Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yesterday's trip to the hospital was unsatisfactory and not merely because there was an emergency drill in progress and my scan was delayed by more than a half hour. Dr. Dowling called today with the results and said that my kidneys are not working up to par; at least one needs a stent which it had for a while after my operation. As you will recall, this involves going in through the back and zipping around inside till the stent can overcome the blockage of the left kidney. Of course, one could ignore the whole thing and let the kidney die off. I don't suppose we will do that, but I am not looking forward to yet another procedure . . . Hard to believe there are still people in midtown Harrisburg without power. Persons living in the 200 block of Herr and along Penn in that area still haven't any juice . . . From what I can learn on the Internet, a company called Hersha invests in hotels and is otherwise involved in the hospitality business. It has a big office building on Front Street at Muench and by some means managed to get the 100 block renamed Hersha Drive complete with a city street sign. I wonder how they accomplished that. Maybe I could get the 700 block of Green renamed Bare Wall Boulevard. Anything for a little free publicity . . . Both JJ and Cecilia are attending new schools this fall. Their parents were deeply concerned as to how the kids would cope, but apparently there was no problem. According to reports, JJ simply marched into the new room and more or less took over. The kids did agree to sit still long enough for a back-to-school snapshot . . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I was totally zonked today after my morning procedure at the hospital and I didn't accomplish anything for the rest of the day. Much of the exhaustion was caused by anxiety since I had had this same procedure about five weeks ago and had promptly passed out on my return to the house. The scan dehydrates the body, apparently, and you are left light-headed for hours no matter how much you drink . . . I was taken aback by a "Letter to the Editor" in today's Pat-News which alleges that it is the Democrats who have all the money and that is why the rich are not being taxed. Don't know who that lame-brain was, but if the Democrats were holding the money sacks the Tea Party people would eagerly tax them of every penny . . . Had a delightful time with some ladies who visited the store. When I asked them where they were from they told me it was a place I had never heard of. The first was from Marklesburg which is just a few miles outside of Huntingdon where I went to college; another one was from Riddlesburg, where I went to school when in the sixth grade. Small world with lots of laughs . . . Guy Kehler wants us to know that
the annual St. Michael's rummage sale on State Street will be held Saturday, September 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Baked goods will also be available and a group from the church will also participate in the Chili Cookoff. This is a one-day-only event this year, so plan to come early for the bargains. Of course, you will be wrestling me for the jigsaw puzzles . . .

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy to report that there was no apparent damage to the porch roof when the tree fell. Debris was hauled away today . . . A high-flying blimp passed over Harrisburg this afternoon about five thirty; it must have been on a long distance mission since it was much too high to be advertising to the masses below . . . Several schools started today. An electrical outage in Camp Hill delayed JJ's first kindergarten experience, but it was amusing to watch as Jason and Jane sent Sabrina and Felix out into the world again. Sabrina will be in kindergarten, and the proud parents spent about ten minutes snapping pictures of their neatly dressed kids in their new backpacks . . . TheBurg for September arrived today; your copy awaits. Be sure to check out our ad . . .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

At seven o'clock this morning we were temporarily trapped inside the house when our neighbor's tree came crashing down across our porch roof and sidewalk, burying two cars in the process. Bob “pruned” us a path to the curb and I stood by to be sure we got our morning paper; what is Sunday without the crossword puzzle? . . . Decided to return to bed but a short while later a city crew showed up with power saws to free the cars and open the street; they were not permitted to do any trimming beyond the gutter and besides, they had a lot of trimming to do. Our area was really hard hit. The cars, incidentally, were unscathed . . . Brian Wall, driving by, stopped to offer his assistance should it be needed. Once again I decided on a nap, but the blanket was no sooner under my chin than Bill Fritz of Classic Groundskeeping arrived with his chain saw to free the rest of the house; the debris will be carted away tomorrow . . . I went for a walk to survey the area but soon decided that that was not a good idea. Wires and small limbs were coming down everywhere . . . JJ's Jungle House in Mt. Gretna was knocked off its foundation when an adjacent tree was uprooted . . . We drove to Camp Hill late this afternoon but the traffic lights on Market Street were not yet functioning . . . Jon Carfagno and Larry Kirkhuff got back from their Arizona vacation late last night, just in time for the hurricane. As I suspected, that was Jon and Larry and traveling companions in the balloon we showed a few days ago . . . Friday night between midnight and six a.m. someone deliberately broke a window at Green and Briggs Street. The sash was double-paned so no entry was gained if that was the intention . . .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene has captured everyone's attention. I cannot access the New York City webcam I told you about earlier because it is overrun with others also trying to see what the weather is like in lower Manhattan . . . Saw several gold finches in that bed of dying cone flowers at North Second and Peffer Street tonight . . . Have often wondered who pays for all those Air Force fly-overs at parades and sporting events. If we are in a recession and desperate for funds this seems to be a luxury we cannot afford. Maybe NASCAR pays for this at their races, no? . . .The horse statue stands a foot high and sells for $57.50. I tried to be arty with the photo but I just made things worse. Much of the black you see is actually shadows thrown by the evergreen. This is a lovely piece, however . . .

