Sunday, July 26, 2015

HEAVENS: A blue moon on Friday, July 31

Don't forget that this Friday, July 31, we will have a Blue Moon, the second full moon of the month. They occur every 2.5 years on average (accounting for the phrase "once in a blue moon"), according to "The Old Farmer's Almanac." And you've probably noticed how the days are getting shorter: on July 1 the sun rose at 5:10 a.m. and set at 8:24 p.m. The corresponding figures for July 31 are 5:35 a.m. and 8:05 p.m.

LONGWOOD: An evening full of music and light

This year's musical by the Brandywiners, "Fiddler on the Roof," was lots of fun. As the lead character, the dairyman Tevye, Bill Fellner was a very likable presence (he played the same role in the Brandywiners' previous production of "Fiddler" back in 1977). It was great to hear songs like "Tradition," "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset." I didn't realize that the charming "Do You Love Me?" was from the musical.
Aside from the songs, my favorite part of the play was the huge puppet of the butcher's deceased first wife. Think Marge Simpson in a bad mood. She appeared to Tevye in a nightmare and made it very clear that she did NOT want Tevye's oldest daughter to become the new Mrs. Wolf. (At least, that's Tevye's story and he's sticking to it.)
Thank you to my generous neighbors for sending tickets our way for the second summer in a row (speaking of "Tradition").
The play was held in the Open Air Theater at Longwood Gardens, and during intermission we walked through part of the new Nightscape exhibit. Frankly I thought it was going to be like those hokey rock-and-roll laser light shows we went to back in the 1970s, but I was so wrong: this was utterly spectacular. The creators use the Longwood landscape as a 3D canvas, projecting colorful moving light patterns across the trees. As we walked down one pathway, it was as if we were being encircled by light and were heading through some kind of a mysterious portal. It was like the best of psychedelia, science fiction and technology combined.
We made it as far as the big lake but had to hurry back to see the second half of the show. We will definitely return because there is quite a lot we didn't get to see.
In addition to all the other attractions, Longwood is always great for people-watching. As we were waiting for the play to start, two sweet older ladies walked down the aisle to their seats, and when they reached their row, one turned to the other and said with surprise, "They're waiting for us!"
And one man a few rows in front of us found his seat, only to realize that it was #13. Apparently a superstitious fellow, he made a dramatic show of refusing to sit down. Fortunately his companion had no problem with it.

QUAKERS: A chance to visit historic meetinghouses

Meeting for Worship at the Old Kennett Meetinghouse on Route 1 was lovely this morning. Old Kennett, built in 1710, is one of the historic Quaker meetinghouses in our area that opens its normally closed doors on certain First Days in the summer. I enjoy going to see the architecture, to soak up the ambiance and to imagine the generations of people who have sat there before me (I noticed "1812" carved on the wooden bench in front of me).
There were probably 40 people there this morning (including newlyweds Lars and Linda Farmer, who were married at the meetinghouse a few weeks ago). It seems that normally the summer meetings there are held at 11, but this time it started at 9 as an experiment to see if the traffic noise from Route 1 would be reduced. It was still pretty noisy during silent worship, but as one member told me, "I just block it out." 
Old Kennett will be open again for worship at 9 a.m. Aug. 30.
Homeville Meetinghouse, 4904 Homeville Road, Cochranville, will be open for worship at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30. 
London Britain Meetinghouse, 1415 New London Road, Landenberg, will be open for worship each Sunday through Sept. 6 at 10:30 am.
Parkersville Meetinghouse, 1232 Parkersville Road, Kennett Square, will be open for worship at 2 p.m. Sunday Sept. 13.
Colora Meetinghouse on Colora Road in Colora, Maryland, will be open for worship at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.


Friday, July 24, 2015

OVERSEAS: Kindergarten teacher and her son travel to China

Bob Connolly was kind enough to write and tell me that his wife, Joanne Connolly (a teacher at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center) is in China for three weeks teaching English. This summer she took along their son, Kennett High School senior Sean Connolly, as her teacher's assistant.
The travelers are keeping a blog about their travels and adventures at
I especially enjoyed reading one entry from Joanne:
"I have to say that I am proud of Sean.  He's tried every single food that has been placed in front of him no matter how disgusting it looked.....and with chopsticks! He is a hungry boy so his fine motor skills have improved significantly over the past couple of days."
Replied Bob: "Meanwhile. . . Dad goes hungry."



GROCERIES: Goodbye to the Superfresh store

You've probably heard the news that the Superfresh grocery store in the Longwood shopping center is going to be closing, possibly within a few months, as part of the bankruptcy filing of its parent company, A&P.
It's a shame for the employees who will be laid off, and for the regular customers. For me, the Giant (either New Garden or Jennersville) is my go-to store. I dash into the Superfresh only if I need a few items urgently (say, Gilbert the Guinea Pig is out of baby carrots, a situation that Must Not Happen) and I'm on that side of town.
What will move into the vacant store? I've always thought we need a Trader Joe's closer than Concord Pike. Speaking of vacant stores, there's a rumor floating around that an indoor target-shooting range is moving into the old Boomers in Avondale. I haven't been able to pin it down. As one wag quipped, "At least they'll be able to keep the name."

MUSIC: Mason Porter, Kategory 5 and One Alternative

Outdoor concerts are a wonderful part of summer for me, and I've been to three in the past 10 days. At Anson B. Nixon Park, local favorites Mason Porter played a terrific set on July 15 (with a delicious fried chicken dinner by the Kennett Inn), and on July 22 a band called Kategory5 ("Kat" is Kat Pigliacampi, the lead singer) covered classic hits from my youth: great stuff from Heart, Kansas, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and lots of others. No one needed to be encouraged to sing along; we knew all the words by heart. Loved their versions of "Hotel California" and "Rocket Man"!
It's always fun to hear the emcees at these Anson B. Nixon shows. Kennett merchant Doug Harris did his inimitable high-energy intro for Mason Porter, and Bob Listerman gave a spirited pitch for the local Rotary groups to open the July 22 show.
On July 23 we headed over to the Brandywine Valley Association to hear the jazz fusion band One Alternative (bass, guitar, oboe and drums). A couple we know attends these shows every Thursday, not only to hear the music but also to pick the wild raspberries that flourish back in the woods. They pointed us toward the brambles before the show started (after, of course, securing their own two pints). As the sun set it became actually blanket-worthy chilly, a far cry from the temperatures in the 90s just a few days earlier.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

FERRARI: A prancing pony of a different sort

Both the Young Relative and the Cranky Friend have mocked me since day 1 for writing about daily events they consider wholly trivial, and I can just imagine their sneering

reaction to this item: "Gee. You saw a car parked in a parking lot. Great."
Yeah, but, dudes: that was not just a car, it was a gray Ferrari convertible, in the first spot of the Kennett YMCA parking lot early Thursday afternoon. Some Internet research identified it as a 1982 308 GTS Quattrovalvole model.

The young boy who walked past it as I was taking a photo did not need the Internet to tell him that this was one special vehicle. He just stopped and stared at it. "He knows cool cars when he sees them," explained his mom.