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Tidewater Times

April 2021


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Vol. 69, No. 11

Published Monthly

April 2021

Features: About the Cover Photographer: Walter Dorsett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Small Children, Dogs and Masked Strangers: Helen Chappell . . . . . . . . . . . 9 A Journey in Pink - Part IV: Bonna L. Nelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Farming in Talbot County in the 1930s: James Dawson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Tidewater Kitchen - Sweet Endings: Pamela Meredith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Easton Smiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Tidewater Gardening - Spring!: K. Marc Teffeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Dogs of State: A.M. Foley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Weaving Creativity with Yolanda Acree: Tracey F. Johns. . . . . . . . . . . . 113 The Lion, The Church and the Library: Michael Valliant . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Changes ~ All American (Part XIX): Roger Vaughan . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

Departments: April Tide Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Easton Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Queen Anne’s County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Caroline County ~ A Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Dorchester Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 St. Michaels Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Oxford Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Tilghman ~ Bay Hundred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 Anne B. Farwell & John D. Farwell, Co-Publishers Proofing: Jodie Littleton & Kippy Requardt Deliveries: Nancy Smith, April Jewel & Brandon Coleman Social Media Liaison: Mary Farwell P. O. Box 1141, Easton, Maryland 21601 3947 Harrison Circle, Trappe, Maryland 21673 410-714-9389 www.tidewatertimes.com info@tidewatertimes.com

Tidewater Times is published monthly by Bailey-Farwell, LLC. Advertising rates upon request. Subscription price is $30.00 per year. Individual copies are $4. Contents of this publication may not be reproduced in part or whole without prior approval of the publisher. Printed by Delmarva Printing, Inc. The publisher does not assume any liability for errors and/or omissions.




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About the Cover Photographer Walter Dorsett Walter Dorsett is a self-taught 24-year-old wildlife and landscape photographer residing in Maryland, but he loves to travel all over the world. He's been published in multiple books and local magazines. Walter started getting into photography with a Fujifilm camera when he was about 8 years old, and

since then his love for photography has only intensified. He puts his heart and soul into his artwork. He says he is truly amazed to have so many people respond positively to his creations. You can visit his online gallery, or contact him with any questions, at www.walterdorsett.com.



Small Children, Dogs and Masked Strangers by Helen Chappell

I don’t know what our pets are going to do when and if life goes back to normal and we can go out again. I don’t know what I’m going to do when we can go out again. I work from a home office, like most writers, but I went out for about three hours the other day, and when I came home, Lilly, my cat, was sitting anxiously by the door. She greeted me as if I’d been gone for months, meowing and

rubbing on my legs like I was a scratching post. In fact, when I actually went away for a month and a friend dropped by daily to attend to her basic needs, she was quite nonchalant when I finally fell through the door, smelling of strange cats, dogs and kids and California. That’s feline nature in a nutshell. Now, like most animals, she’s apparently grown very used to having her human around 24/7 dur-


Small Children ing lockdown. Cats, as we know, believe this is their world and humans just live in it to serve them. Lilly has me perfectly trained. A plaintive cry is all she needs to gather my instant attention. Whatya want, sweetie? Food? Brush? Pet? I love Lilly. Cats are the perfect companion for writers. They mostly self-entertain, and they make great heating and comfort pads when they crawl up and sleep on the bed with you. They’re good companions. Mostly independent, on their own secret agenda and perfectly happy to sleep on the keyboard while you’re trying to type. In short, Lilly is a good companion for me during lockdown. She keeps me from feeling lonely or forlorn. Well, Lilly and streaming content. Streamers are my friends, whiling away the hours looking for other people’s stories and charac-

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Small Children

social media. Covid and distance keep us apart, but it’s a small price to pay to stay well, both them and me. From the distance of social media, kids are graduating from college. They’re growing from kids into teens. Learning to cook and doing Tik Tok without me. One-time toddlers are now bowling and are capable of doing household chores. Babies are learning to walk and talk. I’m not quite missing it, but it’s not the same at distance as it is up close and personal with my peeps. But at least I have those posts and photos and messages, so it’s almost like being there. I’m not like an obsessed grandma, whose only thoughts are those precious

ters to steal, and an escape from grim reality. I miss a lot, but it’s a small price to pay to stay well. Keeping a low profile and staying out of the line of fire is always a good idea, when I can remind myself to do it. Can I say “don’t be a maskhole” here? I try to follow protocol and be a good citizen, but it’s not always easy. During the pandemic, I have come to miss my kid and dog friends. I had no idea how much I would miss them until we were separated. All around me, kids are growing up and I can’t see them, save on

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Small Children

The Auntie Mame who breaks the rules and helps you wink at them is an important part of growing up. Life would be very dull if we all followed the rules. Stepping outside the bounds, within reason, is a good life lesson. Within reason. I also miss my dog fix. Usually, when I’m out and about, people have dogs and I get a few minutes of attention from some creature that’s happy to see me. Dogs, unlike cats, are pretty social and enjoy playtime, and so do I. Much as I love pooches, I just don’t lead a life that would be good for a dog. I love dogs. Lilly doesn’t, and she will have no other animals before

kids. I am Auntie Bad Example and a good godmother, however, and I do miss seeing the kids and hanging out with them. Everyone needs an Auntie Bad Example, don’t you think?


Small Children

into around and about. Can’t visit my human friends? Can’t see my pooch pals. I guess the thing about kids and dogs for me is you get to spend time with them, love them up, give them treats, get them spoiled, tired and dirty and when you’ve had enough, you can hand them back. Most of all, I miss my friends. I miss having lunch, I miss concerts and openings and having coffee. I miss hanging out. Even an introvert needs her friends, which is the upside of social media (and believe me, I know all about the downside). At least you can stay in touch with Facebook. Sometimes, you just miss human contact. So, you end up having long (and probably annoying) conversations with bank tellers and retail workers at drive-up windows, or supermarket workers and medical professionals who are already stressed to the max. I try to be amusing and pleasant, but you never know. My thin veneer of cheer might be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

her, so that question is settled. No dog in this house, at least while Lilly reigns. So, I rely on my friends’ and neighbors’ dogs for my canine fix. Dogs are mostly happy to see me because I give good ear and belly scritches and I chatter in doggie baby talk that almost the toughest pooch seems to enjoy. Dogs are just a whole different world from cats. If I went away for three hours or a month, a dog would be overjoyed to see me again without the guilt or the throwing of shade. In my experience, most dogs are just happy to see me. And mostly, the ones who aren’t, I can woo over to my side with some soothing noises and those behind-the-ear scritches canines love so well. Dogs are pack animals. They like to run in groups, and as far as they’re concerned, if you pass the test, you’re part of their pack. I miss visiting with dogs, especially my friend doggies I used to run

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Small Children

one you know, but you don’t recognize them behind the mask, and they don’t recognize you, either, which leads to some awkward moments of mistaken identity. I mistook a masked perfect stranger in the dentists’ office for an old friend, and we had quite a conversation at cross purposes before we figured out we weren’t even acquainted. Likewise, you can run into a masked friend at the supermarket and have no idea who they are. So, you try to ask a series of leading questions, hoping you can get a clue. Because of course, they seem to know you, and more about you than you do yourself. Sometimes I promise to get together when this is all over with someone who is a perfect stranger because they never dropped the essential clues. Sometimes I wonder if they’re walking away from me, mentally scratching their heads, going, “Who was that masked person?” It sure wasn’t the Lone Ranger.

The other thing is running into people. Sometimes, you run into some-

Helen Chappell is the creator of the Sam and Hollis mystery series and the Oysterback stories, as well as The Chesapeake Book of the Dead. Under her pen names, Rebecca Baldwin and Caroline Brooks, she has published a number of historical novels.

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A Journey in Pink Part IV: Surviving, Sharing and Sending it Forward by Bonna L. Nelson

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~ Mary Oliver, The Summer Day “OVER, DONE, FINITO,” I wrote on a small white board that I took to my last breast cancer radiation treatment to celebrate with the medical team. I also wrote the same thing on a Post-it note and stuck it on my bare chest. The laughs and smiles that I received from the doctor and radiation therapists when I disrobed were uplifting and eased our goodbyes. Life throws us unexpected challenges from which we try to learn and grow. Cancer has been the most overwhelming life challenge for me thus far. This is the last in my series of cancer stories, “A Journey in Pink.” In my previous stories, I shared my experiences with my breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Now I want to share what I have learned and where I am headed and raise awareness to help others take control of their lives and live them fully. What am I now? I wondered a month out from final treatment af-

ter eight months of a roller-coaster ride of seeking a cure for my breast cancer via surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I was completing a round of separate follow-up appointments with my oncology surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist. The first question that I asked each of the specialists was, “What am I now? What term can I use and hold onto to understand my condition on completion 21

Journey in Pink

a helpful cancer-related book, The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty, by Jimmie C. Holland, M.D.) I learned that I can say that I am in REMISSION. Cancer remission means that the signs and symptoms of my cancer are reduced. Remission can be partial or complete. I am in complete remission at this time. All signs of my breast tumor have disappeared, as confirmed by a postsurgery, post-chemo mammogram and a physical exam. What neither I nor the doctors can say is that I am CURED. Cured means that there are no traces of cancer after treatment and that the cancer will never come back. For my type of cancer, they don’t like to say that until five years out. For me, that would be January 2026. What do a lumpectomy surgery, 4 chemot herapy treat ments, 16 radiation treatments, 9 doctors, 3 nurse practitioners, 6 nurses, 10 radiation therapists, 1 clinical study researcher, 16 medical assistants, an unknown number of specialists such as pathologists and medical physicists, 3 mammograms, 1 MRI, 1 sonogram, 4 CAT scans, 4 X-rays, 2 biopsies, numerous blood tests, numerous COVID-19 tests and thousands of dollars equal? Remission, survival, joy, peace, bliss, love and a future. During my journey, I never said, “Why me?” I did ask, however, why so many of my friends ~ so many of

of science - and research-based treatment? I learned that I can call myself a SURVIVOR. A survivor is a person who copes with a bad situation or affliction and gets through. According to Dr. Fitzhugh Mullen, a cancer survivor and founder of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, “…there are “seasons of survival, the first season is surviving the treatment; the second season is beginning to return to normal life; and the third is the long-term adjustment during which the cancer comes to be viewed as an episode in the bigger context of one’s life.” (From 22

