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Clear your calendar for these ­holiday traditions and annual favorites

     You’ve got your copy of Season’s Bounty, so which of the hundreds of listings will you pick to attend? I’m offering you some help. This week, we highlight a dozen or so Christmas classics that check my boxes: accessibility, affordability, ambience and amazement. Keep an eye out for our reviews of several holiday theatre productions in upcoming issues.   What: Lights on the Bay

Mary Kilbourne: 1936-2019

     Ask Mary Kilbourne’s friends and former students what they remember about her, you’ll hear about banding birds, seining a pond to find water scorpions, the latest Envirothon or leading Cub Scouts on a trek through the woods — and underlying it all her passion for wildlife, nature and the earth. She was a naturalist and an enthusiastic protector of local rivers and natural spaces, testifying against development of dwindling wooded spaces.

Low Country cuisine in ­Chesapeake Country

     Thanksgiving is by tradition a gathering of people for a feast that shares their cultures.       If you come from Daufuskie (say Daw-Fo-skee) Island, as Shady Sider Emily Bryant does, you’d be sharing Gullah culture in such Low Country dishes as Daufuskie deviled crabs and Gullah stew.

At 99 years, he’s made more history than he can remember

      It’s another gathering of the family to whom Emil Saroch has devoted his life since the death of his wife Patricia on Christmas Day 2004.       They seem to get larger every year. It started with him and his wife. Then the four kids came, then their spouses, then eight grandkids and two great-grandkids over the years. Many midshipmen, as well, have found the Sarochs’ home a welcome port and respite during breaks from the rigorous regimen at school at the Naval Academy.

Splashing down after two years’ Peace Corps service in Armenia

    I had not been back in Shady Side for even an hour before I was using a tumble dryer, an appliance I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. In Armenia, where I spent 27 months serving with Peace Corps, a washing machine is a luxury. Clothes are always dried outside on a line. In winter, laundry freezes hard.       It had been very dry here in Chesapeake Country, but rain threatened the day I arrived at Peggy’s house with a giant suitcase, much of it filled with dirty washing.

The local hunter’s choice for a half century

      Celebrating 50 years of business, Rowell’s Butcher Shop in Prince Frederick is still a family-run business. Started by Ernest Rowell, now 90, it was handed over to his son-in-law, Ron Weimert who sold the business to his son, Darrin Weimert, 50, Rowell’s step-grandson. Weimert now runs the business full-time under the watchful eye of Pop Pop.

Yes, that’s a plane coming in over busy Rt. 2 in Edgewater

      Before the plane could fly out of Lee Airport, pilot Bill Friday had a lot to check.       Are we clear for runway? Is this dial in the off position? Is the crossfeed on?       I sat in the back of the 4,000-pound light aircraft — the Federal Aviation Administration’s name for a small airplane that typically seats six or fewer people — trying to scribble down everything being said.

A true story

    I don’t need psychics to convince me that ghosts are real.     My own ghost supplies all the proof I need.

Make more of your retirement years

     In life, the first act is always exciting. The second act … that is where the depth comes in.          For advice scripted in the movies, that pronouncement from the 2010 movie Grown Ups is worth considering.          Now that you’re newly retired — or are planning your retirement — you’ll have time that needs filling.

Action is needed to rescue our iconic species

     A handful of vehicles, mostly pickup trucks and SUVs, lined up behind a small steel gate on a warm summer morning. Inside them was the regular 7:30am crowd, striped-bass fishermen patiently waiting for the Thomas Point ranger to arrive to give them access to one of the Bay’s most sought-after fish.     In opening the gate, the ranger is allowing the men their daily shot at a species that can often grow upward of 50 pounds and offers some delicious eating. Excitement charges the air.