Old jar

A roughly 100-year-old glass insulator I found alongside the road.

Goodbye: It's been a great run

Dear Readers,

Starting next week, "Unionville in the News" will be moving online. My blog, unionvilleinthenews.blogspot.com, will have exactly the same local news and stories that you're used to seeing on page 3 of the paper each week, just in a different format. I hope you will become a regular online reader, and please keep sending me your "Tilda items."

Thank you so much for reading my column, and please keep buying the newspaper. Local journalism is vital!

NEW GARDEN: Kindness at the Dollar Store

A reader shared this lovely story with me:

"I was in line at the Dollar Store in New Garden and the lady in front of me had the last big package of paper towels.

I said, "This is your lucky day! You got the last of the paper towels!"

She said ever so sweetly, "Would you like a few? I'm happy to share."

I said, "No, thank you, but how kind of you to offer."

She left the store, and while I was checking out, she came into the store and handed me two rolls of paper towels.

There is kindness in the world."

UPDATES: Good to know

Just about every company that has my email address has been sending me updates on how they are tackling the current crisis while assuring us that "we are there for you." They all used very similar language.

So far I've heard from Giant (several times), my bank, my insurance carrier, my health insurance company, my investment broker, both colleges I attended, the developer of the antivirus program I use, my accountant, Staples (free shipping!), Utz Pretzels, a gun range, and, most bizarrely of all, a Florida auto dealership that once sold my parents a car.

UNIONVILLE: Pop, what's this weird noise?

Stop the presses: The Young Relative, age 18, just heard his first busy signal ever.

And it couldn't have happened under more auspicious circumstances: He was phoning Hood's BBQ to order takeout for himself and his father for dinner.

Thank goodness that some restaurants are managing to stay open and, apparently, are busy! So far we've gotten takeout from not only Hood's (610-347-1670) but another of our local favorites, La Pena Mexicana (610-925-2651) on West Cypress Street. It's great food, it gives you a sense of normalcy, and you're supporting locally owned businesses, their employees, their suppliers, and on down the chain.

And if you get a busy signal, persevere like the Young Relative did!

ORGANICS: Sunny Girl Farm has moved

In the parking lot of the Jennersville shopping center on Tuesday, I heard a woman call, "Hey! Aren't you Tilda Tally-ho?!"

I admitted as much.

It turns out that several summers ago I had visited her vegetable farm on Wollaston Road, Sunny Girl Farm, and had written an item about it. She recognized me on Tuesday because I was wearing the same boots!

She and her partner have downsized -- she said at one point they were supplying produce to more than a dozen restaurants -- and have moved to another farm near West Grove. She said they hope to be updating their activities on social media.

KENNETT: A worker's generosity

A Unionville friend contacted me this morning and told me that she phoned in an order to the Produce Place, Chris and Tina King's shop at 606 East Cypress Street in Kennett Square. When she arrived to pick it up, an employee brought the box out to her and put it in the back of her car. She offered him a tip, but he repeatedly refused it.

"We are just so lucky to have a job," he told her. "Give that to somebody who doesn't have a job."

"I thought that was so kind and caring," she told me. She thought her story would make a nice "Tilda item," and she was absolutely right.

FUNGI: Singing the praises of the button mushroom

"These days, button mushrooms don't get the respect that wild varieties do. Learn the lost art of rendering them irresistible," read the start of a Wall Street Journal article in the "Eating & Drinking" section.

The writer, Cathy Whims, advises that "the trick to making button mushrooms as flavorful as their more exotic cousins is to get rid of their excess moisture, thereby concentrating the intensely earthy umami flavors hidden within."

She suggests doing that by cooking them at high heat and not crowding them in the pan. "The ideal moment of doneness: deeply browned at the edges, still moist inside. That's when a button will be the most savory and succulent -- every bit as delicious as a wild mushroom that sells for five times the price."

Two recipes are given. One is a pasta sauce made of button mushrooms, oil-cured black olives, garlic, Italian parsley, red pepper flakes and heavy cream. The other is a recipe for button mushrooms marinated in olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic and onions.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: A Toll insulator

Check out this beautiful old glass insulator that we found while walking along one of West Marlborough's gravel roads!

It has only a few scrapes and chips, and the bubbles in the glass give it great character. The writing around the bottom skirt reads "AM TEL & TEL Co."

I've walked along that stretch of road many times and I'm sure I would have noticed it had it been visible. Perhaps it just heaved out of the soil.

I did some research and learned that this style of insulator was made by a company called Brookfield. According to one collector on an insulator forum, "These were used when American Telegraph & Telephone Company expanded their 'Toll' or Long Distance operations clear across the entire country in the first part of the 20th century. This style CD 121 or 'Toll' insulator was produced by several companies and over a long period of time. They can be found from one coast to the other, North to South."

Glass insulators like this "were first produced in the 1850s for use with telegraph lines. As technology developed, insulators were needed for telephone lines, electric power lines, and other applications" (this according to the Glass Insulators Collectors website).

Today there are insulator collectors' clubs, reference books, online auctions, and conventions, with many subspecialties (particular manufacturers, say, or insulators made in a particular year, or only green insulators).

KENNETT: Feeding the residents

A friend works in the kitchen of a local senior citizens' community. I asked how "her" residents were coping (everyone there considers the residents to be family), and she replied that all of them are being isolated to prevent the virus from spreading among this vulnerable population.

So instead of serving the residents meals in the dining room as usual, she and her coworkers are preparing and delivering about 100 trays per meal.

"We are doing our best, but it's exhausting," she said. She gave a shout-out to her supervisor "who is very organized, and that helps."

THIN MINTS: Sending Girl Scout cookies overseas

My friend Karen D'Agusto writes:

"Our local Girl Scouts are looking for addresses of military personnel who are deployed overseas in areas like Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, and any areas that do not have access to Girl Scout cookies. This would also include ships and submarines at sea.

"Operation Cookie Drop is a community service project initiated by Girl Scouts from Unionville and Kennett High Schools 12 years ago. The purpose of this project is to bring a little bit of home to our servicemen and women who look forward to mail from home and are thrilled when the mail includes Girl Scout cookies!

"The girls wanted to demonstrate their support for those that serve and especially to those who do not have access to Girl Scout cookies. The addresses are usually APO or FPO addresses."

Karen asks readers to send the addresses to her at kdagusto@aol.com.

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