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Did I enjoy my return to the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania?: Ed O'Connor

Posted 12/5/18

Another month, another trip. Where have my travels taken me this time? If you guessed The People’s Republic of Pennsylvania, you are correct.

After a three-hour car ride over the Andes …

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Did I enjoy my return to the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania?: Ed O'Connor

Posted

Another month, another trip. Where have my travels taken me this time? If you guessed The People’s Republic of Pennsylvania, you are correct.

After a three-hour car ride over the Andes Mountains, four airports, 15.5 hours and 3,062 miles later, I was at Harrisburg International Airport. Question: If the airport was located in Harrisburg, would it be named the Middletown International Airport?

Oh, after boarding for the final leg from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, there was a delay. The captain announced that fuel had to be removed from the plane because of weight. That was a first in my travels.

My friend of many years and teammate of thousands of fast-pitch softball games met me at HIA. It was great to see him again and spend time together. He was kind enough to let me stay at his home and use his car.

The reason for the trip was not a vacation. I had to return to Pennsylvania to do things that unfortunately could only be done in person. I also got to vote and had the privilege to cancel a libtard vote. Made me feel warm all over.

Have you seen on the news that the French are rioting and demonstrating in Paris? Over what, you ask? The French government raised the tax on fuel and the people are furious and demanding that French President Emmanuel Macron resign.

Now compare that with Pennsylvania. Taxes on fuel in the commonwealth are the highest in the United States. So, what did PAMNI (the Pennsylvania Association of Morons, Nitwits and Imbeciles), do? Well, they re-elected the very people who raised their taxes. If you feel you are not paying enough in taxes, I know some folks you can help. Silly me. I always thought the French were the idiots.

I decided to pay a surprise visit to my annual fan club meeting being held at the Giant Center in Hershey. Some of the members got sick and for other various reasons could not attend, so the event had to be moved to a smaller venue. Have you any idea how difficult it is to find a phone booth in Pennsylvania?

Wow! I couldn’t believe the cost of goods and services! Every store, shop, restaurant, gas station and bar I patronized while in your area gave me “sticker shock.” I almost got whiplash viewing the prices. I don’t understand how you can afford to live. Thank goodness for the dollar stores. Just the cost of getting gasoline twice in 12 days was about the same as I spent here in Cuenca for transportation in six months.

A lady I visited in Lancaster had moved into a two-bedroom, one and a half bath townhouse. She was ecstatic with the great deal she received on this rental unit. Her rent was “only” $1,250 monthly. That is just a few dollars shy of my monthly income.

Isn’t traffic a joy there in Pennsylvania? My one trip was 25 miles. It took one hour and 10 minutes. Luckily, I had a GPS.

I must say that I did enjoy the cooler weather and the crispness in the air. We don’t have a change of seasons here in Cuenca, so it was wonderful to see the trees in their magnificent autumn splendor. It is hard to put into words the feeling I experienced as I viewed the panoramic display of color with scenic Three Mile Island in the background. It just gave me chills.

I was able to see many people that I had not seen in a long time, whether they liked it or not. I visited with my sister, cousins and 92-year-old aunt; former softball teammates; and my home church in Bainbridge, which had its annual Veterans Day program.

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the great group of friendly, professional folks at the Press & Journal. I got to renew old acquaintances and make new ones. Middletown is so fortunate to have a quality hometown newspaper.

At one adult beverage establishment I frequented, I mentioned to a customer next to me that I was not accustomed to the prices, which I noted were much higher than where I resided. He asked me where I lived. I responded that I am in Ecuador, South America. “Are you that guy that has the column in the P&J?” he asked. To which I responded in the positive. “I like reading what you write, but don’t always agree with what you say.” I thanked him. A possible recruit to my fan club?

Two things I wanted to do while in the area: have a buffet lunch at the Chinese buffet near the mall. My favorite non-American cuisine is Chinese, and I have always enjoyed this particular spot.

The other was to savor a nice, juicy, thick steak, which are few and far between here in Cuenca. I went into a small restaurant in Harrisburg and located my desire on the menu. $22! Maybe next time. I opted for the liver and onions.

And speaking of Harrisburg: Isn’t it fun to drive there and attempt to find parking? I felt like Diogenes looking for an honest man. After roaming the city, I finally located an empty parking spot. But where are the parking meters? About halfway down the block I spotted some kind of a machine. Not knowing what else to do, I eased on down to this apparatus. I read the instructions and got to the part where the car’s license number was required. OK. Back to the car to get the number. Back to the machine. After finally deciphering all the instructions, I used a credit card to pay this armless bandit. Ah, success.

I hiked to where I had to do business only to find out that the establishment was closed. Oh, joy — I got to repeat the process the next day.

After two weeks of nonstop activity, I completed my Pennsylvania sojourn.

On the return trip the plane was delayed in Miami. The reason: One passenger did not board the plane, but his luggage did. All the baggage had to be removed from the plane until his was found. No other explanation was offered.

In summary, do I miss Pennsylvania? In some ways “yes” and in others “no.” Which side of the scales is heavier? I’ll leave that up to you.

Your Rambling Rover … Eddy O

Ed O’Connor, a former resident of Middletown and Lower Swatara Township, is an expatriate living in Cuenca, Ecuador.