Friday, August 26, 2011


Spent much of the day unpacking lots of new merchandise. Hope to share all these items with you in the coming days. Energy definitely at a low ebb this evening, but there is one of my favorite films, “Good News,” on TCM tonight if Bob cannot find something else to entertain us. Great music: The Varsity Drag, The French Lesson, Lucky in Love, Pass That Peace Pipe . . . Don't know if Gallery Blu on North Third Street is closed permanently or simply on summer hiatus. If anyone knows, please e-mail me and I will share the news . . . Hurricane Irene headed northward but latest reports say we have very little to worry about. Hope that is true . . . Neighbors vacationing in Arizona e-mailed this picture to me today. “Guess who is in this balloon” was the entire message. Once I confirm I will let you know who . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2011


A fire today in a men's rooming house on the 900 block of North Third Street next to the Subway Restaurant displaced all who were living there. There have been reports that this was an arson event. I saw a half-burned mattress on the sidewalk while taking this picture. If you click to enlarge the photo you will see a workman on the third floor sealing the windows . . . Comments on PennLive.com now suggest that the “closing” announcement for Garrason's Tavern might have been a publicity stunt aimed at generating some free publicity. If so, I think it was a crazy idea since blogs like mine and people on FaceBook have already announced the venue's demise. Not really the kind of publicity a going concern would want, in my opinion . . . We received a nice shipment of statuary this afternoon and I will be photographing it to share with you over the next several days . . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For our out-of-town readers: it has been reported that Garrason's Tavern on Forster Street will close permanently after tonight . . . Wish people would remind me not to take morning walks on garbage pick-up days . . . Verizon is providing white pages residential telephone listings on the Internet but you will not receive a printed book as in the past without requesting one. I did so today since we do not have a computer terminal at our checkout counter. If you want one call 1-800-888-8448; delivery time is three weeks. You will not get an operator; rather you get one of those sweet recorded voices that want to clarify and confirm everything you say . . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

EARTHQUAKE!!! About 1:50 this afternoon I stretched out on the bed to recharge my batteries after working fairly diligently in the store this morning. I had no sooner found a comfortable position than the bed began to shake; the tremor became a jolt and lasted for perhaps thirty seconds. Some things upstairs were rattling like crazy and then there was a loud thud down in the store itself. I thought something huge toppled, but we never found the cause of that noise. Bob was outside on the stoop and felt very little movement but the arborvitae in front of the building did a weird dance. Then neighbor Jaime ran out of her house to confirm the fact that we all had experienced the event. A little later Ernie Kepner stopped by for whatever update we could provide; his chandeliers had more than swayed, he said, and the prisms tinkled. Bottom line: we could find no immediate damage to building or contents . . . Persons in cars or outside generally did not sense anything. But those inside a structure definitely knew that something was happening . . . Rozman Brothers delivered the dryer this morning. The old one was twenty-five, at least, so it was time for replacement. However, a big question looms over us: did we really need a new one just at this moment. When the new machine was plugged in it didn't work, and it was apparent that it hadn't been the old dryer but rather the circuit breaker that may have been the problem. Well, now we are awaiting the electrician . . . Both Tom Leonard and Judy Robinson e-mailed the answer to our trivia question. Both knew that “it started in Scranton” was part of the lyric to “The Pennsylvania Polka.” Tom also accepted our best wishes for a Happy Birthday since he had celebrated his August 7 . . .

