6:10 AM, RDU Airport, Gate A23
I'm traveling to Pennsylvania for a long weekend to attend the wedding of an old Penn State Blue Band Drumline buddy, Buick, AKA Matt Kozsuch. He's marrying Christine Barbush, whom I've never met, this evening in Mechanicsburg, PA, a suburb of Harrisburg. I've been waiting for this for a long time. Buick was one of three friends from the Blue Band who attended my wedding in Georgia way back in 1995, the others being Truck and Jerry. Jerry got married in stealth some years ago, and Truck is getting married in August in Cambridge, Massachusettes. Look for that blog entry in about two months. I'm happy to finally be able to return the favor. I'm going solo, as the other Traveling Roths will be in PA (and/or Vermont) for all of July, so there was no need for them to run up and back just for the weekend. Plus they're at the beach right now anyway, so it's not like they're not having fun, and traveling, too.
I just got a Canon SD450 digital camera, mainly because it's very small and totally portable, and also so that Jennifer and I will both have cameras with us when we're in different places. So far, I totally dig it. It's super convenient to just whip it out and fire off a couple of shots, plus it fits in my pocket. I still love my Minolta Dimage 7Hi, but that's significantly bigger, and less convenient. All the pictures in this blog post will have been taken by the Canon.
The flight usually takes about an hour, and the weather looks perfect. Mom and/or Dad will be picking me up at PHL, and I'm debating if it's too early in the morning to stop by South Philly for a Cheese Steak. I'm not sure I'll get back to the city on this trip, so this may be my only shot at it. We'll see. The plane appears to have been here all night. I don't know the tail number, nor what type of aircraft it is, but I'll enter that later, because that's the kind of geeky thing I do. I may even record the flight time, as well as the maximum cabin altitude (simulated altitude of the aircraft cabin based on the interior air pressure).
I need to wrap their gift (an Oxo Salad Spinner) that I shipped up to the folks' house a few days ago, write in their card, and iron out my dress-up clothes that are currently rolled up in the backpack on the seat next to me.
Other than that, I don't have an agenda for the day.
The airplane was a 737-300. We took off at 7:16, reached a cabin altitude of 4900', flew for 1 hour 3 minutes, and landed at 8:20. It was unremarkable, and that's just fine.
Mom and Dad picked me up, and we drove back to their house. 8:30 AM was not the right time for a cheese steak, although Pat's King of Steaks is open 24 hours, so I know they're always ready when I am.
The folks told me about a Whole Foods-type market over in Kimberton, plus they'd read about a new Gelateria over there, so we decided to check them both out.
On the way we stopped at Mom and Dad's graves.This was, perhaps, a little creepy. Mom and Dad bought their headstone a few months ago, and although it's not finished nor installed, the cement peer block (or whatever it's called) that will sit under the stone is in. It had "ROTH" scratched into it while it was still wet.
Continuing on to Kimberton. The market was pretty cool, and had a lot of the same kind of crunchy granola stuff that you'd see at a Whole Foods/Wellspring/Fresh Market/Weaver Street Market kind of place. Plenty of organic this and hemp that and witch doctor herbs and supplements. We did get some good looking produce though.
The Gelateria was just up the street, so we walked. The guy who owns it, Fabrizzio, was born in Italy, but grew up here in the states. He's probably roughly my age or a little younger, and his store was just like what you'd find in Italy. On the patio side, there was a wide sliding window that you could open and look in on all the flavors. He had about 16 gelato flavors, as well as sorbetto, granitas, and Italian pastries. He had a fast hand with the samples, and it was damn hard to choose. He had many of my favorites, like pistachio, nocciola (hazlenut) limoncello, stracciatella, etc. If you've never been to Italy, here's how you plan your budget: 25% on lodging, 25% on food, 25% on transportation, and 25% on gelato. This gelato was right on the mark. I went with a large, splitting it between pistachio and stracciatella.
He asked if I'd like a little fresh crema on top, and I responded with a hearty per favore. Dad and Mom got pretty into it too.
I hope Fabrizzio can make a go of it. The location isn't great, but the product and customer service are top notch. I'm looking forward to bringing the other Traveling Roths back here on our next trip up.
Later in the day, I made the drive out to the Harrisburg West exit of the sorry Pennsylvania Turnpike, and found St. Joe's Catholic Church in Mechanicsburg without any difficulty. As soon as I got out of the car, I started recognizing people whose names I never knew, and whose nicknames I couldn't remember.
