Kindness Chain

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The next state was one which I had been to before for work back when I had a job. I miss having some consistent income at times, but that’ll happen once I finish this journey. The state is Pennsylvania.

As I was driving in, I didn’t have anything scheduled. The car and Ohio had some flux in potential but I’m not a rookie to the pop in approach. Along the drive, I came across a sign for the Underground Railroad Museum. It was about a 15 minute or so detour but seemed like I ought to make a visit.

There was a small town and the museum looked small from the outside. I heard it used to be the town bank. As I entered the building, it was quiet, but for one person talking to the group of about 10 sitting in a circle. I was surprised and quickly muttered sorry before leaving, but the curator kindly said it wasn’t an issue and I should join them by pulling up a chair. After such kindness, I didn’t hesitate to do just that.

The people in the group were each sharing a bit of their life story as encouraged by the curator. It was neat to hear some stories of others and the founder/curator of the museum made note that stories are part of history. History is just history but we should learn from it and work to understand as best we can. He had a wealth of knowledge he shared it through the experience.

After the detour, I got back on the road and came across Forged Valor CrossFit which was started by two friends and they expressed importance in understanding how the friendship and business partnership need to be understood by both parties. One of the owners asked about my lodging, and I said I didn’t have a solid plan. I had a possible place but in Philadelphia, about 5 some hours away but it was yet to be confirmed. He said he wanted to help, but was getting help himself from others where he could stay in their basement until his wife moved to town. He had only moved there a short while ago for the opening of the gym. I appreciated his kindness in trying and he said he’d check with the hosts just in case. I added no pressure or worries but I appreciated the gesture.

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I found a brewery close by, Rusty Gold Brewing and struck gold! So clever I am. I could meet with the owner where I heard the need in the town for such a spot lead to a great entrepreneurial venture. I enjoyed a beer during the chat. They even had a burger challenge that I considered. I’m fairly certain I could’ve done it as I’ve completed others but didn’t want to risk the $35 fee for not making it. Plus, it was later in the night and I prefer to eat large amounts earlier to have time to digest.

It was now night time and I heard back from the owner of Forged Valor and the people he was staying with were willing to host me as well. A chain of kindness! When I arrived, he offered me some food and the hosts did as well. Luckily, I had at least something as I could pass on a couple beers that were given to me by Land Grant.

The next day I had a gym Furyan CrossFit that was set up through my Ohio connection. We had messaged through Facebook but sometimes it isn’t as frequent. The day was dialed in but not the time. I decided I needed to press the issue and show up. The meeting was a “maybe” as his schedule was quite full for the day and I was looking to move on before it got too late. He did offer I could workout during open gym as he and another coach were midway through their training. I decided I needed the workout in and got some solid work, followed by a shower. Then I heard his sister, another coach could come in and cover the class so I could have the meeting. I was grateful!

I then tried to hit up a brewery but had no luck. I had to use the bathroom and walked across the street where I saw a pizza by the slice. I was quite hungry but was debating if I should get it. I asked if it was good and was convinced by the worker. As if he would say it was bad, but really his enthusiasm sold it more than the words.

While getting the slice, I chatted and told him my story. He told me he played music at a brewery and was willing to call them for me. Shortly after that, I was on my way to another brewery, my last for Pennsylvania!

I got into Levity Brewing and the owner was out grabbing coffee but I didn’t mind waiting. He was kind enough to meet with me and told me they take beer, not themselves seriously. I was a bit closer to Philadelphia but not much as still more than a few hours. I let my contact know I wouldn’t make it.

I did want to get to Delaware on Saturday to hit a gym but wanted to see Gettysburg. Which I didn’t know what that meant, as in where to go. Apparently, there is a tourist town there now with various things. I wanted to get some of the historical aspects, and honestly, I had the scene from Remember the Titans in my head. I love that movie and have seen it many times. Also, this is around the time of some polarizing events regarding Civil War statues and it seemed to add another layer of relevance to me, regarding the idea that these men fought a battle that some seem to carry on in their own manner. I wanted a chance to be in the environment and reflect.

I saw a place where to go and looked up that the parking closed at 10pm. I was surprised at the late closure but thought I was in luck. I drove in and parked, the only car in the lot I chose. I then started to make my way towards the visitor’s center but the path was dark, missing out on light posts. I could hear all sorts of animals and insects and nothing else as I walked. I pulled out my phone to use the flashlight to illuminate the path and made it to the center that was closed. I should’ve looked into that ahead of time perhaps.

There was something a little creepy about walking around in an unfamiliar place all alone. I didn’t see anyone else and it was just me. It felt odd. Adding to it was the fact that I wasn’t sure where exactly the battle was fought. Was I close to the battlefield? Had men fought and died close to where I was? An odd somber and disturbing feeling was happening as I was uncertain, alone, and wandering around.

I then saw a sign for the graveyard and despite the earlier feelings, I pursued. I walked over, not sure if in a good, normal route or making my own. I noticed some trail areas I went on but ended in dead ends. The use of a guide or at least daylight would’ve helped. Even so, I found a sight to see, the headstones. There were markers representing soldiers from various states. It is humbling to think about so many sacrificing, and working to keep the country together. To not have the complete support of the United States which we’ve (nearly) had in in other wars, but to fight within ourselves. It is never joyous to think about the price of war. As I’ve continued my journey I am grateful that our union remained intact, as each region offers different culture and experience. It is this melting pot that makes our country wonderful.

Partly through my experience, I had a buddy call me which was cool. He had seen Remember the Titans too and thought it was a cool experience I was having. Chatting with him and sharing thoughts which heightened the overall experience. It was also a benefit of talking to a good friend while alone in the dark in such an area!

 


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