. “People who aren’t from here always take pictures of the Mennonites.”

I am tempted to tell her that a Mennonite with a leaf blower just took a picture of me on my bike! It would have been a lie, but it would have been kind of fun. Unfortunately, I was raised by a sect that said liars pay in purgatory, and so I just look at her stupidly. (5)

“Is it bad,” I finally ask the walker, “to take their picture? Do they not like it?”

“Oh,” she says uncertainly. “No. Well, I don’t know. I don’t think they’d like to be recognizable in the photograph.”

I thank her for letting me know (what she thinks but clearly doesn’t really know for sure, despite being bossy and “from around here”).

Later, when I look at the photo, I decide the farmers’ identities are entirely safe with me. (6)  

(1) To keep the story from being broken up by all these interruptions that kept popping up for some reason in this post.

(2) Because I’m using some terms interchangably, and no doubt incorrectly, here’s an explanatory excerpt from the Wikipedia entry: The Amish (/ˈɑːmɪʃ/ ah-mish; Pennsylvania Dutch: Amisch, German: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships, closely related to but distinct from Mennonite churches, with whom they share Swiss Anabaptist origins. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.

(3) The Amish refer to non-Amish as English. Think Harry Potter and Muggles. Jerry finds the idea of his being referred to as English very funny, since most actual English wouldn’t have counted many Shapiros among their country-club sets in the ’70s. (7)

(4) These carriages, Jerry points out to me, are pulled on iron wheels with no rubber tires. Must make for a bumpy ride! I say. Beyond this, Jerry points out, the no-rubber wheels must make work that much harder for the animals. He wonders aloud if these people, in their quest to please their God through clean living and hard work, make a place in their heaven for the animals that work for them. Are they among the people who believe dogs, cats and horses have souls? Do they feel that pulling wheels without rubber improves the soul of the horse, assuring his or her own place in heaven? I don’t know, I snap, and stop interrupting my blog post. Write your own!

(5) Stupidly: the same way Jerry and I will look at our hotel check-in clerk a week later, as we arrive at a Courtyard Marriott, when she asks where we started out that morning. Between the two of us, we’ll have not even half a clue of where that day’s ride began.

(6) Since the picture came out really poorly and you can’t even make out that they’re there… (8)

(7) Here, I will insert a footnote within a footnote, to blow your mind entirely. This footnote is a lesson in apostrophes. Jerry wanted me to add an apostrophe to the plural name “Shapiros,” above. No, no, no! One should never use an apostrophe to make a last name plural. If your name is Shapiro, the plural is Shapiros. If your name is Connor, the name is Connors. “The Shapiros weren’t invited to join the country club.” “The Connors forgot to RSVP.” Also, just because I’m thinking of it, when abbreviating a decade, use the apostrophe as a stand-in for the first two digits of the decade, and not between the last number and the “s”: the ’70s, not the 70’s. See? I, too, can be an irritating know-it-all.

(8) But later in the day, I got this guy, and I really love how he came out:


Posted in Amish, Biking, Pennsylvania, Travel | 2 Comments

Friends Two

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were supposed to meet Carl and Jean, our daughter-in-law Anna’s parents in Columbia, Pa on the second day of our stay there. It would have been a quick exit on Rt 30 on their way home from a wedding in New York stat. Columbia, Pa., I’m sure many of you will recognize as what Smithsonian magazine described as the 11th best small city to live in in America. Unfortunately, our plans get weathered.

First, we spend an extra day in Fredericksburg, Va., then we decide to spend an extra day in Westminster rather than ride to Columbia in what’s forecast to be heavy rain and 20+ north winds.

So we agree to meet in Westminster. Jean texts to let us know that they’re running into snow leaving, and might not arrive until 5 pm. No problem, easy to occupy myself with the Michigan State – UConn game.

Then the snow starts. Not really peredicted and in fact a quick check of the weather report indicates that it isn’t really happening. Which seems like a relief until it keeps accumulating. By the time that Jean and Carl arrive, there are four or five inches of snow on the ground. Fortunately the motel is well plowed and when they arrive, they tell us that they’ve made arrangements to stay in the room next to us.