Monday, August 22, 2011

I guess I committed a faux pas of sorts last night when I mentioned only the big box stores in connection with Bob's search for a new dryer. Received two e-mails (thanks Kathy and Lindsay) recommending Rozman Brothers (“On the Harrisburg/Steelton line.”). Always patronize the little local guys first, I was told, and I couldn't agree more. Rozman's will be delivering our new machine tomorrow morning (and the price was right) . . . Was delighted to find a mysterious package on my stoop yesterday. The bag contained two big hunks of watermelon courtesy of Dean Touloumes. This has been my year for watermelon; usually a dish for breakfast and a treat just before bed . . . I recall running across a note to myself several weeks ago concerning an August birthday. I cannot find it now, but I somehow thought it might have been Judy Robinson. I contacted her, and while she appreciated my interest, she had to confess that her birth date is in April. So, out there, if your birthday is in August and you have not yet been mentioned in the blog, please accept our very best wishes . . . As I sit on the porch both morning and evening it seems that every person passing by is smoking a cigarette. I am almost through my seventh month of doing without and suddenly I am feeling deprived . . . Here is the big trivia question that we plagued people with at the store today: What “started in Scranton; it's now Number One” ? . . . Answer tomorrow . . .

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bob missed church this morning. Our household was thrown into a tizzy when the dryer died still filled with wet clothes. Bob fished them out and drove off to a public laundromat to salvage what he could. Monday he will be in the market for a new one. Warning to delivery men at Loew's, Sears, Home Depot and the rest: in the Deibler home the machines have to be carted to the third floor. You might want to call in sick if you see a dryer destined for his house . . . Uptown homes including ours are experiencing an unexplained invasion of flies. The critters are a nuisance but somewhat lethargic; they are rather easy to swat . . . There was another shooting on Restaurant Row last night, this one inside the Club Egypt. Two people were rushed to the hospital. Honestly, any more I shudder when friends say they are going downtown to eat or drink . . . Since I am feeling better we are going to resume advertising in TheBurg with the September issue . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Entertained a very charming couple from St. Louis this morning who found us on that TripAdvisor site. They were visiting Central Pennsylvania with a dual purpose—to see the Gettysburg Battlefield and to visit the Hershey chocolate factory. Both missions accomplished . . . Those of you who use the convenience store at North Second and Maclay for an emergency loaf of bread, quart of milk or gallon of gas should be advised the place is now empty and closed. The building will be torn down and replaced by a bigger facility . . . I tried to walk a measured mile this morning, and if I succeeded I can say that it takes me 2030 steps to complete it . . . We received JJ's soccer schedule for the fall season; I hope he likes it better than he did two years ago when he hated the whole experience. 'Twill be interesting to see how this pans out. Either way you are sure to be treated to a picture of him in his uniform . . . Bob sometimes thinks that his investment in a computer was a mistake since he doesn't receive as many e-mails at home as he anticipated. Most still contact him at the store. So if you have a moment this weekend, please send him a "hello." His is the bottom e-mail contact on the left. Thanks . . .

