Streets of Philadelphia

“I walked the avenue ’til my legs felt like stone. I heard voices of friends vanished and gone. At night I feel the blood in my veins, just as black and whispering as the rain… on the streets of Philadelphia.” ~Bruce Springsteen

I still call it home — the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection — even though I haven’t lived there for nearly 17 years. I catch myself doing it more often than not when people ask me if I’m ever going back. I tell them that some people love where they grew up, some people hate where they grew up, and I’m in the former group. Of course every time I do go back usually my time is scripted. But I went back a little over a week ago, and I had some time to myself.

So I walked the streets of Philadelphia for the first time in 17 years with no destination in mind.

I guess I’m just drawn to history, the type of history that I took for granted when I lived in Philadelphia, the kind of history that can’t be overstated. There’s just something about being across the street from the old State House, knowing that the most famous Congress in history met there to draft a document that is the basis for life in America even now, over 200 years later.

Almost to the State House, and that famous Bell, when I passed by an old cemetery that drew my eye. There were elaborate paths through it, and I could imagine Benjamin Franklin being buried there, having a huge headstone and adoring mourners leaving flowers there day and night. Of course how could they still be mourning now? But no one said I was logical. Besides, I was a bit tired from all the walking. I’ll take a pass.

Ironically this shop was closed.

Remind me never to drink any of these alcoholic beverages, but these labels looked awfully cool on the side of that truck. It was fun to wander from 10th and Fitzpatrick all the way down past South Street, to the Delaware River and back to Geno’s and Pat’s Steaks in South Philly. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had no true time constraints and the ability to just go wherever the wind led me.

It was great, but it was over all too soon. There’s something to be said for routine, but in the random there can be a satisfaction that nothing else can ever achieve. So it was nice to go back home, to enjoy time with people I love, but to also spend time just being home, on the streets of Philadelphia.



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