It couldn't have been more ideal weather for the Clark Gable Foundation bus trip to the heart of New York City for three days last week, with Nan Mattern, executive director, and Jackie Rocchi, secretary, making arrangements.
We started off in the dead of night from the Harrison Community parking lot and eventually had the drum beat of hard rain lull us to sleep until the morning got brighter.
The bus had a feature that should be on every vehicle, a food and reading tray, with a keyhole to hold coffee cups or a cold drink.
A 50-50 fundraiser was held, and Marjorie Landkrahn was the winner to give her a leg up on shopping trips.
I saw a billboard for Frog and Toad books and electronic reading, and it brought back memories of reading material that I bought for Darin. One was about a frog or toad, can't remember which, who made cookies and kept eating them. He decided to put them up so he wouldn't eat them and realized that since he knew where they were that they were not safe. In final frustration, he threw them out and said, "Now I have no cookies." His friend replied, "Yes, but you can always make more cookies."
I don't know what the lesson teaches, but Darin liked the books.
We were amazed at most of the gas prices as we came nearer to New York City - $3.13 per gallon. But the same did not usually apply to food. Just to say that we ate at Lindy's, Lamont and I had a New York-style bagel, mine with cream cheese, his without, and coffee and tea, and the cost was nearly $20.
Now I can say I ate at Lindy's, where pictures of many in the film and television industry who dined there are featured. There were even omelets named after Halle Berry, Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano and Tim Allen.
A stop was made at the Carlos Bakery, a Seinfeld location, as we wanted some of their wonderful bakery goods that Don, our bus driver, told us were exquisite. We jauntly stepped into a line that we didn't think was too long and were immediately told that we needed to go back to the next block to get in line, and the wait could be one and half hours long.
It seems that customers cannot stand in line in front of another business, possibly causing them disruptions. So those hungry for wonderful cupcakes, black and white cookies and canolli had to cross the street and stand in a line that extended about half way down the block. We decided to pass on that.
We were alerted to the 8th Street, Hoboken, former home of Frank Sinatra, and all the brownstone buildings there as we drove through that part of New York.
Bus driver Don pointed out that there were few obese New Yorkers. "They walk to many of the places they want to go, walk their dogs and eat healthy foods," he explained. When someone of not very light proportion walked past, someone on the bus said, "That's someone on vacation."
We passed a trapeze school and saw students practicing on the high-flying apparatus on the roof of the school.
It was pointed out by our knowledgeable bus driver that New York has more skyscrapers than any city in the world, and I think I got my neck muscles out of sync from gawking up at the high buildings.
I had never heard of Deane and Reade Drug Stores before, but Lana Dunlap was looking for a toothbrush and our gang of Karen Jochims, Carol Mowder, Pauline Cope, Andy Pelegreen, Lamont and me went inside a business that had two stories of merchandise.
St. Paul's, a parish that is a national historic landmark where George Washington attended church, was humbling to enter. It was totally immersed in helping during the tragedy of 9-11. There was a display of tiny handprints with messages of hope written on them to some of the victims. There also was a big display, with pictures of those who lost their lives during that terrible September day. "Gone But Not Forgotten" was written under the display. "May we never forget those who fell and those who carry on."
Another display was of badges, patches and hats of police, firefighters and emergency workers who helped during those long and painful days.
There was a cemetery in the church yard, something that is touching in the big city of New York. Some of the stones have the names eroded from the front. Others have long stories telling about the life of those who passed away.
There is a replica of the pew that the Washington family used while in church service. It bears the Great Seal of the United States above the seating arrangement. When Washington took his oath of office in 1776, he had to go to the Federal Hall on Wall Street, as the Trinity Church had burned in 1776. He later walked to St. Paul's Chapel to pray.
Just as prayer was needed then, it was needed during the 9-11 loss. In the first three months after that day, more than 3,000 workers passed through the chapel gates at all hours of the day or night to pray.
Becky Eberhart had her daughters, Katherine and Holly, on the trip to learn history and get in some good shopping time. There also were fun times as the girls met the parents of Lady Gaga, restaurant owners in New York. They are very "green minded" as they brought every bit of paper from snacks, tissues and other items that would litter the bus floor up front to the garbage container at frequent intervals. The girls had some of the neatest hats to wear each day.
Carol Mowder came from Navarre to go on the trip, and Pauline Cope traveled from near Canton. The entire group made for great traveling companions, and we give thanks to Nan Mattern and Jackie Rocchi who made the arrangements for all 39 of us to have a great time.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)