Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again




What a day! I'm at my Mom's in Pennsylvania now. I just returned from my 50th Class Reunion Committee meeting. That went well. It was good to see old classmates and finalize the preparations for our 50th class reunion this October 17th. I will be preparing the invitation and booklet for the class reunion.


The trip to Pennsylvania was agonizing. I experienced several traffic delays, the main ones being in Newark, Delaware, as I rounded the University of Delaware. No explanation other than a sign saying "Road Work" and a long line of cars and trucks at an absolute stop for about half an hour. Then, finally when that broke up I was caught in a Slow Boat to China Parade behind a contraption that sprayed the yellow dividing lines on the road. We were behind that spraying behemoth until the Pennsylvania border. Oh joy.


When I arrived near my Mom's, I noticed that the time was only 11:30 am. That meant "The Price is Right" was still on and my Mother does not like to be interrupted when she is watching this staple show of old folk. Then I made a big mistake. I went over to my previous property and took a ride up the lane. Sure, I took a chance of seeing the new owners, or of them seeing me but I was curious as to what the property looked like now. As I said, Big Mistake. As I drove up the long 500 yard winding lane (which he had custom constructed - Bill led the bulldozer up the road over 25 years ago clearing out the tree and underbrush.) I noted that all my carefully planted ground cover on the side of the lane was overgrown. I don't think it's been touched since we moved out November 17th, 2006. Then I got to the house. Both garage doors were wide open. Several vehicles were in the driveway and parking lot. Everything was overgrown. None of the hedges had ever been trimmed. Broken branches were all over the lane. When we lived there, that lane was always clear. All the plantings were weed free. All the hedges were trimmed. I didn't dare venture to see the status of my three ponds. I felt guilty when I left three years ago about leaving my pet gold fish in those ponds. Somehow I knew they would be neglected and die. I have no doubt those ponds are stinking, mosquito breeding swamps now. I don't even want to know or think about it.


I left quickly before one of the owners of the cars came out and discovered me. As I was going down Crawford Road I noticed one of my old neighbors trimming his hedge. I took a chance and drove up his driveway. We had a joyous reunion. He brought me up on all the news. It seems that the couple who bought our property split up over a year ago. The husband left and only his wife and two daughters lived on the property. That would explain the decrepit nature of the landscaping. I knew he wasn't a gardener or outdoors man but this property looked like the Grey Gardens. It was overrun with weeds and new tree saplings. My former neighbor told me the husband just returned last week because he heard his Porsche drive up the driveway. I think that was one of the cars parked out side my previous house. It's funny, but even though I sold that house almost three years ago, I will always consider it mine. I have plans to buy it back when I win the lottery, which I am way overdue.

After visiting with my former neighbors, I left for my Mom's which was just one road over. My brother met me. I was hungry and I asked him for a good place to eat. He suggested "Happy Days" which was a chrome plated diner in Thorndale reminiscent of the Fifties. Great choice! Wonderful Fifties ambiance, good food, good service and reasonable prices. Why aren't there restaurants like this where I live in Delaware? I love where I live but it is definitely lacking in unique themed restaurants like "Happy Days." My brother and I had a wonderful meal. I had a Chicken Caesar Wrap and he had a Philly Cheesesteak. Great artery cloggers.

We discussed the situation about our Mom. We both agreed it isn't getting any better. I am so thankful to have him for a brother. He is so patient with our Mom who is becoming more and more difficult. In fact, when I visited her I had to have sharp words with her (which I hate doing) to tell her to stop with the Obama/Pelosi/Democrat bashing. Unfortunately my Mom is one of those wing nuts who think Bush could do no wrong and the Democrats are out to send this country to hell in a hand basket. Nothing I say can convince her otherwise. She was getting herself all worked up (as she and most of the other wingnuts do after listening to the drivel on Fox News and the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) until I had to remind her that I came up to visit HER and not discuss politics. After a few tries I finally got through to her and she agreed that it wasn't fair to throw all that right wing propaganda at me. She is like those so called protesters at the town hall meetings. They're not interested in discussions, only shouting down anyone who opposes their rigid set view of the world. They want "their country back" whatever that means. I suspect it means they're upset that a black family is living in the White House and gays like me are treated as equal citizens. They cannot accept that the extreme right wing of the Republican Party lost the election and that this is a democracy ruled by majority rule. The Bush crazies had their eight years, now it's our turn. We certainly can't do worse than the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld triumvirate. But then there is no discussing this fact with these kind of people so I had to close the discussion down.


I took the time to visit my old garden in the back of my Mother's property. That acre of land used to be my father's garden but when he died in August of 2000, she said I could use it to plant my flowers and other plantings. Since I've moved in 2006, the area has become very overgrown. That's not all bad because the butterfly plants are about fifteen feet high covered in butterflies. It was so peaceful visiting that area. If I wasn't at my Mother's computer as I am now, I would upload a photo of the garden and the giant butterfly plants. Instead I will have to substitute a generic picture that I find on the Internet until I return home and can upload my pictures.


Later this evening I met my friends Carole and Sheila for a delightful dinner at the Brickside Grill. Again, one of my very favorite restaurants in Pennsylvania. Only they know how to make a perfect Chicken Quesadillo. I've tried them other places, including a very expensive one in Rehoboth Beach at the Purple Parrot (a cheesy mess) and none compare with the delicate, just right flavor of the Brickside Grill's pumpkin seed filled quesadillo served with fresh salsa (another commodity that I cannot find in the Rehoboth/Lewes/Milton area of Delaware where I live.)


After dinner I sat on a bench outside the Brickside Grill and Sheila and I caught up on old times. There was a concert in progress outside with many people milling about. This is another example of where Pennsylvania has it all over Lower Slower (the southern area of Delaware where I live.) There were a lot of people and cars at this event but there was no traffic gridlock, no frustrated drivers who could not find parking places, and no parking meters. It was all free. Now if Pennsylvania could only do something about their confiscatory taxes. That is where Delaware has it all over Pennsylvania and the main reason I moved from Pennsylvania.


Our reunion committee meeting was schedule for 7:30 at a classmate's house not far from where I'm staying at my Mom's. I arrived a few minutes past the meeting time and told them they could all begin the meeting. Some some the humor, some did not. No matter. At my age I take little or no offense. We had a good meeting and refreshments were served after the meeting. I asked the hostess (the wife of one of our classmates) to take a group picture of us oldsters who will be celebrating our 50th class reunion. God are we old. We look it too. Well, some of do anyway.


Now I'm home, preparing to try to go to sleep with Fox News blaring on my brother's TV downstairs in the basement. He uses this drivel as wallpaper to put him to sleep. It sure doesn't put me to sleep. How can Sean Hannity spewing his nonsense put anyone to sleep? I put a fan in my room. It won't drown out his Obama/Pelosi bashing but hopefully I will be able to drop off from sheer exhaustion from this long, long day in Pennsylvania.


With everything that went on today (I didn't get my nap either), what has me the most upset is seeing the condition of my former home. I've been told by more than one person that you should never go back to your former home because it will only disappoint and sadden you. Well, they were right. I found out that you truly cannot go home again. I may be here, but it isn't home anymore. My home is in southern Delaware and I love living there even though most of the restaurants suck.


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