Unfortunately, Marjorie and Chuck had to work during the week I was there. Staying at their gracious home while they were gone gave me a deep understanding of how a dog feels when its master leaves. When my hosts returned that first evening, I leaped up, waving my arms about and shouting: “You're home! You're home! Oh, thank god! You're home!” - much as I imagine a dog would say. They laughed at me. It set the tone for our convivial evening.
Pennsylvania is dotted with small towns, one of them – about an hour's drive from Carlisle, hosts Bube's Brewery. Ironically, that town is called Mount Joy. I wonder if the townsfolk were joyous from all the beer available to them at the brewery.
The building has been home to the brewery since the 1800's – yes, history again. But I'll not get historical in this entry. I want to tell you about the Pirates' Feast that we attended.
Held in the catacombs – an underground place where people are generally buried, two long tables were set up for 20 guests. The appetizer, bread with garlic butter, was already on the table. We were famished, so we attacked it.
As we ate one course after the other, the entertainers, in pirate costumes, wove their tale of 3 ships, one of which had been sunk for its treasure. We, on the Castigator protested our innocence as loudly as the other table (whose ship name I can't remember). It was then understood that we too were pirates, and that one of the two ships had sunk the third. The cast was what was left of the crew of the sunken ship and their womenfolk, who had stayed on land. The dinner was a meeting of rival pirate gangs, trying to determine who had sunk the unfortunate ship and killed Bonnie's (a cast member) baby brother.
Throughout the show, there were offerings: palm reading, how to play magic tricks and 'rubbin'. That latter means 'massage'. At first, a young woman showing lots of cleavage 'rubbed' all over Chuck. He got very red-faced and demanded she stop. She moved on to Cory, Marjorie's nephew. He too got embarassed when she put her hand under his shirt. She then stopped 'rubbin' the men at our table and moved across the hall and started 'rubbin' all over the men at that table.
Marjorie paid a pirate to 'rub' me and her sister, Yvonne. I have to tell ya': that was some good rubbin! Apparently the pirate is a licensed masseur. He did a fantastic job on my neck and back. He also discovered I'm very ticklish and encouraged me to howl and laugh ever louder. I had no problem with that, and soon the entire dining hall is laughing with (at?) me.
With the meal came a choice of beer, wine or juice. We ordered a pitcher of each. Marjorie, the designated driver, drank the juice. We thought that Yvonne would help me drink the pitcher of wine but she, Chuck and Cory downed the beer. I didn't want to waste the wine, a fruity-tart drink, but I'm not much of a drinker to begin with. After that massage I had no desire at all for wine. Fortunately, water was also available. I downed probably 6 glasses.
The food was only OK but the fun and entertainment more than made up for it. It was found that the lead pirate, all decked out in black, had sunk his own ship so he could have all the treasure for himself. He was dragged off in chains and 'shot'. As we were leaving we found him in the lobby, on the floor, begging for help for his wounds. He was not so badly wounded that he couldn't get up and pose for this picture with us, though.
If you'd like more pictures of this event or the brewery, I encourage you to check out: http://bubesbrewery.com
Marjorie has lived in Pennsylvania for eighteen years and I've visited there quite a lot. Much of the usual tourist hotspots, we'd already taken in: Amish villages – and their delicious food!; wine tastings; home tours – when people who live in historic mansions open their homes to visitors. Often, they provide snacks as well.
The cashier at the store we were at was shocked when we told her our intended tour was the QVC television studio. Why go there when there is so much else to see and do? Her outrage did not permit us to explain that we'd already done most everything else.
For those not in the know, QVC is a television shopping channel. Founded in 1986, it offers shoppers the opportunity to view/buy merchandise as presented by hosts and sometimes the creator of the product, be it: clothing, shoes, make up, home accessories or kitchen gadgets. It is the second such television shopping channel. Its rival, HSN – Home Shopping Network was founded 3 years before. QVC – Quality, Value, Convenience has gone global, and has a joint venture with a shopping channel in China.
The tour itself was interesting. I'm not much of a shopper – that title belongs to Marjorie, but I bombarded our guide with technical questions. I was spellbound just viewing the studios and equipment! Along the tour route were displays of (I'm beginning to hate using this word!) historic moments for the operation: a million sales, partnering with other countries, and the original set, where the operator took calls while the host narrated. In the background of this picture is my favorite singer of all time, Barry Manilow.
The last day there, Marjorie had taken off from work. Poor thing, run down from constant visiting, the holidays and the cold, had been suffering a cough and chest congestion the whole time I was there and, as though that weren't enough, a terrrible toothache! So, we took our time on our last day together. Our only goal was The Farm Show, before taking me to the bus station.
We were not interested in animals, seeds, farming techniques or equipment. Our target was the food court. Specifically: fried cheese and milk shakes – ice cream you can drink through a straw. YUM!!!
Our time running out, we headed to the (historic) train/bus station in downtown Harrisburg. Marjorie waited with me, until the long-distance bus to Fayetteville, North Carolina loaded up. I left my best, oldest, dearest friend in the Pennsylvania cold to embark on an overnight journey to my next stop: my daughter's home in North Carolina.