Friday - In PA - A Tom-Tom glitch, Retreat storytelling and lots of driving

Our house in PA sits across the road from the train tracks and we feel the earth begin to vibrate when the train is coming from Gettysburg - then there is a blast on the whistle that confirms its passing. I love it.

Its a bright, sunny, windy day.
The trees are bowing and the tall beige grasses
are bending in the fields outside the kitchen window.
The trees are dark skeletons now --
their once golden leaves are brown and scattered on the green grass.
Its turning from Fall to Winter.

This evening I am telling stories for a Women's Retreat in West Chester, PA so there is a long drive ahead up HWY 30 which I am told will be heavily congested with Friday afternoon traffic. So- more will be revealed.

We had Map Quest directions to the Retreat Center in West Chester. Betsy told me it was tricky at some points so we stopped at Wal Mart and replaced our ailing Tom-Tom GPS . We would be driving back late and did not relish the idea of getting lost.

We drove out of the Wal Mart parking lot to Hwy 30 and off toward York. Jim began to set-up the GPS. Pictures of the roads are bigger and brighter. That's good - but somehow our new Tom-Tom was determined to remain set to several Slavic languages and we could not figure out how to move it to English. We made the three hour trip on a strange heavily congested highway with a woman telling us where to go in an unknown tongue and measuring our progress in "Cli Kilometers. "Clicks as they say in Europe. This would have part of the experience if we were traveling in Eastern Europe - but you know something, we were at "home" - and wanted the comfort of English. Finally we relaxed with it and it was funny. Today we will go back to Wal Mart and hope the guy who sold it can find the English channel.

I won't belabor the traffic issue . It was a lovely ride up Hwy 30 in golden afternoon sunlight through rolling farm lands and Amish country. There are stretches that are like any urban road - wall to wall strip malls, fast food stops, various car dealerships and mega gas stations like Sheetz and WaWa on both sides of the road. Slow traffic and frequent stops means time to take pictures out the car window - and I hope to add a few later. This area is also a tourist destination so there are also a lot of emporiums where you can buy gobs of tacky junk.

The retreat center was lovely - settled and comfortable. This morning the women there will be looking into a colorful wooded area through a wall of ceiling high windows in the "great room".
Quite a setting for their week-end. This is a grand group of women from a church in Atglen, PA. I have told stories for them before and very glad to be with them again. You feel their friendship and caring in the way they kid with each other. They are fun to be around. And, they are story-lovers - sharing their stories with each other and as real listeners for each other and for a storyteller. What's not to love? The extra plus for me is that the retreat leader is my best friend since Girl Scouts.

Just before I started telling stories they lit a fire in the huge stone fireplace in the Great Room thinking it would be cozy and add to the atmosphere. Believe me it did. They thought the dampers were open. They weren't and as the fire began to blaze the room glazed with smoke.
Doors opened - cold air blasted in. Someone checked the dampers ----and opened them . Ahh,
But the room was too polluted and needed to clear. The group moved into a small office where we shoe-horned in. Some in chairs, some on the floor. Fortunately I brought a stool = and it was handy.

Storytelling is an intimate art form - it worked out just FINE. We all felt fed by story - certainly I did after hearing all of their stories in the circle of introductions. That was a really effective warm-up for my stories. Ahhhhhhhh! The good feeling carried us all the way back to Biglerville - and thankfully Highway 30 had cleared a bit and the traffic moved steadily home.

The bed was a welcome sight after this good day!


Granny Sue said...

Have a good time, Ellouise! Our internet at home is still down so i'm sneaking in when I can at work. I am far, far behind on my blog reading. But getting caught up on laundry!

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