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Monday, April 13, 2020

OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, Part 1: GRANDPAP'S TANK

On the hill, stoically overlooking my Aunt Deb's house in Richeyville, Pennsylvania, is the town's water tank.  From the back seat of our parent's car, my brother and I would compete with each other to see which of us would be the first to see it.  The tank...which Jake and I referred to as "Grandpap's Tank"...was indication that the two hour drive to Grandpap and Grandma Morosky's house was near the end.  Every kid loves their grandparent's house...and I'm no exception.  Even now, as an adult, far removed from the back seat of my parent's car, I can still conjure so many memories of our countless trips to the place my mom and dad referred to as "home."  

On a number of occasions, my brother and I would walk up to the water tank in Richeyville.  For the 11 year old me, it was quite an adventure.  -- 1984

We all have memories of visiting our Grandparents....and I'd bet that yours, like mine, are pleasant.  Visiting my mother's parents, George and Rose Morosky, was something that I ALWAYS looked forward to when I was a young boy.  It meant family, togetherness, fun, and love.  There was plenty of relatives, food, and laughter.  Grandpap and Grandma's house was a place to gather and celebrate family...and in these times in which we are living now...we all can appreciate and cherish, more than ever, the ability to gather and laugh and love and hug.

My grandparents, George and Rose Morosky.  Grandpap was a retired steelworker and Grandma Rose worked as a waitress at the Nemacolin Country Club. -- 1981

If I close my eyes, I can still see my grandparents house and back yard the way it was when I was a kid.  The sidewalk on the right hand side of the house led to two different entrances to the the house...the basement or the kitchen.    For a child, walking into my grandparent's basement was like walking into a place of curiosity and adventure. The path to the upstairs led you past a corner shower and though a maze of hanging clothes.  It was near the shower where my cousins and I would crush thousands of aluminum cans for our grandmother to recycle.  The basement also contained other gems that I remember today:  a freezer that was guaranteed to have Klondike Bars in it, a chalk board against the back wall, a shelf under the steps stocked with games for the cousins to play, and Grandpap's mysterious workshop.  There was also an ever present cardboard box containing old newspapers at the bottom of the steps leading up into Grandma's kitchen.  To put newspapers in the box all one had to do was open the basement door from the kitchen and slide the recently read papers down the ramp into the box.


My grandmother, Rose Morosky, standing on the sidewalk next to her house in Richeyville.  The basement entrance to the house is directly over her right shoulder.  -- 1980

The chalkboard in my grandparents basement. -- August 3, 2019

I took this picture in my grandfather's old work area in the basement. -- August 3, 2019

Emanating from the top of the basement steps was the steam and smells of my grandmother's kitchen.  A Rose Morosky dinner was always something to look forward to.  I can still hear the rattling of the pressure cooker on the counter...which produced the most incredible roast beef I have ever eaten. Or, the sound that my grandmother's mashed potatoes made as she transferred them from the rubber spatula to my plate.  I recall that when I would remove the cabbage from the halupki and push it to the side my grandfather would tell me that I was wasting the best part.  To this day, I still associate Chop Suey with Hungarian food...there were often huge pots of it cooking on the stove for Sunday dinner.  On Saturday mornings, I could always count on Grandpap making Hungry Jack pancakes for my brother and I...each with a piece of butter on top that would melt into the middle of the pancake while it was still on the griddle.  The one smell that I most associate with my grandmother's kitchen is the smell of Lithuanian Christmas fish...my absolute favorite.  Still, today, I make piles of it at a time just to eat throughout the week.


