August 31, 2008
A Trip on the Duck, The Philly Duck
There is nothing two 16 year old boys love more than to climb aboard a boat on wheels in the middle of a big city alongside six children ranging in age from 3 to 11 and three mothers ranging in age from 29 to 29 and drive through the streets learning about Philadelphia history from a very loud Englishman on a microphone who's blasting old rock 'n roll songs as his accompaniment causing all people on the street to stop and stare in confusion or point with glee.
But that's what we put them through on a hot day in August. See the blond lady on the left with the sunglasses? That's Coleen, my walking partner. She likes fun things like this and making all her friends join her. The blond lady on the right is another friend of ours. She's a veternarian. The guy frowning at me in the foreground is rueing the day he ever got on this boat in front of 8 kids and you'll see why after we enter the Delaware River and make the name The Duck crystal clear to you.
This was our guide. An Englishman telling the story of Philadelphia to a bunch of Americans. He was very funny, very good. And he taught me a few things I didn't know about Philadelphia, but I answered the most history questions he threw at us, not because I am a history buff, but because the people sitting in front of me were dead fish. They didn't laugh, they didn't answer his quiz questions. The only thing they did was turn around and stare angrily at us when...well, we'll get to that on the river.
Here's Betsy Ross's house. I've been there a few times before on our homeschooling field trips. Tiny little staircases, tiny little rooms. Did you know she was married, like, 4 times? Betsy, Betsy, Betsy. We'll see more of her later too. She's changed a bunch.
Here we are floating on the lovely Delaware. The boat/automobile just sorta slides down a ramp and then you're floating.
The little boys weren't exactly sure how much they were gonna like that part.
But once we splashed in and took a new look around us.....
there's our home state over there. The beautiful Camden, New Jersey - murder capital of the U.S. recently....anyway, the kids loosened up and began......
QUACKING. And they didn't stop. They couldn't stop.
Imagine how the dead fish in the seats in front of us LOVED this cacophony of quacks. Look, even Seth is contemplating quacking. It was sorta irresistible. Even Coleen starting quacking when she noticed that a young guy in the front was giving us the evil eye. She's a rascal like that.
But there were sites to see, broken down buildings on the waterfront....I read Benjamin Franklin's autobiography once and will never forget his first moments in Philadelphia. He walked into "Old City" and bought some bread from a woman - who would turn out to be his wife! - and then, munching his bread down the street, he walked down to the water and took a long draught of the Delaware. That, evidently, was a long, long time ago...
And here's the bridge named after the brave fellow who drank from these waters.
(My crazy husband allowed my newly permitted son to drive over this bridge and into the city the other day. And guess what? He's not "permitted" to drive in any state but New Jersey. What is with men, I ask you? Anyway, better him than me. I would have been in a full-blown panic mid-span.)
And here's the second most coveted photo of the day: Seth, breaks down and does it -
HE QUACKED! And I, the nemesis of all embarrassed 16 year old boys, captured it here for you.
Oh and then Betsy Ross texted the help at home to tell them she'd be a little late...
those darns lines at the cheesesteak stand....