BAZ POWELL: One of a kind

My friend and West Marlborough neighbor Elizabeth "Baz" Powell, who died on Jan. 10, lived a long life with humor, integrity, wisdom, and great spirit.

I loved hearing her vivid stories about "the old days," like when she walked from her family's farm all the way up to Hood's Corner to catch the school bus during World War II. Her memory was amazing. When my Dearest Partner appeared on the scene, she was inclined to like him from the start because one of his sisters, some 40 years ago, had been a member of the Girl Scout troop she led.

She always had some tidbit of news to share, from a play she'd seen at the Fulton Theater to a favorite ice cream shop in Ephrata. She had a distinctive way of speaking: clear and forthright, with never an "umm" or "y'know." She read every word of my column (and, to my embarrassment, spotted my errors) and contributed many wonderful items, like the yearly family reunion she hosted.

Baz was a regular at West Marlborough Township meetings, and for years she served on the township's zoning hearing board, whose job it is to review development plans that don't meet the township's rules. I recall one time when an attorney badly underestimated her. She asked a question about some technical facet of his client's plan, and he answered her slowly and in simple terms, like he was explaining something to a child.

"Yes, I understand that," she said dryly, and then went on to zero in on the exact point that he was dancing around.

It was an honor and a delight to know Baz, and I will miss her.

Baz's memorial service will be held at London Grove Friends Meeting, where she was a member, on a date still to be set.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Not any wider

The project to replace a tiny bridge along scenic one-lane Runnemede Road in West Marlborough has been completed.

"I think it looks really darn good," said township roadmaster Hugh Lofting Sr. Throughout the planning process, the supervisors' goal was to construct an unobtrusive bridge that would blend in with its rural surroundings.

I drove by and took these photographs.

View of the new Runnemede Road bridge looking from west to east. (The stone ruin is part of a former building.)

This new structure replaces the old one, which was crumbling into the creek.

JOURNALISM: Boosting circulation

When I was a reporter, we used to wince whenever someone would accuse us of writing a controversial story "just to sell papers." I have never heard any reporter, in any newsroom where I've worked, give that reason for doing a story: it was either newsworthy or it wasn't.

That having been said: the local paper recently ran a prominent article about the Young Relative's athletic achievements, with several wonderful photographs (he's a photogenic youth). I promptly went to Landhope and bought five copies, explaining to the poor clerk and complete strangers in the store why I was doing so.

EAST MARLBOROUGH: What's going on?

You've probably noticed that the Baltimore Pike building that once housed the Spring Run health-food store, and before that the Phillips Mushroom Museum, has been razed. A mattress store and a "Quick Lane" auto-repair facility will replace it and the two adjacent boarded-up brick houses. A turn lane off Baltimore Pike will be added. And across the street, construction is progressing on a Citadel Federal Credit Union building that is replacing the former Burger King.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Dominion of the birds

I've had several wonderful bird sightings in the past week. I spotted two bald eagles soaring over Route 842, just east of Upland Corner, on a brilliantly sunny Sunday afternoon.

"Wait. Those are definitely not vultures!" I said to myself, then pulled over to gawk and marvel at the magnificent birds. (A waggish friend suggests that the local football team of the same name always sends them out on game day.)

A huge great blue heron was probing a water-filled ditch along Apple Grove Road as I drove by on the way to breakfast the other morning. A pair of black-and-white bufflehead ducks have appeared at a friend's pond in Newlin.

And I was driving along Hood Road on a foggy Friday evening when a giant owl swooped out of the mist and in front of my car, wings spread. It happened too quickly for me to note any details for identification purposes.

UNDERFOOT: A change of color

We had to chuckle the other night while overhearing a conversation at an Avondale restaurant. An animated young man was telling his friend that, with much regret, he was going to have to replace the carpeting in his house. Apparently between a girlfriend spilling red wine ("She didn't even tell me!") and his dogs having accidents, the chic white carpet, as much as he liked it, was just not proving to be practical. We wonder what color he will choose for the next one.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Knowing the terrain

I spotted a delivery truck with its flashing lights on alongside Upland Road the other day and stopped to asked the driver if he was lost.

He said he THOUGHT he was at the right place but was phoning the customer just to make sure before he attempted to navigate the long driveway.

"Man, it's tricky out here!" he said.

That sentiment was echoed by a friend who moonlights as an Uber driver. He said he was en route to pick up a Unionville passenger one recent evening when his GPS told him to turn into a questionable lane that, eventually, went nowhere and petered out. (He eventually did find the right driveway.)

Write to Tilda at uvilleblogger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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