Word is out that a horde of zombies is lurching its way toward our very own little town of Upper Providence, Pennsylvania. As a result, the town council has declared a State of Emergency and is warning the town’s residents to gather supplies and to hunker down indoors to wait out the onslaught. Countering this amassing zombie invasion is a messenger from God, who will be arriving to Philadelphia to speak of the salvation of mankind.
In response to these events, major highways into and out of Philadelphia are being closed. A major bridge providing passage from the city to New Jersey is to be closed. Schools and Universities are being closed. Rail service will be eliminated or severely restricted. The center of the city itself is being shut down with residents being told to move their vehicles from restricted areas or risk punitive consequences. The State of New Jersey is declaring a State of Emergency. Pennsylvania is mobilizing the National Guard. Water stations and medical emergency services are to be staged along local highways to handle the mobilized masses.
Clearly, the Apocalypse is upon us.
Well, almost. Believe or not, all of the statements above are true. Highways and bridges are shutting down next week, schools and Universities are closing, States of Emergencies are being declared, the National Guard is mobilizing and a horde of zombies is coming to our town of Upper Providence Township. It just so happens that this horde, estimated to consist of 15,000 living people, will be traveling to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, which is located one mile distant from the Neebor Lee house on land once owned by the Gumbes family. They will be attending “Walker Stalker Con”, which is a conference/festival for fans of the zombie genre. Four actors from the hit AMC television series “The Walking Dead” will be appearing at the conference to sign autographs, which could explain why the horde of zombie fans is expected to be so large. Countering this zombie festival, barely 20 miles away in downtown Philadelphia, will be the arrival of Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families conference. The highway and bridge closings are due to the Pope’s visit. An estimated two million people are expected to be arriving in Philadelphia to attend the conference and to see the Pope.
The regional impact of the Pope’s visit, combined with the local impact due to the zombie festival, is expected to be significant. It has been dubbed Pope-nado by some, and Pope-a-geddon by others. With roughly 20 miles of Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) to be closed for the three days of the Pope’s visit, the traffic on local roads leading to that highway are expected to be jammed to a standstill. In particular, the Pottstown Expressway (State Highway Highway 422), which is the largest local highway feeding into I-76, is expected to be particularly hit hard during the Pope’s three-day visit.
State Highway 422 and the Neebor Lee have an intertwined history, with the four-lane highway bisecting property what was part of the Gumbes’ Neebor Lee estate. In fact, if this highway was constructed as originally planned, it would have led to the destruction of the Neebor Lee House. But more about that in a future post. For the zombie/Catholic conferences occurring next weekend, port-a-johns, water stations and EMS services will be spaced along the sides of State Highway 422 every several miles in order to service stranded motorists. If traffic on this highway comes to a standstill as expected, then the expectation is that the road fronting Neebor Lee house will also become clogged with traffic as zombie enthusiasts use it to bypass the highway in order to obtain the autographs of “Glen” and “Beth” of The Walking Dead fame at the expo center. If this traffic jam occurs, then my wife and I would truly be isolated inside the Neebor Lee House by the zombie horde.
Thus, the Zombie Apocalypse is near. And there is not much time left to prepare.
P.S. My wife recently made an interesting observation. She noted that although the attendees of the World Meeting of Families will greatly outnumber the 15,000 zombie fans traveling to the Greater Philadelphia Expo, there is undoubtedly a likelihood that some members of each group will be staying in the same hotels. Think about that. Who wouldn’t want to attend breakfast in those hotels to observe the dynamics between these two groups?