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bob is getting a little tired of my claim that I walk about a mile each morning, so he dug out an old pedometer and sees that I have it on before leaving the house. The device counts the number of steps that I take (though neither of us knows just how many steps there are in a mile). Yesterday's "step count" was 2150; tonight I logged 1963 and might have gone higher but my route took me past Alvaro's which happened to be open so I stopped for a loaf of Italian bread and then hightailed it home so I could slather on the butter. Yummy . . . As I mentioned before this blog attracts a daily readership of seventy to eighty people. I am grateful for the audience and the number has not been ignored by Google. Received a message from them that said, in part, that since I have such a loyal following they certainly would be happy to decorate my page with some advertising. I don't plan to agree to that . . . Lost over twenty pounds during the surgery process but am happy to report that I have regained about half of that . . . A nice visit with Gary O'Leary this afternoon . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Oh, no. All the running back and forth to the hospital last month certainly disrupted my schedule, so much so that I forgot to pay the state sales tax when it became due. So today I got a (deserved) dunning letter saying they wanted their money immediately. Don't know what the governor's plans are for my couple of coins, but I will see that he gets them pronto (and with interest, of course) . . . The compartmentalized music box for storing jewelry is making a comeback this year so we will have several in stock to show you for the holiday season. A bit pricey, fellows, but she is worth it . . . This triplex building at the corner of Harris and North Second Street has fascinated me for some time now. Perhaps it has seen better days, but being the romantic that I am I find those balconies, turrets and windows of all sizes quite fascinating. I assume these are apartments now, but one wonders about the families who may have lived there initially. According to Ken Frew's book on Harrisburg architecture they were built in the late 1890s and were not particularly well received at the time . . .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A welcome visit from David Kauffman today; I hadn't seen him for several months . . . Can only assume that The Brass Monkey, the tattoo parlor on North Street, is moving. A large sign in the window says the space is available for lease. Trying to get more info . . . Continued my cleaning and restructuring in the store today. The place is beginning to look like its old self again; wish I could say the same about me . . . Looking forward to Sabrina and Felix's return home; they spent the day at the national zoo in Washington, D.C. Felix was looking forward to seeing the elephants . . . Megan Zeigler visited us at the house this evening, in much better health. She was working in the yard of her new house in Shipoke over the weekend and disturbed a bee's nest in the ground. Received more than 30 stings and eventually ended up in the hospital emergency ward. Luckily her neighbor was EMT trained and had Benadril on hand . . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Expended a lot of energy today scrubbing and cleaning the store and repositioning merchandise. Think I may have overdone it a bit; quite fatigued tonight . . . Friends of Midtown has nine homes in its urban landscaping contest; some are quite nice. I tried to vote my favorite but the page kept saying that my e-mail was invalid. It occurs to me that that is one way to rig an election and a very good reason not to allow e-mail voting in local, state and national elections . . . and speaking of e-mails, I find my Verizon.net site is running really slow lately. Does anyone else have this problem, or is it my equipment that is at fault? . . .

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Angela Lawson . . . this is a somewhat sad day in our city's history since Laura Vecsey has published her last column in the Patriot-News. Her reporting was something special and for almost two years she has exposed the behind-the-scenes antics at city hall. Hers was the one byline that no one ever passed over; we can only hope that the newspaper finds a new reporter as diligent as Laura has been. I have been told that she is headed to the west coast for a while but in her farewell to us she has promised to return if things don't work out for her there . . . I had spoken to her once without knowing her identity, but it is strange how events turn mysteriously in our lives. I was playing trick-or-treat with JJ in his Camp Hill neighborhood; the kid liked the decorations but was somewhat shy about asking for a handout; Daddy Eric told JJ that the reason for the plastic pumpkin bucket he was carrying was to gather treats and that he should be filling it up. So my godson and I made a serious effort to collect some goodies to make dad happy and we happened upon this very nice lady with whom I had a pleasant conversation while JJ went to the house next door. I did not know the lady's name . . . let's skip ahead by almost a year. My downtown neighbors Alex Tokatlian and Alyson Garcia are to be married in September and they have rented a West Shore home soon to be empty. Alyson described the location and—yep, you guessed it—it was the same house I had visited and, yes, they are renting Laura's property. So it really is a small world full of unexpected twists . . .

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quiet day and muggy, with showers and sunshine alternating. Not much more to report . . . In 1972 when The Bare Wall opened, the average price of a house was around twenty-seven thousand. A pair of jeans was twelve dollars. I mention that only as a comparison, since greeting cards back then were generally twenty-five cents; little "thank you" notes were fifteen cents, and if you wanted to be extravagant your message might cost fifty cents or even a dollar. Today we try very hard to stock only cards under three dollars, but it is getting more and more difficult to find them in that price range. And I am amazed to look through the wholesale card catalogs and to see cards that are to retail at seven dollars or more! Where are we headed? . . . So I want to remind you again that we give you a ten percent discount when you buy a mixture of five cards at one time; that means that a three dollar card is $2.70 which is still a lot but hopefully less painful . . .

