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Location: Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, United States

Well, if you got here via the bi-chromatic Universe and "Dez", thanks. Their being available means they can be rented out, so to say, to vendors. For example, they'd be great in promoting pastries. Kids love cookies, so do adults. As for that ascending numeral three, it came about by way of ignorance. More than once, I'd see that same numeral with wings or a halo or both even on this or that pickup truck. And, dumb me, I'd think they were like golden horse shoes or four-leaf clovers ... good luck charms. It wasn't until later, I found out those threes are meant to commemorate one posthumously charismatic NASCAR driver. To inspire all those signs of grief, that guy might've had the makings for ... well, that's likely better left to the intuition of NASCAR votaries.

Monday, August 29, 2005

my pal joey and her bridge

Her given name was Josephine. When we were little kids, I used to tease her with snatches from the tune "Come, Josephine, in my flying machine". Throughout grade school and that "dear old place" Laurel Hill Academy, I carried a torch for her. She might've had a secret sweet spot for me in her heart. If so, it was too small for even puppy love, alas for me. The closest we ever came to heart-touching-heart was a kiss on New Year's Eve. This occurred at a party I had to crash.

The moniker "Pal Joey" was in the title for her obituary. Years before that, it was on marquees for a movie starring Frank Sinatra, in the role of a life-loving free spirit. That's how I remember my Joey.

When we graduated from high school, I was headed for Penn State, and she had been turned down by Bloomsberg Teachers' College. In time, she proved it was that institution's loss. Here in predominately Republican Susquehanna County, she won her races for county commissioner as a Democrat. Truth be told, her first victory amazed me.

No doubt about it, now so obviously, Josephine was more than simply cute. She was pre-possessing. I tell'ya, she was like a camp fire on a chilly night, ya'cudda warmed yer hands on her corporeal radiance. Yeah, I knew all that. But it still took me years to discern there was something more to my pal Joey.

That obituary that appeared in the daily of record for these twin tiers was certainly her due. To be sure, on the face of it, she was only a minor politician ... dime a dozen. Yeah and year again, that obituary was nice enough as something that was only her due. So, it's understandable how come its author was in the dark, very much so, about what had motivated her. Her being turned down by that teachers' college gave her something to prove. When she set out to prove something, there was no stopping her.

Maybe, it's presumptuous of me, but I now take the liberty of surmising there was something crucial in her character, along those lines. I have in mind the moment she was informed by competent medical authority her chances of beating cancer were slim and none. Maybe, she was frightened ... natural reaction.

If so, chances are Joey was far more exasperated than frightened. Oh, dear Lord, she had so much to prove to so many more. Now that I think about that. It wouldn't surprise me that she had me in mind, to some extent, in that regard.

In the play, I wrote and self-published, I do poke a little gratuitous fun at her. Whoever wants some information about my one-act with lyrics could consider inquiring at a library. Anyway, the piece has two major designations: specifically, I S B N 0-9602044-1-5 and Library of Congress Catalog number 78-72152.

Aaay, you, whyz.ache.err, it's my blog. So, I'm perfectly free to express myself however I darn well please. So, there!

By way of chronology, I was promoting my play about the same time Joey went about moving heaven and earth for the sake of a new bridge. Whoever runs heaven must have a twisted sense of humor. Joey did not live to see it built. Today, the Susquehanna River flows through the municipality of the same name under the Susquehanna County Veterans' Memorial Bridge. It would be remiss of me to skip mentioning the plaque that credits her for getting the bridge built.

" ... loved her hometown," so opined the obituary's author. To that, I say hah! She got that bridge built because she had something to prove to that town's residents. I can believe that, for her, it was just a start. Ya'know, achievement is intoxicating.

Oh, alright (!) already, I'll own up to it. Maybe, a tad of guilt motivated my going against the town's veterans
. . --- Oh, by the way, all this took place long before the events of 9/11 --- --- Myself, I should like to believe the major share of my motivation was the memory of my feelings for her. So far as I'm concerned, both then and now, that plaque is more a bone for Joey's family and friends than commensurate tribute. And that does stick in my craw.

Here's how for the sake of her memory ... ah, long before the events of 9/11 ... I went up against the town's veterans. They lobbied heavily for the bridge's present official name. In a reader's letter to The SUSQUEHANNA TRANSCRIPT, I presented a lawyer's case for a name that did more than honor only Joey. What I proposed was a name that would recall the by-gone era of mom-and-pop stores. At the same time, "U G and Joey's Bridge" would commemorate a long deceased editor of The SUSQUEHANNA EVENING TRANSCRIPT. While he was in charge, he used his barrels of ink to champion the cause of working people, and veterans returning their country's wars.

No doubt about it, I displeased the town's current veterans. This I know for sure. One of them took the trouble to inform me that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had chosen the name they wanted. Yes, I was disappointed. Scouse all that, I'm not finished. One way or another way, Joey shall have her bridge. In a follow-up to this piece, I will reveal the plan.

. . .. he who is known as sefton

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