Grandpap George Morosky passing out Christmas wafers to the grandkids.  That's me on the left sitting next to my cousin, Joshua.  -- December 24, 1981

Everybody gathered around the kitchen table.  Left to right, my father, Dave Raymond, ?, Aunt Debby, Aunt Judy, David Raymond, Grandma Rose, and Aunt Helen.  -- December 25, 1987

Grandma Rose watching over the kid's table. -- December 24, 1979

There were treats too.  At Christmas time, I couldn't wait to eat my grandmother's homemade gobs (unfortunately referred to as whoopie pies in other parts of the world) and pizzelles.  My grandfather would make his own root beer.  It had such an unique and distinct taste to it...and I'm sure that I'll never taste anything quite like it again.  There was always an ever present jar of stale pretzel rods on the counter next to the stove.  On hot summer days, we feasted on multitudes of push up popsicles and the aforementioned Klondike bars.  In the evening, while catching lightning bugs, my grandfather sliced watermelon for us all.  With watermelon juice running down our faces and onto our shirts we would spit the seeds into the grass.  On special occasions, we would be treated to George Morosky's bacon bread....basically a slab of bacon cooked over an open fire and then served on rye bread (which had been basted in bacon grease).  A coronary waiting to happen...but oh, how it tasted!


Eating watermelon on the steps leading into my grandparent's kitchen.  Left to Right:  Uncle George, Aunt Linda, and Aunt Rosanne. -- July 7, 1975

A birthday celebration for my Aunt Deb in the back yard.  Left to Right: My father, Dave Raymond, Aunt Deb, David Raymond, my mother, Kathy Raymond, Uncle Ed, Jacob, Bobby, and Grandma Rose. -- 1979

The very same back yard that we spit the seeds into also served as a small playground for us.  I remember that it had a small circular indentation where an above ground pool once was.  In the summer time there seemed to be endless numbers of Japanese Beatles flying to and fro from one yard to another.  Decorating the flower gardens were pinwheels made out of old aluminum soda cans.  The back yard also had a shed next to the alleyway.  Each house in the neighborhood had one in almost the exact same location.  The original purpose of the shed was to store coal that would be dropped off by the mining company. Eventually, the shed was converted to a playhouse for my mother and my aunts...and then a storage shed.


My grandparent's back yard with the swimming pool.  My Aunt Deb is walking past the shed that served as her playhouse when she was young.  The door to the shed is visible...later my grandfather would move the door to the far right side of the shed. -- 1975

My Aunt Rosanne hanging out with my cousins Kristen and Bobby.  One year old me has her attention.  -- 1974

A back yard table eventually replaced the swimming pool.  Sitting around the table is my grandmother, Rose Morosky, my brother, Jake, and Aunt Judy.  I'm in the foreground signing my cousin Kristen's cast.  -- June 1985

  I have mixed emotions about the part of my grandparents yard beyond the alley...the part we called "the hillside."  It was on the hillside that I saw my first snake.  I still vividly remember Grandpap George killing it with a garden rake and then dangling it on the end of the rake for me to see.  To a young boy, that was both scary and epic at the same time!  It was in a pen on the hillside that my grandfather kept his dog, Duke.  Duke didn't like me all that much...seeing that my first real memory of Duke is of him peeing on me.  Eight year old me just stood there in the summer heat and allowed it to happen (I was paralyzed).  It was in the alley and at the base of the hillside where Grandpap would burn the garbage. (Yes, in those days you apparently could just go outside and burn your trash.)  Grandma had her garden on the hillside...and she was so proud of it.  There was nothing worse though, than when we were older and were asked to cut the grass on the hillside.  It was a miserable chore which usually ended up with a horrible case of poison ivy.

My grandfather, George Morosky, on the hillside taking care of Duke.  -- 1980

My grandmother, Rose Morosky, working in her garden on the hillside. -- 1987

My grandmother, Rose Morosky.  She was super proud of her garden.  -- 1987
Grandma and Grandpap weren't the only people who made my childhood days in Richeyville so special.  My mother's  sisters...my Aunt Judy, Aunt Rosanne, and Aunt Deb played an integral part.  But it was time with my cousins that I really looked forward to.  In the hierarchy of cousins, I fell right in the middle.  I looked up to my older cousins...Bobby, Andy, Kristen, and Jean...and I loved hanging out with my younger cousins Tim, my brother, Jake, Joshua, Luke, Katie, and Sarah.  Even though we are all grown and spread so far apart, together we collectively share all of the memories, smells, and tastes, of the Morosky household.  Together we played wiffle ball on the slate dump...swung together on the swings at the nearby park...crammed into Grandma and Grandpap's kitchen for dinners...exchanged gifts at Christmas time...and watched cartoons and the Pittsburgh Steelers on the huge cabinet television that sat on the living room floor.  We all remember the line of people ready to have their hair cut by my mother and the newspaper that was spread out on the kitchen floor to catch the falling hair.  There's no way any of us could forget the high stakes card games that were played by the adults and older cousins at the kitchen table.  I bet we all recall that the Hungarian word "seggy" translated in English is "ass"  and that the normal tone of talking in the Morosky kitchen resembled something a little more closer to yelling.  


