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Letter from the Editor (All)

Just how different is now from then?

When you take time to count, thoughts start tickling your brain.
    That sequence — 22-23-24 — which I hadn’t noticed until I wrote it down, could start its own numerological train of thought.
    Here’s another number: 1,219. That’s how many editions of Bay Weekly we will have made in the 24 years since we published Vol. 1 No. 1 on Earth Day 23, April 22, 1993.
    What do all those issue amount to? Where did all those years go? How is now different from then?
    I was coming up with more questions than answers until I bumped into Victoria Coles’ research into changing Chesapeake times.
    We are in the midst of change, Coles told me from her at Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, part of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science.
    Coles and a couple of other researchers, Ralph Hood and Kari St. Laurent, have been “thinking about what people and organisms actually feel: daily weather, 10 or 15 warm days and their cumulative stress on people and environment,” she said.
    They found plenty of answers. But they had to look further than a mere 24 years.
    “In shorter times like 25 or 50 years, you start to see natural climate variability that overshadows long trends,” Coles told me.
    Coles’ team went back 114 years, to the beginning of the 20th century.
    From that perspective, they documented patterns that may feel familiar.
    Summers really are hotter.
    We suffer through 30 more “tropical summer nights” each year now than our ancestors did 100 years ago. On tropical nights, temperatures stay above 68 degrees.
    Maryland is feeling the heat more than Virginia, whose increase was only 20 days, while ours was 40, Coles explained. Since Bay Weekly went into business, we’ve added 10 of those insufferable nights when, without air-conditioning, you never cool off. Your clothes stick to you, your skin feels clammy and you toss and turn.
    That’s only one way we feel the difference.
    “It impacts human health,” Coles said. “When nights are not cooling, impaired immune systems really struggle.”
    Implications extend beyond human health to energy use and crop yields.
    Meanwhile, cold is lessening.
    “Since 1917,” Coles said, “frost days per year have dropped by a full month.”
    “This longterm trend,” she noted, “could be quite different for any given 25-year period because of natural climate variability.” But it could also have given our last quarter-century a week or eight fewer frost days. How does that accord with your experience? Maybe you even kept records.
    Chesapeake Country has grown wetter as well as hotter. As a region, we get about 41⁄2 more inches of rain per year than fell a century ago. Again, Maryland got the lion’s share, a full six inches. Intensity is increasing, too, rising by 10 inches per year (and six in Maryland) in “heavy precipitation events,” Coles said.
    All these changes amount to a longer growing season, 17 days more in Maryland over the past century.
    With all this change comes — no big surprise “lots of variability.” Like this year, Coles noted, “when we saw magnolia blooms get frost killed.”
    Each of those changes has huge consequences that can make the future ever more different and, by our old habits, more difficult to manage. “Agriculturally,” she says — and in so many other ways — “it makes it hard to plan.”
    I’m planning Bay Weekly’s 1,220th issue for April 27, nonetheless.
    Coles and her colleagues hope we will do more.
    “Our point here,” she wrote, “was to talk more about what we’ve been seeing in a way that might convince people to take actions that would increase their own personal and community resilience.”
    That’s what Bay Weekly is about. Every week, I try to take that message home, just as you do.
    Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/changingchesapeake.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Balancing valid interests — without falling off the tightrope

