Unionville Presbyterian Church, 815 Wollaston Road,??will be celebrating its 175th anniversary with a traditional Kirkin' o' the Tartan Worship Service starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 5. Guests are asked to bring or wear their family tartan "if you have one." The first Kirkin' ceremony in America can be traced back to a service held at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., in 1941; the minister, the Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall, was originally from Coatbridge, Scotland, and served as Chaplain of the U.S. Senate.
As I was leaving Perkins at about 8 p.m. April 24 I couldn't help staring at a customer getting out of his Saab: he was a dead ringer for comedian Larry David. Same glasses, same hair, same build, same way of moving. He was wearing a white jacket with a black diamond on the back,??like a harlequin pattern,??and was carrying a big??bag over his shoulder.
When I got home I checked online to see if he might be in the area but found no info. Nor could I track down his distinctive jacket: Googling "black diamond jacket" just directs to you a lot of skiing outfitters, and apparently would-be customers are more interested in seeing what the front of a jacket looks like than the back.
Honoring Civil War veterans
A West Marlborough neighbor has been quietly looking after the old Mount Olive AME Church cemetery on Upland Road, where several African-American??Civil War soldiers are buried.
He has run into a problem and asked me if I could help. It seems there are two massive dead oak trees on the property that need to be taken down. If??left to fall on their own, one will hit a house and the other will go across the road.??
He has gotten a quote from tree surgeon Dean Madsen of $3,000 to take down both trees, which he considers more than fair, considering that a crane will??need to be brought in.
My neighbor, who wants to remain anonymous,??wonders if there is any interest among our wealthy community in helping to fund this project and preserving??the historic site and the memory of these brave veterans.
"I just want to get this done," he said.
ULTA: No more trips to Concord Pike
According to a hand-written cardboard sign in the front window, the new Ulta Beauty store in the Longwood shopping center will open on Friday, May 3. I am rationing my shampoo until then because Ulta is one of the few places that carries my brand; for some diabolical marketing reason, it isn't available online.
Winners and losers
We spent Saturday evening at a??charity bingo competition at a church in Westtown.
It's amazing, the power of a simple bingo card. Across the table from us was??a??sophisticated, urbane??guy who, during the week, jets around??solving high-stakes problems for??corporations. After a seemingly endless streak of non-winning cards, he started wailing, "I'm a loser!??Loser!" and making an L-shape (designating "Loser") with his thumb and forefinger.
Another intensely frustrated man at our table??would mutter, "No! no!" every time the caller announced a number that didn't help his cause. When he finally scored a bingo, we were all relieved.
Trading of prizes was encouraged. Dearest Partner swapped some pineapple-scented towelettes for a set of BBQ tools (he doesn't wear makeup; she doesn't have a grill), and I was happy to accept three boxes of Fourth of July sparklers from a woman who says they make her nervous. My $10 Wawa gift card was not a candidate for swapping.
One man won five bingos and generously started giving his prizes to people who hadn't won. A horse trainer at our table ended up with a set of three little beanbags,??opened the box and??started juggling them expertly. Who knew?!
Wasting his time
The West Marlborough Township road crew made quick work of those yellow "I Buy Houses" signs that sprouted up??on roadsides throughout the township, much like invasive garlic mustard,??this past week. Hugh Lofting Jr. told me that he caught a guy in the act of installing one and suggested that he??cease and desist. Hugh also advised the guy that he was pretty much wasting his time soliciting in the township.
Thank you, Bonnie!
I was delighted to learn that Bonnie Musser of Unionville is the new president??of the Unionville Community Fair, a wonderful community tradition that's now in its 95th year. Bonnie has deep roots in the Farm Show: she has attended??since she was an infant,??her mother and aunt were??Harvest Queens,??and she served as??president for several terms in the 1980s. As a Fair volunteer myself,??I can tell you that??she spends pretty much the whole weekend at the Fair. Whenever someone has a problem or question, the first response is "Let's find Bonnie."
This year???s event will be held October 4 through??6, and a press release assures us that "in addition to the return of many of the traditional activities, the fair will see the popular wine and beer garden and 5K run return this year. Also in the works is a haunted tent attraction and new animal displays.???
Men and women at work
While waiting at the traffic light, motorists at the Jennersville crossroads are getting a close-up view of the road-widening work at that busy intersection.
This morning, on the??Red Rose Inn corner,??a man was marking the path for a pipe, or a wire, or something, with a can of red spray paint. He'd take three careful steps, heel to toe, out from??the newly installed wall that marked the edge of the??turn lane, and he'd spray an indicator line. (The toes of his work boots were bright red.) Then he'd move a yard further along the wall and repeat the process.??I guess the exact distance wasn't important as long as it was consistent; either that or his feet were exactly a foot long.
Other workers were piling dirt on top of what looked like a long, traffic-lane-wide??roll of black material. They had trouble getting it to lie perfectly flat and unwrinkled, much like I do with the nonskid pad under my hall rug.
Across the street, workers are rebuilding, at a different angle,??the stone wall they had to remove??during the widening process. Several times I've seen a man with a long beard sorting through the pile of stones and??shaping them with a pick.
A potty break
There's nothing like a pile of poop to get a lively conversation going.
The other morning I went out to fill the bird feeder??and found two human-sized, seed-filled??piles of feces on my back deck. I posted a photo on social media, and the consensus, after much bathroom humor ("Looks like Dearest Partner has been eating too much fiber!"),??was that a raccoon had used my deck as its toilet after eating supper at my feeder.??
Some theorized that my visitor had been a skunk or??even a coyote, but the scat experts (a hunter and a naturalist) explained, in clinical detail,??that the poop was the wrong size and shape.
Congratulations to Catherine Quillman, who was chosen as the graduation??speaker at the Delaware College of Art & Design in Wilmington on May 6. She said she was excited to be selected but a little abashed that the college's press release??described her as "the" artist and writer,??"as if I am nationally known!" Her speech will explore the difficulties artists have in carving out creative time for themselves. The May 6 commencement ceremonies will??follow a bagpiper-led procession along Market Street from the college to the Grand Opera House.
Cathy, who lives in West Chester,??has written several books about local history and artists, including "Walking the East End: A Historic African-American Community in West Chester" and "Artists of the Brandywine Valley."
Meet Rita Mae Brown
Rita Mae Brown will be in Fair Hill, Md., on Saturday, May 18, to give a talk on??"Fashions and Foxhunting." Not only is she??the master of foxhounds and huntsman of the Oak Ridge Fox Hounds in Charlottesville, but she's also a prolific mystery writer, the creator of the Sister Jane foxhunting??series and the Mrs. Murphy's series. Those of us of a certain age know her as the author of "Rubyfruit Jungle," a feminist classic from the 1970s.
The event, a fundraiser for Fair Hill International and the Fair Hill Hounds, will be held at the??Ed Walls Building at the Cecil County Fairgrounds. Tickets for the pasta dinner and lecture are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. RSVP by May 10. More information is available on Fair Hill's website.