Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On This Date in 1999 (February 25)

This will be one of those letters that is pieced together over a period of three or four days. The news will be fresh as I report it, though.

We were able to sit down to a family supper tonight. JoAnna mixed together some stew meat and cream of mushroom soup in the crockpot this morning and let it cook on medium all day. I got home from work in time to put the noodles in a boiling pan of water and heat up some frozen corn in the microwave.

“Where are the rolls?” I asked, kiddingly, as JoAnna put the food into serving bowls.

“Yeah, we want rolls!” Eddie chimed in, not realizing that I was just giving Mom a hard time.

After our meal, JoAnna worked at the computer and listened to a Billy Joel greatest hits CD; the boys played in Andy’s bedroom – sometimes too exuberantly; once I had to break up a loud wrestling match – while listening to ‘N Sync; and I cleaned up the kitchen while the very listenable and catchy country-rock tunes of Cheri Knight kept me company. The placement of the three CD players prevented a battle-of-the-bands atmosphere.

Right now I have the house to myself. JoAnna and the boys are at the health club. I read the first chapter of Fortunate Lives by Robb Foreman Dew, a novel that focuses on a married couple and their 2 children, 18-year-old David, who is getting ready to leave home for college, and 12-year-old Sarah, during a summer of transition in their lives. That summary certainly won’t get anyone sprinting to the nearest library or bookstore. What did I find appealing about the book? Something about the cover grabbed my attention, but I also remember that the book created a very positive buzz when it was first published.

I was surprised to read in the Warren paper about the all the commercial projects now being considered. If CVS builds a drug store at the intersection Market Street and Pennsylvania Avenue West, does that mean they’ll close one or both of their other stores? Having three locations within such a tight radius would be overkill. A Country Fair will certainly change the streetscape of that stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue on the east side. And a Wal-Mart will irrevocably alter the Warren area’s competitive retail mix. I can see their appearance being the end of the end (the beginning of the end occurred with the opening of the mall, I suppose) of retail in downtown Warren, which is generally the negative effect a Wal-Mart store has in small markets. I’m not convinced that the former Farm Colony is a desirable location for a motel, considering that for all the years it was allegedly in operation, the Conewango Motel never seemed to draw any customers. I could never figure out how that place stayed in business for as long as it did. Warren could probably support an Applebee’s, a restaurant chain noted for its convivial atmosphere, moderately priced dinners, and attentiveness to children. That would be quite a business complex if it ever moves past the development stage. (Now I see the decision is up to the voters of Conewango township – whether or not they wish to revoke their “dry” status.) 

Did you notice the obituary for Allan Poust? He was a classmate of mine, sort of an odd kid, as I recall. He was very sports oriented but never tried out for any of the teams in junior high or high school. I never saw him at any social functions. In fact, he didn’t seem to have any close friends. Allan’s social development was severely stunted. Even in high school, he had this very strange attitude towards the opposite sex. It wasn’t so much childish as it was misogynist. I sometimes got the feeling that he really hated girls. Fortunately, he adopted a more mature view of the relationships between men and women after he left Warren.

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