In 90 days of deliberations since Jan. 11, the 2017 Maryland General Assembly told us a lot about the state we’re in. It’s a message bigger than the sum — and subtraction — of the parts of the hundreds of laws passed or the 2,000-plus bills bypassed this year.
    By their actions, our lawmakers defined Maryland as a sovereign state vis-a-vis the federal government, balancing independence with the interdependence of the union. One place you see that message is the Maryland Defense Act, a Joint Resolution enabling the Maryland Attorney General to sue the federal government for illegal or unconstitutional actions.
    This is a smart step given harm that could come our way from a host of new administration initiatives, from ending long-settled programs to clean up Chesapeake Bay to forcing states and localities to assist with rounding up undocumented immigrants.
    At the same time, our General Assembly defined Maryland as a state that balances commercial interests with human and environmental interests. Keeping both those interests in play is, like tightrope walking, a feat of many tiny acts of adjustment.
    Looking at just a couple of new laws, we see that balancing act play out.
    One starts with oysters, though it’s a lot bigger than oysters or one law alone.
    Everybody wants oysters: They’re good in themselves, they’re good for the Bay, they underwrite Chesapeake culture, they support oystermen and their industry all the way to the table, where they’re good eating.
    How do you get enough oysters to go around, when — as every Marylander knows — we’ve loved them almost to death?
    Oyster sanctuaries are a big part of the current plan, and they’re where the story takes us. If oysters are growing so well in sanctuaries, shouldn’t oystermen — also an endangered species — get some of the bounty? Wouldn’t a harvest every couple of years be a good and fair thing?
    We have competing interests, and each has value and allies.
    Gov. Larry Hogan has sworn to make Maryland a business-friendly state, helping people, oystermen included, make a good living. At the same time, Maryland is committed to the Chesapeake, and that means giving oysters every chance.    
    How do you balance the interests?
    Back and forth, in increments of adjustment.
    This year’s compromise keeps oyster sanctuaries closed to harvest for two more years — until lawmakers and regulators have a sustainable management plan to guide and coordinate every oyster decision.
    That’s good: it takes Maryland a step down the road to planfulness, meaning we try to see choices in their full circle of consequences.
    It’s not so good for the oystermen. If I’m right about the kind of state we Marylanders are in, the balance should be tipped in their favor. Maybe we should encourage Gov. Hogan and our lawmakers to treat oystermen like farmers, who are so well incentivized to balance their livelihood with the good of the Bay — and the economy.
    The same kind of balancing act plays out with wider consequences in Maryland’s new law requiring businesses to give paid sick leave to workers. Lawmakers set the threshold at 15 employees, while the governor says 50. With rhetorical pyrotechnics, he’s promised to veto the lawmaker’s bill, which is still likely to become law.
    Still, the bigger point is that both sides — Republican governor and Democratic-controlled General Assembly — want to balance human needs with corporate interests.
    A state that balances both interests — with give and take on both sides — is a pretty good place to live.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

You’re looking at one of them

Mary Davis makes quite the Bay Weekly cover girl.
    In one way, you may find her appearance surprising. Yet she’s just Bay Weekly’s kind of story.
    We’re inspired by people who have figured out what matters to them. Swan calling or oyster gardening, community organizing or organic farming, bee keeping or ballroom dancing, body building or poetry proselytizing, opening a new restaurant or keeping up a family gallery, somebody is sure to do it.
    As curiosity is the force that drives journalism, we want to know who and why.
    Diversity is a virtue we admire in human endeavor as much as we do in animal specialization, where it gives us a world big enough to hold giraffes, Luna moths and cow-nosed rays (just put under state protection by the General Assembly). Obviously, specialization may verge into the odd, at least by some reckonings. But who’s to judge?
    “There’s no accounting for taste,” my grandmother taught me. “That’s what the lady said when she kissed the cow.”
    Cows may not be your kissing partners, but somebody loves them. Grace Cavalieri for one, who put them to work in a poem you’ll read in Giving Poetry a Voice, which we run this week in honor of National Poetry Month.
    Don’t Undersell Yourself
Consider the brown cow
Eating green grass
Giving white milk

    Typically, we channel our curiosity to the Annapolis Capital Region of Chesapeake Country, broadly Anne Arundel and Calvert counties between the Bay and the Patuxent River. That’s where Bay Weekly is distributed and where most of our advertisers do business. Much as we love the rest — and tempted as I am to extend my curiosity to the new white rhino, Jaharo, who’s just moved into the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore — we’d be spreading ourselves too thin to try to cover much more.
    Theme as well as geography keeps us focused. We’re a quality-of-life paper, focused on culture, lore, good times and our relationship to the Chesapeake, the great Bay that gives our region its identity and obligations. Put all that in a word, and you have sustainability: using all the resources we inherit in the best way we can for today and a long tomorrow.
    Sustain can be a demanding verb; making it into the noun sustainability takes dedication. People like Davis and Cavalieri show that dedication. It wouldn’t be going to far to say that Davis embodies it.
    We’re awed by the lengths to which inspiration drives people. Week by week, we see the truth of the 10,000-hour rule described by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: Mastery takes about that much “deliberate practice.”
    Put it into your body, as Davis is doing, and you’ve got a masterpiece worth looking it.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Bay Weekly’s All-Age Guide to Finding the Help You Need

