Day 15 – Indiana and Pittsburgh

We slept well and were wakened by my alarm at 6:50 am. We showered and were ready for breakfast of coffee, muffin, and melon by 7:45 am as arranged. By 8:15 am we were out with Nancy and Wayne and headed for Graystone church where we were honorary Presbyterians for the 8:30 am service.

As we entered the church we noticed a buzz of conversation among the people who were gathering, much like home. The service was lively with plenty of upbeat singing accompanied by talented musicians. It included sharing by a young woman who worked with youth camps, an interactive sermon for kids, a reading and accompanying sermon.

After the service finished shortly after 9:30 am we walked next door to look at Calvary Presbyterian church. Somehow in the local history there were two congregations of Presbyterians in the area with different approaches that built churches side by side. The one we attended is more theologically conservative but has more contemporary services. The other is more liberal but traditional in its services. Wayne described the church we attended as the ‘cathedral’ and the other as the ‘synagogue’. Both were beautiful buildings but quite different in style reflecting the different emphases in the congregations.

We walked around the downtown area, enjoying the pedestrian crossing announcements voiced by an impersonator of the actor, Jimmy Stewart, who was born in Indiana. We were shown some of the bars and other places that Hannah probably frequented during her time here.

From there we drove the short distance to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus where we walked around the grounds for a bit. We were under instruction to check out Elkin Hall where Hannah stayed and to get photos for her to see the changes. I took photos of various areas of campus which seemed to be well kept and a pleasant place to work or study.

After checking out the campus we went back to the house briefly to collect some things and then Nancy drove us toward Pittsburgh. We enjoyed the views from the tops of ridges along the road over rolling hills.

We stopped a little way short of Pittsburgh at Hermaville where we had lunch at the Primanti Brothers restaurant. They are a Pittsburgh tradition that originated on the wharves and spread to multiple locations. Nancy was not sure that the original location would be open so we stopped at one of the newer locations. The specialty of the house is a sandwich for which you select the meat which is served between two thick slices of Italian bread with cheese, tomato, coleslaw, and chips. I had the hot sausage version washed down with Iron City Lite beer. Once I mana gaged to get my mouth around the thickness of the sandwich it was good and certainly a full meal.

After lunch we drive on into the city, past the stadium where the crowds were already enjoying tail gate parties in anticipation of the football match to begin at 4:00 pm. We drove across the river and up to the top of Mt Washington for the panoramic view of Pittsburgh which sits at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which form the Ohio River. We had great views over the city, rivers and the hills beyond.

On the way back to Indiana we stopped to see the Thomas covered bridge which dates from 1879 but was rebuilt in 1998. It is a short bridge but has a very substantial lattice construction on the walls.

Back at Nancy and Wayne’s house we relaxed in the back garden, enjoying a drink by the small pond with its gentle flow of water punctuated by the occasional sound of an acorn falling from the oak tree above. We had occasional visits from chipmunks and squirrels while we sat there.

Later we were joined by their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, and Nancy’s colleague, Lloyd who I had met at SITE conferences. They were invited to dinner of chicken with pasta, Alfredo Sauce, and pasta. That was topped off with a cake in celebration of the birthdays of Nancy, Lloyd, and Majella who all have birthdays in September.

After dinner was done and the others had left we managed to connect with Hannah, Callum, and Claire on Skype for a quick catchup. It was good to see and hear them on the video connection.

Distance today was 225 km but Nancy drove all of that and we simply enjoyed the ride and the sights. It has been another very enjoyable day.

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