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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Family Day

This was our year to do a sightseeing tour as a family. We had to go all the way to the end of the summer before we found a date that suited everyone--August 29. We planned to spend the day at Valley Forge doing outdoor activities. Plan B for a rainy day was to go to Harrisburg where we could do indoor things. The forecast at the beginning of the week looked good but the closer we got to Saturday the worse it sounded. The rain began about 10 p.m. Thursday and continued on and off all day Friday. The big question was whether it would stop for Saturday or not. Finally, late Friday afternoon we decided it would eliminate the stress if we just went with Plan B. There was some light rain on the way to Harrisburg Saturday morning and we knew we had made the right decision.
All 27 of our tribe met on the steps of the Capitol building soon after 10 a.m. and took the 11 a.m. tour of the building. I was there on a school trip when I was in about sixth grade but did not remember much of it. Even if I had, I would have seen it from a different perspective now. I could not believe the amount of real 23-carat gold used in the trim. Our guide told us this is one of the most ornate Capitol buildings in the United States and I believe her!

This is the third building, constructed in 1906 to replace the one which burned at the end of the 1800s. Thirteen million dollars was spent in 1906 to construct this building and today it is priceless. Some of the building materials are granite, marble, bronze, mahogany, stained glass, and Moravian tile. The marble used on the walls of the House of Representatives was quarried in France. The quarry closed after it was removed so this is the only place in the Western hemisphere you can see that particular kind of marble. Some of the chandeliers weigh as much as an adult elephant. A lady was commissioned to do the paintings on the walls. She spent 28 years completing the project.
Here is the sweeping staircase in the rotunda.
When the tour ended, it was lunch time. We carried our finger-food lunch to a large patio behind the Capitol where there are a lot of small round tables for that purpose. Just as we started to set up, rain began to fall. We quickly grabbed everything and dragged it to a wide porch. It was close fellowship with no tables or chairs, but we munched our lunch while it rained. By the time we finished the rain had stopped so that no one got wet carrying the remains to the vehicles. We walked across the street to the William Penn Museum where we spent the afternoon in dry, air conditioned comfort.
Some of the families with children headed back to our place first and started cooking supper. When we arrived the men and boys were finishing the grass cutting Leroy had been unable to do because of the rain. The food was ready by the time they finished mowing. Just as we began to eat, the rain came back. This time there was wind but we were in the house instead of on a porch. Gerald's contribution to the meal added a memory but was not popular and tasted by very few. I took a small bite of his Pickled Pig Snout and it tasts like tripe. In the end, the offending plate containing a whole pig snout was removed from the table for the sake of the squemish majority.
We had a good day that stretched out until 9:30 p.m. even if we had to take our second choice of activities. Where we are is not as important as simply being together. I am thankful to have a family that can enjoy each other's company.

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