Little Shop

The play Little Shop of Horrors is coming to Unionville High March 14 to March 16.

UHS: Used book sale

Just a reminder that the annual used book sale at Unionville High School will be Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23. Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by the $10 bag sale from 2 to 4 p.m. Snow dates are March 1 and 2.

CLOSED: Country roads

My item about roads that don't exist anymore (in last week's column) brought back memories for a Pocopson reader who has lived around here since 1964. He writes:

"I used to enjoy the occasional late-afternoon drive heading northeast on McCorkle’s Rock Road in my open MG. And I walked on Sweet Road a few times when it was open. Sharitz Road was also a pleasant place to drive, east of 841. And I think of Bragg Hill Road to Northbrook; Creek Road from Wawaset to Lenape; Hickory Hill Road from Davidson Road to Wawaset; Larkin Bailey Road running South from Corinne / Locust Grove to Haines Mill Road. Each one of these closings probably has its own story. And there have been others, such as the one you mention from Hilltop View Road to McCorkle’s Rock. Or the extension of recently closed Lost Trail Road to the Glenhall Bridge. Oak School Road to Cannery Road."

NEWARK: Old time music

On Friday we went to an enjoyable concert in Newark by "the dean of old time music," 86-year-old John Cohen, and two younger friends, Eli Smith and Wyndham Baird, who are keeping the tradition going. They played a lot of Woody Guthrie songs, like "The Farm Labour Train," sang about economic and personal strife (things didn't end well for either partner in "Frankie and Johnny"), and did a very old "history song" celebrating General James Wolfe, who fought and died at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham during the French and Indian War.

The trio seemed to be having a great time and were very relaxed, playing each other's guitars and banjos and passing the mandolin back and forth. "Oh. I play harmonica on this one, don't I," said Eli, just as they were about the start a song.

For the last few songs they were joined by Pocopson residents Walt Koken and Clare Milliner on fiddle.

During intermission Wyndham spotted a piano in the corner, lifted the lid and just for fun played a beautiful version of the 1936 standard "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)." What a totally unexpected treat!

The next Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music concert will be by the South Carolina Broadcasters on April 26.

BOWDEN: Future of Somalia

The January/February issue of Smithsonian magazine focuses on "America at War" and includes an article by Kennett resident Mark Bowden, "The Legacy of Black Hawk Down." Mark, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, wrote that bestselling 1999 book about the harrowing Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia (his book was made into the 2001 movie directed by Ridley Scott).

In the "Smithsonian" article he revisits the situation in Somalia and ponders what America's role should be in the country. "Our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq -- and, years ago, in Vietnam -- showed us that American efforts will continually fail if there isn't a willing local government with the support of the people."

UHS: Little Shop of Horrors

This year's UHS musical is the whacky "Little Shop of Horrors," and I'm sure the tech crew will ably rise to the challenge of creating the bloodthirsty plant "Audrey II." Director is Nicole Norton.

Show dates are Thursday, March 14; Friday, March 15; and Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m. in the UHS auditorium. Tickets are available at the door or (starting Feb. 24) online at

Synopsis of the show: "It’s the 1960s and Mushnik’s rundown flower shop on Skid Row hardly ever gets any customers. All that changes when Mushnik’s nerdy apprentice, Seymore Krelborn, brings in a strange, new species of plant that looks like a Venus Flytrap. Seymore names it Audrey II after his crush at the shop. Customers flock to Mushnik’s and Audrey II grows huge, nearly taking over the store. It even begins to talk, demanding to Seymore, “FEED ME!” But Audrey II doesn’t need plant food to grow, it feeds on human blood! Will Seymore be able to save humanity from this alien plant or will it conquer the world with its monstrous appetite?"

EMPTY BOWLS: Filling the larder

The eighth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) will be held on Thursday, February 28, at the Red Clay Room in Kennett Square. Proceeds benefit the Kennett Food Cupboard. I've been to this worthwhile event many times and it always attracts such a lively crowd that the emcee has a hard time quieting people down.

Tickets for the lunch (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) or the dinner (6 to 8:30 p.m.) are $30 apiece. You can buy tickets online at or by calling 610-925-3556.

LONGWOOD: Oh! Those Orchids!

We can get blasé about having Longwood Gardens in our backyard, but really, this year's Orchid Extravaganza is fantastic and well worth a trip. The colors and shapes of the flowers are stunning, as are the creative ways that the gardeners come up with to arrange them. The opening display at the Conservatory entrance with multiple orchids in a bed of moss was lovely. Of course you'll want to see the orchids in the Conservatory and the Orchid Room, but I thought one of the most interesting and informative parts of the exhibit was actually in the corridor past the bonsai display.

It was a relatively warm day, so after marvelling at the orchids we strolled down to the far side of the rehabbed fountain display. The new carvings of shells and fish are beautifully done, and you can walk through an amazing rock-lined grotto with an oculus in the ceiling that lets in light.

Any engineers in your family would be fascinated to explore the historic pump room, where you can see the machinery that powered the fountains until 2014. The display boards give all kinds of interesting information about the history of the fountain displays, and I especially enjoyed seeing Pierre duPont's hand-written hydraulic calculations.

LECTURE: Speaking of love

We went to a lecture on Wednesday evening about spiritual maturity and were entertained by the almost girlish enthusiasm of the speaker, who is a middle-aged nun. She told us three or four times how thrilled she was to be speaking on the eve of Valentine's Day and, to mark the occasion, she even passed out little red glass hearts to everyone in the standing-room-only hall.

An hour into the 90-minute talk she realized she was going too slowly. "I need to hurry because I want to get to the ending!" she said with excitement. So she started flashing slides on the screen with no narration. It's a good thing I read quickly.

Write to Tilda at Thanks!

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