In this issue, we haven’t told you quite everything you need to know to spring into your homestead’s seasonal renewal. For that inadequacy, you will be glad. Anymore than we’re offering would make you wish for assisted living before your time.
    Why, come to think of it, should assisted living be reserved for the very old and infirm? Most of us need assisted living nowadays, when our work for our livings is so often demanding plus far from home. At the Martin-Lambrecht household, for example, we fit in time for chores or projects — seldom both. So there’s always far more that needs to get done than does get done.
    Is it any different at your house? I bet not, unless you’re like my efficient neighbor whose telecommuting schedule lets him do his paid job and manage all sorts of masterful home-improvement projects. Of course you need skill as well as time to be so self-sufficient.
    For the rest of us, assisted living is a generous concept affording permission to hire out chores and projects, inside and out, that can be better done by experts than ourselves.
    So in this week’s paper, you’ll find not only problems but also solutions.
    The Bay Gardener gives us three full months of advice for planting, pruning and lawn care. I promise you, there are a lot of projects in his generous offering. Read him to know what to do, when and how. Then you’ll have the knowledge to do your favorite projects yourself, and you’ll know what questions to ask and parameters to set for the projects you hire out. In this very same Bay Weekly, you’ll find experts to hire.
    Home is just as demanding as garden competing for your precious time. On these scores, too, we’ve called in the experts with assistance on chores and projects from house cleaning to window washing, air cooling and cleaning, plumbing and water purification, painting and roofing, furnishing and accessorizing, selling your old home and buying a new one.
    Their expert assistance gives you more time for living.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Allen Delaney takes second place

This is our lucky week. Allen Delaney is back in fine form.
    If you’re a recent Bay Weekly reader, you may not know what you’ve been missing. Delaney’s recent contributions have been brief, semi-serious dispatches. But in his Bay Weekly heyday — 2002 to 2009 — he could make his readers fall from their chairs and burst into tears — all the results of the felonious assault of laughter.
    Delaney’s comic alter-ego was a heavy-handed fellow, bulling around in various china shops and always dipping at least one toe over the edge of propriety. This persona would be downright obnoxious in real life, but in print Delaney kept him at safe distance. He also sweetened him with irony, boomeranging the joke back on its teller. Maybe — or maybe not — he knew he’d been hit. Self-awareness wasn’t a big virtue with him.
    Every year for a while there, Allen Delaney, Block Party Chairman, would report on Another Holiday Block Party. Typically, in the form of public letters of apology, his dispatches began something like this:
    I would like to apologize to the Pine Lake community for the mishap that occurred during the annual block party. As you know, the Block Party Committee’s motto has always been Safety First, Hopefully, which is why we held the Fried Turkey Cook-off near the lakefront.
    Delaney was not the odd man out in his skewed version of life in Chesapeake Country and, occasionally, our nation’s capital.
    In Keep Your Shirt On [www.tinyurl.com/shirton] he advised fellow suburban fellows that topless mowing was a civic offense.
    In Confessions of a Duck Captain [www.tinyurl.com/duckcaptain], he commented on passengers as well as captain.
    Over the years in Bay Weekly, Allen Delaney has given me a boatload of belly laughs, from crab feast antics to domestic hi-jinks, wrote fan M.L. Faunce.
    But his voyage to become a captain of a D.C. Duck tops them all. This man is a sea-faring psychoanalyst of the first order. He may be a good captain, docking skills notwithstanding, but as a humorist and observer of human habits both on land and water, he is unexcelled. I can’t wait for his next career move, which I trust will have a sequel in Bay Weekly.
    Delaney’s multiple new maritime careers — from certified Coast Guard captain to swimming instructor — kept him busier than his old work, sitting at a computer in a converted women’s locker room. You couldn’t even pick up a radio station down there. It was time to get out, he wrote. Over nearly a decade in the same, windowless space, Delaney’s alter-ego had been the escape artist. Freeing the man put the comedian out of business — at least in print.
    Now disturbed Delaney is on the loose again.
    He returns to our pages this week, at the approach of April Fool’s Day, to instruct on practical jokes.
    In case you didn’t know, there are four rules for a funny practical joke. It must be funny to others, not necessarily the victim. (If the victim finds it funny, all the better.) It must be clever. It cannot harm anyone or anything. It does not involve explosives.
    Enjoy Delaney’s full exemplification of the practical joke in this week’s paper. But please do not try it at home.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Whatever the weather, we want to know where Bay Weekly takes you

