Page-turner Paradise (or Unplugged in the Poconos)

Fall is one of my favourite times of the year. There is a chill in the air that puts a spring in my step and makes every steaming cup of coffee taste just a little bit better. Like that’s even possible. And every year as September turns into October I find myself feeling like a child impatiently cheering on the arrival of Christmas. But it isn’t Christmas that I’m anxiously awaiting, it is our annual Poconos getaway. One week, one magical relaxing unplugged festival of reading and cookies and coffee and good company (Alan and his wife). One Jetta. Four adults. Cookies. Coffee. Nooks, Kindles and books books books. And for me, a chance to write with three captive beta-readers.
For the longest time our destination was Shawnee on Delaware and Bushkill Falls. There is a lot to see, a lot to do. And we usually did none of it, electing instead to turn off our phones and computers to retreat into the piles and stacks of books (What did you bring this year? Oh, I haven’t read that yet! What did I bring? Here…) Our week was pretty much consumed by books, caffeine, cookies, conversation, and the occasional game of Mille Bornes or Parcheesi. Sprawling in front of a warm fire was popular on colder nights and had the added benefit of placing you closer to the cookies.

The screen porch was my favourite spot to kick back with a good book and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. If I was lucky, I’d catch sight of a raccoon, deer, and on at least one occasion a (thankfully distant) black bear. And after our wives had gone to bed for the night? The single tiny TV turned itself on and tuned in to Robot Chicken. And off again before we could be caught (but we usually were).

Alas, work has taken us overseas. But every fall, at the first sign of leaves turning or the first jet of autumn air, I find myself returning to the Poconos. It’s almost autumn again and sitting in front of my beloved netbook, I can almost smell the paperbacks and the coffee and the fresh mountain air, hear the anguished “All right. Who ate all of the chocolate chip cookies?” As Alan would say “Good times, good times.”

I have a confession to make about those chocolate chip cookies.
It was Alan.