Those of you who have watched the newer version of Battlestar Galactica, recognize the term “Frack” as a frequently used profanity. We’ll get there pretty soon. But first, let me set everything up for you. It was a rainy windy morning. When weather allowed I was able to see the ocean. I was able to get a pretty good look at New Haven CT through the rush of heavy traffic. They have these neat Service Centers in New York State. They are like food malls, with restrooms and gas stations.
We followed the coast to Port Chester, just outside of New York City. We then headed west across the Hudson River over a beautiful, brand new bridge, still under construction. Looking over my left shoulder I could see the skyline of NYC. We headed inland across New Jersey. The rain was on and off, but mostly on. It was a “toll booth” day. I had to take my wallet out several times and pay up. I knew this wasn’t going to be much of a picture day. As we crossed Kittatinny Mountain into Pennsylvania, there was a “Scenic Overlook” exit, so we took it. It was my first stop since getting gas at Port Chester.
I didn’t get out of the car again for a couple more hours. after Tofu and I pulled into Frackville. I spotted our Motel 6 but it was about 2pm and I wanted to look over the area before checking in. So we traveled down into the town, and through it and out the western end. It is a really poor looking town, with rows of little stores and little houses. I did a U-turn and went back onto the main Street. I got out of the van and took some photos.
There is head-in parking on this side of the street. I parked in front of the For Sale sign. On this side of the street everything was out of business. The other side looked a little better. The road is narrow so on the other side it is parallel parking.
The best looking building in the town was the Orthodox Church. I spent another hour looking around the town. I never could find the rich people houses. But most of them looked like the following:
Small houses on tiny lots, packed together on narrow lanes. The town’s population peaked in 1940. There are about half as many living here now as when coal was king.
By the way, the name of the town has nothing to do with fracking. The town was named for a man named Daniel Frack. Now you are ready to hear why this piece is called Fracked In Frackville. It was about 3:30pm when I pulled into Motel 6. As I walked into the office, I reached for my wallet. No wallet!
I went back to the van. No wallet. No Wallet!! I took my iPad not the motel office and told the clerk ‘I’ve lost my wallet. But I need the room I’ve reserved. Can you use my ID and credit card from my iPad?” I was able to show him my secure driver’s license and credit card number, so he gave me a room. I am really really upset. I searched the van some more. No wallet!!
I have no cash. I have no credit cards. I can’t buy gas. I can’t buy food. I went to our motel room, and decided it was time to call for reinforcements. I called Emily. I told her my predicament. I told her my theory of what happened. Here’s the theory: I had been paying tolls. I had left my wallet under my leg for easy access. My first stop after getting gas was at the Scenic Overlook on the mountain. I must have dropped the wallet when Tofu and I got out of the van, hours ago. I’m Fracked!
So, there are two immediate problems. First, I have no cash; I have no cards; I can’t leave Frackville until I get at least one of those things. Second, if someone picks up my wallet and decides to use it I’m Fracked but good! I’ve got to talk to Wells Fargo very soon.
Emily said we need to talk to our people (Jeremiah, Matt, Miranda, etc.) who travel, for some info on how to handle this situation. She said, “I’ll call our people and get back to you within the hour. You see if you can get help from Wells Fargo.”
I remembered that I had seen my first Wells Fargo Bank downtown. I haven’t seen one in weeks, and so I decided to go down there first to see if I can talk to someone in person. The door is locked. I’ll be damned it’s Saturday. I’m Fracked!
Tofu and I headed back to the Motel. As we pull into the parking lot, I remember something. I had gotten out of the van, first at the Scenic Overlook. But second, I had gotten out of the van in downtown Frackville. Was it possible that the wallet had come out, the second time I had gotten out of the car, in Frackville; when I parked in front of the empty business? Was it possible that even though it was more than an hour ago, that just maybe the wallet was still there? Well before I call Wells Fargo and start cancelling cards, I decide to throw the Hail Mary and go back downtown.
Yes Friends! YES YES YES!!! I drive through the town. I pull up to the curb. I look at the empty parking spaces and I see… Can It Be True? YES! My lost wallet, balanced like a triangle, inviting any pacer-by to notice it, is sitting there on the side of the road. I pick it up. No one has noticed it. Nothing is missing!!! This is the point when I am born again.
I got in the van and called Emily. “Call off the troops. The lost has been found, and from now on I will divide my resources, and I will always put my wallet in my pants where it belongs.” We rejoiced together; the crisis is over, and I will be able to continue to eat, and travel, and sleep. It’s quite a mood swing to go from abject fracking, freaking out, to the pinnacle of good fortune. It’s too bad that it is my good fortune that this town is so poor that no one is walking or parking on the south side of the street in Frackville.
I went back to Motel 6 and showed the clerk my wallet. I asked him what keeps this town going? There doesn’t seem to be any industry.” He answered, “Prisons”. There are numerous State Prisons in the area. I am so delighted to be leaving Frackville in the morning. I hope your day has been good, and without too much drama or trauma. I plan on sleeping well tonight. Love from Freakin’ Frackville.