What's in a name?

Trip Start Jul 16, 2011
Trip End Jul 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
Abraham Lincoln Hotel Reading
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Saturday, July 16, 2011

We are off on another two week adventure. This time the three of us will tackle the northeast.  Our first stop is Reading, Pennsylvania.  We got a late start on Saturday because I had to work.  This allowed me to miss all the last minute ordeals everyone goes through when you are going to be gone for a couple of weeks.  As an added benefit I did not have to listen to Sarah complain for a week about getting up at "O'dark thirty".  We were on the road by 2:45 with a planned stop for dinner at one of our favorite places - The Shady Maple.

For those of you who have never been to this little slice of Amish heaven let me fill you in on what you are missing.  Imagine a buffet the size of two semi trucks parked end to end filled with a cadre of four legged beasts cooked to Amish perfection.  In addition to the fried, broiled, baked and grilled meats there are vegetables taken straight from the ground and cooked the way grandma did, with a big slice of pork.  There is a salad bar also but I have never paid much attention to it.  Why eat salad when everywhere you turn there’s some other Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy you can’t get at home.  The way I see it, the salad bar is just taking up valuable meat real estate. 

I almost forgot the desert buffet.  How I could forget it I am not sure.  God knows I spend enough time there.  There is chocolate cake, chocolate pie, chocolate cheese cake, brownies, fudge, and of course whoopie pies.  Then there is all the fruit. What’s more, it is the way fruit was intended to be made; baked in a doughy crust with sugar, cinnamon, and whipped cream.  Vacation is no time to worry about weight and cholesterol, but if I should die please let Mrs. Obama know I ate my way through her new food pyramid.  Three times.

The drive up to The Shady Maple offers you the opportunity to drive near or through some small Pennsylvania towns.   Seeing the names of these towns caused me to wonder what were the founding fathers of Pennsylvania thinking more than 300 years ago when they named these places.  For instance The Shady Maple is located right next to East Earl, Pennsylvania.  Try as you might there is no Earl, Pennsylvania or West Earl, Pennsylvania.  Just East Earl.

 There is no doubt it was men who named these towns.  No woman is going to, and I am not making this up, have you drive through Blue Ball to get to East Earl.  While I am on this little soapbox, I have to ask how much grog was consumed at the pub, and more importantly what barmaid they were discussing, when the town of Lititz was named.   Of course just down the road from Liltitz is Intercourse, which is just a stone’s throw from Paradise.  Not surprisingly Virginville is on the other end of the county.  And lastly what forward thinking founding father thought of the name Pottstown?

Speaking of names, let’s discuss our current destination.  Reading, Pennsylvania.  I’ve got nothing against Reading. In fact, when it comes down to it I owe the city quite a bit. But the question begs to be asked why Reading, Pennsylvania is pronounced redding.  This is of course unless you are reading a book about Reading. Then reading is pronounced, well, reading while Reading is pronounced redding.  And we wonder why the No Child Left Behind Act has failed. 

I would like to have been at the meeting when the pronunciation of Reading was decided.  I imagine the meeting going something like this:

Politician 1- “reading is a boring way to say Reading. Let’s change it up. “

Politician 2- “I thought we were meeting to balance the budget”

Politician 1- “Yeah, but we can put that off for a while.  We have to do something about saying reading                                    when we mean Reading.  It just doesn’t sing. “

Politician 2- “If you don’t like it why don’t we just change the name?”

Politician 1- “No way.  I just got new business cards, and I had to pay for them not the tax payers. “

Politician 2- “Then just say it different. “

Politician 1-  “Perfect.  We will say it like redding.  That is much sexier.”

Politician 2-  “Now about the budget”

Politician 1- “I don’t have time.  I am leaving for a “fact finding” junket in Intercourse in the morning and I have to pack.”

This ends my first blog for this trip.  Tomorrow I will fill you in on why we decided to visit this city that I owe so much to.  Also, Politician 1 returns from Intercourse and says, “I have a great idea.  Let’s build a Pagoda on a mountain in the middle of Pennsylvania. “  
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