Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

The "New Award For The City Of Lancaster, PA" Story

Red Rose City sign.
It was an ordinary day.  Reading about the new title that the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania has just been given.  I have lived in Lancaster all my life and knew that it was known as The Red Rose City when I read about it in elementary school.  The symbol of the city, the red rose,  comes from the House of Lancaster which is the name of one of the two branches of the royal English House of Plantagenet.  
Prime farmland in "The Garden Spot of America."
Anyway, Lancaster, actually Lancaster County, has been known as the Garden Spot Of America for genera- tions.  The "plain" or Amish have tilled some of the best non-irrigated soil in North America.  Now, a fellow by the name of Thomas Farley, who is an etiquette expert, has named Lancaster one of the cities in the U.S. that exemplifies good manners.  Mr. Farley says he travels the country almost nonstop for speaking and training sessions and gets to meet wonderful people everywhere he goes.  Certain cities stand out in his mind as being the most mannerly and most friendly.  
Amish buggy maneuvers a county road.
Mr. Farley, who calls himself Mister Manners, chose the city of Palm Beach, Florida as the most mannerly city in the country followed closely by Minneapolis, Minnosota and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  His reasoning for selecting Lancaster as his third place pick is:  "Your chances of encountering road rage are slim to none in certain areas in and around Lancaster, thanks to the omnipresence of the horse-drawn-carriage-driving Amish.  
Pinetown Road Bridge in Lancaster County.
Otherwise known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, they eschew modern conven- iences, focusing on the simpler things.  If you stop to buy a shoofly pie at an Amish bakery, you don't have to worry about the clerk ignoring you while she uploads selfies to Instagram."  Wow, I never thought about that.  I just assumed that all those buggies backed-up traffic in many directions at times since they tend to slow down traffic.  
Interior of a wooden covered bridge.
And  the more than 25 covered bridges we have in the county, even though they add charm and character to the county, also tend to create traffic jams at times.  He adds, "A city with good manners is a place where the locals observe the Golden Rule ... treating others as they themselves would like to be treated.  In a city that's friendly, residents serve as unofficial goodwill ambassadors.  They display patience with tourist's naivete and nourish the goal that any visitor comes to love the destination as much as the ardent locals do."  I have grown to love this city where I was born and at times take it for granted.  It's nice to see someone who is a respected expert tell the world that my hometown is one of the best in the United States in any category.  And making that category the one with the best manners is even more special.  Thank you Mr. Farley.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The "Are You Smarter Than An Old Guy!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just got my first issue of Reader's Digest in the mail.  Over my lifetime I have had a variety of magazines based on my interests and hobbies during that particular time in history.  When I was a young boy I had a subscription to Boy's Life which is a magazine for Boy Scouts.  In high school I had a subscription to Sports Illustrated.  During my early married life I had a subscription to Baseball Digest as well as the obscure APBA Journal for which I contributed columns at times.  During a mid-life crisis I had a subscription to Vette as well as Corvette Magazine.  Actually wrote a story called "Me and My Vette" and had it published in Vette.  Then iPhones, iMacs and a MacBook Air entered my life and I subscribed to Wired Magazine.  Well, about a year or so ago I cancelled my subscription to Wired since I no longer could understand a single story in the magazine.  Naturally had to find something new, other than free retirement home journals that came in the mail on a weekly basis, so I subscribed to Reader's Digest.  I've actually enjoyed the magazine my entire life, reading the jokes and "Life In These United States" whenever I found a copy at a doctor's office or hospital waiting room.  Today the mail arrived and I sat down to peruse my new subscription.  After a few pages I realized I should have ordered the large print edition.  One of my favorite finds in the magazine came from the "Letters" section where I read about the parody of Mensa (the group of people with IQs of 140 or higher) called Densa.  It was hilarious!!  I just had to share it with you in case you may have missed it.  Take the test and see how you do.  You can't do much worse than I did.  You do need to thoroughly read the questions before giving an answer.  I only realized that after I was half-way through the test.  I'll tell you that I wasn't normal, but you have to figure out whether I was above or below the norm.  I just hope my future editions are as much fun to read as this one.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The Test for DENSA

