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I’m a grateful Pennsylvanian. Yesiree I love the Keystone State. I don’t know if everyone appreciates the place of their birth and I don’t know if it matters, I just happen to be a gal who does. Growing up in Pennsylvania I have discovered that we’ve got a little bit of everything around here. We’ve got just enough extreme temperatures in every season to keep us complaining or rejoicing in the weather, depending upon our personal tastes.
We’ve got just enough country to keep us close to our roots and just enough city to feel like we aren’t quite hicks. We’ve got just enough nostalgia to keep us feeling old fashioned and just enough technology to convince us we’re cutting edge. I think it’s a delightful mix, seldom achieved with such grace, at least as far as states go anyways.
My son,last week while home on break from college, made another astute observation about our great home state. He pointed out that we consistently refer to Pennsylvania’s abbreviation as if it were an actual name. For example, “I’m from P-A!” and everyone knows you mean Pennsylvania. You never hear people declare that they are going to visit Aunt Sally in “C-T.” or that they spent their summer vacation at the beach in “V-A.” It’s a unique distinction to us curious Pennsylvanians that I find rather quaint. Now, in order to prove this revelation to be accurate before adding this snippet to my column, I did read down the abbreviations for all 50 states just to be sure that I had never really heard of an instance when another two-letter abbreviation was commonly used to refer to the state itself. When I got to “D-C” I had to admit that people do indeed refer to our nation’s capital with those two letters all the time. However, “D-C” is technically not an actual state so I am standing with my son’s original insightful comment and patting him on the back for being so clever.
In tribute to this great state which I enjoy living in, I would like to share with you a poem that I wrote for my father several years ago. My dad loved the outdoors in general and Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier in particular. Always an avid sportsman, he would hike or hunt or ride his bike off into the unknown for sheer pleasure and in appreciation of him and his passion for the natural beauty of our state I wrote “This Pennsylvania Day.” I hope you will enjoy it.
Gray squirrel in the scarlet oak. Ruffed grouse in the brush. Brown trout in the singing stream. Whippoorwill and thrush. Black bear in his winter den. Osprey full in flight. Whitetail deer in thicket snug. Screech owl and bobwhite. Beaver in his cozy lodge. Coyote’s lonely croon.Cottontail in fencerow. Muskrat and raccoon. Blue sky far above me. Below me, moss and fern. The wonders of creation are revealed at every turn. With heart aloft and spirit full my tensions melt away. As humbly, I thank God for This Pennsylvania Day!
Yes, Pennsylvania boasts a cornucopia of beauty just waiting to be discovered. From historic Philadelphia to its unknown small town treasures, I love Pennsylvania. I hope that whether you are a transplant or a native, you will come to appreciate the wonder of the Keystone State.