Crossing The Mason Dixon
Yo! Thats what they say in Philadelphia where I just spent several days.
From the plane I was wondering what I was seeing on the ground that turned
out to be cornfields. It had looked odd from above as the corn had been harvested
and the stalks cut for silage. The countryside seemed very open and prarie-like as
we drove to Hershey, PA. It was Sunday so the Antique Car Museum was closed.
Sorry I missed that. The weather was great - about like home only just a little
cooler at night. I had preconceived notions of ice and snow, tall smog -
belching smoke stacks, crowded conditions and rude people. It wasnt like
that at all. I remember a song by Moms Apple Pie titled "Good People
Everywhere You Go."
Downtown we saw ginkgo trees 2 ½ in diameter and eight stories tall.
We saw sycamore trees that two people couldnt reach around. In a nearby
park another group of trees was loaded with fruit and I think it may have been Red Jade
crabapple or Zumi crabapple. While we were staying in town I noticed very few
people have yards or even driveways as the houses were built right on the street.
We visited several more parks and museums and saw enormous, expensive artwork and
statuary everywhere - gargoyles, griffins, ogres and such. Corporate Yard Art
I guess you could call it. There was plenty of public transportation with a purple
bus system called The Phlash (see photo at left) and a trolley system that doubled as a subway because part of
it ran underground.
Downtown they have a strip called South Street which IS the Mason Dixon line. The funny thing about this area
is that it reminds me more of Duval Street in Key West, Florida than anywhere else.
The building facades may be brilliant color combinations or may even be a mosaic of
tiles and mirrors. The shops carry the widest variety of merchandise you could
imagine. Theres something for everyone. There seems to be almost as many
restaurants as shops and quite a few post their menu outside at the entrance, just like in
Key West. The people in this area are an eclectic mix and its a great place to
people watch. No one bothers anyone and the whole area feels quite safe in the city
of brotherly love.
If you go there, stop at the Olde City Pizza near the Betsy Ross Souvenir Shop
and order their famous Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich and tell me if you dont
think the waitress there looks like a voluptuous version of Talia Shire from the movie
© EDDIE RHOADES