I owe my readers an apology. The last couple of months I haven’t been so great about writing. This last, longest hiatus was caused by getting a bout of stomach flu while traveling. Yeah, ugh.
But today the sun is shining and lets forget about my neglect.
Today, I’m feeling nostalgic for spring in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in general. And I think I’m going to miss it when spring rolls into Ohio.
I’m going to miss the sunlight filtering through the ubiquitous trees.
I’m going to miss the hydrageas and roses in the old brick and wrought iron gardens.
I think I’m actually going to miss the constant summer rains.
I’ll miss those first warm evenings, with those creaky old windows open wide and fresh, wet forest-y air wafting in.
I’m going to miss the finally green hills, and woods, and the way sunsets filter over a big hill.
Most of all, I’m going to miss that first hot day in April, when we’d head down to the shore.
That’s what I want today when the sunshine gleams off my frozen pond. Yes.
I don’t love sports. I mean really – I don’t get it. This is me trying to play football last Thanksgiving:
But what I lack in sports knowledge and appreciation, I make up for in an addiction to sports drama. Sociologically analyzable, entertaining, or just plain bizarre. I don’t care. Give me drama. I ply Andy for the stories of the teams and their trades and their wars and their histories and their insanity.
Therefore, to all you baseball fans out there, my dream is to see Cliff Lee take the Rangers to the World Series versus the Phillies, and crush them. You know, Cliff Lee? The beloved pitcher who took the Phillies to the 2009 World Series and then was traded away?
That would be poetic drama. Ultimate drama.
I know I am non-regionally patriotic since my husband is, after all, an Eastern Pennsylvania boy but since the sham of regional sports patriotism is one of my pet peeves anyway (I mean, honestly, why root for a “home team” that boasts players from all over the country who just happened to be paid enough to play for your “region” and might, any moment, leave if they don’t get what they want or, if we decide they aren’t cool enough for us? It’s pathetic to claim “home-town pride” no matter how you look at it. Dare I say it? The Yankees have got it figured out. Just buy the best. Why do we put the Yankees down for doing what all the rest of the country doesn’t happen to have enough money to do?) I figure I might as well be entertained by the whole baseball scene anyways.
And since the Reds are going to win next year anyways, I might as well give up all Philadelphia loyalties now.
Don’t tell my husband I wrote this post.
Do you remember this? Probably not, unless you’ve been around here for quite some time. It was my very first blog post. It was written two years and a couple of weeks ago, when the Phillies were on their way to winning the 2008 World Series.
Here’s the deal. I despise sports. And yet, I somehow seem to be in the midst of a vibrantly monochromatic, screaming crowd no matter what city I live in. Why can’t I live in a city, ever, that just sucks at sports???
Then it hit me.
Professional sports successes following me around the country since I was born, as sports teams feed off my luck and charm? Ludicrous, but strangely intriguing. I kept my peace over this until last night, when Andy mentioned that this is the first time in 15 years that the Cincinnati Reds have made it to the baseball playoffs, even though they were just swept by the Phillies.
“Wait a second,” I said. ”In 2007, when we moved to Philadelphia, wasn’t that the first time in 15 years that the Phillies had made it to the playoffs?” ”Um, yeah, why?”
And there. Confirmation. It IS me. In 2007, the Phillies made it to the playoffs for the first time in a decade and a half and proceeded to be swept, exactly like the Reds were last night. ”Mark my words,” I said to Andy, waggling a finger at him. ”Next year, the Reds will win the World Series.” ”Why?” ”Because the Phillies did in 2008, a year after I moved there. It just takes that long for my luck to build up.”
In curiosity, I decided to take a peek at the winners of major pro sports events since I was born. This is not a fool proof method since obviously the Reds are beginning to experience my luck even though they won’t go down on sports win charts. The Flyers lost the Stanley cup last year, but they made it to the competition. I’ll bet that lots of sports experienced some of my charm even if they didn’t go all the way. But let’s see what the actual wins say, yes?
In 1986, I moved to NYC. That year, the New York Mets won the World Series. In ’87 and in ’91, the NY Giants won the Superbowl. The summer after the ’91 Superbowl we moved to Dallas. In ’93 and ’94 the Dallas Cowboys won the Superbowl. The Steelers were successful the whole time I lived in Pittsburgh, culminating in a Superbowl win in 2006. The Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and both the Eagles and the Flyers were favorites for the Superbowl and the Stanley Cup while I lived in Philly, although they did not win.
Obviously my luck is also residual. Witness the Phillies’ current success even though I am no longer there. In 1988, two years after I moved from DC, the Redskins won the Superbowl. The St. Louis Rams experienced a good measure of success while I lived in St. Louis although they didn’t win the Superbowl until 2000, a few years after I left.
Mark my words. We will see good things from the Bengals and the Reds in the next few years. They should be PAYING me to live here.
This is my last Philadelphia post, and I saved it for last because for some reason saying goodbye to the Art Museum was one of the saddest things that I have done in these past weeks. It was also the very last place we visited before we ran out of time, and it was just a little emotional for me.
It was a dreary day when we visited, which only enhanced one of the the features of the museum that has always captured my imagination – its mystery. Of course, can one wander and wander through rooms and mazes and keep finding incredible masterpieces around every turn.
But even more than that, each bit of furniture, each old stone gate uprooted and reinstalled, each sword carefully preserved, each painting tells a story of someone’s life and, more often than not, a collective life.
I can’t pause beneath the cathedral gates in the Medieval gallery without wondering how many souls passed underneath them as they went about their everyday lives, never dreaming where those gates would end up. I see the empress’ bed in the Oriental room and can almost see her lying down to go to sleep in the evening. I look at the ridged paint strokes on the Impressionist’s canvases and I wonder what Monet was wearing as his brush touched the palette. And when I stare at that viking sword in the Armor gallery – quite possibly my favorite item in the whole museum – I can hardly breathe to think of what a weapon of mass destruction that was in its time, and whose blood once coated its blade?
And the sheer volume of masterpieces – the multitudes of patterns and styles and colors and mediums. Standing before the collective creativity of generations never fails to humble me and make me feel small.
And then there’s the architecture of the building itself. The Grand Hall doesn’t speak grandeur so much as it declares the gravity of all the works, stories, and treasures kept within the building’s walls.
And when you step outside, and see all of Philadelphia laid at your feet, it’s impossible to help feeling small in contemplation of history behind you and the future before you.
I soaked up every bit of mystery, drama, and wonder that I could in this short visit to the museum. I don’t know when I’ll be back. But it will all still be waiting, growing older and older, as I grow older along with it.
Worn-down stone stoops in Old City Philadelphia have always grabbed my attention. I point them out to Andy as we drive through, squealing “WOW! Look at THAT one!” and distracting Andy from the poor pedestrian crossing the street.
So one evening we went on a walk just to see how many we saw. Andy got really into it right along with me. And we saw a lot. So, of course, I popped a few photos.
I don’t have much to say about these stoops. They may seem quite boring to many of you. But if you just let your imagination run a bit… wondering how many styles of shoes contributed to the wearing away of the stone over the last 300 years; how many visitors and errands knocked on the door of these houses; of all the news in the history of America that was carried across these steps.
If you just think about it a little… it really is quite fascinating, isn’t it?
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