Western Pennsylvania

Tales from the Water

This little voice in my head keeps telling me that I shouldn’t blog about Loss and then suddenly change gears and blog about something else. And we haven’t forgotten the Loss. We think about the Loss every day.

But other stuff actually did happen this month.

For instance, Jonathan and I took his dad Dennis to Tall Ships Erie.

Dennis ran into one of his high school classmates at the tall ships festival. (Dennis grew up in Erie.)

I listened to a folk musician sing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” as he took next to the Pride of Baltimore II docked in Erie’s harbor. (The original Pride of Baltimore was lost at sea with part of its crew in 1986.)

Then I got this shot of a Pokemon duck in front of the festival’s actual giant Rubber Duck.


Now, my sister Annie  lives in Erie and she was really, really excited to take her three very young kids to see the Rubber Duck. She didn’t really care about the tall ships. Just the Rubber Duck.


However, the Tall Ship Festival charged the same price for kids and adults, and the admission wasn’t inexpensive. My sister didn’t have room in her family budget for five full-price festival tickets. Also, her kids still have short legs. So, she needed to get a free parking spot as close as possible to the spot on Dobbins Landing where everybody could see the Duck without buying a festival ticket.  So, she waited until end of the festival to show up at it.


Annie called me just as Jonathan, Dennis, and I prepared to leave the festival.

“Where is the Duck? I don’t see it!”

I ran to Dobbin’s Landing to see for myself.

The Duck was gone!

No, not the Duck!

Then I saw a stack of yellow rubber floating on the surface of Erie’s bay.

The festival deflated the Duck! Right before Annie showed up to see it!

Annie’s kids didn’t care, because Annie and her husband took them miniature golfing after the Duck Debacle. Also, I got to see my sister and her little ones.

So that’s one thing that happened this month.  Here’s another.

Yesterday, Jonathan and I picnicked at the Conemaugh Dam near Saltsburg.  We do this every summer. Every time we entered the park, we saw my favorite Sign in the whole world.


The Sign says, “WATER & ALCOHOL DON’T MIX.”

The white letters sit over the tableaux of blue sky, green waves, and an elephant retching over the side of a pink and black striped dingy. The elephant has pink bows and red-rimmed eyes. Bottles – presumably alcohol bottles – surround the elephant.

I know this feeling. I have been this elephant. (Except – I have been this elephant on dry land, never on the water.)

Yesterday, when we drove into the park, I turned to Jonathan and said:

“Where is the Sign? I don’t see it!”

The Sign was gone!

No, not the Sign!

The Army Corps of Engineers overseas the Conemaugh Dam and the park that surrounds it. I intend to contact the Army Corps of Engineers and inquire about the whereabout of the Sign. If I learn that the Sign is gone for good, then I will blow up my photo of the sign and frame it. I will make it into a sign that I can hang in my kitchen. (Actually, Jonathan’s kitchen.)

We proceeded with our picnic. We spied on a civic group having a large picnic in the pavilion near us.  We read and rested. I feel peace at the water.

I want to start blogging soon my favorite podcasts. About the fun memories that I have of Halloween.  About spending Halloween with the people that I love. And about my favorite Halloween podcasts. I’m ready to start writing about all of this. I realized that this weekend as we sat near the water.