Dr. Dog and Hop Along in Philadelphia

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Dr. Dog and Hop Along in Philadelphia

It was hot. It was really one of those days where you wished you had just laid bare under the ceiling fan. I hadn’t left the house for weeks, not even to get the mail – just was not in the mood for the outdoors. Who knows why I picked that day, the 17th of March, to venture out into the great unknown. It’s still a bit hazy. The journey just ended or I would have written to you sooner. Anyhow. It was hot. Had soaked through three Hanes white t-shirts by the time I reached the x on the map that came through the mail. If you sent in three box tops from the Wheaties cereal boxes before the first of the month a treasure map would land on your doorstep. I wanted this map, so I had two bowls a day each morning.

Hadn’t a clue where the X was leading or what was really going to happen once I would arrive. There were groups of others traveling the same route as me along with a few coming from the western regions. None of us had any idea why we were doing this. Good faith, I suppose. Who ever really trusted General Mills to begin with. Never the less, on we marched. It took all day – sunrise to sunset of one foot in front of the other. Roughly one hundred miles if I’m not mistaken (I hitchhiked for a few hours in hopes of being the first to arrive).

You really get to learn a lot about yourself when you’re in a car with a stranger following a map with a perforated line swinging around the hills of the eastern seaboard. I wasn’t too sure what to talk with this person about because, well, I just didn’t know too much about them or where we were headed. They picked me up just on the city limits of Cherry Hill. Trust me, I was just as shocked as you. Cherry Hill is all but abandoned now and you’re lucky if a car makes it down Main Street before noon. I learned that when I have enough money in my bank account it won’t go to a car with leather seats. I started to sweat, especially on my back, from these seats.

We only occupied this car together for just shy of an hour’s time. I won’t reveal who this kind citizen was, but I can tell your they were fourth generation native New Jersey roots, which is something to commend.

The blue Buick sedan came to a slow stop at the edge of a tree line. I was on my own for the last mile. At least it looked like a mile from the map’s legend. My boots touched down on soggy ground. A mixture of wood chips and a week’s worth of rain.

It had finally revealed itself, that subtle X on the map. I should have known that cotton socks wouldn’t be a smart decision for the day. This gravel road ran straight for three fourths of a mile, then took a sharp right. It ended in a swamp. A deeply wooded swamp with pulsing trees and satellites swinging from the branches. I kept walking until I reached a clearing, but the smile upon my face never left. We had made it to the Doctor.