Caving and “Eat First, Cry Later”

The subject of caves gained prominence in light of the Thailand cave rescue. According to cavers from Franklin and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania is home to over a thousand caves.   

Caves are formed when rock is dissolved by acidic rainwater that seeps through tiny pores in the rock surface. After tens of thousands of years, a cave is formed. 

Some of Pennsylvania’s largest caves extend over a mile in length and reach more than 200 feet in depth.Exploring caves is called caving or spelunking, and some area hobbyists have been practicing for over 50 years. Many are drawn to the historical and scientific significance of caves, while others seek the thrill of exploration. 

Caves are essential to environmental ecosystems. Animals and plants make their homes in caves and it is where rain is filtered before returning to the earth’s water supply. When exploring, cavers are careful not to disturb the natural way of life, taking nothing but pictures and leaving nothing but footprints. 

Discussing cave exploration in Pennsylvania on Monday’s Smart Talk are Franklin County caver Patrick Minnick and Kim Schwartz, general manager of Indian Echo Caverns. 

Also on today’s Smart Talk, Mimi Barash Coppersmith joins us to talk about her recently published memoir “Eat First, Cry Later: The Life Lessons of a First-Generation College Graduate, Penn State Alumna and Female CEO.” 

The book details her life from childhood through her mid-80s. She was born during the Great Depression and grew up a Jewish Pennsylvanian girl during World War II. She attended Penn State University and has remained an active member of the Penn State community. She has also been involved in numerous charitable organizations and events. She made her way as a businesswoman when the field was largely dominated by men; she has experienced the losses of several people close to her, and she has combatted breast cancer and mental illness. During her life, she found purpose in helping people and developed into a feminist.

These experiences taught Mimi Barash Coppersmith many influential lessons, 48 of which she enumerates throughout her book. Several of these lessons involve helping and receiving help from others and the importance of interpersonal connections.