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Inconspicuous.

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Earl and I are just back from Geno’s Steaks in South Philly. We try to get a “mushroom provolone wit” at least once a year during our trips to these parts.

One of the things about Geno’s is that it’s VERY U.S.A. centric. There are signs all over proclaiming that “we want our country back” and “You are in America and you must order in English.” They even feature Freedom Fries. I’m cool with this in that I think it’s great that as U.S. Citizens we can proclaim our pride in our country in any way we feel appropriate, much like I do on my blog. So I keep my mouth shut and try to blend in with the local culture. (I don’t succeed in this very well.)

After ordering and receiving our steaks we moved on to the fries and drink window, where Earl placed an order and asked if I had any dollar bills. I pulled out my wallet and started fumbling through my money clip when the woman behind the window noticed me. (Ed. note 23 Aug 2009: looking at Geno’s site, it’s Betty I’m referring to.) She looked harmless enough; I’d say she was in her mid 50s and had been through the course of life. She was efficient in what she did and had a hardened, Philly appropriate demeanor I suppose.

“WHERE IS THAT MONEY FROM?” she barked out the window. Numerous pairs of eyes were suddenly on the bald guy that was trying to keep his mouth shut whilst standing at the window waiting for his “pop” in “soda” land. I kept the “u” out of the local flavour I was trying to drink in. She was referring to the ten dollar bill I had in my hand.

The bill she was referring to is pinkish-purple with wording in both English and French. Of course, it’s Canadian money.

Startled a little bit, I jump in my skin but quickly regain composure. I think I heard a smirk from Earl, but I can’t be sure. I barked back at her, “it’s from Canada”. I looked at her as I said it with a smile, she smiled back at me with a twinkle in her eye. She took me for a Canadian and appeared okay with that.

I didn’t bother to correct her. But I kept my fries as Freedom Fries. I didn’t want to push the point.

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Seized.

Bristol Station.

One of the things that I forget about my blog is that people actually read it. I am referring to people that are “out there”; the silent ones that don’t make any comments or send me e-mail but rather people that have found something likable about my blog and tune in on a regular basis to see what I have to say. I am flattered by this but this occasionally catches me off guard, especially when I’m at a family gathering and I’m telling a story or doing some part of my schtick and my audience acknowledges that they read this on the blog. I sometimes forget that this cyber-world ties into the real world.

For those that read silently (“lurk”), I thank you. It is much appreciated.

Earl and I are in Earl’s hometown today for a family gathering; it’s birthday weekend for both my father- and mother-in-law. It has been good to see everyone, catch up and hang out. We also met our newest niece Mackenzie.

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Rick and Helen are the proud parents of this beautiful girl. She’s a charmer and I believe the first redhead of her generation.

The party was good. The conversation was interesting, ranging from the benefits of taking a cruise to Alaska to Obama’s Health Care Plan to Cash-for-Clunkers. I have a bit of a culture difference from this side of the family when it comes to Canada; I blame it on my love for that country and the fact that I grew up close to the border under the influence of various Canadian broadcast outlets. They say I talk funny too.

The power of Facebook was prevalent through the party. I’m not quite as active on Facebook as I used to be but it’s still a good way to keep touch with friends and family. Because of my blog, I was treated to a few YouTube videos of various family members belly dancing or playing spoons at a wedding reception. I found it all amusing.

Earl and I are now relaxing in our hotel room. It wouldn’t be a trip to Philly without a midnight stop for cheesesteak; we’ll probably head into Center City for a little while before calling it a night.