Weekend Update

First off, to give you an indication of my mood this morning, I’ve got my pint of Turkey Hill Blueberry Oolong tea next to me. So you know I’m happy.

Yes, folks, I spent the weekend in PA with my relatives, mostly Pop-Pop (Mom’s Dad). Not that I wouldn’t have visited anyway, but he wrote “I miss you!” in my birthday card. The man knows how to work it.

The weekend was full of good things, so I’ll try to sum up:

1. In the car on the way north, I pulled out a very old tape of my brother’s, and found parts of a Dr. Demento radio program on the b-side. Anybody remember “The Elements”? (“These are all the ones of which the news has come to Hah-vahd…there are likely many more but then they haven’t been discah-vahd.”) What about “The Monster Mash”? (“It was a graveyard smash!”) I laughed my booty off.

2. I asked Pop-Pop if he wanted an email account. He said he was surprised that no one had yet insisted that he get one (yeah, we do the martyr thing well). “I insist”, I said. So we spent many hours on Internet 101, and I set him up with a hotmail account. He’s really excited about the whole thing, just a little frustrated because it’s hard for him to use the mouse as yet. Heck, at 84 it’s to be expected that the fingers are a little slow. But he’s got one of the most technologically inclined brains in the family, and by yesterday afternoon he was clickin’ away like a pro.

3. I also taught him how to use a credit card at a gas pump. We’ll get the hang of this new technology yet.

4. Saturday afternoon, Pop-Pop, Aunt Marie, my cousin Catherine and I went to the Wilber Chocolate Candy Americana Museum in nearby Lititz. Whoa nelly. The last time I visited the museum I was 8, and it seemed like Willy Wonka’s factory. On Saturday, the association hit home again as soon as I stepped out of the car door — you could nearly eat the air. Ooh, the smell of melting chocolate. The museum, which is free, has displays of everything from how cacao beans become chocolate to the old-fashioned candy-making machines to the different products made through the years.

And then there’s the gift store.

The less said about that, the better. :p

5. On Saturday night, Pop-Pop, Aunt Marie, Catherine, her boyfriend Jeremy, Jackie and I had a big ol’ family dinner and watched movies. Dinner was yummy — spaghetti with Great-Aunt Nancy’s sauce recipe, bread with roasted garlic, huge salads, 4 kinds of pie (I’m really not kidding) and Dove bars. We watched “Roman Holiday” and “Chocolat”. A great night.

6. Pop-Pop took me to his Sunday School class the next morning. It was like stepping back in time — the class has been meeting for nearly 65 years, and they conduct their classes exactly the same way they always have. Everyone took turns reading out of the lesson guide, and the occasional quiet comment was made. It was apparent that they all knew the subject matter so well that discussion was nearly unnecessary. I’m glad I went — I got to see an important side of Pop-Pop’s life — and plus, sitting next to your grandfather in class and snickering with him when an inside joke comes up is not to be missed.

7. Sunday afternoon, a group of us visited the Wolfe Museum in Lancaster (I’m still searching for an Internet reference — I’ll post one if I find one). The house of an early 20th-century music teacher and his wife, the building is in astonishingly good shape, and — get this — still fully furnished with the original furniture. When Mrs. Wolfe died in the 1970’s, she apparently willed the house to the city to be used as a sort of tea room for “genteel people”, but it’s now used as a small concert space and museum. Yes, concert space…Dr. Wolfe’s 2 grand pianos are still in the downstairs studio. Besides the wealth of antiques (and in many cases I do mean wealth), the house had a personal draw for my family, since both my Great-Great-Aunt Mary and Great-Aunt Nancy took piano lessons from Dr. Wolfe, and we found a picture of Aunt Mary in the upstairs archives. Our tour guide was a good friend of Aunt Marie’s, so we got to see behind the scenes.

8. And then dinner, and then home, and so to bed. In retrospect, a very busy weekend, but I had so much fun — even though the farmers in Lancaster County are in full fertilizing mode. The air there normally smells a little of cow, but at this time of year it smells much of cow. Much. But hey, it’s part of the agrarian appeal.

So now you’re caught up. Off to work — have a great day, everyone!