TROOP 31: A new Eagle Scout

Congrats to new Eagle Scout Richard Francis of Boy Scout Troop 31. His Eagle Scout project was relocating the tombstones of the old pet cemetery at Anson B. Nixon Park, which were in the middle of the disc golf course. Richard will enter his senior year at Unionville High School this autumn. His parents are Jayne Bair and David Francis (who was also an Eagle Scout!). Scoutmaster of Chadds Ford Troop 31, which was founded in 1948, is Raymond Coe.

BRANDYWINE: Creek spuds

Last weekend we went tubing in the Brandywine for the first time this summer, putting in near Wawaset. The river conditions were perfect. The cleanliness and temperature were ideal, and thanks to the heavy rain we've had, the water depth was just right: we had to stand up and walk through a shallow area only once. We saw a few kayakers and anglers along the way, and as usual we encountered a young couple new to tubing. The woman had a tough time descending the steep, vine-covered bank and getting into the water, then almost lost a shoe in the mud. Much shrieking and cursing ensued. Fortunately she and her boyfriend calmed down and spent most of the trip lazily squirting each other with water guns.

POCOPSON: Summer concerts

The Brandywine Red Clay Alliance is hosting a series of free outdoor concerts on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Here's the schedule:

July 18: The Scott Pemberton Trio ("rock, funk, psychedelic soul")

July 25: Bones Brigade ("all things Grateful Dead"

August 1: The Cameltones ("dance, funk, country, rap, punk, jam band")

August 8: Afrobear ("a groovy twist on soul-rock music")

Gates open at 6 p.m. Bring your own blanket, chairs, and food. "Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome."

The Brandywine Red Clay Alliance (formerly the BVA) is at 1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road (Route 842), West Chester.

PENN: An Italian special

As a frequent visitor to both the Kennett and Jennersville YMCAs, I've always found the latter to have a bit more of a laid-back rural feel to it than the former. But that may be changing: the other day I parked next to a shiny (of course) red (of course) Ferrari 328 GTS in the J-ville lot. The 328 model was manufactured in the late 1980s; when it was introduced in 1985 the sticker price was $58,400 to $62,500 ($130,388 to $139,542 in 2016 dollars). According to Wikipedia, "The 328 is still considered by some enthusiasts to be one of the most reliable and functional Ferraris."

CAPITALISM: You can't make this up

The other day I got an urgent email from Rajesh, an editorial colleague in Pondicherry, India, who said a rush project had landed on his desk and he wanted me to take it: proofreading a book on how democratic socialism has the answers to all the problems of capitalism. The publisher, wisely, wanted to get it out the door as soon as possible to capitalize on the Democratic presidential primaries.

Sure, I'll do it, I told him. I was looking forward to it.

A few days later I got another email from Rajesh. He was sorry, but the project had been shelved indefinitely. Apparently it was running so far over budget that it was no longer feasible to proceed.

ENTITLED: They're listening

A friend and I were discussing the iniquities of health insurance companies (a common topic in our demographic) and how they seem to delight in denying procedures and medications they are mandated to cover by the Affordable Care Act. According to loopholes that they've carved out, either it's "out of network," or in the wrong "tier," or provided in an "unapproved" setting. Bottom line: The patient has to pony up, with no recourse whatsoever. So infuriating!

Anyhow, in the middle of the conversation my phone rang.

"Good news!" said the recorded voice. "Now there's a new, affordable health plan!"

I hung up, and my friend and I just looked at each other.

"Well, that was weird," I said after a moment.

GARDEN: Purple, green and white

This seems to be a banner year for hostas. Mine are blooming like never before. In previous years the few flowers were pale and spindly and the leaves were droopy and slug-eaten. This year the flower stalks are full and brilliant and the leaves are healthy and shiny. I can't take any credit; I'm not doing anything differently. The sunlight and moisture conditions must just be hosta-friendly this summer.


Two motorcyclists were chatting at the picnic table outside the Landhope in Willowdale the other night, discussing some new protective gear one of them had just bought (cool yet tough, apparently a good combination). One asked the other if he still worked as an emergency medical technician, and the answer was yes.

"Thank you for that," replied the first man, earnestly, saying that he recently crashed and, although he totaled his bike, he wasn't hurt. He said at the accident scene "every single one" of the police officers and EMTs thanked him for wearing a jacket, jeans and a helmet so they didn't have to scrape him off the pavement.

The second guy nodded in understanding. He said he had been an EMT for 30 years and remembers "vividly" every fatal crash he has seen.

Write to Tilda at Thanks!
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