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The late afternoon shower may have discouraged some, but the annual CAN picnic at the MacNett home was a very pleasant affair. Excellent food and lots of conversation; Bob and I lingered to talk with John and Susan Wesley and Joanne and Eric W . . . Spent the day moving our Flea Market items to the center room and adding to the collection. Please look these over when you visit; the price is right . . . Got an e-mail in response to my question yesterday: Where are the jobs? . . . Friend David responded: They are in China . . . If anyone spots Campbell's Tomato Soup on sale, please let me know. I fondly recall that it occasionally shows up at fifty cents a can . . . The picture is of our glass blower, Ron Hinkle, of Buckhannon, West Virginia . . .

Friday, August 12, 2011

I am distressed to report that for some unexplained reason the TripAdvisor site has decided to kick us off its “Things to see and do in Harrisburg” listing. No more reports on this blog about visitors from Singapore and Shanghai. Too bad. While these travelers never spent much, meeting them was wonderful and we had many pleasant conversations with many nice (and one or two not so nice) people. And we were able to steer them to other attractions and restaurants, so those venues will suffer the loss of trade, I fear . . . In the meanwhile I have just discovered that Google Images has been lifting all the pictures placed in this blog for its catalog. So JJ shows up there frequently, though unidentified. Win some, lose some, I guess. In the future I will be certain to give my photos a better descriptive phrase for that shows up with the pictures as well . . . Placed orders with two more companies this afternoon although we only sold one card for the whole day. Will have new Christmas d├ęcor items and some very fine musical jewelry boxes. The latter are not cheap but they are beautiful . . . My political observation for the week: we dare not raise taxes, particularly on the rich, because it is their money that creates jobs. Well, then—there have been no new taxes so where are the new jobs? . . .

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are we chauvinists? Bob and I have noticed the same thing when we are out walking. At intersections male drivers will give you the right-of-way with a wave of their hand; women drivers, on the other hand, barrel right through and seldom acknowledge you at all . . . Thanks to all of our regular readers. According to Google statistics, eighty people a day visit our site . . . If you are a Bare Wall regular you know that we celebrate our anniversary with a sale in October; usually we send you a card to announce the discounts. Well, I know the postal service is in dire straights these days, but would you believe we got back one of those sale cards today; it was destined for North Second Street, just ten blocks away . . . Christine Keller's jewelry arrived from West Virginia this morning. The funky wire rings in assorted colors sell for $13. The not-so-funky silver earrings with stones and crystals go for $26. Happy to say that we have already sold one of each . . . The Patriot-News is holding a photography contest for pictures of abandoned buildings. Someone with better equipment than I should hasten up to North Fifth Street and do a study of this place. An attached carport on the right side didn't make it into my snapshot . . . Happy for a visit from Mark Stevens this afternoon. He has had a tough couple of weeks; the person for whom he was caregiver passed away recently . . .

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dr. Bob Coldren celebrates his birthday on Friday . . . CAN members will gather Saturday evening in the MacNett backyard on North Street for their annual picnic . . . A partial shipment of Ron Hinkle hand-blown glass from Buckhannon, West Virginia, arrived this afternoon. What came is choice, but several stellar pieces are on back order. Unfortunately, the glass blowers go on hiatus in August when the temperatures soar, so we don't expect additional items until September . . . Credit where credit is due department: I was at the Battisti residence a few weeks ago and enjoyed a glass of lemonade; Eric said it was organic something or other and that he would get me a big bottle the next time he went shopping. Well, the kids delivered two bottles yesterday, and I guess Cecilia called my attention to the gift at least three times with “My daddy got this for you.” I e-mailed my thanks . . .

