0006 My First Flashbacks (USA 006—Revisit)

Mechanicsburg Travel Blog

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No, I'm not just posing...

                Day 002, 3 Hours, 9.9 Kms

 I really can’t remember much of what happened after I returned from my trip.  As tends to happen with Real Life, each day just kind of blurred together with the next as I went through the standard routine of middle class blue collar suburban family life.  Nothing wrong with that kind of life—except that you can’t remember anything about it once it’s over… which kind of makes you question if it really happened at all.

And so the weeks sped by like smeared images you can barely distinguish as you do 80 down the freeway.

It seems like that crazy idea I had about wandering around the world as an itinerant minstrel was another fluke.

But then one afternoon, coming home from work, feel that itch again.  I need to get out there and play music somewhere.  I look at my watch… it’s 5 o’clock PM… not a lot of time for going anywhere—and I have to work tomorrow.
But I know I have to respond to the urge—or it might die out forever. So I think fast…

Well, I guess I could be a minstrel in my hometown… right here in Mechanicsburg… see how that feels.  I wonder, will I see this town in a different light once I’m in Discovery Mode?

I decide to give it a try.  I grab my guitar and camera and head towardsMain Street.

I hesitate to call this my “hometown” as this word implies a sort of lasting connection you have with a place.  Mechanicsburg is more like my “current place of residence”.  I moved here with my family a few months ago, and haven’t yet felt any bonding with this town.  When I leave I doubt that I will miss this place very much.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t really felt a “connection” with my place of residence since living inMorocco10 years ago!  Every where since then has just felt like a place where I sleep, eat, make money and scheme my next adventure.

But today is going to be different.  I’m going explore this town objectively, “discovering” it, just like I did those towns up the Susquehanna.   For the next couple of hours I will be in Minstrel Mode, continuing on a seemless journey, picking up where I stopped in Lewistown last month.

I reachMain Street, past the old inn—which is little more than a two storey log cabin, used by travellers since colonial times, on their way down the fertileCumberlandValley.  Then there’s theMain Streetcommercial stretch, with it’s typical small town shabbiness, a shadow of what Main Streets used to be.  But it still has it’s subtle charm, with a few colourful shops clinging to life, resisting the change of the times.

I have flashbacks of when I first discovered this town in 2006 when I was bicycling around theHarrisburgsuburbs scouting out a place to move to.  I wanted to live close to the excitement of the city and still enjoy the quaint calm of a small town.  I remember liking that fact that Mechanicsburg has it’s own soul and identity, despite being so close to the state capital. 

I remember finding and apartment, moving here, and trying to find my niche here, playing gigs at a couple of local venues, taking my family to the famed Jubilee fest street fair whenMain Streetbecomes one big party… I remember the odd mix of characters that I met at my new job, former military guys, rednecks from across the mountain, folks from the inner city…

 It’s an interesting feeling to be in Minstrel Mode, and yet have all these memories of past experiences popping up wherever I look.  I’m discovering and reminiscing at the same time—and looking at this town through different eyes.  I get the thought that maybe it would be fun to revisit other towns from my past as minstrel.
I reached the park, which is sandwiched between big warehouses and quiet neighborhoods—typical of this town where houses and factories coexist side by side.  Here you can walk across the street to your job at the factory—something you can’t do in very many places here in theUS, where zoning laws are king.

After I strum my songs, I head back towards downtown, looking for a spot to take a video clip that might encapsule the image of this town.  There are a couple of older folks relaxing in front of an apartment building with a big American flag waving in front and I figure it would make an iconic American image.  But the folks don’t seem at all excited in being in my “music video”, so I have to look elsewhere.

 It’s getting dark so I have to find something quick. I opt for Mechanicsburg’s Chamber of Commerce, which is actually a converted railroad car… sort of symbolic of the “Mechanical” nature of Mechanicsburg.

And with that, my second day in Minstrel Mode comes to an end.

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No, Im not just posing...
No, I'm not just posing...
photo by: nathanphil