Thursday, June 23, 2011

A day of fits and starts

It started at 6:15 with Al trying to satisfy some credit card’s new security requirements on line.
“Honey, what’s your Social Security number again?”
( He really, really thought she was stirring around in bed –- Really)  So you can imagine how Pat’s day started….
It was cool and cloudy and a great day to go fishing.  (we had to have the car to Mayor Al –-see “side bar” – so we couldn’t be riding all day.  After anguishing at the hardware store counter yesterday, we (Actually Patty ) had decided to spring for the expensive non resident fishing licenses.  Patty really really wanted to catch some of those trouts.  So, town chores: bike store, hardware store, post office, grocery store (maybe two –there is a well regarded produce stand).  We’re off.
But first we must dump the trailer, cause we may not have a car to pull it tomorrow when his honor starts work. We accomplish this and are fully set up again when our neighbor Tim suggests that we may want to gain another day here (in case his honor is slowed by civic duties or lack of parts) by MOVING TO ANOTHER SITE.  Pat negotiates this; we move and set up a second time. (There is a 26 step checklist to this setting up ritual).
OK, Town Chores: bike shop, hardware store, post office, grocery store (maybe two, there is a highly regarded produce stand.)  We make a mental list of stuff we will need for our shopping, put them in Pat’s handlebar bag. We’re off biking to town…
  • At Confluence Cyclery, Bob cheerfully adjusts Al’s brake and refuses to replace the frayed cable. “not necessary.”  Pat remembers she forgot the post cards and returns to the campground. 
  • Pat returns from the PO, but remembers she forgot the the black handlebar bag and checkbook to buy fishing license.  Pat really really wants a fishing license.
  • Pat returns and finds Al finishing his test ride and (without wallet) unable to purchase more bike gear. Al promises Brad we will return…
  • We present ourselves to Nancy at the True Value. She smiles because she remembers us and the other girls smile because everyone in Confluence knows our whole story.  We dutifully provide our most secret numerical data to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s representative and her dedicated computer terminal.  It’s not taking it; we review our criminal history and recent parking violations in sundry states and look innocent.  Time Passes.  Al, knowing how grouchy Pat is when she can’t fish and how SSLOW the service is at Sister’s Restaurant, offers to slip next door and put in an order for the special of the day.  The waitress, who was not on duty the first time we almost starved waiting for our food here and has not seen Pat darken her door today asks, “ And what for her?”  She asks, because this is Confluence and everyone already knows our story. Al assures her that we are old and will split.  This accomplished, Al returns to True Value where the Commonwealth’s appointed representative (lovely Nancy) is not yet in contact with the Commonwealth’s main frame, but news, which moves with frightening speed in Confluence has arrived that no one in town has computer service – the bank, the lawyer’s, not the Lucky Dog saloon.
  • Al and Pat now take a booth at Sisters, wait the traditional lengthy interval and are served their hamburger, fries and pickle spear, all neatly bisected because the cook had heard about us and thought we would like it that way. We paid by credit card using a “knuckle buster” because WE knew how things worked at Sisters.
“Lucky thing you have that “knuckle buster”; all the computers in town are down.”
“ I KNOW.” 
  • With two panniers of groceries, Al and Patty return to camp.  Opps, forgot to return to the Produce stand.  They abandon all thoughts of vegetables and eat  large bowls of Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream, Patty fishing out the chips and putting them in Al’s bowl. Patty does not believe that peanut butter or chocolate chips  belong in ice cream. Al forgot this, really, but everybody in Confluence knows…
  • Patty keeps calling True Value.  no answer. no long distance at all in town.
  • Al meets his honor the Mayor in his garage, gets a tour of the very impressive projects underway including a 1941 Chevy.  Two bicyclists,  mistaking our Al for an all-knowing Confluence resident, ask directions to the dam.  Al, getting into the spirit of things, gives them precise directions (because he knows.) They admire the old truck parked outside; Al volunteers info about the 1941 Chevy inside. Another tour ensues.  Later, the elusive part number of the gear train is discovered and a part must be ordered. Al volunteers his cell, since HE KNOWS there is no long distance phone service in Confluence today.
  • Resigned to a fishless afternoon, Patty and Al take a long walk to the top of the dam trailing husks of salted peanuts behind. At the turnaround point, true to tradition, It started to RAIN. I’m betting that you, loyal reader, knew that was coming.

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