Lycoris, aka surprise lily or naked lady.

Lycoris, aka surprise lily or naked lady.

GARDEN: An August surprise

Once again, the surprise lilies in my perennial garden lived up to their name. I could have sworn they weren't there on Wednesday, when I was weeding, but there they were on Thursday afternoon, in full, beautiful bloom. Because the stalk has no leaves, these lilies (Lycoris squamigera) are also known as "naked ladies."

In past years I've also had some sprouting in the pachysandra beds on the other side of the house, but they haven't shown up yet. Doubtless I'll do a double take when they do!

NAPS: Horizontally speaking

As I was walking in to the Jennersville Y for a gym class, a friend was leaving with his two toddlers; they'd been swimming.

"OK!" he said to them, with his usual enthusiasm. "You know what time it is? It's nap time, the best time of the day!"

I gave him a high five and said I wholeheartedly agreed.

BRIDGE: Route 52 will close at Lenape

The 107-year-old Route 52 bridge over the Brandywine Creek at Lenape Park will be closed for major repairs starting Monday, Aug. 19, until next summer.

Route 52 will be closed between Pocopson Road and Creek Road. Traffic will be diverted onto Pocopson Road, Route 926 and Birmingham Road. Left-turn arrows will be activated on eastbound 926 at Birmingham Road; on eastbound 926 at Pocopson Road; and on southbound Route 52 at Birmingham Road. Later in the project, Creek Road will be closed between 926 and 52.

Here's the scope of the $3.4 million project (80% federal money, 20% state money), per a PennDOT press release:

  • -- Repair, strengthen and restore the deteriorating seven-span, stone masonry arch bridge by removing the bituminous pavement and earth fill
  • -- Remove and salvage the parapet stones, capstones and pipe railing
  • -- Rebuild deteriorated portions of the spandrel and wing walls
  • -- Construct a full-width concrete slab with integral concrete barriers faced with stone from the bridge
  • -- Reinstall masonry capstones with repainted pipe railing
  • -- Repoint the masonry as required
  • -- Salvage and reset the bridge plaque
  • -- Install brown painted guide rail
  • -- Rebuild the stone walls at the Creek Road intersection and move the walls "a bit further away from the intersection to provide additional room for vehicular turning moves."

NOTTINGHAM: A crunchy coincidence

At a picnic at Nottingham Park on Saturday, a friend was telling us that his son recently bought a house in York County, right around the corner from the Martin's Potato Chips headquarters. Our friend found that noteworthy, considering that he and his wife live just down the street from Herrs'.

BOOZE: New state store

Kennett Square's new liquor store will have its grand opening at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5. It's located in the Shoppes at Longwood Village, 851 East Baltimore Pike, in the part of the shopping center where Staples was (it pains me to say) formerly located. According to the state Liquor Control Board, there will be "light refreshments and complimentary tastings throughout the day."

THEATER: "The Producers"

The Brandywiners did a terrific job with "The Producers," their annual performance at Longwood Gardens. The acting, music, and dancing were wonderful, and what fun to see a gym friend all gussied up as a Swedish bombshell!

My qualms about the evening came from the bad language and mean-spiritedness that permeated the play. Of course, I knew the subject matter was about two guys who put on a Broadway show so tasteless it was "guaranteed" to flop, so I was troubled, but not surprised, when Nazis, swastika banners and sequined swastika armbands showed up on stage. And like all Mel Brooks shows, everything's exaggerated for effect. Yes, I laughed, but not without a touch of queasiness.

I wasn't going to mention any of this in my column, fearing I'd sound like a politically correct snowflake. Also, Dearest Partner was still repeating some of the lines days later ("Walk this way!") and roaring with laughter.

But then a fellow who is distinctly more urbane than I am told me that he too was disturbed by the choice of play, in particular the misogyny and the gratuitous cursing. ("There were kids in the audience!" he said.) He questioned whether "The Producers" was a good fit for the usual Longwood audience.

We'll give the Brandywiners another chance next year, when they bring "Ragtime" to the stage.

PROPOFOL HAZE: (More than usually) mindless chatter

As you can imagine, putting together this column often involves going up to complete strangers who are doing something that I find interesting and badgering them with questions. Dearest Partner has witnessed this so many times that he does a hilariously pitch-perfect imitation of the way I introduce myself.

Apparently I can do this even when I'm unconscious. As I was coming out of sedation from a minor procedure the other morning, I'm told I was engaging in perfectly coherent small talk with the nurses. I remember absolutely nothing of it.

I can't help thinking that my parents, who were friendly, gregarious types who talked to everyone from every walk of life, were giving me a thumbs-up.

As always, I'm amazed at the patience and compassion that medical professionals display toward Nervous Nelly patients like myself. Everyone was so kind, reassuring and matter-of-fact that I eventually calmed down a bit: it was neat to watch my pulse and blood pressure decreasing on the monitor.

KACS: New leadership

Leah Reynolds has been named the new executive director of Kennett Area Community Service. She replaces Melanie Weiler, who resigned in July to care for family members. KACS runs the Kennett Food Cupboard for needy families, provides emergency assistance for people going through crisis situations, and offers programs that capitalize on clients' strengths to help them avoid homelessness and poverty in the long term.

"I am excited to join this organization and create collaborative relationships that will help us to respond to the most basic needs of families and individuals," said the new director in an email on July 31.

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