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time for a commercial break. Lots of new stuff is headed our way so we need to shake our tin cup a little to pay the bills . . . First, I think you have been overlooking the fashionable purse pens in various designs that we are offering for $16.90. We have packaged these with two extra refills; they make a very nice gift . . . We have restocked the colorful cocktail glass brooch studded with colorful beads—funky but fun and only $8. This time around we have added the matching earrings; $9 the pair. These are sure to set you apart from the crowd on Restaurant Row or at your next soiree . . . We are closing out the large rounds of triple-milled French soaps. Originally they were $6 each, but now you can have two for $8 or three for $10 . . . The $14.50 Bennington aromatherapy candles in jars are now reduced to $10. We need this space so that we can enlarge our collection of the Root candles from Ohio which you seem to like so well . . .

Monday, August 8, 2011

According to an e-mail sent to CAN members, the new non-emergency phone number for the police department is 558-6900. Use 911 for urgent matters . . . Well, we have now received both the Yellow Book and the Verizon Yellow Pages, fat and loaded with business ads and addresses. Unfortunately, neither contain home phones which most of us rely on the books to provide. Verizon is offering an on-line version but if you want a printed copy you have to request it, I am told . . . Bob and I have been reading up a storm this summer so we have a big selection of novels for just $2 each. Be sure to shuffle through the pile the next time you are here . . . Bob drove me up North Second Street to get this picture of the squashed car . . . the hand-blown glass from West Virginia is being shipped tomorrow . . .

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Awoke this morning to find all the windows fogged over. The outdoor humidity and the indoor a/c were in conflict . . . The big Harris Street Methodist Church fall bazaar has been tentatively scheduled for September 17th, much earlier than last year. Mark your calendars and then keep in touch with us; we will be blogging this info again as the event approaches . . . Note to the Harrisburg Young Professionals: your garden strip dividing Forster Street needs weeding badly . . . Apparently a micro burst struck the 2200 block of North Second Street Saturday early evening. A huge tree came down and flattened an auto. A welcoming canopy that had been erected at the home of Lennie and Mary Whitcomb for the Harrisburg Art Association soiree was carried down the street. No one was injured as far as we know. Eileen Young and Angela Lawson who were art the art exhibit stopped at our uptown house to tell Bob and me the news. They stayed for a little refreshment and a lot of gossip. Both have attended several of the HAA events and they agree that the soirees continue to get better and better . . . Bob made us stuffed peppers for Sunday supper. I think these are the best he has made in the 26 years he has been cooking for me . . .

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I am trying to walk at least a mile every morning, weather permitting, and thanks to a loan from Joanne M-W. I now have some small weights to carry with me. I sometimes wonder what my uptown neighbors think when they see this old fart chugging up their street with arms flailing. But no one has called the cops yet, at least to my knowledge . . . There is a large patch of cone flowers at North Second and Peffer Streets which is now past its peak. It was spectacular earlier. Today when I passed there was a flock—and I do mean a flock—of gold finches having breakfast. I was sorry I hadn't noticed them earlier for they fled as I approached. There may have been a dozen, give or take. I had never seen so many in one place before and they were quite a colorful sight when they took to the sky . . . a Happy Birthday to Diane Neiper, JJ's grandmother . . . Megan Zeigler is entertaining her long-time friend Ann from Dallas and brought her by to see The Bare Wall this afternoon . . . despite a lot of free publicity I have read that the Hodge Podgery shop on North Third Street will be closing soon. Over the past several years so many businesses have tried and failed in the strip between Forster and Harris Streets along that North Third corridor. But we can continue to hope that at some point the area will come to life once more. When I first came to town in the early sixties there were still numerous successful enterprises there—Bill's Furniture and 5&10, Furlow's, Greenberg's clothing, the Army/Navy store and the naughty StarArt movie house just to name a few. (On second thought, do I have the Greenberg name correct? There were several of them in the area merchandising a lot of outdoor togs; good quality and an excellent price.) We all had hoped that the HACC campus might give a boost to retail in the area but thus far it does not appear to have done so . . .

