Pennsylvania – The Road Kill State

Even though I have lived on the east coast my entire life, I’ve not spent much time in Pennsylvania.

There are no dead deer on the state flag. (image public domain)

When I was in first grade, I won the best reader award in my class. The prize was a bus trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country for the day. I remember people wore funny hats and I got to be up front to look at things because the other first grader and I were the smallest kids on the trip.

I returned a few years later, in my forties, on a work trip to Philadelphia. I remember a good Italian restaurant and a hotel bartender’s recommendation on where to get a cheese-steak.

So I haven’t seen a lot of Pennsylvania until recently. On Wednesday and Thursday I put the top down on my car and drove to and from Hershey, PA for a Bruce Springsteen concert. If you’re saying “a day trip to Hershey doesn’t move you into the “spent a lot of time in Pennsylvania” category, I agree.

But I’m going to say that I was able to draw some definite conclusions.

Some Conclusions

Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. I was convinced of that on my drive to Hershey, even at interstate speeds. On the way home I set Google Maps to avoid highways, threw the top back on the Miata and took the back roads. I was right, it’s even prettier between thirty-five and fifty m.p.h.. The back road drive, through small towns and forests was amazing. I’m so glad I took the time to take my time.

But I reached another, darker, conclusion about The Keystone State during my twenty-four hours there. Pennsylvania is a lousy place to be a deer.

What’s she pointing at? A dead deer. (image public domain)

I’ve said that I was at a Springsteen concert, so perhaps you’re wondering how I know how many deer are in Pennsylvania. It’s because there are so many of them dead on the side of the road. The shoulders of Pennsylvania roads – Interstates, secondary highways, twisting back roads – are carpeted with what used to be deer.

They Are Everywhere

As I was driving in to the state I saw my first deer along the interstate. It wasn’t pretty. It had been there a while. Compared to the next one, it really hadn’t. There was another and another and another. It just seems that cleaning that sort of thing up is not something the state or local government does.

How many dearly departed deer did I see along the highway in Pennsylvania? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it was far more than I’ve seen anywhere in my life. I can also tell you that I saw so many, in different states of decay, that I now qualify as an expert witness in court in determining the cause and time of death in deer murder cases.

You’re going to think I’m lying about this, but I’m not. I even saw a deer skeleton.

Maybe I Should Go Again

So now, after three visits to Pennsylvania I have three distinct impressions of the state:

First grade: People wear funny hats. I get to be up front. There sure are a lot of farms.

In my 40’s: Philly is a cool place where you can get great Italian food. Also, bartenders know where to get the best cheese-steak sandwich.

In my 50’s: Gorgeous scenery. A peaceful place. Great drive. Seriously, could they at least Febreze the deer?

Three trips to Pennsylvania, nine thoughts. Eight of them are valid. The only one that I realize is no longer true is that I get to be up front.  I did not get to be up front for the Bruce Springsteen concert like I did for the butter churning demonstration in first grade. Pity.

I’ll have to go back for more research.

Note to self – keep the top and the windows up.



Hello, Mr. Other Me

Long ago, a teacher told my class that “somewhere in the world, is someone just like you.” I’m not sure what the point was, because I’m not sure how possible that is.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

A 3-d map of the Omawarisan genome.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the idea fascinated elementary school me. I wondered about this other me without questioning if it could be true that he was out there. What would we talk about if we met? If he were older, would I be just like him, or could he still be just like me? The teacher didn’t really cover that.

The probability of a couple in Belgium creating another me can’t be good. Then I factor in the environmental aspects and what the chances are that the other me was raised by clowns. When I add that up, the odds of Mr. Other Me’s existence are pretty slim.

How Slim Are Those Odds?

“You scare me. How did you arrange for your doppelg√§nger to sit next to us?” I read the text message, then looked at the photo my friend had attached. There, next to some of my best friends, at a concert I couldn’t attend, was Mr. Other Me. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Film Series: A Fall Drive

Convertibles are not just summer cars. I’m finding mine is a really fine autumn car as well.

Here is a short time lapse video of a rag top day.

Oh, and my hat doesn’t actually fly off. It was shady and I wanted to feel the wind in my various remaining hairs. I took my cap off. Read the rest of this entry »

The Sunday Film Series: Catching A Ride

About ten years ago, I was helping put on a juggling festival. We were giving a set of water injected tennis balls to everyone who attended. Filling a tennis ball with water gives it the perfect weight for juggling. The water also keeps the ball from bouncing away when it is dropped.

This really has nothing to do with what this week’s film is about. Read the rest of this entry »