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Mike the Mailman: Experiencing Heaven in Happy Valley

by on May 22, 2012 6:37 AM

While sitting at my favorite barbershops recently trying to get spiffy for a wedding my family and I are attending this weekend, I began to reminisce.

Eleven days ago, I was headed out on my many missions for the morning. Not errands, or 'honey-do' lists, but my missions. I was planning on browsing the AAUW annual book sale and maybe viewing a couple exciting innings of softball while around that area of town.

When I first drove up to the Snider Ag Arena, the line was incredible, so I decided to see if the softball game had started to go enjoy that while the line for the book sale calmed down. The game hadn't started, so as I drove around to figure out my next move I stumbled upon the Arboretum at Penn State plant sale.

I walked in and said to the guy working there, "Is this heaven?" He replied with a chuckle, "No. It's the first ever public plant sale here at the Arboretum at Penn State". I went on to find trees, shrubs, perennials and special Pennsylvania native plants, all of which were ideal for growing in Central Pennsylvania. What a fun surprise sale.

I got back into my car and at that time, I was able to watch the first couple of innings of the Penn State softball game vs. Ohio State. The weather was perfect, the game was good and I thought to myself, "Is this heaven?"

Back into my car and up the street I went to check out the AAUW 51st annual book sale. As I walked into the overwhelming display and selection of books I said under my breath, "Wow! Is THIS heaven?"

A women close to me looked up from the book she was browsing and said laughing, "No, but it's close for any bookworm."

As I headed toward home (so I thought) I saw that there was also a Penn State baseball game and decided to stop with my full backseat of plants and books to view a few innings. As I watched the team defeat Illinois, I thought, this is pretty close to heaven.

I again got back into my car planning to head home and noticed a lot of activity at the Centre Furnace Mansion. I decided to investigate and found more plants. I said to one of the organizers, "This is heaven," which he responded with, "Happy Valley is pretty close to heaven. This is our 17th Annual Plant Celebration, which benefits the Centre County Historical Society."

Back to my barbershop chair. I looked around and saw familiar faces that I've known in this town for many years, as well as new faces (and haircuts) that I've never seen. This is one of the best attributes of this town.

There is always something to do, someone to see or meet, and someplace to feel blissfully happy. From the Arboretum at Penn State's first plant sale to the local AAUW 51st book sale, and everything in between, Happy Valley is hopping. One of the best things about this area is the blend of popular and unexpected happenings around the university and town.

This coming weekend, my family and I are attending a wedding down in Rockville, Md., for a couple that met here at Penn State — Kevin and Kristine. Kevin is a local kid who I've watched grow up into an incredible young man.

Kevin and his twin brother, Dan, are the same age as my younger daughter, Michaela, and they have all been good friends for years. Kevin and Michaela even went to junior prom together. My wife, Katie, and Kevin's mom, Kathy, have been dear friends for many, many years and to be attending such an important day for Kevin and his family will also be heavenly.

Here's to experiencing little slices of heavenly experiences in the upcoming summer months here in Happy Valley.

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Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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