Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tourism in Philadelphia

Yesterday I turned the wrong direction when exiting the Reading Terminal Market after lunch (12th Street Cantina - a cold salad of spicy chicken chunks with plaintain & red bell peppers) & ended up at the Quaker Books/FGC/Friends Journal building at Arch St. & 13th. I had been asked to get a copy of Faith & Practice from the Philly Meeting, so I went in--took advantage of the 10% off sale, which covered sales tax, & got it for under $10. Outwardly, I was calm & friendly. Inwardly I felt awed & giggly--look--real Quakers who do Friendly work for a living!

From there, I hiked to the Free Quaker Meeting House Museum ("them are fighting words" - they were Quakers who were "read out of" meeting (dismembershipped) for fighting in the Revolution; also Betsy Ross joined them after being "read out" for "marrying out"). Passed by the Christ Church Burial Ground, wherein lies Benjamin Franklin, & went into the Arch Street Friends Meeting House. I was surprised by how large it is. I sat in silence for a few minutes before viewing the exhibits, which are miniature-diorama like. Visited the Betsy Ross house, Elfreth's Alley, and viewed the Liberty Bell (ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original Constitution) from outside its building. There is Security. I had my backpack.

More on eating at Reading Market--my favorite bakery is Beiler's, from which I've eaten cherry & blueberry pies & a cinnamon roll for breakfast, & took away an apple pie for tomorrow's brekkie. Next door to them is the Dutch Eating Place, where I consumed a large & utterly delicious hot apple dumping this morning. Around the corner is Miller's Twist, which features hot, soft, buttery pretzels--okay, I ate these for lunch every day except yesterday's Mexican. The Pennsylvania General Store includes Hope's cookies & Hank's rootbeer. There are lots of other stalls but these are the ones I patronized.

I enjoyed seeing & hearing Peter Richard Conte at the Wanamaker Organ in the Grand Court at Macy's last night. I went with an organist, who patiently answered my questions about the 6 keyboards, hundreds of color-coded stops, bizillions of pipes, etc.

This morning I visited the National Constitution Center to satisfy my former gov-docs-librarian self. Yes, I studied the Constitution & Bill of Rights, etc., in high school, but the exhibits also delineated the many struggles for rights of those who, oddly enough, were not included in "We the People," in The Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline. The full-size bronze statues of the signers of the Constitution are also impressive.

Tonight is the MLA Big Band concert at the reception prior to the banquet. Tomorrow I'll attend meeting for worship at Arch Street, then fly home. Homesickness has been a constant pressure here.

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