Write down or remember your answers and DON'T CHEAT!!!!! Good luck!
  1. Do they have a 4th of July in England? (Yes/No)
  2. How many birthdays does the average man have?
  3. Some months have 31 days; some months have 30. How many have 28 days?
  4. How many outs are there in an inning?
  5. Is it legal for a man in California to marry his widow's sister? (Yes/No)
  6. Divide 30 by 1/2 and add 10, what is the answer?
  7. If there are 3 apples and you take away 2, how many do you have?
  8. A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half an hour. How many minutes will the pills last?
  9. A farmer has 17 sheep, and all but 9 die. How many are left?
  10. How many animals of each sex did Moses take on the ark?
  11. A clerk in the butcher shop is 5' 10" tall. What does he weigh?
  12. How many two cent stamps are there in a dozen?
  13. A plane crashes on the Canadian - US border. In which country do you bury the survivors?
  14. What is the least amount of coins it takes to make 55 cents if one of the coins is a quarter?

Your Evaluation

*Give yourself one point for each correct answer.
  1. Is there a Fourth of July in England?
    • Yes, it comes after the third of July.
  2. How many birthdays does the average man have?
    • Just one. Mine is in September.
  3. Some months have 31 days; how many have 28?
    • All twelve months have 28 days.
  4. How many outs are there in an inning?
    • 6, three per side!
  5. Is it legal for a man in California to marry his widow's sister?
    • No - because he is dead!
  6. Divide 30 by 1/2 and add 10. What is the answer?
    • 70 (30 divided by 1/2 equals 60!)
  7. If there are 3 apples and you take away 2, how many do you have?
    • 2. You took them, remember?
  8. A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half hour. How many minutes would the pills last?
    • 60 minutes. Start with the 1st pill, 30 minutes later take the 2nd, then 30 minutes after that take the 3rd. The effects of the pills may last longer than 60 minutes.
  9. A farmer has 17 sheep, and all but 9 die. How many are left?
    • 9, since all but 9 die.
  10. How many animals of each sex did Moses take on the ark?
    • None. It wasn't Moses on the ark. It was Noah.
  11. A clerk in the butcher shop is 5' 10" tall. What does he weigh?
    • A clerk in a butcher shop weighs meat!
  12. How many two cent stamps are there in a dozen?
    • There are 12 two cent stamps in a dozen, just like there are 12 of anything else in a dozen.
  13. A plane crashes on the Canadian - US border. In which country you bury the survivors?
    • The survivors would probably rather wait until they die to be buried.
  14. What is the least amount of coins it takes to make 55 cents if one of the coins is a quarter?
    • Three coins. One is a quarter, another is a quarter, and there's also a nickel.
Add Your Score... How did you do?
Correct Answers: DENSA Rating
  • 13-14: Genius
  • 10-12: Above Normal
  • 7-9: Normal
  • 4-6: Slow
  • 1-3: Idiot
  • None: Brain dead

Friday, December 29, 2017

The "Vic The Pretzel Man" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reviewing all the comments I had solicited on the FaceBook page "The Lancastrian."  My story today is about a guy who sold pretzels way back when in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  
Vic holding his signature soft-pretzel.
Many folks in cities and towns all over the world have memories of as well as stories to tell about vendors who walked the streets or had a small stand along a street in their city or town.  My fellow had a name of Vic who stood along the street in the center of the city selling soft pretzels from an old braided market basket that stood on a collapsible stand.  My dad would often walk with me from his business at the corner of North Mulberry and West King Street to the square to buy a bag or two of soft pretzels.  But .... that's as much as I can remember .... so I posed a question to the readers of "The Lancastrian" which read:  Once again I am asking for your help for a story I am writing. What can you tell me about "Vic" the pretzel man who sold soft pretzels on the square in downtown Lancaster.
Vic selling his pretzels in front of the Fulton Bank.
I know that his last name was Rittenhouse, but I don't remember too much more than that. I do remember going with my dad to buy pretzels from him, but I draw a blank on most other things. What years did he sell his pretzels. Where did he usually stand on the square? Help!!
  Well, wasn't long before I had plenty of help about the pretzelman known as Vic.  Seems Vic is related to just about everyone in Lancaster, or at least to everyone in Lancaster who responded to my call for help.  Following are several of the comments which in some cases I have edited:  

