I bet you thought I was going to forget to write about my weekend in Pennsylvania. Well, I didn't. I guess I've been waiting for the right time to reflect. Since Pennsylvania is the next key state in the Democratic primary I thought I tie in some of my observations of the Keystone state.
Karim and I visited the Bischwind Bed and Breakfast in Bear Creek, Pennsylvania during Presidents weekend. Many visitors have credited Bischwind as being a jewel in the crown of the Pocono Mountains. It was built by Albert Lewis in 1886 and has been refurbished by the Von Dron/English families for almost four decades. The Bischwind rooms are filled with antiques and collectibles. We stayed in the Autumn room, which came with queen size bed, a private bathroom, bathrobes, T.V., and VCR.
There was still ice on the ground from a storm earlier in the week and although it rained most of the weekend, I treasured the silence and sereneness of the environment. Waking up to a breakfast with cut up honey melon and orange, cheese omelette's (didn't eat), croissants, sausage (didn't eat), orange juice and coffee, plus a selections of desserts was a treat for me. It was also nice not to have to make the bed, that wasn't a big deal for Karim, since he doesn't make his bed. The whole weekend was a treat. We had nice meals, visited an antique shop, and checked out some of the surrounding towns.
Driving through the Pennsylvania countryside was both beautiful and somber. There were moments when the scenery off the roadway took my breathe away, but I also was taken back by blue collar towns that hadn't recovered from the loss of manufacturing industries. Many of the plants in this area closed down in the 1970s and 1980s and respectively 30 years later there are no new jobs opportunities or economic growth. Signs of neglect were seen in the up keep of land and homes. Were these folks lazy and didn't care or did they not have the money to keep up their properties? Various areas reminded me parts of the Naugatuck Valley.
This weekend trip was a getaway for me. A chance for Karim and I to spend quality time together and block out the rest of the world. It's a luxury I can't take for granted. I used to think this was a perk to be expected by middle class families, however I'm not so sure. Rising gas prices, volatility in the market, and the strong possibility of a recession have been eating away at the middle class dollar. So many families struggle to pay rising energy costs to heat their homes, increases in health care costs, or necessities like food and clothing. There are no getaways for these folks.
This country just marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S invasion and occupation of Iraq. The end of that war is still not known and depending on who gets in office, our nation just may be in Iraq for another 100 years. How bad do things have to get here before middle-class Americans like myself take notice? Do we need another Hurricane Katrina? Does gas need to be five dollars a gallon? Does the U.S need to strike Iran, before we say enough is enough? While there are more government controls, our nations must vulnerable populations continue to fall through the cracks.
Although I'm glad I indulged in a weekend getaway, I realize that this is not a likely option for many Americans. We're working to hard and that work maybe taking our attention from the many problems that face this nation and affect our lives. Action on the crucial issues are long overdue and it's clear we can't expect government to lead the charge for much needed change. It's up to us, however, how many of us are ready for the charge?