The original plan for Friday was to go to NYC and have a girls day out with Seamore, my mother and another SIL. However, halfway through Thursday Solipsist called and told us that he'd meet us in NYC with his wife and cute son if we went on Saturday. That sounded great to me, as Solipsist is the person I most want to explore the beauties of NYC with. He lived there for four years or so and loves it and, like I said in some other post somewhere, I want to visit places with people that love those places.
As a result of that phone call, we decided to have our girls day out be a Philadelphia day on Friday. So, Friday morning, I got all gussied up and got ready to head on out and have a day. (I really think gussied is such a great word that needs to be brought back in to everyday use, don't you?) We were going to shop and then maybe do a pedicure and go to dinner at my brother's house. Then my SIL called and said that she had something she needed to do in the morning and could we wait until the afternoon and she would call when she was ready.
So Friday morning was spent with Seamore, The Guy (who conveniently skipped work that day), my mom and I sitting in the living room and laughing and talking. Good times. Boring to write about, but good times.
Oh, I should here mention that since I was in Philadelphia, I knew I must have a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich--something that I love.
Around noon the SIL in question called and said that there was no way she was going to finish what she was doing--something tax related--and that we should just do out day without her. That information spurred us to action and also to change our plans. We hopped in the car, Seamore, my mom and I, and sped our way toward Philadelphia. We decided to have our Philly Cheese Steak and then do the historical Philadelphia type stuff.
We drove through town. We crossed city avenue, which divides the rest of the world from Philadelphia. I saw the part of town where Will Smith grew up. He's only sort-of from the hood, i.e. his high school took in some rough parts of Philly, but the places he grew up, even if he was the son of a maid, are not very "hood"-like. We drove past the steps where Rocky trained and I even got a picture of the statue. (How do I feel about a monument to a fictional character? Although, I guess Americans aren't the only one to do that. There is a mermaid in Denmark--which is another thing I want to see in my life.)
We drove past the state hall and saw William Penn and came to understand that the reason the Phillies have done so well the last couple of years is because . . .Oh wait, you aren't at all interested in baseball and don't know this story? I should tell you, not that it will raise your interest in baseball at all, but because it is so indicative of the American sport psyche. Besides, stories like these are the stories that make trips like this worth it, don't you think?
Actually, I'll give you the Wikipeida short version of the story.
The Curse of Billy Penn was an alleged curse used to explain the failure of professional sports teams based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to win championships since the March 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, which exceeded the height of William Penn's statue atop Philadelphia City Hall.
The curse apparently ended on October 29, 2008, when the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series, a year and four months after a statuette of the William Penn figure atop City Hall was affixed to the final beam during the June 2007 topping-off of the Comcast Center, currently the tallest building in the city.There, in a nutshell, is American sport fans. :)
On with the narrative. We saw the Masonic temple and marked its resemblance to an LDS temple of our knowledge. Then we parked and wandered over to Reading Terminal Market.
I loved it. We got our Philly Cheese Steaks and snarfed them down. Then we wandered the market a bit and bought a (small) whoopie pie and some blueberry bread (which was delicious) from the Amish bakery. Unfortunately, my tummy started to turn rather quickly after the sandwich. It didn't get bad until later, but I wasn't in any hurry to eat my (small) whoopie pie.
There were a couple of places on my trip that I surprised myself by really loving. Reading Terminal Market was one of those places. I really, really liked it there. I kind-of wanted to wander more, but I wanted to see the historical sites and my mom doesn't do a lot of walking well. I loved the variety of things all smashed together and just. . .I'm not really sure how to put it into words. Community? Alive? Mayhem that wasn't ornery or pushed? There was not really a huge sense of "I have to get what I want now and you'd better not get in my way." I think I expected frenzied, and it was a little, but it also wasn't. Like I said, I can't put it in to words very well.
Oh, and by the way, it is pronounced "red-ing" not "reed-ing". I've been saying it wrong my whole life and I'm going to have to teach my kids to say it right when they play Monopoly.
We hopped back in the car and wandered over to Independence Hall. Again, I felt like I needed to bone up on my history. Thankfully I had recently read David McCullough's biography of John Adams, so I wasn't completely out of the loop like I was at Valley Forge. But I still felt like a few hours of study into American history would have made the experience a little more interesting, although that's not the word I'm looking for.
We took the tour of Independence Hall with a great tour guide that was cracking jokes the whole time. I enjoyed seeing these spots of history. I also enjoyed hearing the occasional story that we don't hear very often. for instance, except for Washington's sun chair, none of the furniture in the Hall is original. It's all old, but it's not what was in the hall. The British actually capture the hall and used it for a hospital for a while and burned all of the furniture for heat and warmth. I also enjoyed seeing a copy of The Constitution of the United States with someones corrections and markings on it. Very cool. (That is housed in the building next to Independence Hall.)
Then we walked over to Liberty Bell. What I found most fascinating about the bell is how much it has been used since as a motto for freedom of one type or another. The Women's Suffrage movement used it as a symbol. It was used in the anti-slavery movement, as well as the Civil Rights movement. I find it amazing and fascinating when something that is very old becomes a symbol of something new. The battles we fight are not new, I guess.
We were supposed to hang at my brother's house for dinner and we had a little time so we decided to hit an outlet mall. I went in to the Ann Taylor store and came out with little black skirt (I now own two) and a shirt. The shirt actually doesn't fit so well anymore. I think I lost some weight on my trip--remember that tummy that was turning? It was getting worse.
After the Ann Taylor store I finally ate my (small) whoopie pie and we drove towards my brother's house. We had a fun evening there. . .well. . .I guess I couldn't call it fun for me. I got the runs and had an emotional breakdown. This particular SIL has a very calming effect which I apparently needed. I cried and cried.
It's been a bit of a rough year.
Dinner was lovely, although I couldn't eat as much as I wanted, and the company was even better.
We went back to Seamore's house and I crashed.
All in all, a great day.