Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Nanty Glo by way of Amtrak

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Goat for Dinner The young couple invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having. "Goat," the little boy replied. "Goat?" replied the startled man of the cloth, "Are you sure about that?" "Yep," said the youngster. "I heard Dad say to Mom, 'Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.'"


Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another. . . . [it holds that] Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.

John Henry Newman in 1879

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Jon Kennedy's recent book, The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, from Adams Media, F&W Publications, is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and can be ordered here. It is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in Kindle and Nook ebook editions.

JONAL ENTRY 1233 | JUNE 18 2012

After my week in New Jersey, my friend Darrell drove me to the 30th Street train station in Philadelphia to catch the Amtrak to Johnstown. But as I was arriving outside the station, John Golias, who had agreed to meet me at the Johnstown station and drive me to Nanty Glo, called and suggested we meet in Altoona, instead. I've been through Horseshoe Curve and the Gallitzin Tunnel (the most exciting points on the train ride across Pennsylvania) in a train before, so that was fine with me. Our train was delayed an hour by a freight demanding its priority over human passengers just outside Harrisburg, which I was given to believe is pretty much routine. And here's a tip on traveling by Amtrak...they won't tell you this until it's too late, but the fares advertised online are good only if you make reservations online. If you walk into the station without a ticket, the price is considerably higher...$61 to Altoona on the Medicare discount over against a $49 fare all the way to Johnstown an hour (or two, depending on freight traffic) if bought online, even before the OAP price break (OAP is what they call senior citizens in England, where I first encountered such means "old-age pensioners"; how delightfully politically incorrect is that?).


I have long wished that someone would post some everyday shots of the everyday scene in the Valley, so I expect just that kind of material will be more the rule than the exception here during my stay. This view of the alley next door to the Liberty Cafe on Roberts Street gives a chuckle to those who notice a certain ambiguity in the signage. Marlene's is thataway, but you can't get there from here (but you can make a left into the parking lot on the other side of the Miners and Merchants Bank Building from this point).

I'd offered to work as a volunteer at the Liberty Cafe (a fundraising project of the town's historic museum, named for the Liberty Theater in which it is housed) for the summer if they could find me a place where I could unroll my sleeping bag, and they came through with something much better. So I've been here a week now and have been asked to record oral (and visual) personal histories of Blacklick Valley people. Thus far I've interviewed three men who go back to the early days of Nanty Glo and the mines here, but I hope to get to interview people of all ages by the time the summer is over, to see and hear how much different it is growing up here now than it was when the older generation was "coming up," and even in comparison with some of the generations in between.

It's one thing to plan tasks and goals to accomplish on a trip but doing them is another, of course. I've been noticing that for years in my trips to Europe and around the world. I've usually chalked up the unaccomplished plans to jetlag, but now I realize I'd probably fall short on parts of whatever I'd plan even if I stayed in California intead traveling to distant points. Planning is always easier than doing. One of my plans was to have at least a short Jonal entry every day after getting to Nanty Glo, and here it is my eighth day in town and this is the first post with photos and a video clip. So I won't promise daily posts (though I did that once—maybe even more than once—when traveling in London and Paris) so maybe I'm slowing down. Nor does it help that the better Windows and the webpage software get the harder it becomes to accomplish anything.... It sounds easy to walk four miles on the Ghost Town Trail, make and process still photos and videos, get out a Jonal page featuring some of those, do at least one life history interview...on paper.


This short video clip is a self-explanatory visit to the Blacklick Creek in downtown Nanty Glo. After the video launches, double-click the screen to play it at full-screen. If your browser cannot open the video in this format, you can try it on YouTube, here.

Tomorrow I have to get the pace up a little. But one thing I haven't factored in has been catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, which is both the most time consuming and most rewarding factor of all.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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