Seems like we’ve gone through a whole year since we last met here.
    In weather ways, we have. Tuesday through Thursday in both the first two weeks of March brought spring warmth, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Last Thursday, March 9, was so warm we had to roll up our sleeves. March 14 brought ice. Now we’re back where we should have been in February, except that nine of that short month’s 28 days anticipated spring with temperatures above 60. Don’t look for balmy days again until the end of the month or beyond.
    With one exception, that is. The weather gods have agreed to bless Maryland Day, Friday March 25, with balmy weather. We’re grateful, because the annually celebrated anniversary of the landing of Maryland’s first permanent colonists in 1634 brings us a weekend full of good things to do, many out of doors. It’s a time so rich, and so rewarding, that we’re pledging good weather and giving you a week’s notice so you can mark your calendar. Plan ahead now, and I’ll see you then to celebrate Maryland history.
    Where will Bay Weekly take you this week?
    With St. Patrick’s Day on Friday, need I ask? I’m betting you’ll be eating green, listening green and drinking green, from Irish beer to Irish whiskey to Irish coffee. Easy to do if you follow 8 Days a Week to the Irish restaurants’ celebration. I’m hoping you’ll send me photos and share the highlights.
    As for eating in season, this week you’ll read Bob Melamud’s corn-your-own beef recipe. I got the story early, so mine is in the brine. I’ll let you know how it compares to that highly seasonal commodity store-bought corned beef. Growing up in a Jewish neighborhood, I ate corned beef sandwiches all year long; with Bob’s recipe, I plan to revive that old habit. The next step, he tells me, is homemade pastrami; I’ll be following.
    Where else will Bay Weekly take you? Will you see your first osprey? Telescopes will be out Saturday at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, where, as first-time writer Sarah Jablon tells us, osprey have been in residence since February 24. Patuxent River osprey expert Greg Kearns talks about our spring harbingers at Captain Avery Museum Saturday afternoon and at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Tuesday evening.
    See an osprey or not, send your photos.
    Almost seasonal mid-March temperatures in the 50s make Saturday good for doing and seeing outdoors. Follow 8 Days a Week to Patuxent Refuge Birthday Bash or to hike at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Jug Bay or Beverly Triton Beach Park. At the latter, you’ll be searching for the voice of spring: the tiny frogs known as spring peepers.
    Whatever the temperature, that longed-for season returns to our hemisphere Monday, March 20. So Saturday is not really too soon to burn your socks at Annapolis Maritime Museum — though, in weather-fickle Chesapeake Country, your feet may regret your decision for many weeks to come.
    Wherever Bay Weekly takes you to pick up your paper, shop our advertisers or fill your week with facts and fun … whatever the season or weather, send your pictures and stories to see yourself in our pages.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

If only the storyteller were as durable as the story

As a Bay Weekly reader, you may feel like you know us Bay Weekly writers pretty well.
    One way and another, our writers reveal a lot about themselves.
    Sandra Lee Anderson — Sandy — sure did in the eight years she helped fill our pages. On hearing the news of Sandy’s death on Saturday, March 4 at age 73 from an aneurism, I gathered up her stories for Bay Weekly. Twenty thousand words-worth between 2007 and 2015, when she turned her writing energies to her own book. All together, they record the life of a rare and wonderful woman, utterly different from each of us — and not so very different.
    Sandra Lee Comstock grew up in the west, but this daughter of a water reclamation engineer and fisherman couldn’t avoid the pull of Chesapeake Country.
    Her first experience was a waterfront place that had been the residence of a vegetarian society:

    Signs claiming Salt is Poison hung on musty walls. Locals maintain it was a nudist colony. We slept beneath rafters where a long wall divided the dorms for men and women. I fell asleep to the rhythmic waves through the screened window. On that beach I found my first great white shark tooth, two and a half inches long.
    I married another fisherman. Charlie bought a boat and moored it at Flag Harbor, down the beach from the vegetarian beach house. Charlie and I built two houses away, near enough to visit our friend, glimpse the water and easily comb the beach for sharks’ teeth.

    Her adopted home fell short in one way only: winter.

    I love winter, Sandy wrote four years ago this week. My growing up was Colorado, and cold-side Oregon, and cold and snow are in my blood.
    But not in Maryland. Real winter has been missing so long that I fear global warming has turned it into a memory.

        So, interviewing longer-time Calvert countians, the retired D.C. schools administrator chronicled the Great Blizzards of Yore, writing appreciatively of times when school closed for two weeks.
        In Chesapeake Country, she and Charlie became oyster gardeners. Many of her stories chronicled efforts small and large to restore our beloved bivalve.