Cousins eating breakfast in Grandma's kitchen.  Who remembers fighting over who gets to read the back of a cereal box? -- 1978

Cousins gathered for Christmas.  Joshua Rendulic, Kristen Meyers, David and Jacob Raymond, and Jean Morosky.  -- 1978

Cousins...Bobby and Andy Meyers, Jacob & David Raymond, Timmy and Katie Meyers, Aunt Rosanne, Joshua Rendulic, and Kristen Meyers. -- 1982

Jacob and David Raymond, Joshua Rendulic, and Jean Morosky gathered in Grandpap and Grandma's back yard for Easter  -- 1981

Celebrating my cousin Luke's first birthday.  Plaid was in!  Katie and Timmy Meyers, David and Jacob Raymond, Luke Rendulic, Bobby and Andy and Kristen Meyers, and Joshua Rendulic.  -- 1981

David Raymond, Andy Meyers, Luke Rendulic, Kristen Meyers, Joshua Rendulic, Katie Meyers, Timmy Meyers, and Jacob Raymond -- December 24, 1985

Bobby, Andy, David, Kristen, Jacob, Tim, Joshua, Katie, Luke, and Sarah.  -- December 25, 1990

My grandfather, George Morosky, passed away in 1984 a few months prior to my 11th birthday.  It's obvious that he made some a huge impression on me.  I often joke to my own kids that I plan on making my grandchildren pancakes the exact same way that he made them for me.  Grandma Rose passed away in 2013.  As an adult I feel a little bit guilty that, at times, I wasn't as patient with her as I could have been...or that I wasn't conscience of the difficulties that she persevered through during her lifetime.  The two of them helped to make some of the most memorable of my childhood.  I was in Richeyville last summer visiting my Aunt Deb to work on some genealogy.  She lives in my grandparents house and it has never looked as good as it does now.  It was nice to visit and walk around and reminisce about my childhood...(and yeah, she had me trim the hedges in the back yard).  It is equally as nice to know that the property is being taken care of, the memories are as vivid as ever, and that Grandpap's Tank is still keeping a watchful eye over everything.


The Morosky household in Richeyville, PA.  The town's water tank (which my brother and I referred to as Grandpap's Tank) continues to keep watch from the hillside above the town.  -- August 3, 2019

Grandpap's Tank and the memories I have of the Morosky household are only part of my story...the remainder of the tale can be told just five miles down the road in a little place called Lowhill.
To be continued...

Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- April 13, 2020

OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, Part 2: BABA'S HILL


George and Rose Morosky.  This picture says it all. -- 1981

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM
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All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at 
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"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SOCIALLY DISTANT

"Me time" is important but even the most introverted of us are feeling the strain of social distancing right now. While it is necessary, it sure doesn't seem natural.  As an educator, I seriously miss being in my classroom...it is, after all, my chosen profession.  As a son, I'm frustrated that I don't feel comfortable making the drive two hours west and visit my dad and Mary Jane.  As a father, it sucks that my son can't celebrate his 21st birthday today with his friends...like I'm sure he has envisioned for a long time.  (Selfishly, I'm glad he's spending it at home.)  And yes, the provider in me is annoyed, and increasingly concerned, that finding toilet paper for my family is like actually finding treasure on Oak Island.  