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy to have our regular postman, Mark Tamanini, back with us after a month off for hospital surgery . . . According to the signs, a new coffee shop is slated for the building now under renovation at Green and Muench Street . . . Had a phone call from my sister last night who said there hadn't been a whole lot on my health condition in the blog recently and she was concerned. I brought her up to date. She has problems of her own. Her resources planned for retirement had to be used to nurse a sick husband who has since passed away and her only son now is suffering from cancer. She survives by working at Wal-Mart where she has been for 13 years. She has worked all departments and is currently assigned to the garden section, a tent erected on the asphalt near the store entrance. Of course this means no a/c and, at age 69, she must heft those big bags of peat and fertilizer off the trailers when they deliver. Having health issues of her own, she asked the manager to please assign her to another department in the store but was told that there would not be an opening in the foreseeable future and if she didn't like it she could quit. Unfortunately sis needs whatever income she can manage, so that is not an option. I have often heard that Wal-Mart cares diddly for its employees and this might be an example . . . I may have reported this before: as you will recall, Mayor Thompson's first official act (even before spending $35,000 on her office) was an edict declaring that every instance of the Steve Reed name be painted out or pasted over; he was to be a non-person in the history of Harrisburg. Well, I certainly don't want to upset the mayor, but thanks to my morning walks I know of at least two signs which still bear Reed's name as our mayor . . .

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Overcast and cooler; most welcome . . . today's TripAdvisor visitor was from New Jersey . . . Sold another ship's bell . . . Bob and I just remembered that this is carnival week in Marysville. We used to go every year on Wednesday night. Always good food and the entertainment was a "one-hit wonder" group from the fifties. The crowd would go wild when they finally reprised their song . . . Betty Emmers (87) and I (75) can't understand why we can't remember the name of the person we were introduced to yesterday but we can recall all the gossip about someone from the sixties and seventies . . .

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bob Murray will celebrate his birthday on Saturday and Rick May will hoist a beer or two on Sunday in observance of his natal day . . . The shipment of Maine bells arrived today as promised. This time around I purchased the Cape Cod Bell, a much larger version with really deep tones. It is heavy; now I need to find a place to display it ($55) . . . Have you tried calling the police department lately? If not, get ready for a shock. There is no human on the other end these days. Instead we get a long and complicated menu in both English and Spanish. I finally was directed to where I wanted to go, but once there I got an answering machine that promised someone would call me back in a few moments. Well, almost two hours later I called back, not having received the promised return call. This is the worst possible arrangement and certainly is not a satisfactory replacement for the dispatcher who used to answer. We do not always have a 9-1-1 emergency but sometimes we do need to speak with a patrolman and those "menu" options frequently do not address our problem. I hope the CAN leadership gets on the ball and quickly files a complaint on our behalf . . .

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Somewhat overcome by the hot weather early this evening and was stretched out on the bed before sunset . . . Night Out observance in Midtown was quite an event. Harris was closed in front of the church between Susquehanna and Third; free hot dogs and burgers. The "balloon man" was making treats for the kids. Sabrina and Felix got to sit in the cab of a fire truck and Allan Johnson had his retro pedal ice cream cart on the scene. It was a very nice turn out, but that is when the heat got to me . . . Placed my first order for Christmas cards this morning; hard to believe that time is rapidly approaching again . . . Thanks to Lee Spitalny for the bag of fresh peaches. Bob will probably caramelize them and serve them over ice cream . . .

Monday, August 1, 2011

My walk most mornings takes me up or across Muench Street. I hope there is a history buff out there who can tell us how “Muench” came to be pronounced Minnick. Dr. Bob Coldren thinks it has to be related to immigrants from Germany in some way . . . Chris came through his painful but successful facial surgery and is now resting at home. He assures us he will be just as handsome as he always was once the swelling subsides . . . nice visit with Jacquie Kirby Hensel this afternoon . . . Need to say a “thank you” to all who continue to send me messages of encouragement--Barbara Allen locally and Joanne Miller in Williamsport are the latest. You have all helped to sustain me through these difficult times and your acts of kindness are most appreciated . . . Talked with my gal in Maine this morning and another shipment of handcrafted bells will be on the way to us within hours . . . My morning travels take me up side streets and down main avenues, and I am fascinated by the fact that, judging from the architecture, we must have had a little corner grocery on just about every block or two. I wonder how they managed to exist on so few sales. Perhaps I am in error and not all sold groceries; I suppose some might have been tailor shops, purveyors of hardware and the like . . .