    This story started when I met the ranchers, the westerner wrote on October 2, 2008. They wear chaps for protection, and they work on ranches, but they’re not wrangling cattle. They’re raising oysters.
    Richard Pelz, the trailblazer, brought oyster ranching to Maryland at Circle C Oyster Ranch. …

    She wrote of building homes for bluebirds, another species restoration effort shared with Charlie, who in turn took photos for her stories:

    Charlie’s anticipated carefree hobby placed us squarely against the travails of nature. We overcame territorial wrens, bad locations and opportunistic chickadees to welcome bluebirds to our home. In the process, we found some of that elusive happiness.

    The couple’s land garden also supported Chesapeake Country wildlife.

    Something has been nibbling on husband Charlie’s cantaloupe, she wrote in September, 2012:
    I suspected the squirrels, and Charlie blamed mice or voles. Friend Fritz Riedel happened to snap another candidate: an eastern box turtle. It’s circumstantial evidence, but very convincing. Charlie’s conclusion is a new twist on the fable of the turtle and the hare: Turtles are faster than humans at getting to a ripe cantaloupe.

    Calvert County history, especially school history, intrigued her, and she, in turn, educated us, introducing us to places like the Old Wallville School. And to the people who brought them to life, like the educational giants Ms. Regina Brown and her sister Ms. Harriet Elizabeth Brown, who hired the young Thurgood Marshall to win equal pay for Calvert’s black teachers.

    The second-grade students of Calvert Elementary art teacher Shari Adams, Sandy wrote in December, 2009, saw nothing they could recognize in the bits and pieces of the Old Wallville School, which opened last month, reconstructed for students of history.
    “What is it? Is it a shed?” today’s schoolchildren wondered from the windows of their modern, low-slung fortress of education.

    Best of all were her stories of people who without paying much attention were making modern history. We need love stories for Valentine’s Day, I’d tell Sandy, or mothering and fathering stories for Mother’s and Father’s Day features, or jobs people do for Labor Day stories. Never fail, she’d find a couple of deeply human stories, like Guffrie M. Smith Jr.’s Father’s Day recollection of Guffrie M. Smith, Sr.:

    Because of his humble beginnings, you were in awe of what my father accomplished. His mother died when he was five, and he was raised by his uncle, who worked him from sunup to sundown and hired him out to a dairy farmer. He always said, “Work never killed anyone.” If work killed anyone, it would have been him.

    Sometimes, we learned more about Sandy from one of those assignments, as in a story on our first jobs:

    I was a carhop in Phoenix at a Dog n Suds Root Beer drive-in. People parked beside a speaker and placed their orders. We carried hotdogs and root beer in mugs to the car on a tray that fit into the window slot. Diners ate in their cars. It didn’t pay much, but I loved working nights under the desert sky.

    Among the love stories Sandy told was How I Met Your Father.

    Our match was made, not born, she confessed of a pursuit and retreat that spanned the continent, from the campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia where they met to California.
    “I want to get married,” I told him a couple of years in.
    “What if I don’t?”
    “Then I’ll go away.”
    I accepted an invitation to work on a political campaign in California.
        “Don’t come for me without a piece of paper in your hand,” I told him.
        I packed my car and headed west.
    Eventually, he followed.
    I got a message that Charlie was in the air and would arrive at 5pm. I didn’t know that Charlie broke a Saturday night date and got drunk on champagne with his roommate, toasting his future married life.

    That was 45 years ago last month.
    Charlie recalled a bit of that story when he called to tell me that Sandy had died and he wondered what kind of a life he’d have without her.
    How I wish the storyteller were as durable as the story.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

