Sunday, March 29, 2015

LIBRARY BOARD: They stayed long after library closing time

In last week's column I wrote two lengthy (probably too lengthy) items about the March meeting of the library board (the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library, which the board has renamed the Kennett Public Library). The meeting started at 7 p.m. and, according to the suggested time limits listed on the agenda, should have lasted an hour and 47 minutes.
It was still going strong when I left at 9 p.m., and I just found out that the meeting lasted until midnight. A five-hour meeting! As the popular catch-phrase goes, "I can't even!"

AT THE RACES: The Cheshire Races, a springtime ritual

We just got home from a glorious afternoon at the 70th running of Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds Point-to-Point Races at Plantation Field in Unionville. True, the temperature didn't get much above 40, but because I wore so many layers, I was perfectly warm (really, I was). The bright sun felt heavenly, especially compared to last year's horrendous, character-testing sleet and mud.
The races were exciting --- in one, the horses were so close together at the finish line that, as the announcer said, you could throw a net over them. It took a few minutes before they were able to sort out the winner.
Best of all, there were no injuries to humans or horses. I'm told that the condition of the racecourse was excellent and fast.
What's great about the course is that you get a close-up view of the horses and jockeys -- you can watch the horses jumping over fences right in front of you, and then racing to the finish.
Our jovial party of four (the usual suspects) brought along sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and a giant urn of hot tea (which was very welcome). The steeplechase is always a beginning-of-spring social event, and we saw lots of friends and neighbors, including a couple who make it an annual ritual to hike to the course from their home in the middle of Unionville (a healthy walk indeed!).
Everyone was so wrapped up in hats, scarves and sunglasses that I know for a fact I greeted some total strangers. Umm, sorry about that.

DRONES CLUB: Upcoming lecture about two uses of drones

There's going to be a talk about the use of drones both in warfare and for humanitarian purposes at London Grove Friends Meeting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. Speakers will be Jessie Mooberry, vice director of Uplift Aeronautics, and Elizabeth Beavers, who is with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Q&A time and refreshments will follow the presentations. Free admission and all are welcome.

CHORALE: A patriotic concert at the UHS auditorium

Ruth Russell asked me to tell my readers about the Brandywine Valley Chorale's spring concert, "Testament of Freedom: A Salute to America and Our Armed Forces," at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at the Unionville High School Auditorium. The chorale will perform "Hymn for the Fallen" by John Williams; excerpts from Randall Thompson's "Testament of Freedom"; and the always popular "Danny Boy," "Amazing Grace," and "America the Beautiful."
Ms. Russell writes: "The centerpiece of the concert will be an extremely moving piece entitled 'Last Letter Home' by Lee Hoiby. The lyrics of the song are taken directly from letter written by a man named Jesse Givens who drowned in Iraq on May 1, 2003. He asked his wife only to read it if he didn't come home. A very powerful song."
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for students) are available online at or at the door.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

EAST MARLBOROUGH: Fine-tuning the bridge over the Red Clay

A faithful reader notes with approval that East Marlborough's road crew has replaced the "ugly, if practical, steel guardrails on the northeast end of the Mill Rd, bridge over the West Branch of the Red Clay, at the intersection of Mill and Wollaston roads. That steel guardrail was there for several months and sort of marred the appearance of the otherwise handsome wood and iron bridge."
He said he was happy to hear that the shiny steel guardrail has now been replaced "with an attractive wooden guardrail.  It looks very nice. We'll see how long it lasts...  hah!"


BINNIE: Goodbye to a little furry friend

This week I said goodbye to my sweet guinea pig Binnie, who lived to the remarkable age of eight years (the usual cavy lifespan is about six years). I adopted Binnie, her brother Fennel, and their mother Ellie when the little ones were only a few days old. Binnie outlived both of them. Yes, she was getting frail, and losing a little bit of her hair, but she was healthy and happy until the day she died, eating her carrots and lettuce and squealing vigorously for more.
We should all be so lucky.

Friday, March 27, 2015

LUNCH: Just what the doctor ordered

I happened to be in an elevator on Tuesday and overheard a doctor on his cell phone, calling in an order. Par for the course in a medical building, but the order wasn't for a test or procedure; it was for his lunch: a large cheesesteak with extra fried onions.
I was sharing this anecdote with a friend, and she told me that Tuesday was in fact National Cheesesteak Day. Yes, apparently this is a real holiday, and not just in the Philadelphia region. I can't tell you whether the doctor knew this or was just ordering his standard mid-day meal.