I now understand in a most painful way, two things:
A. Why W.C. Fields always made fun of Philadelphia Pa. and
B. Why it's called "The City of Brotherly Love."
I came to Philly to attend the NACDL Conference on Jury Communications and White Collar Crime. I was hoping to see old friends and to learn a few new things, not to mention to get a few interviews on tape for the "Surprise" I had promised you all two days ago. (If you haven't figured it out, I am really up and ready to start a weekly podcast.)
I have been on something of a health kick as of late, so I decided to stay a few blocks away from the convention site at The Morris House Hotel. The Morris House is a lovely little Bed and Breakfast, housed in a group of post revolutionary war colonial historic landmark buildings near Washington Square on the outer edge of the Society Hill section of the city. I figured I would walk over to the convention site everyday to get some exercise in. I have been exercising a lot more seriously as of late and I wanted to get some extra walking in on a daily basis. What better way to do it? WRONG.
Walking home to the Morris House, just as I passed the Pennsylvania Hospital (I am told it is the first hospital in the USA)my right foot twisted in a curb where the concrete had cracked and fallen apart. My shoe caught the end of the small divot and stayed there with my foot, the rest of me kept going. Result? Broken bone in the ankle. Unbearable pain. End of conference. (I am still working on getting the podcast done though. More on that later.) OK so I am a little ticked at the City of Philadelphia...but...
Then there are the people I have met here. The Pennsylvania Hospital (on 8th and Spruce streets) emergency room staff could not have been better. I have been in Hospital emergency rooms in big cities. I hate how people look right through you when you are standing there. How you can wait forever while coffee breaks are taken or personal phone calls are made.
That was not my experience in the Penn Hospital ER. I want to single out the people who helped me. My RN's Carlene and LeeAnn, and my orderly Stan (you are the Man even though you abandonded me for the really sick chick the cops brought in)and the two ER Docs who couldn't do more for an out of towner clearly down on his luck Dr. Connolly(really nice guy very competent, was kinda quite but I think he has a wild side) and Dr. McCormack (I especially love this lady, smart, down to earth, a sense of humor and bedside manner, beautiful and in addition to being an ER Doc in a very busy hospital, is the mother of 5 with one on the way!! Gotta watch out for those Irish red heads. Good luck Doc. Your husband is a lucky fellow.)My friend and collegue Ted Simon who was chairing the meeting here, was really helpful and picked me up and brought me back to the Morris House that night. A great lawyer and a good friend, not in that order.
Then there were the people at the Morris House Hotel. Now the first thing you need to know about the Morris House is, it is a modern facility housed in an historic landmark. The 15 rooms (suites actually) are spacious. Being a B & B there are beautiful common rooms a library and conference room. The price per room is unbelievably reasonable for a big city. I paid the same rate as my convention friends did and got twice the room. The second thing you need to know about the Morris house is... it has no elevator. So of course my room is on the third floor.
That's where the people come in.
Before I had even arrived back from the Hospital, Anthony had moved me to a first floor suite. Not as spacious as the original one I had planned on being in, but now I couldn't walk anyway and this was far more convenient. He moved all my stuff and bought me dinner from a local Chinese place. (Note... as my luck would have it on Tuesday May 9th, Morris House is opening up a gourmet resturaunt so you can get lunch and dinner, I hope they keep the B & B feel though.)Anthony checked on me a bunch of times (it seems we had something in common, he manages a busy criminal practice for a talented young attorney here in Philly) and let my family know I was alright.
The next day Brandon was on duty. In addition to his regular work checking people in and other duties, he found time to bring me breakfast; he ran out to Quiznos and brought back lunch (excellent recommendation of the steak sandwich, kid)and made a special stop for me to Starbucks. At night he came by with a superb dinner prepared by Edward the chef at the new restraint. Great meal. A perfectly prepared white fish (I think it was Grouper very tasty) with a southwestern inspired rice dish and green beans. Dinner was finished off with a delicious piece of chocolate cake (of which I only had two bites, I am not letting this injury throw me off that health kick.)Best of all when his shift was completed, Brandon came in to check on me one more time and spent some time talking with me. He is a tremendous young man who is working hard at two jobs. He truly inspired me with his humor, and his story.
Today I am leaving Philadelphia. My son Salvatore is taking a train down with my Associate Amy Hsu to pick me up and drive me home. (Seems like only yesterday I was driving around to pick him up and take him home...)Morris House has sent Angel to work with me. I am sorry I will not have the time to get to know him better. He to has a wonderful way about him.
Anyway, I am very grateful to the people I meet at Pennsylvania Hospital ER and to the beautiful people I met and who helped me at the Morris House Hotel. I hope I get to come back to Philly in the near future and stay here again. I want to walk around the neighborhood and get to know this beautiful city. But even if I never get here again I will remember what kind and thoughtful citizens live here, and how much they helped me while I was in need. I am very, very thankful.