You’ll wish you could leave the kids home and go to camp yourself

It’s going to be a long hot summer.    
    Hot is a bet. When February runs to the 60s and 70s, what can we expect in June, July and August? In this era of wacky weather, we might have snow for Labor Day. But I’m betting on a hot and humid summer with plenty of storms.
    Long is a fact. By executive order of Gov. Larry Hogan — acting on the revenue-rich idea of Comptroller Peter Franchot — summer vacation now runs through Labor Day.
    School summer — which is the standard for most families — begins June 14 in Anne Arundel County and June 15 in Calvert County, or maybe as early as June 7 if snow days go unused.
    So summer lasts 12 weeks, a quarter of the year.
    Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it: three months of release for nine months of regimentation. Many a kid is gleeful at the prospect, and not a few adults envious.
    I’d sure like to have that spread of lazy days on my hands. I imagine lounge chairs and cool drinks, beach, Bay, boats and books — plus more than a little time at the pool. I’d lose my cell phone and discharge my computer.
    Parents may not look so rosily at 2017’s endless summer. For when school is out, they’re mostly not. Working or not, they’ve got to figure out what to do with the kids. For the stay-at-home parent, that means entertainment — for who can bear the nagging repetition of Mom, I’m bored? For the conscientious parent, it also means education, lest bored and fallow young minds forget much of what they’ve just crammed in.
    That’s why we send the kids to camp.
    Reading Bay Weekly’s Early Bird Camp Guide this week is like reading travel invitations to exotic places.
    The camps partnering with Bay Weekly offer very attractive ways to keep minds and bodies active when school is out.
    If outdoor living is what you and your kids want — or what you want for your kids — you’ll find plenty that we all remember, and way more. Zip-lines and white-water rafting add extremes of fun at Camp Hidden Meadows, in the Allegheny Mountains, while Girl Scouts at Camp Conowingo get to choose to live in yurts, cabins or tents.
    Closer to home and more affordable are Recreation and Parks day camps in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and Calvert County that not only take kids outside but also develop special interests. Yoga, fencing, colonial adventures, rock climbing, Broadway & Bop — those are only the tip of the iceberg of summer fun.
    You can infuse summer fun with religious values at camps operated by Annapolis Area Christian School, Grace Brethren Church Summer Adventures, Mount Zion UMC Camp, Saint Margaret’s Day School Camp and Saint Martin’s Summer Fun-in-the-Field.
    Read on, and you’ll fine that special interests are the specialty of our many camp partners. Archaeology, art exploration, ballet and dance, drama, glass blowing, eco-adventures, horseback riding, ice skating, Native American heritage, math, rock music, sailing and STEM skills are all here. Kids with those enthusiasms can become young masters in a week or two. Camps are so diverse that one, Naptown Sings, meets in Metropolitan Lounge, an Annapolis music venue.
    With choices like those and much more, you’ll wish you could leave the kids home and go yourself.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Now show us where Bay Weekly takes you

We haven’t had such fun with squirrels since the days of the great Bill Burton. The dean of Maryland outdoor writers, Burton chronicled his battles of wits with bushy tails, as he called them. He patterned his story-telling on the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies formula. Despite the contraption he installed to deter them, he’d usually come out the loser while his squirrels got fatter, smarter and happier.
    The game has changed. Since Dennis Doyle’s Sporting Life column of January 12, much of Chesapeake Country has been playing Where’s the Black Squirrel. Everywhere seems to be the answer.
    You’ve recorded sightings in Pasadena, Gambrills, Arnold, downtown Annapolis, West Annapolis, Eastport, Edgewater, Mayo, Galesville, Tracys Landing, Dunkirk, Lusby and St. Mary’s County. Plus D.C., Landover Hills, Cheverly, Kensington, Montgomery County and beyond.
    It’s getting so a person can’t go anywhere without seeing a black squirrel.
    Not to be outdone, the white squirrel has also joined the game. We’ve had reports from near and far, including Washington, D.C., Olney, IL, Brevard, NC, Marionville, MO, and Kenton, TN.
    White squirrels, at the risk of turning Queenstown into a tourist haunt, abound through the town, writes correspondent William Hopkins from Annapolis. There is even one on the town Crest of Arms seen in the town hall at the traffic circle.
    I have seen five to six at a time, mixed broods (both white and brown females with mixed-color babies, but never a pied in brown or black and white.
    I’ve enjoyed Where’s the Squirrel as much as you have for I love seeing Chesapeake Country — and the wider world — through your eyes.
    Now I’m hoping you’ll expand your range.
    Besides squirrel hunting, would you show me where else Bay Weekly takes you? As we’ve seen, smart phones make it so easy.
    I’d like to see you picking up Bay Weekly — and shopping in the stores where you get your Bay Weekly. Our hundreds of distribution partners give Bay Weekly free space. In return, you’d help us show them that Bay Weekly readers are their customers, too.
    I’d like to see you enjoying events you learned about in Bay Weekly. Hold up your paper and snap a shot while you’re visiting Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater to hear Bert Drake talk about climate change. Catching the Ruth Starr Rose art exhibits at Mitchell Gallery or Banneker Douglass Museum in Annapolis. Joining the crowd in Bay History Museum in North Beach to hear Chesapeake Country writer Mick Blackistone talk about his book Just Passing Through.
    I’d especially like to see you, Bay Weekly in hand, doing business with the advertisers whose support keeps us publishing week after week. Show me your picture enjoying the music at Pirates Cove in Galesville, The Old Stein in Edgewater or Anthony’s in Dunkirk. Carrying out your lunch at Bowen’s Grocery in Huntingtown. Shopping for historic treasures at Second Wind Consignments or Vintage Stew in Deale and Then and Again Antiques in Annapolis. For whimsical reuses at The Shops at Ogden’s Common in Port Republic. Browsing Turn Around Consignments, also in Deale. Buying new tires at Granados Automotive Center.
    You get the idea.
    I’d love it, and so would our advertisers.
    Send me your pictures. On Facebook and in our pages, we’ll show the world how Bay Weekly brings us together in Chesapeake Country.
    I’m waiting to see you.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com

See a lost world; meet an Admiral; dig your Roots in Haley style

How much do any of us know of our history? Keeping up with the propulsion of the present is hard enough without carrying the baggage of the past. So we tend to leave it behind.
    Black History month makes February a deliberate time for remembering. At Bay Weekly, we use it to try to learn stories that are farther out of history’s spotlight, as history didn’t used to be written in black as well as white. Over the years, the heroes of black history — Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, Harriet Tubman — have become pretty well known. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., they have celebratory days, books and movies, statues, parks, even U.S. currency named in their honor.
    To find everyday life, you’ve got to dig deeper. But you don’t have to go farther.
    In this week’s paper, St. John’s College art educator Lucinda Edinberg introduces us to Mitchell Gallery’s current exhibition, Ruth Starr Rose: Revelations of African American Life. In it, you’ll be see a culture as richly portrayed as Tahitians in Paul Gauguin’s paintings and American Indians in the paintings of George Catlin. You’ll see in full vitality what Eastern Shore African American life looked like a century ago.    
    Like Gauguin and Catlin, painter Ruth Starr Rose opened a window into a world that would otherwise have been lost. Like them, she stood outside the culture she portrayed. Ruth Starr Rose was white, a woman and an assimilated rather than native Marylander. Perhaps her difference gave her an unprejudiced view. Certainly it opened up a dialogue still elusive today — black to white, white to black.
    I listened in on some of that dialogue at both Mitchell Gallery and across town at Banneker Douglass Museum, where another Ruth Starr Rose exhibit gives a second take on her work.
    At Mitchell Gallery, art historian Barbara Paca told a full house of not-so-young arts supporters how the privileged, upper-class painter of black life in Maryland had fallen out of favor. After Ruth Starr Rose’s death in 1965, she was accused of racism, as if what she painted couldn’t be true or taken seriously. Paca has taken on the job of rehabilitating the artist, including organizing the exhibition you’ll see through this month at Mitchell Gallery.
    I hope you will see it. The images lent to us for this story are shadows of the originals on display.
    At Banneker Douglass Museum, I happened in as outreach coordinator LeRonn Herbert was introducing the artist and a roomful of her paintings, sketches and lithographs to a busload of African American high school students on a field trip. They saw a pair of self-portraits of the white woman artist, as colorfully painted as her black portraits. Perhaps just as strange was African American life of the last century, with trains, chariots and Jeeps leading processions into heaven. Or 20 smiling women picking crabs.
    I’m glad to be able to see these sights. Ruth Starr Rose painted the life force as well as life scenes, putting you in touch with humanity across time and beyond race. Their recognition is timeless.
    But we all know it’s a good thing to be recognized in your own time. For that, this week’s paper reports the story of the newest Admiral of the Chesapeake, Eastern Shore black waterman Eldridge Meredith. Captain Meredith is the 101st Marylander and fifth African American to be so honored.
    “The predominant image of an African American working the Bay is oyster shucking and crab picking,” explains Vincent Leggett, director of Blacks of the Chesapeake Local Legacy Project and himself an Admiral of the Chesapeake. “To be recognized as an admiral, with its rich connotation, is something many people couldn’t wrap their head around.”
    The more we see, the more we understand.
    Learn to understand more of your own history in this issue as well, as Chris Haley, director of the Legacy of Slavery center at the Maryland Archives, gives a lesson in researching family roots.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com