Friday, November 20, 2009


It was a sad day at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission today. For eighty-five employees, it was the last day of work. They had been furloughed. This represents 34% of the work force. Those left behind will miss their colleagues and have to take up the slack. This was a very unfair move on the part of the Governor's Office. No other state agency took as great a hit, in addition to a $15 million budget reduction. I feel bad for my friends there.

Typically, one of those furloughed e-mailed her colleagues her hope that they would rally 'round one another in order to make it through these difficult times and that they would emerge 'on the other side' as an even greater asset to the Commonwealth. She went on to say she'd be volunteering her time to finish an important project. This is the kind of state employee we need!

The falling of the ax was not enough, however, to stop the annual Holiday Marketplace in the atrium of the Keystone Building on North Street. Museum stores from several PHMC historic sites and museums and some sales operations from other state agencies offered all sorts of goods representing their locations. Ephrata Cloister had pottery, wooden utensils, and handmade scarves among other things; the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania had tons of merchandise with -- you guessed it -- train themes; the Landis Valley Museum and the shop in the State Museum were also represented.

Susanne bought some things for the grandchildren's Christmas stockings while I commiserated with the staff members I saw. We were tempted by some Shaker boxes and trays that we saw -- to go with our new bedroom furniture. The event was a bittersweet experience.

On the way home we stopped by the Farmers Market at the State Farm Show parking lot. Yum yum. We got leafy stuff (you should have seen the HUGE carrots!) and some baked goods, too.

Susanne bought some zucchini bread, and I searched for and found a small pumpkin pie, the last one in the market. I have been wanting one since I read that canned pumpkin was in short supply this year due to a poor growing season.

Oh, and I threw in a couple of whoopie pies, too. You never know if you'll need one.

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