Ohio River

The Carnegie Science Center; An Investment in the future

It seems everything we are doing this summer is a investment in the future. Even the little day trips we have taken are to help my son explore ideas that he may want to revisit in the future. I have been working on several projects at work that are going to pay off 5 or 10 years from now. We are even working on our house with the idea that my husband will retire in 7 or 8 years. Maybe this all comes with age, maybe with the lack faith in the current situation with Covid, the looming election and the general unrest in the county we are just focused on what will come next. Instead of worrying to deeply about the current state of everything. Maybe the future is brighter than the drama of today. So we are spending time with Christopher in the most positive way we can think of, with small trips to help spread the joy of learning with him.

the USS REQUIN ( ss481) a standard fleet submarine with armament decommissioned and released from Navy list Dec 1971. Sept 1992 arrived at Pittsburg

So I wanted to share a little bit about a really impressive place that we enjoyed visiting over the 4th of July weekend. the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburg, Pa. My son’s elementary school had made year end field trip plans to take the 5th grade class to the Science Center. The plans were cancelled when school was dismissed because of the Covid- 19 outbreak. So we promised our son as soon as the center reopened we would make the trip to Pittsburgh. It was a wonderful, educational day and I know we will be back to share the experience with my granddaughter also.

Young man moving the controls on a gigantic robot hand on the robotics floor of the Carnegie Science Center.

The Carnegie Science Center is a 4 story building, plus a basement cafe and interactive decommissioned submarine that is an interactive playground full of things to touch, build, try and see. Their website offers information on what is playing at the IMAX theater , The planetarium and what is featured in the gallery. They share information on what to expect each day and what you can and cant do in the huge activity gym attached to the main building.

We were overwhelmed with the options offered and spent about 5 hours in the main building and still did not do everything available. We did see a afternoon planetarium laser show to the music of the band “Queen” and the Gallery show called “Mummies”. It was all well done and Christopher was so excited to see each floor of exhibits.

One of the largest model train displays I have ever seen. Most of the locations are of Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.

Visitors start on the first floor where the Gallery show is exhibited. This show was about mummies and their creation. They covered not only egyptian mummies but European, Scottish and Mongolian mummies. I only took one photo because the crowds were hard to shoot around. A very informative show and Christopher learned that not all mummies are wrapped in bandages.

Natural occurring sand mummy from the middle east around 7000 years old/
Decorative display outside the exhibit for Mummies at the Carnegie Science Center 2020

You then proceed up to the frist floor of displays mostly about earth science, animals and water.

The Second floor was about Medical Science and Aero space. We played with bones, made our heart beat a drum, made dancing skeletons and played with a very loud fart machine. Tom played in a space capsules restroom, we touched a meteor and watched Christopher try out his Space Walking skills on a bodyboard.

The third floor is the Robotics and train floor. I thought I would never get Christopher out of these rooms. They are the high light of our day. Everyone found something they enjoyed.

Tom played several rounds of air hockey against a robot and never won

The fourth and final floor is there Lego room and weather exploration display. The room had all the building blocks you ever want to find. Some were as large as a gallon milk jugs some were as small as a pee. They then allow you to place your creation in an earthquake simulator. We rode out the top 5 worst recorded earthquakes in history but now understand a lot more about the weather and quakes.

We then headed to the basement for a tour of a real submarine floating in the Ohio River. This was so fascinating and is part of your ticket price. I was just so surprised at how small everything was. Your entry into the ship is a new stairwell into the torpedo room, then you travel the length of the ship and exit out the back up a ladder to the deck. 80 men lived in these small quarters for 18 months at a time. It is a hard and dangerous job and one that not everyone is cut out for.

We had to walk through 5 or 6 of these hatches this man is about 6 foot and had to lean down to get through the opening.

We ended our visit with a laser show at the planetarium. For a extra $5 dollars each we spent the last 45 minutes of our visit in the dark with the music of Queen. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.

Categories: Carnegie Science Center, education, elementary school, family fun, Legos, Ohio River, Pittsburg, Pa, Submarine | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ferryman Silently Waits: An Allegory

So in response to my mother’s passing, this short story pop into my mind and needed to be written down. Hope you enjoy it.

The Ferryman Silently Waits

In the dark shadows of my heart, the Ferryman has come to collect his due. Staring at me from the shoreline, his faceless image reminds me that I still have not released her for this last passage. He is waiting for me to say goodbye to her, to send her broken bones across the river on his watery vessel. Frozen in my tracks I am unable to scream at him from my grassy hill, to tell him how much I hate his presence waiting on me. The Ferryman is always silent at the edge of the river, pacing, waiting, quietly. I try to ignore his presence drifting in and out of the shadows of the oak trees of my mind. I pray that he loads the ferry with someone else’s remains and crosses the river with them instead of her. My prayers go unanswered and he continues to wait and watch until I am prepared to pay his fee to release his ferry from the shore. His payment for crossing the river is the sacrifice that we all must pay. He gathers our tears. He collects the wailing of our hearts and mourning cries of our souls. His dark dirty hand collects our pain and suffering like gold coins as payment for the journey. Charon the ferryman needs this toll of pain and suffering to raise the veil on the foggy river, to deliver our loved ones to the other side.

