And now, the conclusion of my Weekend of Love…
The next morning was President’s Day. We all got up early (as chief executives are wont to do), showered, and packed our belongings. The Weekend of Love had come to a close. We took some final pictures together–very Mount Rushmore–and headed to our respective pieces of the motorcade. This Continental Congress was over, perhaps to be convened again the same time next year…preferably in a warmer climate.
With Maggie at the wheel, I was able to take in the scenery along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Driving across Pennsylvania is what driving through Soviet Russia must have been like. Nothing but barren fields and dilapidated farmhouses. The only give-away that you’re in the good old U.S.A are the giant pro-life, Praise Jesus billboards that crop up every five miles. I’m pretty sure that I saw some cows rolling their eyes in acknowledgment.
The only thing that breaks up the monotony are tunnels. Not more than two hours east of Pittsburgh, I-76 bores through a series of large hills. We tried the “Hold your breath and make a wish” game from Tiny Toons, but I still have weight to lose and Maggie doesn’t live in a penthouse on the park–so clearly it didn’t work.
This wasn’t intended to be a direct flight. We were planning on stopping in Bethlehem at Lehigh University to see Maggie’s sister, Sarah. Being the troublemakers we are, we wondered if perhaps we should take advantage of the fact that being at Lehigh would mean we would be no more than fifteen minutes from our old stomping grounds at Lafayette. Now, I am not terribly large on nostalgia, but the fact that it was a high school holiday meant we could probably cause a disturbance by hopping on the tail end of a tour or interrupting an information session, thus making an already hard day even harder on our friends at the Admissions Office. We decided it would be worth it.
We had a lovely lunch with Sister Sarah, looking over our shoulders all the while, expecting some Lehigh undergrad to sniff us out and sound the alarm. Sometime before 4:00, we hopped back on to trusty Route 22 and arrived in the thriving riverside metropolis that is Easton, PA and took the long ride up College Hill. Talk about a place that could use a funicular!
After close to twenty-four hours of traveling, two bottles of champagne, three life-threatening meals, and a satchel full of snacks, we were back where this story truly began: the corner of Parsons and Hamilton Streets.
Like I said, I’m a “one door closes, it gets locked” kind of guy, but this pit stop felt right. It did, I admit, feel nice to have a moment back on the block where I had first met everyone I had spent this long weekend with. So, fuck it, my heart grew three sizes that day. What of it?
The tours and sessions had finished for the day by that time. After saying quick hellos to whichever friendly faces were still working at Admissions, we got back into our trusty chariot and raced back to Bridgewater. Maggie dropped me at the train station (but not before one more spin of the Gypsy soundtrack) and I retraced my steps along the rails all the way back to Jersey City. I walked in to my apartment at 8:45 PM. We had left Pittsburgh at 9:30 AM. I sorted all my dirty clothing and almost immediately fell asleep. I had eaten, drank, sung, danced, explored, photographed, shunned, judged, and most of all laughed to the max for the past 72 hours. I was satisfied and I was spent.
Here’s hoping a tradition was born.
Thanks for reading, everyone. I apologize this tale took so long to tell. I resolve to be far more immediate with my postings this month!