Jean brings out champagne (to celebrate Shelagh’s book), blueberried goat cheese, and brie, and we know that we are at party central Westminster, Md. When they expressconcern that we are stuck for the night because of the roads, we surprise them with news of the excellent Italian restaurant located just a few slushy minutes walk away.

Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be this way, but a good time is had by all. In the morning the sun is shining, the weather slowly warming, the snow quickly melting and we are all on our way.


Posted in Biking, Family, Friends, Maryland, Snow, Travel | Leave a comment

Zeno Strikes Back

Shelagh and I are in Westminster, Maryland. It feels like we are creeping and crawling our way back home. Today, it is 45 degrees, 20+ mph north winds, and raining hard. We do not bike. We stay inside under the covers and look for restaurants that will deliver. We are not the postal service. In wind , snow and rain we give up. Even the liquor store is too far to walk. We have spent five of the last fifteen days hiding from the weather. The weather has become the Achille’s heel to our Odyssean efforts to return home.

Top that all you philhellenists.

Posted in Biking, Marriage, Maryland, Philhellenism, Rain, Travel | 1 Comment

What?  No Starbucks?

We had to get to Westminster, Md. The night before Shelagh and I had a very fun dinner at a N. Bethesda restaurant called El Patio, an Argentinian restaurant with music playing, people singing, and amazing food. But there was a nagging concern that we had to get to Westminster.  We wanted to meet with Anna’s  parents and we had already been delayed two days by weather. We repeatedly checked the forecast but it would not change. Heavy rain predicted all day and we had 60 miles to ride.

So we plan.  A good breakfast, coffee stop, a good lunch, coffee stop.  We can do this.  If we can’t stay dry, we can at least warm up intermittently.  Breakfast is only 1/2 a mile out of the way and then we’re on bike paths.  Maryland is blessed with many bike paths and it’s nice not to be dealing with cars in the rain.  Pedal, pedal, rain, rain.

Coffee time!  We see a shopping center and check it out for a Starbucks.  No Starbucks.  So we ride another ten minutes and there is another shopping center. This can’t be, another one without a Starbucks.  Concerned, we both check our phone GPS to make sure that we are still in America.  Fortunately, we see that the center has a place called K’s Cafe.  Finally, coffee.  Only when we get closer we see that K’s Cafe has both Chinese and Thai food but no coffee. Now we are desperate, and very wet. 

Shelagh points out that there is a Pennsylvania Dutch market next door.  I’m figuring that we don’t need any furniture, but they have something to eat. I go in to check it out and immediately there are many, many amazing smells.  First, the bakery, then the funnel cake fried bread, then the BBQ area, then the regular restaurant, then the fresh foods stand.  After we get our coffees and the freshest, tastiest donuts that I’ve had in years (ever?)  I’m thinking that maybe it’s OK not to find a Starbucks. Unfortunately, the day has more to offer.  Time for the Savvy?Travelers to stike again.

It’s getting later in the aftenoon and we’re very wet and very hungry and very wet and we can find just two possible restaurants for our 4 o’clock lunch and dry off.  The first looks imperfect and besides, if we can just ride 6 more miles to the next restaurant, we’ll have that much less to ride after lunch.  Except when we get there, we realize that the Brick Ridge restaurant is beautiful, but they are not open, or at least they will not be open for an hour, when they will serve dinner.  Fortunately they invite us to warm up and dry off.  They prepare us some hot tea, which goes well with the lemon basil scone that we bought in Ashland, Va. for jut the right occasion.

Refreshed, a little bit drier we get back on our bikes and slog the next 20 miles to Westminster.

Posted in Biking, Friends, Maryland, Rain, Travel, Virginia | Leave a comment


One of the truths of this kind of life, where you pack before fully understanding what you’ll be dealing with, and you have to carry everything on your bike, is that you start improvising as needs arise. For example, thanks to a tip we got on a bike trip long ago, we always keep shower caps on hand. These can be taken from most of the hotels, and they’re very handy when it starts to rain. Just slip a shower cap over your helmet and your head stays much drier. Much less trickling into the face, too.

