Monday, July 22, 2013

travels in Pennsylvania

Just spent two weekends in Pennsylvania: with Joyce in Pocono Mountain, and with Jannah in Yardley. I wouldn't say I know Pennsylvania well - hard to know any state well without doing a lot of driving - but I like Pennsylvania and have some good friends there.

Joyce's house is more rural and Jannah's more suburban, but it's all very different from my little castle in Brooklyn. Lots of talk about cars and boats and homes: costs and methods of repair and maintenance, comparisons, troubles, comparisons, and so on. Pool patches. Gardens. Guns. It's all very foreign to me, and some of it is very interesting, some...less so. But it's interesting to see how much less important my city-girl concerns are to non-urban folks.

It happened that there was a birthday party for John A. - his 60th - when I was at Jannah's, so we went to the party. I do love going to parties out around there (John is in Bordentown, NJ), except for some excessive drunkenness...and then it depends on who the drunk parties are. John was pretty rocked by the end of the evening, but he was very sweet and sentimental. Then there was another guy who was just plain obnoxious and was passed out by the time I left. (Needless to say, the latter was the only only guy at the party who flirted with me.) Some folks I knew and some I didn't. Linda made piles of food. John and his posse played some old-timey/bluegrass stuff, calling themselves "The Clam Daddy All-Stars," and even slightly out of tune, it was a good time. Before the weekend, I had a vague fear that V. might turn up, but I don't see John inviting him for a social occasion at this point. (One of the first times I V's incredible self-centeredness was when he was invited to John's wedding. V's response: "Why should I go?" Not a clue about being there for a friend. Of course, when he learned he'd have a chance to play, he decided to go.)

Jannah's life is insanely busy, like being inside a blender. She commits herself to a lot of stuff and then runs around like crazy. For instance, she joined a boat club so he could dock her boat (they actually call it a "yacht club," but the boats are not at all what you'd think of as a yacht). Next thing you know, she's an officer of the club and knows every single person there and is organizing all kinds of events. I accompanied her to a "short" meeting she was running there, which lasted three hours. Most of her boat pals are heavy-drinking white non-Jewish blue-collar men. Not really my crowd, though I met a few nice folks.

Things around Joyce are a lot more quiet. We went to see "Raymond, the Amish Comic" near Jim Thorpe, PA (we thought he'd be laughably bad, but he was actually pretty good). We walked around Jim Thorpe before the show, which is a quaint, touristy little town, not unlike New Hope. But the buildings were more impressive. It was certainly more relaxes in the Poconos than whizzing around between Yardley, West Trenton (where Jannah's boyfriend lives), Bordentown, and wherever the yacht club and the marina are (it's called the Bristol Yacht Club but I think the town is called Easterly).

I'm kind of all over the place here, but just wanted to post something...the bottom line, I suppose, is that it's good to get away, good to be with friends, and good to be with close women friends. Joyce and I have gotten pretty thick after years of not seeing each other - and when we did see each other, she was primarily my uncle's wife and not my pal. But we always liked each other, and in fact I absolutely worshiped her: she was so attractive, talented, funny, adventurous. Still is. And I still worship her a bit. And am so enjoying the way we slipped into a very warm friendship.

All of my women friends have been having bizarre relationship problems and arrangements (except for L., who doesn't have a boyfriend or boyfriends or girlfriends or husband or some combination thereof). Joyce's seems to be the simplest - which doesn't mean it's easy. But I can understand it. With some of my friends, I simply have to step back and just watch to see what happens.

A little plug: John's daughter Ashley and her fiance Joe have a charming blog called Our Bklyn. I feel like my blog has a lot of potholes in it, but their Brooklyn blog hits all the right notes.

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