  • Cathey - That soft pretzel man was my great uncle Vic Rittenhouse :)
  • Tom -  That's Vic Rittenhouse, my great uncle.
  • Carol - Victor Rittenhouse was my husband's uncle. He sold the pretzels on Penn Square in front of the Fulton Bank.  In fact we have the stand where he sat his basket of pretzels. We had him for dinner many times along with his sister, Erma, my husband's mother.
  • Harley - This is my grandmother's Uncle. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, so thank you for posting this!
  • Ronald - That was my grandfathers pretzel business.
  • Lisa -  Yep....he was my great uncle. He stood outside of the Fulton Bank.
  • Laurali - I remember him well, always there, Lancaster Icon!
  • Monica - The square was different back in the 60’s - the street corners were more squared off and not nearly as wide as they are now. His pretzels were 3 for a quarter or 10 cents a piece in the 60’s. He sold from a woven basket with handles. I think it was one of the King/Queen St corners closest to Woolworths.
  • Fred - He sold his pretzels in front of the Delmonico Cafe. It was located in the Northeast corner of Penn Square between the Fulton Bank and the White Cross.
  • Bonnie - I remember it too. The Delmonico hotel was called "The palace of lonely hearts" as some people called it. I would say he was there in the early 60's.
  • Keith - His son (also Victor Rittenhouse) is a friend of mine...I’ll see what I can find out...
  • Carol - Vic, the pretzel man, was never married and had no children. He had a nephew that was named Victor. Vic, the pretzel man, was my husband's uncle.
  • Stanley - As Rector at St. James 1978-1994, I remember we had members with the Rittenhouse name. I am not certain, but I believe the pretzel man was a brother of Mr. Rittenhouse.
  • Janet - In 1979 I remember him laughing at my mom when the wind knocked her to the side walk, as we crossed the street. He helped me lift her up. But we couldn't stop laughing because it was so windy out. We had just moved here from NYC and always saw him in front of Woolworth store selling pretzels, nice man in my book.
  • Jean - Often shopped for clothes at Adler's when I was in my teens & then would buy soft pretzels from the guy at the square - don't remember his name!  That was almost 60 years ago.
  • Karen - I will be 67 this summer, and every time I purchase a pretzel I compare it to those, and never have I found one as good. Yesterday, at the Mud Sale in Bart, the Amish had yummy pretzels and I would say they were the very best for the pretzels they were. But they would not make a childhood memory like the one's in Lancaster, we would go in on the bus on Saturday's for the soft pretzels and a movie.
  • Patti -  My mother and grandmother knew him.  They always said that was when downtown was great;  shopping the stores and people selling their things, plus the parades that were great.
  • Fred - He was one of the regulars at my parents place, the Lauzus Hotel, where he would come in after the day downtown.
  • Deborah - Friday evenings my parents would take us into the city and looked forward to the soft pretzels. Always on the square in front of the bank!
  • Janis - I am 66 and I remember those pretzels VIVIDLY! I had no idea so many others did too. There will never be another pretzel like it. In my dreams!
  • Bonnie -  He lived at 536 West King Street in the basement with another man named William who was a painter.  They were always quiet and respectful when we spoke.
  • Jerry -  I remember Vic well! In the 80's, I used to take him home in my taxi when he was done for the day. He would always give us drivers his leftover pretzels. He lived on Manor St. then.  I think they were Mummaw's pretzels from their bakery on 4th St.
So, as you can see Vic was an icon on the streets of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I wonder if he knew all those who said he was a relative; or perhaps all who said they were related to Vic might possibly be part of the same family.  I do have one more response that came with a photo attached to it.  It reads:
  • Cathey -  Vic Rittenhouse when he was in the service (the soft-pretzel man).
Lancaster is well known for many things and now you can add best soft-pretzel man to the list.  I know I certainly loved them!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