Another recent discovery: when your gloves are still soaked from yesterday’s ride, and you need something warm on your hands for the walk to breakfast: socks. Preferably clean socks, if you still have any. (If you do, then you overpacked, incidentally.) Best of all would be clean, black socks, which recede from looking sock like and bring to mind black gloves. Sort of.

Plastic bags over the feet are supposed to help keep feet dry in the rain, though I’ve yet to remember to try this on mornings when that might be useful. Seems like a good idea, but plastic bags are at a premium, needed as they are to cover the small canvas bag at the front of my bike and the larger canvas bag above my panniers in back.

You can probably tell we’ve been riding in some rain. My sister Maura mentions during a phone call that the we’re starting to sound a little glum on the blog. I hope not. But if that’s coming through at all, it’s probably just because of the rainy rides, which can be a little debilitating. Riding in the rain and wind and cold both strengthens and depletes. Letting go of the discomfort and just riding is sometimes the best thing to do, but that can be difficult. I’ve found Lamaze breathing helpful in the worst of these moments. But that’s me.

Jerry’s epiphany comes as a truck drives by, splashing him “full puddle,” and he realizes it doesn’t matter in the least. We’re already soaked and more water can’t possibly worsen things. I think this is around the same time I start entertaining myself by squeezing my toes around in my shoes, just for the squelchy feeling. Which is to say, before I lose my sense of humor.

We have rain the morning we start out from Woodbridge, VA, for Washington, D.C., but it stops by the time we actually ride into the city, which is great. I love coming across the bridge (not actually the bridge we’d been aiming for – another example of improv), and riding bike paths past so many extraordinary landmarks: the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the Washington Monument. At one point, I realize we are riding past Reagan International Airport, and it occurs to me that this was where we had our layover on the way to Key West, oh-so-many weeks ago. Feels like a year in some ways (and that’s not me being glum).

2014-03-28 14.16.50 HDR

The Washington Monument looked so much bigger in person, as these planes were landing at Reagan! Now just a hint of a shadow of a distant background structure.

The scariest thing to happen that day is the driver who runs a stop sign and basically drives straight at Jerry, who’s able to duck out of the way. At the next stop sign, the guy does a 180 and starts back again. Not, it will turn out, to harm us, but just to go the other way. Jerry, who has cycled up to where he is (“Danger, Will Robinson,” I’m thinking), shouts at the guy, “You just ran that stop sign and practically hit me back there!” The guy stops, rolls down his window, and apologizes. Well, first he starts to deny it, then apologizes, “if that’s really what I did.” Jerry thanks him and the guy drives away. Jerry and I ride along quietly for a few minutes. Then we talk about how it ended up being a positive interaction, more or less. I decide not to chastize Jerry for getting in the face of some big-city stranger who drives aggressively, possibly with violent tendencies. I likewise decide not to remind him that he is wearing a helmet and a shower cap, and does not look particularly scary, himself.


Posted in Biking, D.C., Travel | 2 Comments

Q & A, Part 2

A good friend wrote me a personal email with a whole batch of new questions. She said maybe I wouldn’t want to answer them publically, but as I have no shame, I’m going to address them here in any case. Here goes:

She began by suggesting that perhaps the romantic notion of chasing spring feels more like kicking winter’s ass.  There are days when this is true, but sometimes winter is kicking our ass. Less and less, though. Cold spring rains have hard kicks, too, incidentally.

She also said she was “glad to learn the Mean Value Theorem didn’t join the pack and cause harm or damage” in the dog post. I went back and read about the Mean Value Theorem, and was stumped as to how to answer. Hmmm. I will keep my eyes open for the dog that fits this concept.

Here are her other questions:

  • Is the sex better after 800 miles?

You’d need to try it for yourself!

  • What article of clothing can you not wait to throw away and never see again and never ever think about wearing again?

