Monday, June 29, 2015

IN MEMORY: Remembering Jessica Leigh Pfeifer, a longtime Girl Scout

On Sunday, June 28, the Girl Scouts of the Brandywine Valley dedicated a bench at the Unionville Community Park in memory of Jessica Leigh Pfeifer, who died unexpectedly in 2012 at age 21. She was a Unionville High School graduate, where she was an avid rugby player, and went on to the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She was a month away from graduating when she died. Jessica had been a Girl Scout since she was 5 and earned the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

GLEN MILLS: Ruby's Diner gave us shelter from the storm

In Ray Bradbury's 1950 short story "The Long Rain," a group of astronauts are exploring Venus, where it rains constantly. They are searching desperately for a Sun Dome, which Bradbury describes like this:
"A yellow house, round and bright as the sun. A house fifteen feet high by one hundred feet in diameter, in which was warmth and quiet and hot food and freedom from rain. And in the center of the Sun Dome, of course, was a sun. A small floating free globe of yellow fire, drifting in space at the top of the building where you could look at it from where you sat, smoking or reading a book or drinking your hot chocolate crowned with marshmallow dollops."
Ruby's Diner on Route 1 in Glen Mills was our Sun Dome on Saturday evening. You'll recall that it was pouring all day; in fact, there was a flood watch. We wanted to see "Jurassic World" at the Painter's Crossing AMC cinema, but apparently so did everyone else, as every showing was sold out. (A attorney friend speculates that the movie's popularity has something to do with the fact that lawyers get devoured by velociraptors.)
Because we had planned to dine inside the movie theater, we had to completely rethink our evening. And due to a comical failure of communication about parking lot logistics, I was soaking wet.
We drove around the Painter's Crossroads area and saw that the nearby chain restaurants were all packed -- Carrabba's, Texas Roadhouse, PF Chang's. Ruby's looked manageable in comparison. We parked, dashed through the rain, and were greeted by the gleaming white tables and counters.
It was so pleasant just sitting there in the Sun Dome drying off while watching the parking-lot trees whipping around in the wind and rain.
If you haven't been there, the place has a 1940s "classic diner" theme. The menu offers burgers, sandwiches and milkshakes. I had fun watching the employees, who seem to put on their period mannerisms along with their uniforms: one fellow was gracefully flipping his tray, another cocked his white peaked hat at a rakish angle, and a third was surveying the restaurant, with his fingertips planted on the counter, like he owned the place (think Doc in "West Side Story").
Our sandwiches were tasty -- I particularly liked the onion rings -- but we didn't save room for those amazing-looking milkshakes crowned with whipped cream dollops. Foolish!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

LIBRARY TOUR: People love to see inside other people's houses

Louise Colburn, who chaired the Bayard Taylor Library's Home & Garden Day tour on June 6, reported that the event raised over $25,000 for children's programs at the library! I congratulated her on the hugely successful event, which reflects an amazing amount of effort on the part of the Special Events Committee volunteers as well as the generosity of the homeowners, artists, restaurants, florists and raffle donors who participated.

DRINKS: My friend is a smoothie operator

A health-conscious gym friend shared a useful tip. She loves smoothies and makes them in bulk in assembly-line fashion, pureeing berries, chia seeds, protein powder, and other nutritious stuff in her blender and then pouring the results into a dozen reusable drinking bottles, which she keeps in the freezer. She has a week's worth of smoothies, only has to clean the blender once -- and has more time to work out!
I've been mixing an overripe banana (they ripen so quickly in the warm weather!), strong coffee and a little cocoa powder in the blender and then letting it sit in the freezer until it's the consistency of sorbet. Delicious!

SUMMER STORM: Restoration drama after an intense storm

The big news this week was the storm that hit in the late afternoon of Tuesday, June 23. Although it blew through quickly, the rain and wind were intense. The storm destroyed many trees, knocking out power to large chunks of the area. Downtown Kennett, including the Y, was out of power all day Wednesday, and the Dukes of Destiny concert at Anson B. Nixon Park, the first in the summer series, had to be cancelled. Hood's BBQ was open thanks to a generator. The Unionville post office was running on partial power, thanks to a very long extension cord stretching across the parking lot from the Po-Mar-Line fire hall.
Utility workers were called in from all over the region, but some unfortunate souls in remote pockets didn't get their power restored until late Friday afternoon. Some roads in the Birmingham Township area, near Route 202, were still blocked by downed limbs on Saturday.
The storm was weirdly sporadic, though. I talked to some people who never lost power, but had next-door neighbors who were out for hours. Damage was also localized: a friend told me about one unfortunate couple who lost the tree that was the main reason they bought their property.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Because all politics is local

Just a reminder that West Marlborough Township's monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 7, at the township hall at 7 p.m. At 7:30 there will be a hearing to get the public's comments about the latest revisions to the township's zoning ordinance, produced by the township planning commission and supervisors. A copy of the revisions is available from the township office. Come out and see your township government in action. (And congratulations to newlywed township supervisor Jake Chalfin, and best wishes to his wife Kate!)

OUT OF CONTEXT: Gen. Washington picking up rations for the troops

With his gray ponytail, distinguished profile and military bearing, local resident Carl Closs brings General George Washington to life in his frequent appearances at school and community events. He looks utterly right and absolutely in character in his tricorn hat and colonial uniform.
So it was disconcerting to spot the Kennett Square man yesterday doing his grocery shopping at the Giant, wearing a loose summer shirt, and then loading his bags into his car. Not an aide-de-camp in sight to assist the General. You just can't get good help these days!