An old foe
A pleasant woman stopped by my home the other day to ask some US Census questions. (The Census people seem to enjoy interviewing me; I don't know why, as I doubt I am representative of an "average" American.) We settled in on the sofa, she opened up her laptop, and then she spotted the yellow-and-blue blanket that the cat was curled up on.
Her eyes narrowed.
"Those look like school colors," she said suspiciously.
Yes, indeed they are, I said. I explained that I knitted the blanket in Unionville's colors.
"Oh. Good," she said, relieved. Apparently they are the exact colors of her despised high-school rival, Cheltenham.
Annual summer concert
On Sunday, Aug. 25, local favorites Charlie Zahm (on guitar and vocals) and Tad Marks (on the fiddle) will be performing their fifth annual concert in the walnut grove at Primitive Hall, 830 North Chatham Road in West Marlborough Township. The Hall, the historic home of the Pennock family, was built in 1738 and will be open for tours from 3 to 5 p.m. The concert will start at 5 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic. Suggested contribution is $20 per car.
N.C. Wyeth retrospective
On July 22 the Wall Street Journal devoted a full page to a review of the Brandywine River Museum of Art's new exhibition, "N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives." Critic Edward Rothstein describes the retrospective as "thoroughly engrossing but also unsettling; so powerful are some offerings, so tentative are others … We see a visual chronicle of a man at work on himself and against himself, embracing the past and resisting it, and remaining, throughout, an artist of interest."
The show, mounted jointly with the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, runs through September 15.
Hats and sunscreen
A Landenberg friend has put out a plea for everyone to use sunscreen and to cover up delicate skin. Last week she had Mohs surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma on her nose, followed a few days later by painful reconstructive surgery. Though she gave up tanning about 15 years ago, she said the skin damage was already done, thanks to the summers she spent slathered in baby oil and baking in the sun at the Jersey Shore.
Chores must get done
During the recent heat wave, public service announcements urged us to check on any senior citizens in the neighborhood to make sure they were OK.
It was easy for me to check on my senior citizen neighbor: he was out mowing the lawn even as the temperature topped 95 degrees. This was no surprise, as I've learned that "retired" farmers are the toughest folks around. Me, I stayed in the air conditioning.
A healthy atmosphere
A lot of people in this area of the county live or work on farms, and in a study recently published in the scientific journal "Nature Medicine," researchers examined the link between the indoor dust and germs found in farmhouses and children's risk for asthma. The researchers found that Finnish children who grew up in farmhouses "with rich home dust microbiota" were less likely to develop asthma compared to those living elsewhere. The scientists extended their study by looking at German children who grew up in non-farm houses that had an indoor climate similar to the Finnish farm homes; they, too, had a lower risk of asthma.
The authors conclude, "Asthma prevalence has increased in epidemic proportions with urbanization, but growing up on traditional farms offers protection even today. The asthma-protective effect of farms appears to be associated with rich home dust microbiota, which could be used to model a health-promoting indoor microbiome. . . . The indoor dust microbiota composition appears to be a definable, reproducible predictor of asthma risk and a potential modifiable target for asthma prevention."
For YMCA members, the end of summer always brings shutdown week (management prefers to call it "Enhancement Week"), when the Y closes its doors so staff members can clean and spruce up the heavily used facility and add new equipment.
The Jennersville Y will be closed from Monday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 25 (the indoor pool will be closed from Aug. 12 through 25).
The Kennett Y will be closed Monday, Aug. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 1.
A tough shift
It was a hot weekend, to put it mildly, and before heading to the Longwood fireworks on July 20, we stopped at Landhope for ice cream.
One of our fellow customers was a New Bolton Center employee wearing inside-out blue NBC scrubs, with remnants of tape stuck to her trousers. She ordered at one of the touchscreens and took her receipt to the register to pay.
"Rough day?" asked the clerk, noticing her disheveled clothes.
The exhausted woman nodded and smiled wanly.
"Well, I really hope you enjoy your dinner," he said kindly.