For Jerry: Brown wool socks
For Shelagh: All of Jerry’s clothes

  • How are your socks holding up?

Jerry’s brown wool socks are not doing well!!

  • What has become a luxury?

Crossing our legs when sitting in a booth at dinner time. Best moment of the day!!

  • Have you guys played the state license plate game yet?

No – good idea! Except that would require focus. Also, we’re too busy trying to come up with blog ideas.

  • I suppose punch-bug is out?

Out. Yes.

  • Do you sing while riding?

We both do.

  • If yes, what songs and can anyone else hear you?

Shelagh can hear Jerry. One recent selection: From Hair, Manchester, England. He blames this on his friend Rob Steinberg and his insidious act of earworm implanting.

Shelagh sings more loudly sometimes. One recent funny one was as I came around a corner, loudly singing Flaco Jimenez’s Siempre Quiero Estar Contigo (had it on the mp3 player – great song, always lifts my mood), and was caught unexpectedly by an Amish family outside doing yard work. Awkward. But I didn’t stop.

  • Have you shed any tears?

Jerry has not (unless he kept it from me…)
Shelagh, yes. At the end of the headwind/rain/dog day. BUT not until the hot shower had the adverse effect of giving my freezing cold skin a rash for the next hour.

  • Blisters?  Got any?

Nope. Knock on wood and all that.

  • Can one hair wash completely remove helmet-head or are there permanent (no pun intended) alterations to your hair style?

We both got big haircuts recently, so it’s easier now.

  • Have you written any poems?

I (Shelagh) tried one day, but couldn’t remember anything later. I have no brain after a day on the bike…

  • Have you smelled any roses?

Not since Savannah. However, I did discover a patch of the thorny bushes, with no blooms, in a recent emergency trip into the woods in North Carolina.

My friend closed her email by saying “Godspeed.” Which really surprised me. She used to live in Vermont, now she lives in Texas. And her signoff fit with a salutation thing we’ve picked up on. Southerners were all like “God bless!” and “Be safe!” whenever we started to bike away after speaking with them. We’ve passed through “Be careful!” territory and are now mostly in “Take care!” and “Have fun!” land. Interesting, to note this change. (By the way, any and all good wishes have been much appreciated.)


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Few Favorite Funny Moments

From the Actual Trip:

1. When we ate out in Florida with Jerry’s relatives and his cousin Richard asked what we wear when we’re not on the bikes, and we looked down and back up and said … “This!”

2. When our room at the Marriott in Fredericksburg was freezing and we kept amping up the heat and talking about calling maintenance, and Jerry at last figured out that the people before us must have opened a window and it had been open all night, when it dipped to the high 20s.

2. When the little boy ran into his yard to watch us bike past, then stood stalk still, mouth wide open, head cocked at an angle. As if we were aliens landing in his yard in a glossy red space ship.

3. When I asked the Ferry worker what the charge would be for two people and their bicycles and he said, “It’s free, unless you’re Catholic, in which case it’s a half hour of your life that you’ll never get back.”

From Before, But Recalled While Riding, To My Great Amusement:

1. When our friend Gary was riding his recumbant bicycle up a big hill, and a woman pulled up alongside him in her car – clearly thinking his bike had something to do with a disibility – and said, You have such courage!

2. When my South African friend Taryn gave me her take on the imposter who signed Obama’s speech at Nelson Mandela’s funeral: Secret service and various security agencies crawling everywhere, speaking into little microphones, watching the crowd for ANY sign of a problem, and the man – a convicted murderer! – stands THIS close (pokes me in the shoulder) to the President of the United States, inventing hand gestures!

3. When friend and fellow piano student of Carol Hewitt, Cindy Broadfoot, got up to play, clearly not having had time to write up the background of her piece’s composer to share with the group (something we’re expected to do before our informal recitals, but often don’t do – being busy adults with jobs and responsibilities), and said: My piece is by Beethoven. I couldn’t find anything on him.

Posted in Biking, Friends, Memories, Travel | Leave a comment