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Letter from the Editor

Dining Guide 2017 leads the way to good times

I get nostalgic when this time of year comes around. It isn’t just that we’ve already sped through one-12th of this new year — though that recognition does make me want to throw out an anchor against the tide of time.     It’s our annual Dining Guide — where we introduce you to two-dozen local eating and drinking establishments — that sends me traveling back in time.

Get to better know Chesapeake Country in this week’s paper

With strong legs ending in well-balanced feet, we humans are made for walking. We’ve used those extremities to spread out over the earth. That evolution may well have swelled our brainpower, which in turn has increased our scope by the invention of wheels and imitation of wings.     Walking, running, rolling, riding, flying — how we love to move! We’ve made heroes of explorers and both simulated and stimulated our own mobility with stories of exploration and adventure.

Read on for winter relief in food forests, seed catalogs and squirrely tales

January seems the grayest of times. But nature is at work, nurturing new life in often-invisible ways.     In this week’s paper, we turn to some of those ways. You’ll read about a new frontier in local eating, a food forest. Planted last spring at American Chestnut Land Trust in Calvert County, it is taking root in earth’s magical soils in preparation for its first burst of growth this spring.

We hope (with compliments to Yogi Berra) it’s better than déjà vu

The Maryland General Assembly isn’t the only big thing beginning anew this month.     (Does beginning anew agree with you? Strictly speaking, anew is a tautology in the phrase as beginning is beginning. Still, in the spiral of life, renewal is a great force, giving us second, third and more chances, if we’re lucky. There! I’ve reasoned myself into beginning anew. How about you?)

That’s our hope for you in 2017

Self-Care 101 was not in my college curriculum. I graduated knowing more about forms of poetry — I especially liked terza rima — than how to live healthy, let alone wealthy or wise. (Though the latter was supposed to be the road to which my liberal arts education led.)

My favorite stories of 2016

Together, we read a lot of stories over the course of a year. Many of them give you a moment’s insight or delight. Others tell you just what you need to know. Some of them stay in your mind, even after all those words have come between you and them all that time ago. So I can still recount stories we ran five, or 10 or 23 years ago.     Before I close the book on 2016 (yes, I really do have a large, heavy book labeled Vol. XXIV), I want to revisit some of my favorites this year.

Maybe, just maybe, you will

We expect great things this time of year.         No wonder, for the winter holidays set expectations high.

When you think about it, a homemade Christmas cookie is quite the thing

As a taste treat, it’s hard to complain about an Oreo. Still, you’ll find in these pages reason after reason why store-bought cookies — even Oreos — can’t compare with homemade. Especially at Christmas, which is for cookies what Thanksgiving is for pumpkin pie and Hanukkah is for latkes.

Could that be the season’s best gift?

Help! I shouted as the tide of all I had to do threatened to overwhelm me.     My to-do list is so long that I expect it to outlive me. That’s the way it is in my family. My mother never forgave her third husband, John Allison, for dying — with dirt on his hands — before he’d finished planting her rose bed, leaving her in burgeoning spring with a legacy of chores undone. Any new season piles more on the list, none more than this holiday season.

How Chesapeake Country turns winter from darkness into fun

This season of year, we count on divine intervention to brighten the sun, warm up the days and fertilize the earth. But to assure that the powers that be — the good hand of God or the harmony of the spheres — know we’re paying attention, we pile on human intervention.     We fire up our lights to combat the darkness.     We strike up the bands to both cheer ourselves and knock on heaven’s door.     We feast, give gifts and play out stories that remind us of our good intentions.