Still enjoying the Spring Break beauty of Pennsylvania with Married Daughter and Loyal Son-in-law. And, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, being surprised by joy in a state that is far from my Texas. You see, their new home is only a short distance from Dave's hometown; an area where his brother and sister still live.
I had never visited Hanover, Pennsylvania before yesterday. Dave had spoken lovingly of it in great detail over the years, but somehow we had never made the journey together. We drove there yesterday, passing right through the middle of Gettysburg's battlefield. This is a state steeped in history. We met Dave's brother, sister, and niece. And we were soon joined by Dave's oldest daughter who happened to be a short distance away in D.C. for Spring Break. Our first stop was a local restaurant serving my new favorite food: Maryland Crabcakes. And then the tour began.
Dave's brother drove us past the home they used to live in, the schools and churches they attended, and the restaurants they used to frequent. He was also able to show me what wasn't there anymore: the location of Dave's first job at an A&W rootbeer that has been replaced by the Golden Arches, where town used to end when Dave had a bicycle-driven paper route, and where Dave used to embarrass his younger siblings in the high school parking lot with his noisy pieced-together MG sports car. We learned the history of the town and its industries (Hanover shoes (now Clarks), Utz's and Snyders--makers of snack foods that we all probably have in our pantries. We visited Dave's mom's final resting place, and admired her courage at raising three children as a single mother in the 1960s who never drove a car, but launched three great kids into the world who went on to be a nurse, teacher and engineer.
I'm sure this trip down Memory Lane felt more like the "Three Hour Tour" of Gilligan's Island fame to the three 25 year old cousins in the back of the van. But they were patient with us as we shared special memories of a wonderful man. Dave's birthday is Friday, and I was so thankful for this glimpse into his past as a way of celebrating this first one without him.
Thanks, Kevin and April. It was the best gift you could have given to me. And to him.