EssexLymeFerry-610x403

 

I refuse to bring her to the shore, refuse to load the casket on the wooden planks of the waiting pallet. I have not added the daisy chains to the deck of the ferry, nor the candles or candy for her voyage. It is not for me to release her into his care. It is not my place to send her to the other side. I dare the Ferryman to come up the shore and take her. I yell at him from the moss-covered hill. “She is still mine and you cannot have her.” In his dirty dungarees, he says nothing and only raises his hand as if the payment was already due. He knows that death has already come. The shrouded body of my mother is peaceful and beautiful. Like a spider, I have her cocooned her against the elements. She resides safely on the hilltop covered in moss and flowers. I have no strength to place her in the casket or load it on the wagon. I have no will to drive her down the hill to the river for the silent Ferryman.

cable ferry
The Ferryman does not care for me, he has no sympathy for the living, and his job is only to serve the dead. He does not have the means to bring death to the old, sick or those born too early. His only power is to transport his passenger from the land of the living to the land of the dead. My heart is broken and I fall on my knees in the flowers, pray. I pray for understanding, forgiveness and for love. I feel the heavyweight of my loss in my heart. I am not sure how to face another day without her.
A storm is brewing on the horizon. I watch, as the clouds turn gray and rise in heaping mounds. As the last member of her generation, she will join all the others that have gone on before her. The storm knows my mother is coming and wraps its icy breath around her. The Gail wind tries to raise her from her deathbed. A draft of wind moans through the trees and across the shore into the mist of the river. I know there is nothing more I can do for her in this world. As her shroud flaps wildly in the wind. The Ferryman watches the storm arrive and signals to me that it is time for the arrival of his passenger. I know that the fury of the storm will take her if I do not begin the painful parade to the river.
There is no escape from this journey. It is cruel to the spirts to delay their joyful reunion and I know that I am being selfish. I know that it is wrong to cause this suffering. However, suffering is a small price to pay to have one more glorious morning with her. I rise to my feet, lift the heavy remains of the woman who gave me life onto my shoulder. I lower her into the casket and place it on the wagon. I load the flowers, candles, and candy in the wagon until it is overflowing. I drive a team of grey, mute donkeys down to the shore. There I slowly lower her casket from the wagon onto the Ferryman’s pallet. With a faceless reach, he slowly pulls the rope attached to the pallet on to the planks of the wet ferry. The river rises to meet them as my tears shower down on the dark blue-gray water. I stand motionless, knee-deep in the cold water. Drained of all my strength, I stand watching as the Ferryman ties off the pallet and raises his pole to push the wooden vessel into deeper water. The Ferryman’s toll is paid, as I begin to shudder with tears. A shiny silver coin would have been much easier to part with then this wooden casket.
The Ferryman reaches hand over hand as he pulls the heavy rope that moves the flat bottom ferry into the current of the river. Slowly the mist turns to a white wall of thick fog. There is no noise except the sounds of rain hitting the river and the creaking of the saturated boards straining to keep the ferry afloat.
She is leaving me behind. She floats with a stranger to a new land. “Choran, do not leave her for the wolves”, I yell into the fog as the ferry disappears from my sight. All that is left is the sounds of the rain on the tree leaves and the creak of the wet wood in the distance. The Ferryman will ride with her through the passage, into the cove, where he will release her from all pain and memories.
Soaked and chilled to the bone I slowly slog back to the bank. My wet clothing weighing me down, I fall on my face in the soft slit of the shore. In the sand, I wish I could trade places with her, to stop my own pain and to find freedom in death. The cold finally drives me ashore back into the wagon where the team is waiting for me. Silently I promise to get them home to a warm, dry, barn. I spend the remainder of the night in front of the fire, warming my bones with a strong brandy until the storm passes.
The Ferryman never reappeared on the river near my farm. My mother’s remains never wash ashore downstream. I believe her trip was successful in reaching the cove and shore of Hades. I know that after the storm I found the sky more colorful and peaceful than I had ever before. The sun shone down on the flower-covered hill and the river returned to its gentle flow. I am sure that the Ferryman was paid that night and I will not see him again for many more days. Love comes at a price that no one is prepared to pay. However, I would not miss this adventure for anything in the world. To love and be loved is more valuable than any pain that the Ferryman can bring me.

 

 

Categories: Death, Ferry boat, Ferryman, fiction, Ohio River, short story, sickness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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