A winter Hike

ImageFriday night we went to bed with the weatherman assuring us that a storm would be starting at daybreak on Saturday morning.   And, just as forecast, we awoke to light snow covering the crusty two inch layer of former snow on  our deck.   The highlight of the day was the wedding of a colleague of ours, but that was scheduled to begin at 5pm which allowed for plenty of time to enjoy the snow.  

After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and potatoes,  we set off for the preserve.  We noticed our neighbor, Dan, on the way out of Shades Glen and asked if he would like to join us.   We were delighted when he agreed to come along.   As the new couple in the neighborhood, we are anxious to get to know those around us better,  and, he happened to be wearing orange coveralls..  not a bad idea when hiking in the woods on the last day of deer season in PA! 


The preserve is a pretty big piece of property..  close to 3000 acres in all.   We picked up the red trail  off of  115 and followed it to the first green cut off..  followed that to the yellow trail which brought us back to the maintenance building and parking lot.   We saw one hunter along the way out.    We could hear Shades Creek running below us for the first part of the trek, but then just the sound of snow falling softly surrounded us.   Dan is a hunter, and we picked his brain about hunting, deer habitat, and deer behavior as we hiked.   He pointed out deer rubbings on the trees and related stories about hunting with his family throughout his life. 

As we neared the end of our  hour and a half hike,  we encountered two hunters coming out of the woods.  They were disappointed not to have gotten a shot off and lamented the lack of deer relative to years gone by, but they appreciated being in the woods just the same.    With the number of dead deer along Pennsylvania’s roads, it is difficult to imagine that there were even more 15 or so years ago, but that seems to be a common story!


 we paused to enjoy a snack and the view at a popular overlook along the trail.   As we passed Dan’s house on the way back to our house, he invited us in for tea.  We capped off the hike with tea and conversation with Dan and his wife Sheri while listening to Christmas music from an old LP produced by W T  Grant’s Department Store  a generation or, more likely,  two ago ( they went out of business in the mid 1970’s)!   Some of the best experiences in life are those that are unplanned! 

Of course, the wedding, which had been in the planning stages for quite a while, was beautiful.   The snow added to the scene as we entered the church, decorated for Christmas,  and celebrated the union of our colleague, Brian and his wife Jennifer.    It also made for a long ride home!  But a cup of hot chocolate by the stove was just the thing to complete a wonderful day. 

A school play

Back on April 25th  I posted a play that I had written which resulted from a speeding ticket that I got in NH  a few years ago.   The play was performed at our winter workshop as one of many one act plays..   As a math teacher, I have no business writing plays.  Instead, I should be solving equations and exploring new ways to prove the Pythagorean Theorem – but then ,  how many ways do we really need to prove the Pythagorean Theorem?  And why is it named the Pythagorean Theorem anyhow?  The Egyptians were using it long before Pythagorus was even alive..   but maybe we will save that post for another day. 

It is winter workshop time again!  And I submitted a new play..  I am not sure if it will be used, or how it will work out, but, again it is based on an actual experience that I had while standing outside of Barnes and Noble, talking with my son on the phone.   Of course, the rest is fictional, but I had a good time writing it..    I have been told by one of our directors here at school that it is rather difficult to find one act plays that are appropriate for a high school setting.   So many of them seem to deal with off color or mature themes..  not that that has stopped our directors in the past!    Perhaps this will seem a bit tame by comparison, but that is ok..   in the highly unlikely scenario that someone actually reads this and would like to use it in their school..  that would be really coo..  just send me a program 🙂 


The Bookstore     ( rough draft)

Ralph:      (  Carrying two sailing magazines in one hand a large cup of coffee in the other,    addressing the audience)   So!,  another Friday night rolls around, and I find myself once again at  the local bookstore.  It is a favorite hangout of mine – a couple of sailing magazines and a cup of coffee make for an enjoyable, inexpensive evening for a once-again bachelor..


(Ralph’s cell phone rings..)


Ralph:  Oh, excuse me 

 ( he  puts the magazines and coffee on a table looks at his phone


Ralph:   it is my son, I hope you won’t mind if I take it.

 ( Ralph answers the phone)


Ralph:  Hi Erik,  how  are you doing?  

 ( as he talks,  he sits down – next to him is a second, empty table with two chairs


Ralph:    I was hoping that you would call – I am anxious to hear about your camping trip… 

 ( As Ralph begins to listen to his son,   Suzie slowly walks by him, pausing to study him


Ralph:   Wow, that sounds great.. so the weather was good all week? 

               ( Suzie once again  passes by Ralph, even more slowly, taking more time to study Ralph   – Ralph notices her )


Ralph:   Wonderful,  and  how was the fishing?

   ( suzie passes by Ralph a third time but stops in front of him)


Ralph:  hold on a minute Erik.

       ( he covers that phone with his hand)


Ralph:  Can I help you?


Suzie:  Forgive me for interrupting.  My name is Suzie.  Are you Dave?


