Sunday, June 28, 2009

LA Story

Yesterday we observed an important anniversary and today we observe another one. It was 100 years ago that the City of Lackawanna became a city! So yesterday we went to Lackawanna. It was another one of those outrageous bus tours led by our friend "Airborne Eddy" Dobosiewicz. That is our bus in the picture above.

But that is not I next to the bus in the purple! That is another woman on the tour. I remember her because she was in the bathroom forever in one of the joints we visited and I was waiting for her to get out and I thought I was going to be left behind.

When she finally got out I smiled as I went into the bathroom and I said: "Hold the bus for me, please, will you?"

"I'll do my best," she said.

You'll do your best?? Honey, your best is not good enough! Had you not been in the bathroom for three years, we would not be in this situation.

But anyway.

Our first stop on the bus was the brownfields of Bethlehem Steel where I took this picture to bring home to Howard.

The music from Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" played on the sound system of the bus as we went into areas normally accessible to authorized personnel only. We all cheered.

Here is another picture I took.

And here is one which shows my friend Jane.

Aren't these pictures great? My brother George and I were talking a while ago about one way in which we are different. That is the fact that George has no interest in industrial history while I am very interested in it for some reason.

At one time all kinds of railroad lines thundered through Lackawanna. They included the Erie/Lackawanna, the New York Central, Lehigh Valley, and the Pennsylvania Railroad.

We got to go up close to the monster wind turbines that are now creating energy on the site. The height is 365 feet from ground to hub. Each rod of the turbine is 150 feet long and weighs 17 tons!

Why do I find all this fascinating? But I do!

The tour stopped by Our Lady of Victory Basilica so I could light a candle for Leonard Pennario at this very holy place on the year's anniversary of his death. Isn't this a sweet statue of an angel? I chose a candle that was kind of near her because I thought he would like that. I am fussy when I light candles for Leonard. I do not light candles for him just anywhere I will have you know.

After I lit my candle for Leonard and got the ball rolling all kinds of other people on the tour, even people who are not Catholic, began stepping up to the plate, putting money in the box and lighting candles. While they prayed I sought the counsel of Our Lady of Victory.

Father Baker named the basilica for Our Lady of Victory because he was a Civil War soldier and he was in the Battle of Gettysburg. That is an experience you do not forget. Victory was a high priority for him as it is for me too.

Up by the dome of OLV ...

... you can see St. Michael the Archangel. I think that is who that is anyway. It is either he or St. Gabriel! But I think it is St. Michael because he is the one who defends us in battle and is our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil.

What about the snares of the devil's food cake?

St. Michael the Archangel does not protect us from that!

Late that night after many other stops we wound up drinking beer at a veterans' post. It is Post 63! "I hope you all dug it," our guide Eddie Dobosiewicz told us.

We did! Especially seeing Father Baker's picture on the bulletin board.

There was this poster too which I took note of at one of our other stops.

Ha, ha! My friend Jane and I have a joke for when we have a drink and are toasting each other. For years we said, "Cheers, Big Ears." Jane got that from somewhere and I like it. Then once when we were at the Broadway Market we were looking at pig ears and then we started saying, "Cheers, Pig Ears."

Now we are saying "Cheers, Weird Beard."

It is not every night you find yourself on a street corner on Electric Avenue talking with Eddie, right, a woman out walking her cat, left, and the Mayor of Lackawanna, center. The mayor of Lackawanna is named Norm Polanski.

We also met the mayor of Lackawanna's wife. Jane asked her, "What's it like, being the wife of the Mayor of Lackawanna?"

"It's all right," she said.

She met the mayor of Lackawanna in a bar! I asked her. It was Egon's Bar at the corner of Ridge and Abbott. She said Egon's is closed now.

On the way home Eddie made the rash decision to stop the bus so we could get a glimpse of Lackawanna Days. That was a big carnival they had set up and they were showing fireworks because as I mentioned, it is the 100th anniversary of the City of Lackawanna! It was incorporated in 1909. Prior to that it was part of West Seneca.

Eddie gave us 10 minutes so Jane and I thought we had time to make it to the beer tent. We did and we took our beers and tried to return to the bus but an official stopped us. He yelled: "Where are you two girls -- er, women -- going with that beer?"

Isn't it a riot how everyone is afraid to say "girls"? They are so afraid you will be offended.

So we stayed at the beer tent, figuring we had a couple of minutes. But then we were busted by the mayor of Lackawanna's wife! She saw us there and she went and told Eddie and Eddie came running up in a tizzy asking us if we were crazy and telling us to return to the bus, that he could have lost us.

Meanwhile our friend Lizzie, on the bus, was calling us on my cell phone. She knew where we were!

Lizzie and Jane and I wanna go back to Lackawanna.

Anyone else wanna?


Larry said...

Ewww, that sounded like fun, fun, fun! I will admit that I got a few chuckles from the trip too but as I have said before, those funny little messes you always get into are what life worth living, lol. And the poor 'bathroom lady' has now beem immortalized with her deed!

Great photos!

Ryan said...

I would love further explore Lackawanna! I usually only go there with out of town visitors. Wait, does that sound strange, to be taking tourists to Lackawanna? We go to the Botanical Gardens, and then walk over to the Basilica.

One time, I dragged my domesticated partner to Daisy's Cafe at the corner of South Park and Ridge. I thought the food was pretty good, but he won't go back because he was freaked out by the people at the next table who were praying. Another time, we went to the Basilica with my mother, and she splashed holy water in his face when he wasn't looking.

Your uncertainty about the identity of St. Michael the Archangel/St. Gabriel reminds me of the most recent time I was at the Basilica with my mother. First, she shortchanged the candle donation box, because that was all the cash she had on her. Then she walked over to the statue of St. Ann, set down the candle in front of her, and said, "I'm going to put this candle here, in front of Mary."

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

Domesticated partner ... people praying at Daisy's Cafe ... the "bathroom lady"... here it is Monday morning and I don't know how I am going to go back to my normal life!

Ryan said...

I suppose I should clarify that I get frustrated with all the different terms i.e., "domestic partner", "life partner", "lover" (that one really makes me cringe), "boyfriend", none of which I particularly like.

Therefore, I've settled on "domesticated partner", which I think is actually quite appropriate.

Prof. G. said...

For Ryan: How about "friend" (which means it's nobody's business), "companion", or "mate" (which has a Naval flair)?