Entry for April 23, 2008: Pennsylvania trip

Friends, I hope you had a good weekend and a Happy Passover. My thoughts are with the ill parents of Ron J.K., Brian D.H., and Erik B.L. Speaking of family, this past weekend, Janice and I drove down to Pennsylvania to see her extended family. She normally tries to visit around Easter, but the holiday was early this year, and her mother was just recovering from knee-replacement surgery.

On Friday, 18 April 2008, we managed to avoid serious traffic on the long drive from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, which held its presidential primaries this week (gas prices are hurting everyone). We met Janice’s parents, youngest sister Melinda, and Melinda’s children Amanda and Joshua at Perkins for lunch before checking into the Howard Johnson in Allentown, Pa. Melinda’s husband Gary wasn’t able to join us from Upstate New York.

We then caravanned out to Roadside America, a miniature village that we’ve gone to before. However, each time is a bit different as our nieces and nephews grow up. I’m a big fan of model railroads and such dioramas.

We then grabbed dinner at Saville’s Diner, where Janice’s paternal grandmother (Mammy) had taken us after Thanksgiving (I ate scrapple), before visiting Janice’s Uncle Billy, the boisterous brother of her mother Linda. Unfortunately, Josh became ill with some sort of stomach bug and slowly recovered through the rest of the weekend. Despite Joshua (and thus Melinda) being indisposed, it was nice to see that side of my in-laws.

On Saturday, April 19, we went to a local Earth Day fair/flea market before meeting Janice’s middle sister Shelly, her husband Melvin, and their children Becky, Laura, and David for lunch at Talarico’s, a longtime favorite for its cheesesteak subs.

We then went to Mammy’s apartment nearby, where we met more of Janice’s father Marvin’s side of the family. I spent much of that afternoon horsing around outside with smart Laura, rambunctious David, and precocious Amanda, while Becky talked about boys and Joshua slowly felt better. Janice and I also stopped by the Zern’s indoor flea market (we picked up some shoo-fly pie; see photo above). We later ordered pizza for dinner.

On Sunday, April 20, Janice and I stopped by the Blue Colony Diner in Connecticut on our way home. If, gentle reader, you’ve made it this far, by now you’ve no doubt observed my love of cuisine, specifically so-called comfort food. Why? Part of it is from growing up around New York City, where Jewish delicatessens and Greek diners are as much a part of the landscape as corner pizzerias (or, more recently, burrito chains).

Part of my affection is that in diners, one can get many types of food (breakfast, ethnic, dessert) at all times of day or night, served by swift, friendly, and unpretentious people. There are relatively few near where I now live in New England, so nostalgia no doubt plays a part. I realize that to eat grilled sandwiches or chocolate cake too often probably wouldn’t be especially healthy.

I’ve spent the past few days catching up on work, gaming, and genre television. The fourth season (series in the U.K.) premiere of the revived time-travel drama Doctor Who and the second season finale of conspiratorial spin-off Torchwood were both surprisingly serious, with significant character casualties, as was the latest season finale of young metahuman ensemble Smallville.

Although I didn’t get to the New York Comic-Con, I’ve been catching up on news from the event, most of which pertains to cinematic adaptations of comic book superheroes. I’ll be catching up on the hardcopy versions, but this coming weekend’s editorial off-site retreat and next week’s opening of Iron Man should be good. More on those to come!

Superhero collection
Josh’s action figures