PS - After posting this story I saw a few more very interesting comments about Vic.  I have added the new replies to the others that are in the original story. Best to do that for the sake of history. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The "My New & Fantastic Christmas Tree Ornament" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just put the finishing touch on our small Christmas Tree we have in our family room.  Now, there is some background you need to know before I tell you about the ornament I just placed on the tree ... so here goes.  While growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania I lived near the Lancaster Train Station.  Matter of fact I lived about 100 yards from the four or five sets of train tracks that ran through the terminal.  I spent many a day during my summer vacation as well as many weekend days and afternoons during the school year at the station.  
Photo of the Lancaster Train Station from April 27, 1929.
Loved watching the trains, playing football ad baseball on the grassy areas next to the station, sliding down the brass railing inside the station as well as visiting the soda shop where I usually had a cherry coke and read a comic book which they sold there.  My longtime friend Jere's father worked to the west of the station at the Railway Express building 
and the two of us would stop by to see his dad as well as raid the Coke machine.  
The Lancaster Train Station as it appears today.
I still have fond memories of my childhood time spent at the Lancaster Train Station.  Well, yesterday I opened the Lancaster Sunday News and there at the bottom of the front page of one of the sections was a story telling of a special holiday ornament that was being offered for sale to help benefit the community of Lancaster.  This is the 10th year the LEADS non-profit organization has offered an ornament.  
The concourse leading to the platforms.
Lancaster Central Market, Watt & Shand department store, Old City Hall and the Fulton Opera House are a few of the other ornaments that have been offered in the past.  Some of the things that LEADS has accomplished in Lancaster is hanging flower baskets from the lampposts during summer months, decorating the same posts for the holidays and decorating the large tree in center square at Christmas.  
The main stairwell.  Spent many a day
sliding down the brass railing shown here.
This years ornament features the train station.  The station opened in 1929 and was constructed of red brick in the classical revival style of architecture.  The building featured a center block flanked by recessed wings.  The main entrance was at ground level in the center block with a large glass and metal marquee.  On the second level are concrete columns which frame three tall, rounded windows while the parapet above showcases a clock.  Inside is a second floor main waiting area which leads to a long waiting area with staircases on both sides that lead downward to the platforms.  Antique wooden benches line the waiting areas, some with initials scratched into them from...well, guess who.  
The old soda fountain which still exists today.
The building was at one time owned by the Pennsyl- vania Railroad, but is now owned by Amtrak.  The station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Lancaster City Historic District.  There are to be 500 ornaments of the Train Station which are naturally 3D and crafted in solid brass and plated in 24-karat gold.   Well, I just had to have one to hang on the tree.  They are offered for sale at a variety of places with some of those places being: the Visitor's Center on Penn Square, Lancaster Galleries in downtown Lancaster as well as the Turkey Lady stand on Lancaster Central Market.  The selling price is $20.  By 2:00 PM the first day they went on sale I was the proud owner of two of these really neat ornaments; one for myself and one for a good, longtime friend of mine.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

My new Lancaster Train Station ornament that looks great on the tree.
My friend Jere's HO train yard features a reproduction of the Lancaster Train Station.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The "Christmas Guessing Game" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Sitting in the living room admiring our beautiful Christmas Tree and all the ornaments and decorations that cover it and surround it.  My wife has been busy for the past few weeks decorating, shopping, baking cookies and preparing for the Christmas meal.  Yesterday we had 14 sitting around the dinner table to share in the Christmas dinner.  It was a festive occasion.  We have been collecting ornaments and Christmas decorations for over 50 years; our entire married life.  I thought I would share some with you, but will also see how observant you may be while viewing them.  I will post photographs of 15 ornaments and decorations and then a second set which are extreme closeups of each of the original photos.  See if you can match them by using the number and letter of the two sets of photos.  Answers are at the end of the photographs.  Hope your Christmas Day was filled with joy and excitement and may the joy of Christ be with all of you.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

#1.  Our daughter Brynn made this ornament in elementary school in the late 1970s.  One of our favorites! 
#2  This antique snowman has been in our collection for many years. 
#3  This is a Russian decoration.
#4  Ceramic ornament from Barbados.
#5  Glass ornament from St. Barts
#6  Shell ornament from Cape May, NJ.
#7  Antique camera that really works...buy can't find film for it.  We now use it as an ornament on the tree.
#8  Wooden carving decorations.
#9  Peppermint pretzels.  Snacks!!
#10  Limpet tree with starfish from Cape May, NJ.
#11  Ceramic decoration hand-crafted in Virginia.
#12  Beautiful glass ornament which was a gift from friends Jere and Sue.
#13  Hand-painted glass ornament from St. Thomas. 
#14  Hand-painted glass ornament from St. Croix.  One of my favorites.
#15  Hand painted Santa rattle that we used as decoration.
Now, try and find a match for each of the above photographs from the close-up views below.  Answers are at the bottom of the next set of 15 close-ups.  PS - You may want to use a piece of paper to write your guesses on, since if you go to the bottom you will naturally look at all the answers and spoil the guesses for yourself.

