Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pennsylvania Visit Part 1

Morning daylight revealed blue gray clouds heavy with rain on the far horizon viewed from my great room's wall of windows. This Saturday morning Bill and I planned to visit Downingtown, PA, near our former home in East Brandywine Township. As much as we would like to visit our old home, we could not because the new owner and his family now occupy the house and grounds we so lovingly developed, nurtured and cared for from 1976 to November 17, 2006, the date we settled on the sale. We would ride past and longingly look up the lane which we had driven up so often. We will always miss our former home. Our trip to Pennsylvania was fourfold this morning. We make our obligatory Mother's Day visit to Mom. Also, a visit to Wegmans supermarket would be in order to stock up on some of my favorite items from that outstanding establishment. There is nothing like Wegmans in Slower Lower Delaware, which is very sad. The lack of a Wegmans is perhaps my biggest loss after moving to Sussex County, Delaware. This trip I had also planned to visit an old friend and his wife who recently remodeled their kitchen. We left early, around 8:45 AM. The trip to Pennsylvania takes approximately 2 ½ hours, depending on the traffic. Shortly after the wheels of my Subaru Forester turned on Route 1 north, a sprinkling of raindrops fell on my car windows, creating rivulets through the dust on the car window shield. Road spray muck on my car would definitely be a factor on this trip. I set my cruise control to 60 MPH, and headed north on Rt. 1. As we barreled north, Bill and I checked the gradually rising price of gas at the many gas stations that lined the highway. We pulled in at a Valero gas station and I filled up my half empty gas tank at $3.69 per gallon. The total bill for a half a tank of gas was $30.02. That fact will affect the number of trips to we make to Pennsylvania in the future. We arrived unannounced at my Mom’s place. My brother Isaac was in his workshop. He retired in April from R. V. Industries. Isaac and I sometimes have had a contentious relationship as brothers are wont to do, so I never know what kind of greeting, if any, I will receive from my younger brother. This morning he greeted my surprise visit with a relaxed smile. I could tell immediately that retirement is agreeing with him. Isaac is my brother and I know him as well as I know anyone. Like me, he gives his all at his workplace but, as the years have accumulated, his body has gotten older and he tires more easily. He appreciates his new found freedom, which is the wonderful gift of retirement. He was more relaxed since the last time I saw him. The strain has left his face. He told me with embarrassed pride how the plant, where he works, had closed down half a day to acknowledge and honor his retirement. He didn’t expect such a fuss to be made over his retirement. He was uncomfortable telling me about it but I could tell he how proud and grateful he was that all his years of hard work was acknowledged and appreciated. He ask me to go into the house and look at the flyer his company had made, that was on the refrigerator door, proclaiming his retirement. I was so proud of my brother. Like many of us, he has had a difficult life. He has endured job loss, a divorce, health problems and the loss of his good friends through death. He loves to work with wood in his workshop in peace and solitude. He has that now. I wish him many years of happiness in his retirement.

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