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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, August 9 2001

First "real" vacation

If a "real" vacation is defined as a trip with no visits to homes of family members, my first was a long weekend or maybe a whole week on the Allegheny River in Templeton, north of Kittanning. My neighbor, Eddie Hertzog, a year younger than I at probably age 13, but bigger in stature, invited me and Al ("Sonny," as we always called him in those days) Thompson, a year older than I, to accompany him and his uncle and guardian, John Holmes, on that fishing vacation.

Templeton was a tiny village smaller than Belsano, as I recall, and we stayed in a "cabin," hardly more than a shed, that John rented. It had no running water, so we carried buckets of water from a spigot a short walk away, probably in the back of the store whose owners also owned the "cabin." Despite not getting along all that well with Eddie or his uncle, the trip was a highlight of my youth. I've always loved being on water (this being my first experience with it), and we had a motorboat that John would ply up the river to quiet coves for fishing. I don't remember any of us catching any fish, but the experience of being on the water in beautiful hot days and tranquil evenings was unforgettable. We were on the river at dawn, too, which was exhilarating.

Other highlights of that trip.... A railroad trestle crossed a large tributary of the river a short walk from the cabin, and we walked out on it not over the river, but as far as we could with a concrete abutment under us. One of us discovered that we could drop down under the rails and sit on the wide shelf of the trestle high above the smaller side river. The river was a distance down that probably would have killed anyone who fell, but I don't remember being the least bit afraid on that ledge. I do remember sitting there while a train passed just a few feet over our heads, and commenting that that would be an experience we would share with our friends for years!

I remember that there was a little store, but couldn't describe it beyond those two words, but distinctly remember that it had a brand of sodapop we'd never heard of before, and it had lots of flavors that were very colorful in large clear glass bottles. Just looking at them created thirst.

All of these are fond memories, but the piece de resistance was, of all things, a movie. John took us into Kittanning for a matinee showing of Disney's new movie, Pinnochio. I'd not heard of it before, but I was spellbound by it and ardently loved it; it made me a fan of Walt Disney for years afterward, and I still like that feature-length animation film. It has never occurred to me before, but it was probably the first movie that I was able to follow completely; always before the plot twists would leave me feeling lost. Later, I bought the comic book version of Pinnochio and read it repeatedly to relive the movie experience.

A few years later I got to spend some weekends with the Sparky Millward family at their Raystown Dam retreat, which was only the next opportunity I had to be on the water (excluding fishing from the banks of small streams). But weekends at Raystown were so busy and noisy (being primarily for water skiing, and I never got the hang of that), that they weren't nearly as satisfying as the fishing trip on the Allegheny.

And a few years even later, after my friend Dick Millward had moved to California and while I was editor of the Journal, a public entity involved in the redeveloping of the old Raystown Dam into its present much larger and no longer privately owned status, invited me as a member of the press to come to the Dam for a presentation of the plans. I asked and got permission from the Millwards to use their house on the river bank so my two close buddies in those days, Clem Deffenbaugh and Stewart Wertz, could go along. Because it was a week night, the tranquility was much in evidence. The next day, the hosting state or federal agency drove us members of the press through the woods up steep hills bordering the dam, in a four-wheel-drive Jeep (my only experience of that), and on the water on a touring boat. This turned out to be the second-best, still—a lifetime later—river-based get-away of my life.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Through a child's eyes

DRESS-UP A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit." "And why not, Darling?" "You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

SCHOOL A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write—and they won't let me talk."

Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought of the day

Simplicity is the natural result of profound thought.

Sent by Jimbo

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