The answers are as follows:  #1/D, #2/J, #3/M, #4/I, #5/N, #6/B, #7/L, #8/E, #9/H, #10/A, #11/C, #12/F, #13/K, #14/O, #15/G

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The "3 Minutes & 53 Seconds Of Musical Bliss: Part II - The Treasures" Story

Story #1:  It was an ordinary day.  Standing in St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania talking with a few guys that I had taught school with at Manheim Township High School.  Our meeting today wasn't a pleasant one since we were celebrating the life of another teacher who had recently died.  As I stood in the entrance to the sanctuary I saw a familiar face from the past; the distant past!  That can't be Ed I said to myself.  I excused myself and walked over to the fellow who I thought I recognized who was talking with his wife.  "Ed, is that you?"  He turned and in an instant I knew it was him.  A face you can never forget.  

Ed in on the right dressed in period garb for the
singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus".  To his
right is Jim who is also new to the flashmob
this year.  He was a missionary in Italy for
years and recently moved back to the States
and settled in nearby Manheim.  He is an
interesting fellow and we both had a good time
talking about time we both spent in Italy.
right is Jim who is also new to the flashmob
this year.  He was a missionary in Italy for
years and recently moved back to the States
and settled in nearby Manheim.  He is an
interesting fellow and we both had a good time
talking about time we both spent in Italy.

Ed and I were the same age and had sung in the boys' choir together at St. James Episcopal Church in downtown historic Lancaster.  We both started in 1952 when we were able to both read as well as understand music.  In no time we were reminiscing in front of his wife Nancy about the good times we had while singing in the choir as well as being in Sunday School classes together.  He held up his right hand to show me the large scar on his thumb that happened one night when we were waiting to be picked up from choir practice while standing in front of the church parish house.  Ed decided to hang from a very large cast-iron light attached to the wall of the parish house.  When he added his weight to the equation, it came off the wall, almost cutting his thumb from his hand.  I ran quick to get help and he was taken to the hospital.  The scar still exists to this day.  Nancy seemed fascinated by our conversation so I thought I would add a bit to it by asking Ed if his mother happened to have a plastic liner in her pocketbook when she was alive.  Ed laughed while Nancy look puzzled.  He then explained to both of us..."My mom lived through the Depression and never gave up the mentality she developed during those years.  When she would go to church Pot Luck Suppers she would empty her plate into her pocketbook before going home.  My wife told me one time when she was helping out with coffee-hour after church that Ed's mother poured both the excess tea and coffee into a glass jar to take home with her.  My wife also told me that our youngest son grabbed her arm one time during another church event and told her,  "That lady next put her food in her pocketbook."  Well, Ed and I, as well as his wife, had a good laugh.  I asked him if he would enjoy singing in a flashmob choir and singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" with me.  A few minutes later he had given me his phone number and a promise that he would be there to sing.

The "four basses" are shown here.  Jim dressed in black, Tim with the green and white stripped sweater, Ed with his wool garb and LDub with the Santa Hat.  We are not the only basses in the chorus, but we seemed to gather together when it was time to sing.  Both Jim and Tim had the "Hallelujah Chorus" memorized while Ed and I used the music when necessary.

Story #2:  It was an ordinary day.  Practice for the flashmob's "Hallelujah Chorus" had just ended.  I had just finished talking with a few familiar faces from last years chorus and thanking Ed for coming and adding an extra voice to the bass section.  As I was walking back the main aisle in the church where we had practiced, I saw another face that I was sure I recognized.  As I approached her, I tapped her on the arm and asked her name.  She looked at me and said, "Kate."  "I think I know you." I said to her.  She took a closer look at me and said, "Maybe you might know one of my sisters."  Nah, I knew that she was a face from my past.  "Where did you go to high school?" I asked her.  She looked at me and then it hit her.  "Mr. Woods...my high school Photography teacher!  How are you.  I haven't seen you since...1983 when I graduated."  Well, the crowd around us instantly gave us a good look and a few claps of applause.  We spent the next couple of minutes talking about the fact that she loved photography so much that she majored in it in college.  She was now a graphic designer, using her photography she learned in her business.  We parted by saying we would talk the next day after we had sung the "Hallelujah Chorus."  Sure enough, we saw each other the next day and I got to meet her boyfriend and then I got introduced my wife to one of my former students.  She told of one of her friends who also was in my class with her who became a photographer.  She said I must feel pretty good knowing that what I taught them led to their careers in the visual arts.  Wow, pretty neat compliment!  Our conversation was cut short when the chorus headed to the door to sing one last time around the the Christmas Tree in Lancaster's Square.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

Monday, December 25, 2017

The "3 Minutes & 53 Seconds Of Musical Bliss: Part I - The Performance" Story

It was an ordinary day.  My Santa's hat was in place and the clock had just struck 9:00 AM.  The music began on the overhead speaker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania's historic Central Market in downtown Lancaster.  Within a few seconds the voices began with...Hallelujah! Hallelujah!......and when the music stopped 3 minutes and 53 seconds later, the applause broke out.  Today I was part of a flash mob that sang the Hallelujah Chorus by G.F. Handel.  
G.F. Handel
Mr. Handel composed his masterpiece as an English-language oratorio in 1741.  The words for his composition came from the King James Bible as well as the version of the Psalms included in the Book of Common Prayer and were compiled by Charles Jennens.  The Hallelujah Chorus was part of the Messiah which was Handel's sixth work in that oratorio.  And, I just sang it!  Actually sang it with gusto...so I did!!  Did it to honor my father who had one of the best bass voices you would ever hear.  He was the bass soloist for many, many years when I sang as a youngster in the St. James Episcopal Church choir and then later as an adult in the men's choir. He and I sang the entire Handel's Messiah together several times with the church choir over the years he was alive.  
The Great Music Hall on Fishamble Street in Dublin
where G.F. Handel's Messiah was first performed.
Singing in the flash mob chorus had been on my bucket list for years and after hearing it sung on Central Market seven years ago during the flash mob's first year of existence, I knew I had to join.  Finally, last year, I contacted a friend who had sung in it and got the dates and times for practice and realized my dream.  But, once was not enough.  I enjoyed it so much that this year I was one of the first to respond for singers when the call went out on FaceBook.  After a few practices we were ready for our performance.  Everyone was instructed to dress for the holiday season so I grabbed a bright red Santa's hat.  When the clock struck 9:00 AM, the first three measures were piped over the loudspeaker.  Allegedly!  It was Saturday morning market day and the place was crowded with holiday shoppers.  Add to that the 100 or so singers who were trying to be casual until the music began.  Hearing the initial few measures of the song didn't happen since the noise was so great that most never heard them.  A few at a time began to pick up the song and by the end of the sixth or seventh Hallelujah! we were all on the same page.  
This photo is from last year.  This year the crowd was so
large that my wife couldn't get a photo of the flash mob.
Lucky we had practiced so many times, since it was hard to hear the other parts as we sang our hearts out.  I believe we all ended at the same time, since as soon as the few around me sang the last Hallelujah! 3 minutes and 53 seconds later, the applause began.  My wife had come with me so she could take a few photos to share with you, but the balcony where she had gone was so crowded that she failed to get any photographs.  Actually had a hard time hearing it above the noise of the crowd near her.  Didn't matter anyway since we all had a great time and were ready to head to our next venue.  At 9:15 AM we were ready to go once again at the Marriott Hotel lobby which is a half-block from Central Market.  Our director and flash mob organizer, David, began with the first three measures on his laptop and this time we hit it right on.  The lobby wasn't real crowded, but those that were there stopped and listened as we sang one of the most recognizable pieces of music in history.  Dad would have loved it as the sound vibrated off the second story ceiling in the ages old building.  As we sang the final Hallelujah! I had tears in my eyes.  Once more applause arose.  Minutes later we were heading out the door for our final venue in front of the community Christmas Tree a short distance from the Marriott.  The early morning rain had just about stopped as we performed one more time for all the downtown shoppers around the square in the city of Lancaster to hear.  A few cars stopped to listen and after 3 minutes and 53 seconds of pure musical bliss, my dream had ended.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - the following singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus" by the Lancaster flashmob was from three years ago.  The video made this year wasn't done very well, thus I have included one from the past. 

 PS - Since I didn't get a video of our version, I have still added a high school choir singing the chorus for your enjoyment.  Merry Christmas to one and all!!