“Hi I bet you folks are wondering why I gathered you all here today. My name is Clyde and I have quite a fanciful tale to tell. Long ago, Bob Dylan and several other folk singers and groups sang a very important song about quite a pivotal incident in my life. Maybe you all even know ‘Froggie Went a’ Courtin'”. That was how Clyde the Frog introduced his tale of boundless joy and woe to all who were willing to listen to him. Long ago he got his very heart and soul stolen forever by Miss Mouse, whose beloved uncle was Mr. Rat. Always the raconteur, old Clyde, to this very day, enjoys regaling folks with the tale of how he fell for the girl of his dreams and all the misadventures that thereafter ensued. The really old folks over in Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where Clyde was born and raised, remember to this very day his uppity antics. “Well let me tell you,” said one old couple, “that there ‘Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County’ was nothing compared to old Clyde! Twain shoulda seen our Clyde in his day!” That part of Pennsylvania is quite the mountainous region but Clyde, according to local ages-old legend and folklore, could most certainly handle it quite well. He could hike, climb, swim and do just about anything. Local folks swear he was a World War I flying ace under Black Jack Pershing. Clyde’s such a big star in northeastern Pennsylvania that each year, without fail, on July 3, there’s a big parade to commemorate his exploits in the 1878 Battle of Wyoming against the Iroquois Indian Raiders. Folks march all the way from the American Legion post in Dupont to the Public Square in Wilkes Barre in old Clyde’s honor on this magnificent occasion. Unfortunately because of old age, Clyde’s been getting a bit cantankerous and set in his ways these days. Folks around here are all still quite proud to know him though. He’s the ultimate inspiration to one and all.
It occurred to me that because I’ve been visiting my sister’s family in the City of Long Beach, New York, for so long, I should maybe write about life in Long Beach. Officially I’m still a resident of the Borough of Wyoming, Pennsylvania, though. I’ve gotten to know Wyoming quite well by now having lived there since April of 2006 and I still don’t know all that much about Long Beach. My parents were both from northeastern Pennsylvania and I’d visited the region quite regularly since my earliest childhood, until moving there a while ago. I’ve always really enjoyed the Wyomings. It’s an exceptionally picturesque region with extremely nice scenery. Wyoming and West Wyoming-they share a common zip code, 18644-are such an exceptionally nice little suburban region. There are a lot of local businesses, including stores, restaurants, doctors, hospitals and lawyers, within driving and even walking distance of my neighborhood. They have an exceptionally nice mall only six miles away. The borough is very close to both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. In northeastern Pennsylvania there are churches-Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox-all over the place. There are many towns in the region that literally have several churches on each street. I’d always been quite involved with Our Lady of Sorrows on Eighth Street, and St. Joseph’s on Sixth Street. The parish is now known as St. Monica’s. The churches, along with all the equally prominent secular organizations, contribute a lot to helping the poor, and to making things run smoothly in general. Having met quite a few exceptionally good people in and around the Wyomings I know that the borough’s residents are as good as any I’ve ever met although they can also be as offbeat a bunch of characters as one could expect. Considering that it’s the kind of small town where everyone knows other people’s business there’s the problem of too much gossip. On special occasions the borough’s representatives have parades and other events to commemorate whichever milestone is referred to. Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth President of the United States, even visited the Wyoming Monument, a landmark from the U.S. Revolutionary War. He was only the third United States President, besides Rutherford B. Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt, to visit the monument. There are also a few drawbacks to life in the Wyomings, though. Northeastern Pennsylvania is a very mountainous region and winters are inevitably bitter cold with a seemingly endless supply of snow, rain and ice. Driving in bad weather is treacherous. Flooding isn’t so bad in the Wyomings but when it happens the surrounding boroughs are subject to quite a significant amount of damage. Because it’s so close to the Susquehanna River, fog is quie a major problem too. Because there are countless potholes in the roads driving even under the nicest circumstances is quite a chore. Wyoming Avenue and other roads have a lot of traffic congestion. Because of their history of coal mines, northeastern Pennsylvania typically has a higher than average percentage of deaths attributed to cancer. There is a lot of radon, as well as other carcinogens in the environment. Luzerne County in general is politically very corrupt. If I were the mayor of the Wyomings I should be determined to make the Wyomings as safe as possible from any excessive damage from flooding. I should also want to get something done about the potholes and traffic congestion, and to invest as much as possible into affordable health care. The wear and tear on people’s vehicles is an absolute nightmare. In spite of all the relatively minor inevitable drawbacks and inconveniences the Boroughs of Wyoming and West Wyoming are quite an interesting likable environment.