Saturday, October 20, 2018

MANNERS: Pay attention!

A gym friend was telling a bunch of us how frustrated she was when she was leading a training session and people were chit-chatting instead of listening to her.
She didn't get the sympathy she was looking for.
"My LIFE is people talking when I'm teaching!" said one woman, a second-grade teacher.

Friday, October 19, 2018

AUTUMN: Change in the weather

Just a few days ago it was so humid that I had the AC on, and then, seemingly overnight, the temperature dropped and it's autumn. Bananas no longer go black in a matter of hours. Shampoo flows out of the bottle, and toothpaste out of the tube, more slowly. The stinkbugs have become sluggish and easy to suck up with the Bugzooka. A hot shower once again feels heavenly. My favorite fleece garments have reappeared. And after all that wretched humidity, polishing my furniture was a real treat; instead of sticky and dull, the wood is back to being smooth and gleaming.

STATION 36: Po-Mar-Lin's open house

The Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company's open house on Monday evening drew a big crowd to downtown Unionville. You couldn't miss the flashing red lights down the center of Route 82.
Kids got to meet real firefighters and see fire trucks and bunker gear up close, and there was plenty of swag for all to take home, like helmets, stickers, pencils and rulers. The energetic Philly Phanatic mascot was there, as was a pharmacist from Acme giving flu shots (I got one, and he was so adept I didn't even feel the injection).
The firefighters did a demo of how they rescue car-crash victims by smashing car windows, forcing open the doors and cutting off the roof. I was amazed at how efficiently they turned a junk car into a convertible.
I had fun catching up with John "Jackie" Weer, the county fire marshal, and Robin Mastrippolito of Embreeville, who was there cuddling her adorable new grandson and selling Po-Mar-Lin sweatshirts. I learned that if you designate Po-Mar-Lin as your Amazon.com charity, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of your purchases to the fire company. Every little bit helps, the volunteer said.
I also talked to a woman from the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team (maybe you've seen their white trailer parked behind the fire house). She explained that they partner with the fire company to handle emergencies involving animals -- in recent months, a cow that wandered into a manure pit and a horse that got stuck in mud. She gave me information about putting together a "disaster preparedness plan" for pets in case of disasters like severe storms.
Given the financial and staffing stress that volunteer fire companies are under the days, the open house was a smart way to show people how hard the volunteers work and to try to drum up more community support.

ANIMALS: Furry and scaly friends

Last weekend was full of animal events.
First we went to the Harvest Festival at Baily's Dairy in Pocopson, where we said hello to cows, chickens, ducks, and goats, watched a master pumpkin carver at work and enjoyed an apple-cider float with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle.
And on Sunday I took our sweet rescue cat Clarence to the annual Pet Blessing at the Unionville Presbyterian Church. The pastor, Rev. Annalie Korengel, said a prayer over the little guy and gave him a Certificate of Blessing and a little St. Francis medal.
Also at the Pet Blessing was a menagerie brought by an outfit called Critter Connections: the kids in attendance had the opportunity to handle a variety of snakes, lizards, tortoises, a tarantula, a rabbit and a guinea pig. Mike, the fellow in charge of the creatures, explained that because it was a chilly day, the cold-blooded animals appreciated the warmth of human skin.

WALMART: Cranky consumers

My coffeemaker died the other day and I promptly headed to the Walmart to buy a new one. As I was walking out of the store carrying my purchase, the greeter in the lobby, politely, almost apologetically, asked to see my receipt.
"Of course," I said, handing it over. "I'm glad you checked."
She was stunned.
"Thanks for saying that," she said. "Seriously. That means a lot."
It seems a lot of customers give her a hard time. Apparently they don't think it through and realize that shoplifting costs us all money.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: At some point in their life, everyone should have to wait tables or work with the public in some other way. Then maybe they'd stop and actually think before being rude to someone who's just doing their job.

PASTRIES: The Hillendale Huskies

On Thursday morning at Hillendale Elementary, pupils, parents and siblings celebrated Donut Day in the best possible way: by converging on the cafeteria and eating donuts! Even though nutrition-minded school administrators are pushing "healthier" snacks these days and discouraging the intake of Halloween candy and birthday cupcakes, Hillendale has kept up this sweet tradition for 17 delicious, sugar-filled years.
Speaking of donuts, there's a Dunkin (they've dropped the "Donuts" part) coming to Jennersville, in the Jenners Commons center on Baltimore Pike just east of the busy intersection with Route 796.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

UHS: National Honor Society

When I was in high school, I considered the National Honor Society hokey, uncool and (in the parlance of the day) irrelevant, just something to put on your college application.
I thought you were supposed to get more cynical with age rather than less, but I found the Oct. 10 National Honor Society induction ceremony at Unionville High School to be heartening and completely relevant. Mrs. Veronique Liska's remarks (she is the 2018 UHS Teacher of the Year) about "quiet leadership" were completely on target in today's grandstanding world, and the society's lofty standards for scholarship, leadership, character, and service that seemed so corny to me as a teen now seem to be excellent benchmarks.
Congrats to the dozens of new inductees. And the Chamber Choir's performance of the National Anthem was magnificent.