KENNETT: Baseball Old Timers banquet
The Kennett Old Timers Baseball Association is holding its 40th annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet at 6 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Red Clay Room at the Kennett Fire Co. Tickets are $40 and, as always, are on sale at Burton's Barber Shop, 105 West State Street, in downtown Kennett. Eight local athletes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame (Corey Anderson, Curtis Glasco, Robert Gottschall, Todd Haines, Steve Hands, Scott Hoffman, Steven Lam, and Mark Unruh), and a Special Recognition Award will be given to Prissy Roberts, who has been instrumental in organizing the banquet for 22 years. Special guest will be Dickie Noles, the former Phillie who pitched in the 1980 World Series when the Phillies beat Kansas City 4-2 for the title.
THE PANTO: Audience participation welcome!
We got a marvelous sneak peek of the upcoming pantomime, "Snow White and the Magic Mirror," when director Caroline Smith invited us to a rehearsal at St. Michael's Lutheran Church.
This year's Dame ("Dame Flora") is played by Kevin Sheridan, who is new to the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society (although we recognized him right away as an actor in the Haunted Kennett Square walking tour). Kris Gibbons once again plays an evil henchman -- this year he is "Mendicant." Beth Holladay, last year's marvelous Cheshire Cat, is the evil stepmother Queen Bergamot. Elea Feit is Momma Bear (Poppa Bear was in London that night). Also at the rehearsal were longtime KATS favorites like William Crampton (Father Time), Deborah Crampton, Peter Giangiulio (a dwarf), Shelley May Mincer, Lisa Teixeira (Queen Turmeric; "she's a little pushy"), Bing Carandang, and Nancy Goyda.
Rounding out the cast: Kaitlyn Diehl is Goldilocks; Kevin Pizzini is Digby the palace gardener, Stephen Ashby (last year's Queen of Hearts) is Sir George; Becky Galante is Bianca; Gillian Haldeman is Rosalind, Bianca’s friend; Jamie Gallop is Pastelle, and the Mirror is played by Chase Gibbons, Amelia Miller, Claire Suto, Angel Hicks and Zula Ali. And don't forget the always adorable children's chorus! Phil and Marilee Calabrese are co-music directors.
The show, the 19th "Annual Pantomime in the British Tradition," is written by KATS founder Gary Smith. Shows are at the Kennett High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and are available at www.callkats.com.
SOURCE REVEALED: "Do Your Best"
Small rectangular signs reading "Do Your Best" have appeared at numerous intersections around Willowdale. It's a bromide, sure, but I appreciate the reminder, especially when I'm tempted to cut corners to finish an editing project ("Oh, who will notice if I spell it Hanukah in one place and Hanukkah in another?").
The other day I noticed that there was some tiny lettering below the motto and pulled over to take a look: "Go Army. Beat Navy."
WEST MARLBOROUGH: Eternal return of the birds
It took a while, but the birds have finally returned to my back yard. The nuthatches, juncos and chickadees are eating out of my two feeders, the mourning doves are taking care of any spilled seed, and the downy woodpeckers and red-bellied woodpeckers are tap-tap-tapping at the suet cakes.
We had to attach the suet feeder securely to the trunk of a white pine after some hungry creatures managed to defeat what I thought was a raccoon-proof setup involving a bungee cord wrapped around a tree limb. Overnight the bungee cord was dangling from the limb, the suet holder was on the ground and the suet had disappeared.
The squirrels are doing their best to extract seed from the little openings of the tube feeders. One guy was embracing the feeder with his whole body, clinging on to the little metal footholds while the feeder swayed violently. They may be tree rats, but they're pretty comical to watch. (In case they think they're being unfairly accused, I've noticed that the other feeder, the one with the squirrel guard, needs to be replenished MUCH less often!)
KENNETT: Lost in translation
A friend travels frequently to Germany for work and mentioned Kennett Square's Mushroom Drop to some of her colleagues. They were dumbfounded, first that Americans make such a big deal out of New Year's Eve and second that the celebration involved … a huge lighted fungus. She explained that other small towns host similar festivities, lowering items like pickles and chocolate kisses, but she said the Germans still didn't quite get the point.
CHILDREN: Raising the next generation
Parents of young kids, I am in awe of your stamina. I do some pretty tough exercise classes at the Y, but after spending only a few hours with two little ones on Christmas, we were exhausted. We didn't realize how quiet and serene our daily lives are.
The little boy was racing around with a newly empty cardboard box covering most of his body. It started out with no eye holes, but they were quickly added, then holes in the sides were cut out to accommodate his arms. Fortunately the Box Boy was intercepted before he could start whirling around in an office chair with wheels.
His sister was also unstoppable. She was striding around the house, intent on meeting her daily quota of steps (which she could track on her new smartwatch). Then she'd stop and say, "Let's play!" or tell me more details of her new "ginormous" doll house.
"Is it furnished?" I asked.
"Yes, there is furniture," she answered.
"Does it have a patio out back?" I asked.
Her eyes widened. "How did you KNOW?!"
Toward the end of the afternoon I turned to their father and asked, in wonder, "How do you do it?"
He knew exactly what I meant.
"I fake it," he replied. "I mean, I was pretty much asleep there on the sofa."
CHRISTMAS: It came without packages, boxes or bags!
Amid the feasting and celebration, a few non-material things stood out this Christmas.
The first was an open house I attended where the guests represented a broad cross-section in terms of age, politics and backgrounds. And no one argued; they simply enjoyed each other's company! It was truly heartening -- even if the delicious and potent mixture of Champagne and cranberry juice may have helped things along a bit.
The second was a man who was sitting on a bench near the checkout lines at the Kennett Giant the day before Christmas Eve. He was holding something in his lap -- at first I thought it was a Chihuahua, but when I got closer I could see he was hugging two stuffed reindeer toys and stroking one, gazing down at it with the beaming, doting smile that I have when I'm cuddling my cats. My heart melted. He was probably the happiest, most content person in the store, which was full of harried shoppers worrying about things like whether the $75 rib roast would in fact serve 10 people.
Finally, my brother told me that the best present he received was the chance to spend time with the Young Relative running through the White Clay Creek Preserve on Christmas morning. I didn't spoil the moment by inquiring about times, distances or post-race discomfort.
THE NEXT CHAPTER: A big decision for this UHS runner
The first time we started hearing comments from parents about "Hey, maybe he'll get a college scholarship," we laughed it off. Sure, the Young Relative showed some talent in the YMCA's Stride running program at Hillendale Elementary and on the track team at Patton Middle School. But really, how many kids continue the sport in college!
Then, at UHS, he kept working hard and got much, much faster, but we downplayed the whole college thing: we didn't want to pressure the kid any more than he did himself.
Then college coaches started showing up at his big meets.
You know where this is going: A few weeks ago the Y.R. committed to run for a Division I school on the Main Line. We are beyond proud, not only because he's a terrific athlete but because he's a smart, funny, wonderful young man. Dearest Partner is already figuring out shortcuts to get to the university's athletic facilities so we can keep watching him run.