KENNETT SQUARE: Ringing in the new decade

Once again, the New Year's Eve Mushroom Drop will take place at Broad and Union Streets in the middle of Kennett Square. The laser light show starts at 6 p.m., the lighted mushroom will be hoisted up by crane at 8:45 p.m. (as long as it's not too windy), and the band "The Funsters" will be playing out on South Union Street from 9 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. We've been to five of the six Mushroom Drops (we wimped out the year the wind-chill was in the single digits) and it's a really fun, family-friendly event.

WILLOWDALE: Goodbye to Sue

Susan Durnall died on Dec. 5 at age 68. I never knew her last name; I only knew her as Sue, the friendly, dark-haired woman who worked behind the deli counter at the Landhope store in Willowdale. After making tuna subs for me for at least 20 years, she didn't even need to check the printout to know what I'd order. I will miss her, and I'm really glad I had a nice chat with her the last time I saw her. One of her coworkers told me that Sue was a huge Rolling Stones fan and was very happy that she got to see the band one last time this past summer.

AVONDALE: Taco Bell will open on Route 41

A Taco Bell franchise is being built on Route 41 just across from the Wawa convenience store in Avondale. One wonders how a Taco Bell could turn a profit in an area that has so many authentic Mexican taquerias, but I'm sure the marketing folks and the franchisee have run the numbers.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: An important budget meeting

West Marlborough Township taxpayers will want to attend an important budget meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30. The supervisors will be voting on a budget that includes a $65,000 contribution to the fire and ambulance companies that serve the township ($79.85 per resident) and a $15,000 contribution toward building the proposed Kennett Library ($18.42 per resident).

To pay for those two projects, and to establish a $10,000 rainy-day fund, the supervisors on Dec. 13 raised the property tax from 1.7 mills to 2 mills, and on Dec. 30 they will vote on a proposal to raise the earned income tax from 0.50% to 0.75%.

At the unusually contentious Dec. 13 meeting, residents told the supervisors that although they support funding emergency services, they don't think West Marlborough should help to fund construction of a new library. The supervisors said they need to balance those objections against the support for the library project that they've heard from many other residents.

SUSHI: A new Asian restaurant

Word has apparently gotten out that Wasabi 3 has opened in the Longwood Village shopping center. When we stopped in for dinner on a Wednesday evening at 7, nearly every table at the new Asian restaurant was full. There were a lot of family groups, and the place was doing a bustling takeout business as well.

The menu contains plenty of sushi offerings ("raw" is indicated by a fish icon) as well as Chinese and Thai favorites like General Tso's Chicken and Pad Thai. Dearest Partner ordered a chicken and broccoli dish with brown rice, and I had a TNT roll (crab, avocado, and lobster salad).

You never know what to expect at a restaurant that has just opened, but our food arrived almost immediately and was just what we ordered. My sushi roll was beautifully presented in an almost architectural configuration with two lettuce leaves and a purple orchid.

After we were finished, the waitress brought us a pretty cut-up orange and fortune cookies for dessert.

The bill was a pleasant surprise: they gave us a 15% discount, I suppose as an opening promotion.

QUAKERS: Misadventures during the War of Independence

University of Kansas historian Richard Godbeer has just released "World of Trouble," an account of the adventures of Philadelphia Quakers Henry and Elizabeth Drinker during the American Revolution. Because they refused to take sides during the War of Independence, Quakers were not popular with either the colonists or the British. Nor did it help that Henry was an agent for England's East India Company. He and 29 other pacifists were arrested by Pennsylvania's government and imprisoned. Those who refused to swear an oath of allegiance and were exiled to Virginia for eight months. And after the British surrendered at Yorktown, the Drinkers' house was vandalized because they refused to display celebratory candles.

The "Wall Street Journal" reviewer, Robert Landers, called the book "well-written and fascinating . . . a tale not only of resilience in the face of hardship but of the perils of exercising freedom of conscience -- even when the cause that threatens it can be rightly seen as a fight for freedom itself."

I've already ordered my copy. It'll be great reading during a snowstorm.

UNIONVILLE: A fashion show at the River Museum

How exciting! Unionville fashion designer David Ferron just announced that he's going to have his very first runway show, and it will be this coming March at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. David, a Unionville native, opened his dressmaking and tailor shop in the former saddle shop in the middle of Unionville in 2018. As he wrote on his Facebook page: "I believe that by leaving big cities like NYC designers like myself can rediscover why they started making in the first place, create a long-lasting impact on smaller communities that are craving the arts, and inspire the local youth to think outside of the box when it comes to the definition of happiness. This is the mission for my show in March and I can’t thank the Brandywine River Museum enough for their support!"

WEST GROVE: Fun with the speed monitor

Dearest Partner was driving along Rosehill Road outside of West Grove the other day when he saw a jogger suddenly break into a sprint. Then the man pulled up, walked back to his starting point -- and did the same thing again.

At that point D.P. realized what was going on. Alongside the road was a speed monitor, the kind that tells you how fast you're going, and the jogger was having some fun with it. He registered 8 miles per hour, or a 7:30 mile.

UNIONVILLE: The rain gauge is half full

Monday was a dreary day, dark, cold and rainy. But a fellow customer at the Unionville post office had a different outlook.

"I'm glad it's raining," he said, cheerfully.

The women behind the counter didn't know what to make of this.

"What, you don't like the sun?!" asked one of them.

"Nope," he said. "It could be snowing."

Write to Tilda at Thanks!
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