Posted tagged ‘Philadelphia’

“There are no such things as curses; only people and their decisions”

October 7, 2017

The sun predicted for today has yet to appear. It is cloudy and damp. I could feel the moisture in the air when Gracie and I went out to get the papers. It made me feel a bit chilly and I wished I had put on a sweatshirt. The house, though, with all the doors and windows closed is warm.

We’re going out today, Gracie and I, to the dump, the market and Agway. My trunk is filled with trash from Thursday’s great cabinet clean-out. Gracie needs canned food and a treat or two, and I need the essentials for life: bread, coffee and cream.

My friends are coming on Tuesday for a couple of days. These are the friends I traveled with to Ghana last year. We first met in 1969 at Peace Corps staging in Philadelphia at the Hotel Sylvania. Staging is the first time the whole group of trainees get together before leaving for in-country training, and it is where we got shots, had interviews and were introduced to PC staff from Ghana. Right away we became friends and co-conspirators. The three of us skipped some of the orientation to tour Philadelphia. It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing. They were supposed to be posted in Tamale, a city 100 miles from Bolga. That would have made us neighbors. Instead, after Peace Corps found out Peg was pregnant, they were posted to New Tafo, in the south. I visited them every time I went south, and we traveled together. Just before our second year, there was an open post at my school. They were willing to join me in Bolga, and the principal agreed to make the request to Peace Corps so we became neighbors living in a duplex on the school compound. Bill had a red motorcycle. I had a grey one. We used to take day trips around Bolga. He’d take Kevin, their son, and I’d take Peg. We had adventures. I remember a couple of picnics during school holidays, one by a watering hole and another in the hills of Tongo where school boys stood and watched us the whole time. It was there an old man threatened us with the gods because he claimed we had desecrated a sacred rock by putting our small charcoal burned on it. The schoolboys said he just wanted money. We decided to take our chances. As we were leaving, Bill’s motorcycle stopped dead. It just quit running. We sort of chuckle and hoped the old man didn’t see us. The motorcycle did start right away, but it gave us pause.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

August 25, 2012

It’s a beautiful day for anything but especially for flying. When I woke up, I changed the bed, took my shower and did a laundry. All that’s left is to feed the cats, change the litter and take Gracie with me to the dump. My bus to Logan leaves at 2:40.

The adventure begins.

I remember the first time I was leaving for Ghana. I was scared, excited and totally ignorant about Africa. Peace Corps had sent me a bus ticket to Philadelphia where we were meeting for staging, a lengthier process then the one day of staging now. My father said no bus so he bought me a plane ticket. Both my parents drove me that Sunday to Logan and walked me to the gate. We didn’t say much as we waited. Two + years loomed in front of us. After what seemed forever, it was time for boarding. My father told me I could come home if I didn’t like it. My mother clung to me, a two year until I see you again hug. I promised to call before I left Philadelphia then walked down the ramp to the plane. When I looked back, both of them were there. I waved then went around a small corner and boarded the plane.

Today it is only excitement while last year there was also apprehension. I didn’t know what to expect, but not this year: I have an itinerary, a driver, places to see, a student for company and friends waiting. Sounds like a perfect trip to me!

I just used the downstairs bathroom and found a dead mouse, compliments of Maddie. She had been chasing it the other night until Gracie got involved and the mouse escaped, but obviously that was short-lived.

Well, I’m done here. I’ll post some music and finish my final pre-trip chores. I’ll try and post after a day or two in Bolga as there is an internet cafe. I will miss talking to you every day!

Happy Birthday, America!

July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th! I hope your day is spent in pure leisure, in eating wonderful food and in enjoying friends and family. That’s going to be my day!

When I was young, I knew today was America’s birthday, but I didn’t know why today was the big day until I was a little older. It was then I learned about Philadelphia and the Declaration of Independence and the brave men who risked treason to sign and adopt it. Parades with their pageantry and fireworks with their colors and bursting designs seem the perfect way to celebrate our country’s birthday.  I’ll wear my red, white and blue proudly.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;

Those of mechanics – each one singing his, as it should be,
blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank and beam;
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work,
or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat –
the deckhand singing on the streamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench –
the hatter singing as he stands:
The wood-cutter’s song the ploughboy’s, on his way
The delicious singing of the mother – or of the young wife
at work – or of the girl sewing or washing – Each singing
what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day – At night, the party of
young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs

– Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass