Yesterday, Saturday, August 3, 2013, I was helping my sister out by giving her a ride to work. She does landscape design, catering, and she works in many capacities in the food and celebration industry. Her regular jobs are waitering at the Bellevue in Phila. and the Convention Center, but yesterday, she was "Grill Master" at a big picnic at Jellystone Park, the Yogi Bear Campground in Elmer, New Jersey.
First of all, what a delightful place. Happy families and healthfully occupied children, swimming, dashing in and out of the 'Splash Park" in the fragrant woods, a beautiful setting on a cool summer day. After finding Jellystone (thanks to my gps) and dropping my sister off, I headed back via Friesburg Road and passed a simple beautiful little hamlet called Aldine. It reminded me of living old New Jersey farming history. There were comfortable looking working farms, cattle, horses, goats and chickens, beautiful farm fields green and flourishing, the usual small church and graveyard, but the collection in its entirety reminded me of what most of Southern New Jersey must have looked like before the farms gave out and sold to rampant housing construction. Looking at this village, you could feel what that life was like.
When I returned in early evening, to pick up my sister after her day of running the grills for the big family party at Jellystone, I was gazing happily at the passing landscape when I saw what to me appeared to be an a very old log settlers cabin, carefully maintained, and down the road apiece, another one! Log cabins are a special interest of mine and if it adn't been going towards sunset and if I hadn't had a mission, and if I hadn't been worried about my diminishing gas reserves, I would have pulled over to have a look and take a photo. What I will do, is store it away and go back another day. I want to explore further on Friesburg Road.
On the way home, my sister told me that the people at Jellystone came from Kensington, a section of Philadelphia. She said how warm and friendly they were and how happy. They were having a wonderful time. They were all neighbors who come together to vacation at Jellystone every summer. It reminded me of my own childhood in Philadelphia and what a revelation it was to me when we came to New Jersey and drove down the old Piney roads toward the seashore. I would sit in the back seat with the window down just DRINKING that fragrant, moist, forest air, so different from the burnt, reeking air of South Philadelphia under the towers of the Publicker's Whiskey manufacturer and the refineries.
Once again, I was thrilled to live in New Jersey, and reminded of how it got it's name, 'the Garden State'.
Also, I'm newly renewing my vow to read up on Swedish Settlers in South Jersey. And I am glad I hve voted for the Grenacres initiative every time it comes up at election time. I really wish we could preserve more open space and stop planting those Mega-mansions and housing develoments in place of our forests and ponds and fields. I know I am a dreamer. However, There is something to be said for giving up on the cancerous notion of continual growth and expansion. There is merit in simplicity, satisfaction and stability.
We have in the immortal words of Joni Mitchell, "Paved paradise and Put up a Parking Lot."
Here is a very worthy site I found looking for information on Friesburg and Aldine: