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January 21st  found My Jane and I on a mission to western Pennsylvania. We picked a less than perfect day to accomplish our mission. The normally five hour drive lasted for eight hours due to the snow storm that managed to cover most of the state. Our mission was to pick up our daughter, son-in-law and four year old grandson arriving on the 22nd from Orlando Florida. We learned on the 22nd that the plane from Orlando to Pittsburgh was not very full, Hmm, I wonder why that might be-in January?

We decided to accomplish our mission using the southern route across the state. Interstate 80 in the north usually gets the worst in these storms so we hoped the Pennsylvania Turnpike would have better road conditions. We may have made this decision without taking in to account that Somerset County receives about 150 inches of snow annually! The snow fall in the county might have something to do with the altitude of the area which is topped by the highest place in Pennsylvania. Mt Davis is 3,213 feet high. I was standing on that spot in a former life as a teenager. (Probably not the only time I was that ‘high’. It was the 60s-remember?) Anyway, we were partly right about the weather! Before we got to the Turnpike at Carlisle we ran into some bad stuff where Interstate 78 and 81 meet on the east side of Harrisburg. Oh well, that is life in Pennsylvania in the winter.

Here is the important stuff! Somerset is on the turnpike and since I lived in the county during High School it was the natural stopping place on our “Quest for a Hotdog”. With that in mind we stopped to eat a hot dog at Auntie Anne’s in the rest area. Brandi, an energetic bright eyed young lady, was working the Auntie Anne counter. My Jane wanted the 10 count minis and Brandi was very apologetic because she had just sold the last ten. However, she would have a new batch ready in twelve minutes so we ordered and My Jane went shopping in the Sunoco Shoppette. (If shopping as available My Jane is ready!) Due to a sudden case of camera shyness Brandi insisted that Anne who is not Auntie Anne and doesn’t even work at Auntie Anne’s be included in the photo op.

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Thanks Ann for supporting Brandi.  Ann works for “Roy Rogers” which is next to Auntie Anne’s in the rest stop.

While My Jane shopped I ate my pretzel wrapped hot dog and began to reminisce about my High School Days. I graduated from Berlin Brothersvalley High School down the road from Somerset in the community of Berlin and have many memories of Somerset stored in my memory banks. Most prominent of the memories was dancing at the Pink Pussycat to the sounds of “Chalk and the Erasers”. The band included four of my classmates. We thought they were pretty good!

We had fifty girls in our class and everyone of them was attractive. I should know because I was in love with all of them at least once, several of them more than once and a couple of girls stole my heart more times then I can count. Unfortunately, all of the girls terrified me. I had exactly zero skills when it came to relating to the females around me. (I know it is hard to believe. But it is true.) The result of my ‘issue’ was that I only had one date in my high school years. That date happened because Karen Brant invited me to the Chico (a girls club) Dinner Dance. I distinctly remember walking her to her door after the date and running back to the car before I might embarrass myself any more than I already had! I suppose this all happened so I would be available when My Jane showed up six and a half years after graduation. I sure was available when My Jane walked into my life:-)

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Jane’s minis arrived to end my trip down memory lane as together we enjoyed our delicious pretzel wrapped dogs of both sizes before we continued our mission to meet our family at the airport the next morning.

Somerset County was created on April 17, 1795 from part of Bedford County to the east and was named for some place in the United Kingdom named Somerset, of course. The County is part of the sad day in 2001 when hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Stonycreek Township near the town of Shanksville September 11. You are welcome to stop at the Flight 93 Memorial (My Jane and I visited this sight several years ago.) and remember the brave souls who stopped the plane from smashing in to its appointed target probably somewhere in Washington D.C.

See you next time.

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