Sunday, May 21, 2017

WEST MARLBOROUGH: The extended Plant Sale

London Grove Monthly Meeting had to extend its annual plant sale because sales and attendance took such a heavy hit due to the rain on May 13, the actual day of the sale. I stopped by the Meetinghouse on the afternoon of May 19, and the weather could not have been more different: it was hot and sunny. Several Friends, including Betsy Walker, Elinor Thomforde, Denis Newbold, Mark Myers and Leona Provinski, were striking the tents and carting away the last of the tables.
Betsy Walker asked me to mention that the proceeds from the sale benefit several local groups, such as Kennett Area Community Service, the Tick Tock Early Learning Center in Toughkenamon, the Kennett Area Senior Center, His Mission in Kennett Square, and La Communidad Hispana. I contributed my part by going home with some leftover herbs and a few pots of irises.

ROUTE 41: Road project

On Monday, June 12, PennDOT will be holding "an open house meeting" to discuss its plans for the Route 41/Route 926 intersection in Londonderry Township (one of several local intersections I avoid as much as possible). According to the email I received, "PennDOT representatives and its design engineering team will be present to receive your ideas and answer questions." The meeting will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Londonderry Township building, 103 Daleville Road, Cochranville.
PennDOT has come up with four alternatives for the intersection, which you can see at the meeting or on the website (

KENNETT: Summer concert schedule

The summer schedule has been announced for the free Wednesday-night concerts at the amphitheater at Anson B. Nixon Park:
June 21: Eric Ambel
June 28: Ben Arnold (folk-rock singer-songwriter)
July 5: Kategory 5 (1970s and 1980s music)
July 12: Bryan Tuk (big-band jazz)
July 19: Grady Hoss & the Sidewinders (alt-country/classic country)
July 26: The GTV's (garage rock)
August 2: Kofi Baker's Cream Experience
August 9: The West Chester Band (pops orchestra)
The music starts at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.; we usually get there earlier to get a good spot and to socialize before the show. Food is available from a different vendor each week, or you can bring your own picnic supper. People bring lawn chairs and blankets. Kids and dogs are welcome.

SPRING GULCH: Time for outdoor music

On Saturday we headed up to the Spring Gulch Folk Festival in Lancaster County and listened to a wide variety of music, from "Brazilian bluegrass" to zydeco, Appalachian Mountain harmonies, Southern rock, and social justice anthems.
One duo, Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards, said they like to walk from town to town, with their instruments, just so they can explore small-town America.
The high-energy band Matuto -- they had members of the audience dancing and kicking in a conga line -- travels, too: around the world as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. State Department.
The old-time fiddle and banjo duo Sam Greaves and Tyler Hughes sang the moving "Ain't We Brothers" and "Just Like Jordan." 
My favorite act was the Snyder Family Band out of North Carolina. The father plays upright bass, his daughter plays fiddle, and his sons play banjo and guitar. They were terrific, and after their set the merchandise table was swamped with folks like me buying their CD.
The Spring Gulch Resort Campground where the fest is held is a lovely, sprawling, hilly place, so people parked their RVs at their assigned spot and then drove down to the field using golf carts. There was a definite 1960s contingent in evidence, like the circle of guys with gray ponytails and tie-dyed shirts playing hackysack while holding their drinks.
The family sitting in front of us spanned three generations and brought along Chloe, their low-key, 10-year-old dog.
Although many of the RVers went back to their campsites for dinner, the on-site food vendors included Rita's water ice, Auntie Anne's pretzels, funnel cakes, freshly grilled burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and home-made whoopee-pies (I had a mocha one, so tasty!).
I was fascinated by the way they produced the corkscrew French fries: the woman impaled a whole raw potato onto a rod connected to a driver, which propelled it into a spiralizing blade. Seriously, the Dewalt tool company needs to use that in an ad.
We were really impressed by the campground personnel, who although they were busy remained cheerful, efficient, and laid-back. Spring Gulch has a New Holland address, but it took us only a half-hour to get there from Unionville. (The 10 p.m. trip home was a little longer; thank goodness for GPS.)

OVERHEARD: I want specifics!

So I was driving down State Street on Friday evening, and as usual traffic was slow because there were so many people visiting downtown Kennett. I was stopped in the middle of the block, in front of La Verona, where every table on the sidewalk was filled with diners.
One woman was reading an email out loud to her female companion ... and to everyone else within earshot, including me in my vehicle.
Some kind of unpleasantness had transpired between the woman and the author of the email; at one point the author said it was "my prerogative" to behave the way he or she had. The author wrapped up by explaining that although the email was much longer than intended, he/she still felt that he/she had done nothing wrong and was not going to apologize.
I was really sorry when the light changed and I had to drive off. I wanted more details, and I am sure a lively discussion ensued, considering the rapt interest that the woman's friend was displaying.

SPORTS: Another PR for the YR

The Young Relative wrapped up his season with a career-best performance at the District 1 track and field meet at Coatesville Area High School on Saturday morning. Thankfully, the weather had cooled off considerably from the previous few days, and the only thing that was blistering was the pace of the athletes.
All season long my family and I had a wonderful time watching the UHS boys and girls compete; witnessing their dedication, effort, camaraderie and sportsmanship never got old.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

DUPLICATES: Identity politics

The other day I was picking up a package and the friendly clerk asked for my name. There's another local woman with the same name as mine, who shops at many of the same stores I do, so to be safe he also asked for my address and birth date.
The computer was slow, and while we were waiting he told me that name confusion had led to some major hassles for him when he was applying for a mortgage. Apparently a man with the same name had a seriously spotty credit record, including defaulting on a liquor license. After many phone calls he convinced the bank that he was not in fact miscreant, and he was eventually able to buy his house.