Once we had completed our meal, we traversed the length of the outlet window-shopping. Frankly, I am not a major adherent of the supposedly favorite feminine pastime of shopping, unless of course it involves books or knick-knacks. Nevertheless, I dutifully followed along as my friends gazed fondly into store windows. We went into a shop which sold various assorted lotions, soaps, and candles. The concentrated aroma of the place was amazingly potent, but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for scented candles, so I went over to the counter to bask in their aroma. Moving on, we went into a knick-knack store (huzzah!) and wandered aimlessly amidst the flashing, splashing, and dashing items arrayed on the shelves and on the ground.
Next we went to a bargain book store and scoured the shelves for anything of literary value and low cash. Whilst my friends lunged for the fiction, I chose the non-fiction section in search of historically-oriented gems. Unfortunately, the pickings were slim, and the only thing that caught my attention was a giant paper-back called The Patriot's History of the United States. I flipped through it and saw that it did mention some stuff about the connection between the Glorious Revolution and the American Revolution. The price wasn’t bad, but I had no real desire the lug the tome around all day, so I let it slide.
After finishing our meandering, we went over to the hotel across the street where Britta’s family was staying and soon after descended into the basement floor where the hotel pool and hot tub were located. I am not much of a water person due to some unpleasant swimming lesson experiences and the antics of my crazy cousin at the beach when I was a toddler. Hence, I just decided to sit alongside the watery basins in a lawn chair, observing the panoply of swimmers coming to indulge in the pleasures of chlorine-saturation while my friends dangled their legs in the hot tub.
We returned to the hotel room and lounged on the sofa talking about books and movies for a while before returning to the streets. We went into a shoe/jewelry store where Britta bought a necklace on sale, and then we returned to the Food Court and shared a cinnamon sugar hot pretzel. (By the way, if any of my readers ever come to Gettysburg, you really must get one of these! The sweet and salty sensations that strike your sense of taste are sheer bliss ;-) After finishing our treat, we finally parted ways, making a pact to do so again when we all returned to the same locality.
My second excursion was to the more historic section of Gettysburg, and by far my favorite part of the town. My father and I were going to "Gettysburg Days", when the native denizens of the area bring forth their trash and treasures exhibit in the streets and parking lots in hopes of making some degree of monetary gain. Being a professional antique hunter, my dad makes attending an annual ritual, and I tagged along with him this time in order to meet my pen-pal, Mary, who was coming to Gettysburg from Pittsburgh to visit family. This would be our first meeting, and I was a tad bit nervous at first. But the sense of discomfort soon melted away when we got to talking!
We rendezvoused at her grandmother's Christian book/gift shop and then headed out with my dad to sample the delights of the streets. Church parking lots were loaded with paraphernalia parishioners had accumulated throughout their lives and now felt the need to rid themselves of. There were paperback books, VHS movies, plastic snow globes with dancing penguins, and also a stand serving hotdogs. Beyond the parking lots, there were a fair amount of professional antique-ers on the streets selling their truly valuable wares that had sat collecting dust in antique malls for far too long.
Since Mary and I collect similar things, such as royal collectibles and historical books, it was fun searching together. The best thing I was able to locate was a giant Bonnie Prince Charlie cookie jar - which happened to almost as expensive as the reward put out for the capture of the Young Pretender when he was on the run in the Highlands, persuading me let him go “like a bird on a wing”! Our hunger soon took priority and we went into a diner where we enjoyed getting to know each other better over a basket of chicken fingers and fries, although neither of us felt the urge to consume the accompanying sauerkraut.
Moving on, we went into an antique shop and scoured the book shelves for anything of mutual interest, but most of the literature was about the American Civil - I mean we were in Gettysburg, after all! We did manage to locate a book on castles, one on naval battles, and another on the Hundred Years' War, but the prices were a little high for our liking. We headed to another antique shop and continued our search, managing to locate a few "Royal Year" books and a photograph of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. We also enjoyed looking at the Civil War era dresses on display.
After a little more adventuring abroad, we returned to the Christian shop and picked up Mary’s younger sister, Katie, to take her for a snack. My father and I had scouted out a church bakery sale, but when we arrived all the cupcakes and cake slices were already gone, and the doors were barred against us. Then my dad noticed a sign on the outside of a building which read "Popcorn and Water", so we decided to enter. It turned out to be a theatre in which a production of Charlie Brown, the Musical was underway. Back stage, we purchased some popcorn, brownies, and bottled water, and sat out back listening the muffled voices of the young performers singing the anthems of the Sunday Comic Superstar. Admittedly, we got a good laugh at our rather interesting position as outsiders looking in!
We returned to Mary’s grandmother's bookstore and checked out the array of Christian books, films, signs, bookmarks, name cards, games, and fossil rocks for sale. It is a really lovely store, with friendly people and a friendly atmosphere. I found a book about providential incidents in the American Revolution and came across the name of a Methodist preacher, John Fletcher, who served with John Wesley on the circuit and opposed the Revolution. I later found out that Wesley himself was a Tory, and both of them wrote tracks supporting the king. In fact, King George III was so pleased with Fletcher's track, he offered to reward him. But Fletcher replied that the only thing he wanted was more grace.
|"Welcome to Historic Gettysburg" Road Sign|