On the Run

Let’s say you are getting off the exit at Paper Mill Road off 309, Springfield Township. You look to your right as you come up to the light.

You look some more.

You look some more. What is that dangling from the branches of that tree? Some new kind of fruit, just now revealed by the leaves falling?

Look one more time.

OK, I’ll explain. Behind that fence someone had planted gourds in a garden. The vines left home and traveled up that tree perched in the no-man’s land at the highway exit. Gourds like to hang as they grow, so the vine made a great decision.

I love seeing the triumph of ingenuity and the motivation of hope, no matter who is exercising it!


Oranges and Tangerines

Yesterday, November 20, my husband and I were in Allentown, PA, to go to an art event, and we had a little extra time, so we thought we’d drive around a bit.

We chose an industrial area of town.


This section is a mix of factory buildings, some in use, some in the redevelopment zone, some waiting for whatever the future brings, and some doing business even on a Sunday (like the tire dealer – we watched a car with a flat tire drive on the rim, very slowly, and into oncoming traffic, to get into their parking lot. Don’t say the tire business has no drama).

We saw this little building perched at the corner of a vacant area near the old railroad tracks. Intrigued by the signs, we stopped to look.



Here’s a closer look at the signs.


It was a bit of a puzzle to us, this former business. Oranges, tangerines, and temples (a hybrid of tangerine and orange, I later learned), not to mention pecans – these are not local to us in Pennsylvania. So this place specialized in something – special! Why the business existed, why here? I don’t know. We went a little closer.

It’s a solid little building, isn’t it? Look at this sign – mentioning November 15. Not this year, I see, and maybe not any year recently, but at some time, winter was brightened up by the availability here of exotic fruit and nuts from down south. I am old enough to remember when a box of oranges or pecans at Christmas was something special, and they were popular gifts to have shipped from sunny Florida.


Interesting little spot, wasn’t this?

in narrow streets

in narrow streets

in narrow streets

Caught Unawares

Now you know how it is when you are in the car, and you think you are all alone, unobserved, even. But you’re not.

Not long ago I was stopped behind a school bus at a light. It was empty and so no kids blocked my view (or made faces or gestures at me out of the back window). I noticed I could see the driver in his mirror. I whipped out the camera and took a couple of shots.

I am sure he felt he was totally unseen and had no idea the woman in the car behind him had such a view. I think he was just enjoying the idea of being along on the bus, not a kid in sight.

Anyway, kind of interesting, don’t you think?

Pittsburgh Sights #6

This item is not really in Pittsburgh at all – the location is one of the rest stops on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But, it was part of the Pittsburgh trip so I feel it fits right in here. On our way home, we stopped to eat lunch, and I noticed all the chairs at the tables had a little keystone cut-out in the back.


Certainly very handy to put your fingers into so as to get a good grip to pull out the chair, right? Yes, of course, but there’s more to it – the keystone is the symbol for our state.


Any shape would have been useful, pretty much, but I liked the imagination someone had to make it a keystone.


Trouble Averted

Rock and a penny for size.

Rock and a penny for size.

You say, what is this photo all about? I’ll tell you. It’s a nice story.

Last week, the day before my cataract surgery, I was driving along. Feeling a bit on edge, but otherwise everything was as usual. Then, the warning light for low tire pressure came on. And, in my car, there is even a little schematic showing which tire – the passenger front.

Well, in some consternation, I turned around to go home. I had about 5 miles to drive and I had no idea why the tire was signaling for help. The car is just about 6 months old. Surely it should be fine?

I thought of the garage where we have taken our cars for years. Close to home and I knew they would help me out. I managed to get there fine. The tire looked low, and so I was glad to be there. I parked the car at the edge of the lot and went in. Sure, the guys said. Pull the car around and we’ll look.

I brought the car around the corner and to the front of the garage. I got out and went back into the office. We looked out the window at the car. At that moment, the tire finished going totally flat. I saw the rim sink to the ground.

After an examination, the pictured stone was found, driven all the way into a groove in the tire. The guys pulled it out and patched the tire. Some air and it was all fixed. Just like that!

I was so grateful I might have said, “Thank you!” about twenty times. I know the whole staff was laughing (in a nice way) by the time I finished. I am thankful for the help they gave me and so quickly, too. I am also marveling that the car waited until I got to a safe place before the tire went totally flat, and I’m grateful for that, too. As I said, I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to cope with a flat tire that day.

See, I told you it was a nice story, so that’s why I’m writing it down here. And, I am still wondering how this little rock, not that sharp, found just the right spot in the tire to do this kind of work? It is surprising, isn’t it?

Lightning Flash Service Guy

A few days ago I found myself stopped behind this truck at a traffic light. I just loved the truck. It had enough information on it to keep me happy through several lights, I think, with its lists of all the business services, phone numbers, slogans, and even an endorsement “Best of” from a local newspaper.