Maintaining my social distance and straddling the Cumberland/Adams County line in Michaux State Forest.  - March 24, 2020

Here, in York County, Pennsylvania, even though the facilities in State Parks are closed, I can still (as of now) access and use the trails.  With the world temporarily grinding to a halt...I've been able to find refuge on my bike, in my hiking boots, and at some of the places that I love.  I've seen others taking the opportunity to use the trails, too.  I can only assume they doing the same thing I am...enjoying the outdoors, soaking in Vitamin N, getting exercise, and doing their best to maintain distance.  It's really been a balancing act of doing what I need to feed my desire to be outside and making sure that I, and others, are safe.  The six foot rule applies not just in a grocery store...but on the trail as well.  I've purposely avoided places and areas of local State Parks and Forests that I know are heavily trafficked.  While maintaining social distance I've discovered areas of the forest that I had never been to...ate lunch on a not so frequented vista on top of the mountain...pedaled my road bike down barren back roads...sat alone with my mountain bike on top of Piney Mountain Ridge Road...and relaxed as I watched my grown son skip rocks in Pinchot Lake.


As of now...the facilities are closed...but the trails are open. Be smart and be safe.

Chris Keller and I kept our distance from each other while riding the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. -- March 15, 2020

Chris took this picture of me crossing a dam while riding the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg. -- March 15, 2020

Hiking Dead Woman's Hollow Trail. -- March 16, 2020

David Raymond and Mike Graham on Blueberry Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- March 16, 2020

Maintaining social distance while hiking Dead Woman's Hollow in Michaux State Forest. -- March 16, 2020


Socially distant on the back roads of York County, Pennsylvania.  -- March 17, 2020

Socially distant on the trails in Codorus State Park.  I didn't see another human being the time I was there...just a "NO SWIMMING" sign on the hillside in the woods. -- March 18, 2020

Socially distant on the rocks that make up Sunset Rocks Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- March 19, 2020

Socially distant on the Appalachian Trail. -- March 19, 2020

The morning after a heavy  rain, Tom's Run in Michaux State Forest was very Ohiopyle-like.  -- March 19, 2020 

Celebrating the first day of Spring 2020 with a solo road ride. -- March 20, 2020

Brent and I maintained social distance while riding Rocky Ridge County Park. -- March 21, 2020

Riding Rocky Ridge County Park. -- March 21, 2020

Father/Son hike in Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- March 22, 2020

Alex skipping rocks and being socially distant at Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- March 22, 2020


Hiking (not biking!) Lakeside Trail in Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- March 22, 2020

I'm so looking forward to being able to enjoy some GROUP THERAPY (like this hike on the Appalachian Trail with family and friends) again. -- March 14, 2020

With normal life on hold I've noticed a few silver linings during this time of social distancing.  Sidewalks and driveways are covered with the chalk artwork of little kids, families are hanging out together, kids are riding bikes, and the young man next door to me is out shooting hoops in the driveway with his dad.  Basically, quality family time.  Until we are told otherwise (at least where I live) it is okay to go outside...take a walk...ride a bike...and get some Vitamin N.  Just take care to follow basic guidelines, use common decency, and practice common sense.  Hopefully soon we will be able to get back together...hug, high-five, shake hands...and enjoy some GROUP THERAPY.  Until then...let's all do our part and remain socially distant.


SOCIAL DISTANCING ON PUBLIC TRAILS



Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- March 25, 2020


We didn't get to go out to Alex's favorite restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland this evening for his 21st birthday...so he enjoyed some homemade Korean bulgogi and cheese cake.  Happy birthday, Son.  I love you!



Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM
@mountnbiker73


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides and hikes feature din this post.  #OptOutside2020

















All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at 
 and 


"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin


Saturday, March 7, 2020

CONTINUED GROUP THERAPY

I was supposed to meet Chris and Ben at Rocky Ridge yesterday afternoon for a Friday afternoon happy hour ride...but Mother Nature was really not cooperating.  Being good stewards of the trials, we all agreed...even before the local park service announced on Twitter that the trails were closed...to postpone until next week.  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed (although I satisfied my addiction with a road ride).  Honestly, it wasn't the fact that the trails were closed that was the most disappointing to me...more so it was that I was looking forward to getting together with Chris and Ben for some trail time with friends.   Nature is awesome...but it is even more so with friends. Once again, I find myself looking back over the past year at those who have shared in my outdoor adventures and I was reminded how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many amazing people.  What follows is a compilation of photographs showing group therapy at its best.  Smiles are ever present, bonds are strengthened, and spirits are lifted in each snap shot.  Some of the same family members and friends show up in multiple pictures...but each photo has a different combination of people.  That is so cool.  So come and join me for some of the group therapy from the past two years.  


