POCOPSON: Contact the folks in DC
One of the Pocopson Township supervisors was kind enough to contact me after seeing my item in last week's column about the unpredictable traffic jams caused by the railroad cars shuffling back and forth across Route 926 at the Brandywine Creek. The problem is aggravated by the fact that the Route 52 bridge over the Brandywine is closed for repairs.
The supervisor, who asked to remain nameless, told me that the township is well aware of the situation. The supervisors have met with the railroad's owner, who explained that the siding behind Pocopson Hardware Store is the only place the entire length of the railroad where cars can be formed into trains.
And there is no set schedule for when the trains are formed; it just depends on when they have enough cars.
Nor can they make up the trains at nights or on weekends, because (1) it would be dangerous for the workers and (2) the railroad is a 9-to-5 operation.
The supervisors did ask the owner if he could avoid the back-and-forth shuffling during the start and end of the school day, and he said he'd "do the best he could."
Also, the supervisor told me, the hands of township and state officials are tied because the railroad is a federally regulated utility. The supervisor urged irate residents to contact their federal elected officials, because they are the only folks who have any clout in this situation.
FAIR: Animals on display
Hats off to Unionville Community Fair president Bonnie Musser and her team for presenting a truly awesome Fair this year. It helped that Saturday was a perfect autumn day.
On Saturday afternoon we got a chance to visit with the goats, alpacas and llamas and had a long talk with the goats' owner. When she said "kids," I couldn't tell if she was referring to the young goats or her own children.
We also got to watch the Dairy Cattle judging. Per protocol, the young men and women who were showing their cows were dressed in white shirts and white jeans and put the spotlessly clean cows through their paces as the judge, in jacket and tie, watched carefully. At the end of his inspection, before announcing the results, he told the youths that he realized his mere 10 minutes of assessment was reflecting the hard work and long hours that they had put in all summer.
PARADE: The light brigade
Registration is open for the Kennett Square Holiday Light Parade through downtown Kennett, which this year will start at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29. The Google Docs registration form can be accessed through Facebook.
Although it's been in existence for only a few years, this parade has become hugely popular with parade-goers and participants. It's called the Light Parade because the participants decorate their floats, trucks, tractors, hay buggies, and just about every kind of vehicle you can think of with seriously impressive displays of lights. Some bring their own generators. Bragging rights are at stake.
FLOWERS: Late bloomers
Here it is, mid-October, and I'm still getting enough flowers from the cutting garden to fill every vase in the house. True, the snapdragons are finished, and the sunflowers have gone to seed, but the zinnias, dahlias, celosia, blue salvia, cosmos and ageratums are still going strong. It could be that I didn't plant the garden until very late because of the wet spring. Also, many of this year's flowers (the purple ageratum and the pink, maroon and yellow celosia) were welcome volunteers from last year and didn't appear until later in the season.
NEW GARDEN: History of Lyceum Hall
The 167-year-old Lyceum Hall will be open from noon to 4 p.m. October 19 as part of New Garden Community Day in New Garden Park on Route 41. Members of the township's historical commission will be there to answer questions, and at 3 p.m. they'll give a presentation on the history of the building and how they have restored it over the past few years. On display will be artifacts from earlier uses of the building, which included a school, a refuge for runaway slaves, a township building and a polling place.
HUNT CUP: An autumn tradition
It's time to buy your parking pass and start planning your tailgate picnic for the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup on Sunday, Nov. 3. This year marks the 85th running of the event, which is a hugely popular autumn event for horse racing fans and people who like a good party (or both!). The course is west of Newark Road, between Routes 926 and 842.
The event is held rain or shine. Last year the carriage parade was cancelled due to muddy conditions, and who can forget the year the port-a-potties were upended by ferocious winds?
Gates open at 10:30 a.m., with the junior hunt cup race at 11:30 and the carriage parade at 1 p.m. Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds will parade at 2 p.m. and there will be a sidesaddle exhibition at 2:30 p.m. The Lewis C. Ledyard Memorial Race starts at 1:30 p.m., the Arthur O. Choate, Jr. Memorial is at 2:15 p.m., the Hunt Cup at 3 p.m. and the Athenian Idol (the flat race) at 3:30 p.m. Visit www.pahuntcup.org for more information.
IDIOMS: Lost in translation
A charley horse, one of those sudden muscle cramps in the calf, woke me from a sound slumber the other night. I was sure it was induced by an especially grueling workout, and at the Y the next day I wanted to whine about it.
A lot of the people in this particular gym class speak only a little English, so I asked a bilingual fellow how to say "charley horse" in Spanish. "Carlos caballo," he said. "But I don't think anybody's gonna understand that!"
NEW BOLTON: Robotic imaging
As part of the New Bolton Center's First Tuesday lecture series on equine topics, veterinarians Dean Richardson, Barbara Dallap Schaer and Kate Wulster will be discussing "Robotic Imaging: Pioneering the Future" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5 (Election Day) in New Bolton's Alumni Hall. Registration is recommended at https://firsttuesdaynbc.eventbrite.com.
KENNETT SQUARE: Haunted history tour
Kennett Square's history will be brought to life during a "haunted history" walking tour of the downtown area from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. I've been a guide for this tour in the past and it is good fun, with costumed actors and actresses along the route describing their strange lives and fates. Meet at the corner of State and Broad Streets. The organizers are asking for a donation of $5 per person, free for kids 12 and under. Tours will leave every 15 minutes, with the last one leaving at 6:45 p.m. More information is available at historickennettsquare.com.