It was a van for a heating and electrical business. I drove behind it for some miles. It was moving rather slowly and I think its shocks were not in great shape or it was heavily loaded. I could see the driver’s face in his mirror and he was not on the phone nor was he extremely old. So I think the truck was just kind of tired. Obviously there is a great need for electrical and heating repairs and this truck is out there doing its part.

Waiting at the light I noticed the lightning flash guy. I had to take a picture. I thought the idea was clever, given the truck’s business; I liked the execution of the little guy’s image; and I liked the irony of advertised speed vs. reality – a tired truck and a cautious driver. I came away thinking that I would consider hiring these guys just on the basis of the truck.

Lightening flash service guy on truck rear 4-2-15 small

Need a Ride?

A few days ago I was waiting at a traffic light and glanced to my right. I saw this little building and, though I’m sure I’ve seen it many times before, today I paid attention to it.

It’s a small yellow-painted concrete block building sitting against the rail line and with a parking lot in front of it. No pretensions, neatly kept, and I like the touch the orange awning over the door brings to it. There is some concern for comfort of customers and workers coming in and out of that door, and yet the building is so sparely constructed that originally, even this modest covering wasn’t included. Staying with the basics is what this place is about – it’s just here to do its job.

The clarity of its function really caught my eye:  the sign reading Taxi Cab Company says it all.  No flashy catchy euphemisms. Just a plain statement of purpose and a phone number.

Overall, the get-straight-to-the-point attitude of the place appealed to me.

I’ve never taken a taxi in the suburbs that I can remember, so I don’t know how the service is. But now I know where to look if I need a ride sometime, don’t I?

Happy Tuesday.

Taxi Cab Company Glenside 3-24-15

Taxi Cab Company, Glenside, PA

Sunshine Project – Day 89, Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

I have always liked cemeteries. I find them peaceful and calm, usually full of trees and bushes, and quiet enough to hear birds sing. I also find the idea of so many life stories in such a small space something to think about.

So I decided to take a sunshine to the cemetery of St Thomas Episcopal Church, about 15 minutes from home. A church has occupied this site since the 1690’s – the current building from the 1880’s. It’s a large piece of ground and the church is set on top of a hill. Many people around us know of this church because of their carillon – concerts are given in the summer and I have heard the bells ringing while running or walking on the nearby Green Ribbon Trail.

I’ve never been in the church or even on the grounds before today. Why am I interested, then? Well, it’s because of traffic. I pass through this area several times a week and usually have to wait at the light at the corner of the property. As you do, I glance out the window to pass the time, and for years I have looked at this cemetery. There is one grave in particular, very near the road, that I always seem to be stopped beside. So, I thought I’d take the time to walk around the site today.

I parked near the church at the top of the hill. The oldest graves are near the front door of the church. I saw some with dates in the 1700’s. Some of them can’t be read at all – time has eroded their message. I believe these are made of marble and I know that marble does not stand up to the weather as well as granite.

I wanted to go down the hill to see the area I view from the car so often. There is a long flight of steps.

Steps down the hill St Thomas Church 3-19-15 small

I could the see the traffic on the Church Road below lined up trying to get on to Bethlehem Pike. I had not thought of this intersection as having a religious flavor before, but – look at those two names. I will tell you that “Bethlehem” refers to Bethlehem, PA, though, not the other one. There are several churches along Church Road, though; it covers quite a distance.

Here is the grave I most often see. I have often wondered why, with such a long life, that the event commemorated is service in World War II.

I started back up the steps. I noticed some very elaborate stones and I had to stop at this one particular area – everyone in the family had a stone like this one. Quite a sight.

I set the sunshine at the top of the steps. It seemed the right place, up here at the top, looking out like this, over the ranks of stones and the busy traffic below.

The sunshine is set on the low stone wall near the edge.

The sunshine is set on the low stone wall near the edge.

I walked back toward the church, meaning to examine it a bit more closely, but this table-like memorial stopped me. I have seen these before and I have to say, it would not be my choice of remembrance. It just reminds me too much of a kitchen table.

Table gravestone St Thomas Church 3-19-15 small

The church is built of a beautiful red stone, simple, but with the right amount of detail.

I was also very interested in the patterns of the stone. I think some of these markings are not decoration but are from when the stones were cut for the church, but I don’t know – I also think it might have been a style to work the surfaces like this. I guess maybe a combination of both thing? I will have to investigate. No matter what, it makes for a good play of light and shadow on the walls and keeps them from looking too overwhelming.

As I left, I noticed mothers and little children carrying their backpacks coming into one of the other buildings for preschool. The flow of people’s lives through this site continues.

Happy sunshine.

Sunshine, March 19, 2015.

Sunshine, March 19, 2015.

More about the Sunshine Project here – or search under the category “Sunshine Project”.

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