Day 561: By Accident

Laetitia and her group headed south out of Johnstown. Their first destination was Roaring Run on the western slope of Laurel Ridge in Pennsylvania. The hike crosses the stream several times, and there are no bridges, so the brochure that Laetitia found was correct in describing it as “a wet walk in the woods.” Afterward they drove on south, crossing the state line into Maryland.

Their destination was Accident, a town with a population of 353 in the last census. English Peer Lord Baltimore opened this area for settlement in 1770. It isn’t clear how Brooke Beall, the area’s original surveyor, chose the unusual name he gave to this place. There is speculation that the name was originally “Axe-ident,” derived from the axe marks surveyors put on trees as reference points, or that Beall had found the place by accident.

On arrival, the group did a walkabout in the historic community. At happy hour, Laetitia heard some gossip about a local Lothario named Brent, who made of point of having his amorous conquests just outside of town so he could say that anything adverse that happened was “by Accident.” She turned the gossip into the limerick of the day.

When an amorous fellow named Brent
Sought amore with deceptive intent
His plan was to claim
The absence of blame
For what happened by Accident.

Day 560: Johnstown and Gown

The Mind’s Eye group headed southwest from Sunbury to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. On the way, they stopped to hike in the White Mountain Wilderness in its sub-alpine forest. Johnstown is perhaps best known for its floods, the most infamous of which occurred in 1889, when a poorly constructed and maintained recreational reservoir dam collapsed following an unusually large rain, causing a flash flood that wrecked the town and killed 2,209 of its residents. It was an important event in the history of the American Red Cross. Its founder, Clara Barton, brought 50 doctors to the area and stayed for months staffing field hospitals and relief shelters to accommodate the flood victims. Laetitia and her group visited the city’s historic district and the Johnstown Flood National Memorial.

Some local gossip heard at happy hour was the basis for the limerick of the day.

A fine lady from greater Johnstown
Was at all county taverns renown
Where men called her “ Honey”
And handed her money
As she danced in a transparent gown.