For Valentine’s Day this year, I gave Dave a jar of “cheap dates”. I got the idea from Pinterest, and he loved it! In the pint jar, there are over a year’s worth of dates for either the two of us to do together, or for us to do as a family. Last week, we took the first of these dates and went to Rita’s for Italian ice. This week’s date simply said, “Go for a drive.” Dave knew what I meant by that, but Katie didn’t have a clue. They both looked at me a bit sceptical of what was to happen. But I was happy! I knew what this could turn into!
At the end of the driveway, Dave says, “So which way do you want to go?” not sounding at all thrilled.
“Go right. Katie, you get to pick which direction we go at the next stop sign,” I said.
I was excited. Katie had no idea what she was about to experience. I thought back to my childhood days when it was a common occurance to jump in the car on a Sunday afternoon and just drive around and look at scenery and other areas you don’t see every day. My Pappy Wingert was a master at the Sunday drive. We’d jump in the car with him and drive for hours. We’d end up miles from home and get home after dark! But we saw places that were interesting and fun! Those Sunday drives were part of my favorite childhood memories. I only hoped that we would come across something interesting today!
We each took turns at stop signs and stop lights choosing which direction we’d go next. I soon realized that I had an advantage when we reached Cove Gap. “Turn right here!” I yelled.
Dave turned the wheel and we started the beginning of an afternoon long history lesson. We were in Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park.
We learned a few things: 1. Katie learned that Buchanan was our 15th president, that he was never married, and that the school that Mommy graduated from was named for him. 2. Dave learned that Buchanan attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, that Buchanan’s Birthplace was the first State Park in Pennsylvania, and that the monument was built in 1907. 3. I learned that Harriet Lane, his niece, purchased the land that became the state park and that this really was the area where Buchanan was born, and that James Buchanan’s mother put a bell on him to hear him in the woods around their cabin!
I told Katie that there used to be a sign at the beginning of the trail to the monument that simply said, “Monument”. I shared with her that my cousins and I once went there for a picnic and decided it would be fun to “be” monuments next to that sign. Well, the sign is gone, but the rock that was there remains. So, Katie decided we should do the same thing. The results are below!
We got back in the car and I whispered to Dave some directions. We were headed to another historical place…Fort Loudon, PA. It was close to supper time, so we stopped for supper at a favorite spot, Milky Way. Mmmmm, was it good!
We finished supper and headed down the road. I was now driving. We drove to the site of Fort Loudon. Katie had no idea about how Fort Loudon got its name or that there was actually a fort there many years ago.
“Mommy, can we go see James Buchanan’s log cabin before we go home?” asked Katie.
“Sure! It’s still daylight!” I said. Then we headed toward Mercersburg Academy. It took me a few minutes to remember what part of the campus the cabin sat on, but we soon found it.
“Cool!” said Katie (and I think she really meant it!).
The sun was setting, and so we decided to head for home.
“This was really fun,” said Katie smiling contentedly. “I hope Daddy pulls this ‘date’ out of the jar again soon.”
Me too, Katie, me too!