It is no secret that I do not like living in south central PA. There are many reasons, some of which I freely share, and then those reasons I choose not to share. I have tried many times to like it here, I really have. I have failed. Which, in all honestly, makes having to stay that much harder.
To be fair, I have found things, people, and places that I do adore. Utterly in some cases. However, they are just not enough to soothe the incessant pull in my soul to leave here and flutter away back home. Any where back home beats being here. Hands down.
I love C&C Coffee. Especially their white chocolate freeze, which caused me to fall in love with coffee after all, thus allowing this homegrown Washingtonian to save face and no longer feel ashamed to be such, having only loved tea and not the java juice we Washingtonians are known to profess true love for. I was 41 years old before I fell in love with a cup o' joe, and it had to be a frozen concoction involving espresso, white chocolate syrup, ice, and a secret they refuse to name. It is joy in a cup enjoyed via straw, and I partake year around. And no, I'm not embarrassed to order it in January whilst wrapped in my scarf and wearing my wool coat thank you very much. So there.
I adore Molly's Restaurant, and owe them my eternal thanks and gratitude for introducing me to chicken waffles. OMG y'all! Buttermilk waffle in crispy, yet tender perfection, with shredded, juicy chicken piled on top, and then crowned with golden, yummy chicken gravy. On the side is a bowl of redskin smashed potatoes also crowned in that gravy. To die for I tell you.
I like Cowan's Gap with it's shimmering lake and strands of pine trees peeking from amongst the hardwood forest. It is lovely and at times smells of home, and you can't beat that when you're homesick to the degree I find myself. It is best enjoyed sans summer crowds and I tend to go in early spring and all through the autumn.
On the way to or from Cowan's Gap we, or I as the case may be, almost always find a reason to stop at a little local place called The Milky Way. Their homemade ice cream is good, the chicken sandwich delicious, and the cookies they sell for Teatime Pastries are yummy to the nth degree. Then there are their chips, which are almost like a fried potato mated with a french fry, and the resulting bastard child is just truly fantabulous.
To say I love my friend Jack's restaurant is to put it mildly. He is a gifted chef who has taken a pizza & sub shop out on the edges of the boonies and turned it into a tiny Italian haven worth the long drive to get there. His cream of crab soup is my downfall, and there are times I have that with some of the fresh, hot breadsticks and nothing else. It is truly divine I must say. Truly. I am waiting on him to rename the place using his name, but his is presently still using the one it came with. His wife Shelly is also someone I adore, she is just a ray of sunshine and I so love talking with her!
Then there is Jack's brother Vinnie, who owns a restaurant a lot closer to us, and whom we love to chat with as well. Vinnie has stories of all kinds and shares them like a modern day wise man when he feels there is need. I don't get in there often, but when I do the chicken cheesesteak or a pretzel melt is on the order.
Back in town, just off the square, and very close to Molly's is a little boutique named Here's Looking At You. I have yet to be disappointed going in as she really does an amazing job of having unique, interesting, and nice things to peruse as one strolls around the shop. I love her Curly Girl Design offerings and let's not forget The Thymes Lotion collections, oh my my.
Of course life here these past 11 years would have been utterly devastating without my amazing and crazy chosen family. They are a gift from the universe to sustain me, help me grow, heal, and who have made me laugh, helped me cry, and educate me in my continuing education at this course called Life. The journey would have been one of desolate misery without them in it. I love you all so much and I know you know that, but it never hurts to hear it again and again. So, to Wendy & Holly, my sisters of the heart, I thank you for the place in your lives you've given me, I wouldn't be me without you in my heart sharing my walk along this part of my journey. To Lindsay & Casey, two more lovely daughters to love and learn from, and who give hugs when a mama needs them the most. I love you girls so much! The friends I choose as family: Lindsay, Lindsey (have you noticed how many Lindsays/Lindseys there are to be blessed with), Mo, Arnela, Korie, Danielle, Danielle, Ray, Billy, Ben, Shaun, Janelle, Will, Amanda...you guys make it possible every single day. I heart you dearly!
Thank you most of all to my mom Nancy, my husband Erick, my daughter Beth, my son Matt, my daughter Liv, and my daughter Kait, without whom life would be colorless, bleak, and not worth living. Because of y'all I can face each and every single day no matter what life throws at me, and I can keep on keeping on. Thank you for the joy, the love, the smiles, the laughter, the tears, the fears, the lessons, the humor, the beauty that is each and every one of you. I love you most of all!