Ralph:  No, I am sorry, I am not Dave


 Suzie:)    Thank you.  I am so sorry to bother you.


 ( Suzie moves away,  looking distressed and glancing at her watch, she seems to be searching for someone)


Ralph ( returning to his phone call)   You have another call on the line?  No problem,  I will catch up with you sometime tomorrow.. Great to hear from you…


(Dave enters wearing a Penquins jacket {local hocky team} , jeans, sneakers  ..   he is alternately looking for someone and glancing at his watch .   Suzie sees him and approaches him)


Suzie:   Hello, are you Dave?

( dave’s appearance  and certainly his speech  are just a little rough around the edges)


Dave:  yeah, you must be Suzie


Suzie :   I guess it would have been easier if we had  exchanged photos,   ( turning to the audience )  or perhaps talked on the phone..


Dave:  yeah, dats ok,  I found ya


Suzie: Right


( Suzie and Dave freeze while Ralph addresses the audience)


Ralph:   it sounds like I might have a story of my own to share with Erik tomorrow  …  anyone one to take a bet that this is a first date?    Met on online, perhaps?


Dave:  sit here and I will get us some coffee.. 


Suzie:  but I don’t drin..


Dave:   no problem, I will treat you..


 ( Suzie sits at the table facing away from Ralph  –  soon Dave returns with two cups of coffee)


Dave:  I hope you like it black, that is the way I drink it


Suzie:  well actual…


Dave:   I can’t understand  what people see in crème and sugar.   Real men wouldn’t think of  touching the stuff.


Suzie:  well , of course, I am not…


Dave:   so, did you ever think you would actually meet a guy from an on line dating site?   I mean, like in person?


Suzie:  well, actually, it never crossed my mind until recently


Dave:   I kind of thought you were new at it.   I guess a guy with my kind of experience can spot the newbies..

Suzie:   but I thought you said that his was the first time…


Dave:  well, you kind of have to tell a few white lies.. I wouldn’t have wanted to scare you off..


Suzie:  I see.


( Dave is  frequently glancing at his watch and gulping his coffee)


Dave:   So listen,  I know we kind of figured that we would spend the evening here getting to know one another,  but something sort of came up at the last minute…  maybe we could try again  next week     (looking at the audience)   when the Pens are away …   

Don’t bother getting up.  Hey, you didn’t even start your coffee yet.  I hope nothing is wrong. 


(Dave reaches to shake Suzie’s hand)


It was great to finally meet you.  You are everything that  I imagined.  Let’s get together again soon. 


(Dave leaves the stage,  Suzie is sitting with a bit of a stunned look on her face)


Ralph:   ( addressing the audience)     I don’t think that went too well.    I wonder if Ralph  happened to score a ticket for tonight’s hockey game .   (looking at his watch )  If he is lucky, he should be in his seat just in time for the opening face-off.



(Ralph then approaches Suzie)


Ralph:  Excuse me, are you Suzie?


(Suzie looks up and takes just a second before recognizing who is speaking to her.  She smiles)


Suzie:  Yes I am


Ralph:  do you think that his name was really Dave?  


Suzie:  I thought that it was, but perhaps I am not so sure now. 


Ralph:   Forgive me for being somewhat forward, but how did things work out?


Suzie:  ( smiling ) I have a sneaking suspicion that you already know the answer to that question.


Ralph:   My hunch is that he is settling in his seat at the  arena just about now.


Ralph:   I gather you did not like the coffee.


Suzie:  I never drink coffee.  I prefer tea.


Ralph:  so do I.  May I buy you a cup?


Suzie:   That would be very nice.  But wait, I don’t even know your name!


Ralph:   my name is Ralph.  Nice to meet you Suzie.  


Ralph:  what do you take in your tea?


Suzie:  fortunately,  I am not a “real man”  and I feel very comfortable having  milk and one sugar in my tea. 


Ralph:  no problem


(Ralph leaves to get the tea and returns with two cups)


Suzie:   why, thank you


Ralph:   they must have been good tickets,  I can’t imagine that Dave would leave you sitting her alone over a couple of seats in the balcony


(suzie laughs) 


Ralph:   It is nice to know that you have a sense of humor –  a lot of women might have taken that the wrong way.    This happens to be one of my favorite Friday night hang out spots..


Suzie:  I am surprised that we have not run into each other before then, I am often here on Fridays as well.    And what are your other hangouts?


Ralph :   actually, this is about it!   Between work, taking care of the house and walking the dog, there isn’t a whole lot of time to get out.   But that could change…


  ( suzie returns Ralph’s smile)


(suzie is about to respond when we hear a store announcement  “  attention shoppers, the store will be closing in  10 minutes.   We hope that you have enjoyed your shopping experience this evening and that you will return soon” )


Ralph:   have you enjoyed your shopping experience, Suzie?


Suzie:  I was more than a little concerned at first, but  a change in plans has made all the difference .  Let’s make it a point to return soon. 


Ralph:   Same time next Friday?


Suzie:  it’s a date.