Buick was in a fraternity back in our college days, and even though I was not, the frat house was a couple blocks up the street from my house, and a lot of the guys in it were Blue Band Drumline guys, so I knew pretty much everyone there, and got to hang out there a lot. Everyone had a nickname, and usually, that was the only name I ever knew them by.
One of the Groomsmen was Gopher, a roomate of Buick's and an awesome bass player. Another was Jabba, I guy who used to give me excellent haircuts for $5 plus a beer or two tip. Yet another was Murtaugh, a guy who was just entering shool as I was leaving. And here I was anxious that I wouldn't know anyone.
The wedding was pretty straightforward. It was in a Catholic church, or cathedral or whatever you call it, and it moved along quite nicely, as there was no communion. I don't believe Buick is Catholic, so that may have played a factor.
The reception was at a country club in Camp Hill, mabye 15 minutes away. This place was really nice. I signed the guestbook and was photographed, and headed in to the big room. There were a couple of open bars, complete with wine, good beer, and all the mixed drinks you could imagine. Also ready to go were the appetizer tables. There were cheese trays, complete with fresh figs, dried fruit and cool cheeses, bruschetta, sushi "wraps", and tuna salad lettuce boats. I filled a plate and found a seat at a nearby table, when my friend Zippy (Matt Homsher) came over and sat down. Zippy was also in the drumline. He's now an attorney and has three kids. I haven't seen him in probably a dozen years or so, but we picked up where we left off like no time had passed. It was cool. Joining us at the table were a bunch of other frat guys, like Little John, Gunner, Slider, Sleepy, Goombah. They looked amazingly like their early 1990's selves, and we had a great time.
Dinner was excellent. Pasta, prime rib, fruit salad (yummy yummy) and more, and plenty of desserts. There was dancing and toasting and champagne, and cake cutting. The works. Finally Buick and Christine got around to us, and I finally got to meet her. No surprise here, but she seemed really cool. They were having a great time, and were very appreciative of our presence. They're headed to Spain for 10 days for their honeymoon.
I left there a little before midnight, and thanks to Pennsylvania's inability to mark roads, spent half an hour finding my way back to the sorry Pennsylvania Turnpike. Arriving back at the folks' close to 2 am. What a long day, and a great night.
The Rest of the Weekend
Saturday we had lunch with Grandmother Roth at her retirement community. My brothers and I have been busting on the food there for many years, and with good cause. I'm sure the food is perfectly safe, and very adequate for the nice old people that live there. Here's my lunch; Turkey Divan.It was a slice of lunchmeat turkey wrapped around a chunk of gray-greenish brocooli, topped with cheese, and baked, and baked, and baked, in the oven. Accompanying the Turkey Divan was some cauliflower, cooked in some manner. The iced tea had some very odd side taste that I couldn't put my finger on. Overall, it was food. On the way home we bought some groceries at Clemmons. Dinner was hot dogs on the grill. Later on, Uncle Dave and Aunt Phyllis (Prizer) came over to visit. After that, Mom, Dad, and I watched "At the End of the Spear" or something like that.
Sunday, we attended Coventryville United Methodist Church, where for the first time in their 232 year history, they're going to be installing air conditioning. Believe it or not, some in the church opposed this. The A/C wasn't in yet, so Sunday school and church were pretty uncomfortable, as they have been for many summers since 1774.
Sunday was also Fathers Day (tm). As my gift to Dad, I made some insalata caprese, and cooked some Omaha Steaks with carmelized onions and mushrooms. It all turned out very medium-rare. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.
Monday I got up at 3:30 am, and we all left for the airport at 4:00, arriving a little after 5:00. US Airways flight 3939 was scheduled to leave from Gate F25 at 6:32. It was oversold, so I had the opportunity to "volunteer" to get bumped. I didn't jump at the chance since I had to be at work that day. The plane, a Canadair CL-65 was small and packed. I was in the last row. We pushed back from the gate late, since we had to wait on a fuel truck. After taxiing from the gate, we parked and sat their with the engines running at half-throttle for about 20 minutes becuase the plane had been loaded with too much fuel, and was therefore too heavy to land (yes, a plane has differing take-off and landing weight restrictions). So we had to burn off the extra weight.
We took off about an hour late, at 7:26, flying for 52 minutes at a cabin altitude of 3950 feet and landing at 8:18. The rest of the normal day was otherwise uneventful, but I can't remember having been this tired in a long, long time. Maybe travel takes a lot out of you.
| Top ↑ |