Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4th Independence Weekend

I did go back to bed and slept for about an hour on Thursday morning. I had to laugh to see that my Google ad for the "Tired" entry was for a cure for insomnia. Adele called at about 9:30 a.m. to say that she and Larry had picked up Aunt Ruth about 1:30 a.m. and taken her to Abington Hospital. Aunt Ruth, who still works full time for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, had suddenly become violently ill with vomiting and diarrhea, and had fallen on the way to the bathroom, bruising herself terribly in the effort to pull herself up. She convinced Adele to take her to the hospital rather than call an ambulance because she believed the ambulance would only take her to another hospital. Adele and Larry stayed with her in the emergency room for a few hours until she was feeling better and all was under control. Then they drove home and went back to sleep. Aunt Ruth had heart surgery several years ago and I was hospitalized with a blood clot on the day I was supposed to bring her home to my house to recover. She had waited with the surgery until Mom had sufficiently recovered from her second hip replacement. The three of us spent a few weeks together here being pricked by vampires (nice nurses, really) while we all recuperated. So the doctors were very concerned with the effect the severe dehydration she experienced might have on her heart. Each day since Thursday, she thought she would be coming home, but Mom spoke with her last night and they were still holding her. Perhaps today they will release her. She says she has been feeling okay since being rehydrated. There also has been a question, nationally, about salmonella in the food supply. At first the authorities thought that tomatoes were suspect, but now they are not sure from where the contamination might be coming. Three other people came into the hospital with the same symptoms. Because the symptoms ceased after one awful night, however, they appear to be viral rather than bacterial.

The weather looked very iffy and we decided not to go to the pool. After we all put the house in order, Saul made Mom and the girls fruit and yoghurt smoothies for lunch and we headed out for Philadelphia's Constitution Center which was supposed to have special activities for children on the third and fourth. We luckily found a metered street parking space almost across the street from the special building where the Liberty Bell is housed. When we parked at 1:45 p.m. we put 2 hours worth of coins in the meter. The line of people waiting to file past the Liberty Bell was a block long so we immediately walked the two blocks to the Constitution Center which was supposed to have activities for children at 2:00 p.m. After our experiences with Port Discovery in Baltimore, our expectations were probably too high. We were ushered into a special theater with a wordy film presentation much too long for a 4-year-old. The girls were given cards to be punched for each activity which, when filled, would entitle them to free ice cream. The floor exhibits, like the film were not really suitable for young children. There was a small station set up for them to craft star wands. After that we entered a hall of bronze statues of the signers of the Declaration of Independence posed as though they were in the process of developing the document. Once they realized it was okay touch the statues, the girls got into various poses for photographs with them. The other activity involved singing a patriotic song with a karaoke machine, but the song Sami was given was so obscure that she was unfamiliar with the music. The final station involved receiving temporary patriotic tattoos on their hands. They made us promise not to tell Daddy, whom they know disapproves of tattoos. We filled our card and went to the cafeteria to claim our free ice cream. The girls chose vanilla ice cream sandwiches from a case and after they ate them, we exited from the cafeteria.

We walked back through the visitor's center where the girls were fascinated by a holographic image of the Liberty Bell that appeared to be ringing if you shifted your weight from one foot to the other. The real Liberty Bell still had a long line, but we were amazed to find a window in the building through which the Bell was perfectly visible. Why anyone would wait for an hour on a hot day just to file past it is a mystery to me. We returned to the car with 10 minutes to spare and headed home. Because of the traffic, we decided to take Broad Street. We pointed out Temple University where Saul and I both graduated. Then I had the idea of driving through my old neighborhood by way of the route of the C Bus down Rising Sun Avenue. The girls had been asking questions about the home where I had grown up and I decided we would take a photograph to show to Mom. I also wanted to avoid the area of Broad Street where my friend, Sandy Schinfeld, had been killed by a drunk driver a few months ago. The drive looked mostly the same, although Feraco's Pizza where Saul and I would have late dates is no longer there. Hunting Park was filled with people picnicking. The house looks so different with its yellow-painted stone and yellow aluminum siding that I only recognized it by the street address on the house next door. The enormous leafy sycamore trees that used to line the streets were all gone.

We finished up the leftovers for dinner when we arrived home and eventually headed out to see the fireworks at Wissahickon High School's field. The traffic leaving turned a 10-minute drive into one that took an hour. We packed the girls, who fell asleep on the ride home, into bed and went to sleep ourselves.

Friday, we picked up Larry Shipper, had lunch out at a buffet in Abington, and drove to the Warrington Movie theater to catch the movie "WALL-E." We all liked it very much and Izzy actually sat through the whole movie. When we returned home around 4:00 p.m., Saul barbecued hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and Moroccan sausages while I made pasta salad, beans, fried onions and various other accompaniments for Shabbat dinner. Faith Rubin joined us, as well as Beth, and we had a wonderful dinner, finishing with chocolate cake and oatmeal, peanut butter, raisin cookies I had taken out of the freezer along with Faith's blonde brownies. Izzy, when she woke up from napping, squeezed lemons and limes on the juicer and we made pink lemonade with some pomegranate and grape juice. Sami, who woke up a little bit later, was annoyed that she did not get to participate, so Beth told her she could make her lunch on Saturday. After services on Saturday, at which Sami and Izzy led Alaynu and Adon Olam, Sami was not satisfied with merely warming leftovers in the microwave, so this morning, I will be helping them to prepare breakfast for Beth. Last night, we headed out to Peddlar's Village after napping for a festival and fireworks. By the time we arrived there, it was pouring and after waiting a while to see if the rain would let up, we gave up. On the way home, we had dinner at Wegman's and bought some supplies for breakfast this morning.

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