Probably my largest group ride ever.  Last summer I had the honor of leading one of Gung Ho's group rides at Michaux Fest.  I had a blast leading this awesome group of rides on a super fun 14 mile-ish ride through Michaux State Forest. -- June 30, 2019

January 2019 started with a frigid hike to the top of Pole Steeple in Michaux State Forest with Robin, Blythe, Julien, and Brigette. -- January 27, 2019

Matt Linnane, Chris Keller, and I spending a cool March day riding in Swatara State Park.  Chris was in the market for a new mountain bike, so I borrowed new Epic and Stumpjumper from the bike shop for him to demo.  In the end, he chose the Stumpy!  -- March 16, 2019

Lots of fun with the gang from Gung Ho at the Marysville Relay last April...BJ, Ben, Dave, Jay, Ryan, and Ed. -- April 7, 2019

After a shift at the bike shop, I took this ride at Rocky Ridge County Park with Chris Keller, Jay Zech, and Josh Coleman. -- May 10, 2019

Sunday family hike at Camp Michaux in Michaux State Forest with Robin, Mia, and Kevin. -- February 10, 2019

Our final Tuesday Michaux Ride of the summer of 2019...Ben Kelly, Josh Coleman, Brent Shirk, Tim Sindlinger, and Dave Raymond.  -- August 13,  2019

One of our many late summer and autumn Friday happy hour rides at Rocky Ridge County Park.  Dave Raymond, Chris Keller, Tony Vasura, and Brent Shirk. -- October 4, 2019

Taking a hike at Gettysburg National Military Park and sharing the outdoors with my nieces and nephew.  Shalice, Isaac, Uncle Dave, Sophie, and Jackie  -- July 27, 2019

Devin Seiger, Alex, Jackie, and David Raymond near Jonathan Run in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 20, 2019

Fun hike through the lush greenness of Michaux State Forest. -- August 14, 2019

Hiking behind Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle with Emma Sadowski, Alex and Robin  -- July 5, 2019

One of my favorite rides last year.  Adam, Tim, Ben and I met at the Hershey Trail System for our Ugly Sweater/Winter Solstice Ride. -- December 21, 2019

Robin and I enjoying a February afternoon at Rocky Ridge County Park with the Dorward Family. -- February 9, 2020

Exploring the new trails at Codorus State Park with Brent and Brandon Shirk.  -- December 26, 2019

Hiking at Gifford Pinchot State Park with Robin and our next door neighbor, Jon Senko. -- November 3, 2019

Possibly my favorite group photo of last summer.  Matt, Tim, and I on Abigail Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- July 9, 2019

It's the time spent with friends and family that make life worth living.  I am so very fortunate to be surrounded by people who love and care about me...and who enjoy the  endless and bountiful beauty that surrounds us.  With Winter rapidly coming to an end and with the weather incrementally improving each day I have no doubt that their will be much more group therapy in the near future.  I encourage everyone...as much as you can...to surround yourself with the people that you love doing the things that you love.  That is, ultimately, the best kind of therapy you can find.


And how super cool is this!  Robin, Blythe, and I taking one month old Freya on her first hike in Richard Nixon Park. -- March 1, 2020



Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- March 7, 2020

After a group white water rafting trip in Ohiopyle State Park, the Raymond's (Devin Seiger included) and the Keller's enjoyed a group meal! -- June 18, 2019


GROUP THERAPY -- APRIL 2016


MORE GROUP THERAPY -- FEBRUARY 2017


RECENT GROUP THERAPY -- DECEMBER 2018


Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73


Here are the GARMIN map and data from the rides and hikes featured in this post.  #OptOutside2020




























All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at 
 and 


"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin