The fun part was that we rented a huge van so that we could all ride together. It was also amazing to eat both a Baltimore crab cake and a Philly Cheesesteak in one day. The not fun part was that we had to go to Baltimore and Philadelphia to get them.
These two cities have something in common. I know guys who were missionaries in both places. Pete served his mission in Philadelphia, and my sister Lydia's boyfriend (am I allowed to use that word Lyd?) was a missionary in Baltimore. Now, listen non-Mormon readers. In most cases, when you know someone who has lived in a place you want to visit for two years, that person would generally be a good person to tell you where to go and what to see. However, if that person lived in a place for two years because they were a Mormon missionary, PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Because although they can tell you a bit about the tourist attractions, they probably lived in the crappiest part of town and were very poor. Missionaries don't live in the projects, they live right next door to the projects so that they can try to serve and preach the gospel to the people of the projects. But what will probably happen is that they will get bricks thrown at their heads and have their bikes stolen. For Pete this was the case. I can't speak for Hank, but he sent us to the Lancaster Market for lunch. And while we did eat the most amazing crab cakes I've ever tasted, we all left severely traumatized. Do not confuse the Lancaster Market in Baltimore MD with the Lancaster Market in Lancaster County PA. Lancaster County is a delightful place, the only thing that will traumatize you there, are the Amish uni-brows. But after an hour in the Baltimore Market, my children have seen and heard things that have taken away their innocence. Ahhh the dregs of humanity. On our way out, we passed a couple of meth dregs dancing to some music. My brother Dallin took some hilarious video and sent it to me, I was mouse clicks away from posting the video but I realized that the fruit was just too low and one should always think before one posts a 'hilarious' video taken by a 21 year old college kid. Instead you get an insta import: Pete and I, Lancaster Market, and the view across the street from Edgar Allen Poes's house. Or should I say Edgar Allen's 'po' house? Heh.
On to Philly, Pete actually did a great job of keeping us in the few and far between less sketchy parts of town. We saw Independence Hall and did the Rocky steps. Nevertheless, Philadelphia took years off my life and I just realized why. It's because of the junior version of Parkour that my kids have invented. They will find the most complicated way possible to get from point A to point B. If there is a ledge to walk on, they do it. If there is a step to jump off of, they do it. If there is a space that seems like it might be a bit too narrow for them to fit their fat sweaty heads between, they try it (and fail) anyway. I really don't know how my visiting family could stand it. When it is just one kid, it slows things down but it's pretty cute. But when 5 kids are playing junior Parkour, it is a spectacle at a snails pace.
The asterisk here is that it actually was a fun day. I love the East Coast warts and all. And it makes me really really happy to be able to have my family come and stay with me and show off all the sights. And they are nice to my kids. Like really nice, no judgement, no impatience, they are just helpful and loving all of the time. I know that you would expect this from a Grandma, but the single people in the fam really went above and beyond. Please come spend another holiday with me.