Hanging Out In Harleysville

After spending a week or so in New Jersey with my best bud from school, I find myself back in PA, visiting my friend and business mentor, Jim.  I hadn’t been to Harleysville since the Celebration of Life the family held when his precious wife of 50 years, Murial, passed. 

I love Jim.

Whatta guy.  When we first met some 20 years ago, I wasn’t sure if I should slap him, simply walk away from him, or stand there and give it shot.  I’m so glad I chose the third option.  He quickly became my best client, my business mentor, and my second dad.  Despite his short stature, there’s nothing small about Jim.  His stocky build and gruff mannerisms make him a serious force to be reckoned with.   Many of his sentences start with a low, throaty, cigarette worn “listen….” or with “here’s what you do…”  And what would come after that, well, I’m not at liberty to share those confidential details.  You know, trade secrets and all that. 

Jim’s first impressions are so strong, you just don’t know if he is messing with you, hates you, or is actually serious. He challenged me in ways that truly helped me become the person I am today.  Heck, it was Jim who helped me to “get a set” and survive being in the sporting industry at all.  His antics and stories and vast experience are priceless. What Jim didn’t know is that Murial was right there to chime in and take care of any damage control that needed to be done with the “not so thick skinned” folks he encountered.  My heart is heavy with the loss of Murial.

And we are sitting around now, Jim and I, drinking beers and talking about back in the day when the industry was strong.

Reminiscing, and hitting his favorite hot spots for dinner.  I gotta say, Pennsylvania is NUTS in regards to driving anywhere.  I cannot believe the crazy winding curving meandering (not to mention crap-ily paved) road systems to get anywhere out here in God’s Country PA.  Thank the Gods Jim drives us everywhere.  The roads are barely wide enough for two cars to pass, and OMG if you had to swerve, even for a pothole in the road you’d hit an electric pole or tree that’s 4 inches from the actual road.  There are no shoulders out here.  Simply crazy. So we drive for miles and miles and what seems like an eternity and at least half an hour to end up at sweet little place like  A&N Family Restaurant in Sellersville, or Country Place in Perkasie, where the food is real down home cooked and dinner for two is less than $20.00. But as the crow flies, if we left his place and headed there it would be maybe 5 minutes straight shot.  Why, why, why are their roads so screwed?  And then of course there’s the whole element of the roads that simply end.  You head down a road, and it just ends.  No warning, it just ends.  WTF?  And just don’t get me started on the tolls in PA!

Ok, I’m done ranting….

The upside is despite the dense population of Pennsylvania, you get the feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere so quickly, within a few turns in the road.  The rolling hills, the quaint little towns that are full of rich history and the rural landscapes make South Eastern PA almost magical, and able to transcend you to a time of long ago.  Imagine, the foundation of our country all started out here. 

One night I cooked a meal for us.  I brought with and prepared for Jim a Minnesota shot pheasant. What a treat, for both of us.   A good place, and a good time, to count ones blessings.  Jim is definitely a blessing in my life.

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