I Smell Chocolate — Everywhere

We spent last night at a Best Western in Columbus, Ohio. I’m mentioning it because it was very nice. They had a fitness center, heated pool, spa, and sauna. I was really excited about the sauna because I’d never sweated it out in one, but it was out of order. That was the only disappointment.

The pool really was heated. I’d been in a lot of “heated” pools. But never a HEATED pool. Very nice. And it was clean, in comparison to another hotel with a pool we went to that had what looked like clumps of dirt at the deep end and a green spa.

We got started as early as we could today (considering the time chance and time zone change), drove about an hour, and immediately got caught in traffic. It was a bummer. There was some sort of huge accident this morning and the cleaning crew was still at work by the time we passed them forty-five minutes later.

I did, however, get a picture of this crazy looking truck that reminded me of the movie, “Howl’s Moving Castle.”  It’s a Hayao Miyazaki picture, so if you’re a fan like me, give a shout out. Hopefully these pictures are big enough.

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A few hours later, we drove across this long mint green bridge that stretched over the Ohio River and then we saw a sign for West Virginia. It’s wild and wonderful. Reminds me of a country song.

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We even went past Bethlehem before getting to Pennsylvania! (Baby Jesus was born there.)

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Pennsylvania has so many pretty old buildings. And tunnels. Lots of tunnels. We went through three tunnels/mountains today. I played that hold-your-breath-until-you-reach-the-end game so much I got lightheaded. I don’t recommend it if you’re going through Pennsylvania and her numerous and long tunnels. Do your oxygen-dependent brain a favor.

Hershey was what we were looking for in Pennsylvania. If you didn’t know, there is a town called Hershey — as in the candy bar. And yes, it’s dedicated to chocolate. But more on that in a second.

We stopped in a Walmart in Bell Vernon for camera batteries and a bathroom/lunch break. When I came out of the bathroom and retrieved my purse, my mom stopped a woman with a blue vest and “Aggie” nametag and asked her how to get back to the I-70 E.

I have to mention this woman because she redefined the term of “going above and beyond the call of duty.” It was also a shock because we were at Walmart, and it’s sad but employees seem like they rather shoot themselves than go as far as to smile at a customer. Well Aggie was different.

She turned and gave us her full attention, listened attentively, then gave a great nod and got down to business, starting with a “okay.” She said we were going to follow this road down to the stop sign, go through the stop sign, then we’re gonna hit this landmark, at the landmark we were to turn right and — “Oh. No, no, no, no,” she suddenly shook her head, grabbed my arm and turned me so I was facing the OPPOSITE direction (now she was telling me how to get there), then proceeded to direct us – as we stood in front of the Walmart restrooms – down the imaginary lanes her manicured finger created and told us to turn and told us where to stop at the lights and finally how to get back on the highway.

We thanked her and said we’d be getting a bite to eat before taking off.

“Oh do you like tacos? There’s a Taco Bell.”

I mentioned that we were actually looking for Subway.

With that, she marched away with great purpose, directing us to follow her, pulled a sharpie from her pocket then started to search an empty cash register, asking a coworker if she had any paper or knew where any paper was. Finally, she found a roll of receipt paper, tore some off, folded it into a neat rectangle shape, then started to tell us how to get to Subway by going down a street, hitting the stop sign — then she stopped, shook her head, and just led us outside so she could point at the different buildings in the distance.

She never did use the receipt paper.

She stood out to me because you could tell she took pride in her work. I think that’s just awesome. And all her directions worked perfectly. We actually ended up eating at Taco Bell.

So. Why I smell chocolate.

Like I said, Hershey is known for it’s chocolate factory/chocolate world. And we wanted to go. Well, we got here THREE minutes after it closed, then just decided to stay for the night. We will be going to Chocolate World tomorrow. We drove by today and there’s even a theme park associated with it.

All of that is cool, of course, but what I wasn’t expecting was a whole town to go with it.

The street we’re on is called Chocolate. The street signs are Hershey’s kisses, wrapped and unwrapped.

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And the hotel. . . smells like chocolate.

The whole hotel. Even the computer room I’m sitting in now, because my laptop wasn’t working. If you go out and buy yourself a chocolate lip balm and smell it, that’s what I’m smelling as I type this.

I interviewed a lady in the elevator who has been here three weeks. I had to ask her, “don’t you ever get sick of it?” She said, “no I want chocolate all the time.” I said, “does it make you hungry?” To that she laughed, “yes.”

To complete the day, my little brother, who hits the side wall trying to throw down a straight hallway (country folk would put it: “he can’t hit the broad side of a barn door”), decided to pretend to be Ironman today (somehow the red pen inspired him) as he was supposed to be doing his schoolwork, and the pen flew from his fingertips and managed to whoosh right through the three inch crack in our window and out of our third floor hotel room like it had wings.

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The stricken look of panic on his face doubled me over into tears, though. I imagined if that was a priceless artifact he had been holding, or his wedding ring, and that doubled me into more laugher. Before dinner we went downstairs to see if we could find it.

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The prodigal pen did in fact return.

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