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Journey in Pink

women over 55, and 80 percent of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. I was advised from the beginning of my “Journey in Pink” that I had a more than 90 percent chance of surviving for five years. That hit me hard. The more than 90 percent sounded good, but not the five years part. FIVE YEARS??? I want to live another 25 to 30 years. I hope to have great-grandchildren to enjoy. I hope to see more of the world. I hope to write more stories. And I will do all of that! So, what happens next? Now that I ~ we (my husband, John, my family and friends) ~ have completed the prescribed regimen, finished the war, ended the journey. What’s next? What can I do to live 25 to 30 more years? How can I live my life to the fullest and help others going through tough times? Now I am in the final days of “season one” and moving into “season two” of cancer survivorship. I am still healing from cancer treatments, overcoming fatigue, overcoming low energy, overcoming low red blood cell counts, overcoming baldness, overcoming radiation skin burns and trying some prescribed vitamins for tinnitus. My medical team says it will take six months to a year after treatment to feel truly normal again. As Joni Rodgers said in her book Bald in the Land of Big Hair, “It hadn’t occurred to me that the return journey from Planet Cancer would

us ~ have cancer. Why is the cure so barbarous? Why can’t I just take a pill and make it go away? Why do the treatment and the drugs administered to curb treatment side effects have to abuse and torture the body so much? Why isn’t there a kinder cure? According to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer research and support organization, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with 268,000 Americans diagnosed each year. Breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 99 percent of women with Stage I breast cancer live at least five years after treatment, and many remain cancer free for life. Breast cancer is more likely to occur in 24

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Journey in Pink almost be as turbulent as the first leg of the trek.” I am processing and reflecting on the past eight months. I am recalling what I learned about cancer during my adventure. I am a bit shellshocked, like other cancer survivors that I have read about. I have a bit of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome related to the cancer experience, some psychological turmoil. We just kept marching forward. Okay, we said, what’s next after surgery, what’s next after chemotherapy, what’s next after radiation? Then, all of a sudden, it was over. I am thinking about what I have just been through and wondering what’s next. How do I answer Mary Oliver’s question? What is it that I plan to do (with what is left of ) my “one wild and precious life”? Do I live in fear of recurrence, or do I live each moment to the fullest? How can I survive, share and send it forward? I am going to kick off a new precious life journey, the journey to bring wellness, peace, grace, joy, fulfillment, courage, strength and love to my world and the world around me. What follows are my tips for living the good life, things that I am doing or plan to do, and I hope that you might find some useful ideas for your journey TIP #1: Keep up w ith routine medical checkups and tests, mammograms, etc., as early detection

saves lives. Make sure that you understand your options. I am just beginning “season two.” I am working on returning to a normal life. Medically, I will be seeing all of my specialists at prescribed intervals and undergoing periodic testing for years to come, at least until that five-year CURE target. I will have my port removed in a few months. I have completed a round of follow-up appointments and tests, and I am now free from visits for a few months. Not that I won’t miss my team, but it is so nice to not have any appointments or tests for weeks ahead! I have also completed a round of cancer-delayed annual checkups. Because of what I experienced during and after chemo treatments, I feared that the chemo had caused damage to my mouth, teeth, eyes and ears and that radiation had caused more skin cancers. I received mostly good news: my mouth, teeth, eyes and skin are fine. Sadly, the tinnitus 26

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Journey in Pink

pre-cancer. I also used my indoor spin cycle and health rider (like an upright rower) and am now upping my game on both. I have recently added a new class that is very inspiring, the YMCA’s Live STRONG Cancer Survivor Exercise Program. The twelve-week class is taught by Barbara Jarrell, with seven participants on Zoom. Barb starts each class with a friendly chat that allows us to share our cancer stories, our interests, our exercise programs, our daily challenges, etc. It is a social and emotional support opportunity. We work on developing cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, balance and confidence. We also have speakers on nutrition, sleep, acupuncture, yoga and other topics. Classmate survivors have various types of cancers and are both joyful and inspirational. My latest physical accomplishment is walking the mile around my neighborhood on a nice 60-degree day for the first time in months. I haven’t had the energy or stamina and couldn’t handle the cold. During my first jaunt, I had to stop every few houses to catch my breath. But I did it! Now that I know I can, I will continue to walk and will slowly build up my lung capacity and endurance to try to regain normalcy. TIP #3: Eat well for life. Maintain a healthy weight. Another side effect of cancer treatment is either weight gain or loss.

will probably be with me for life. TIP #2: Exercise. Add movement to your day for physical and mental well-being, star t ing slowly and then building up your strength and endurance. Physically, all the specialists recommended that I continue exercising during and after treatment, so I did the best I could. I continued my 15year favorite YMCA class, Floor, Core and More, a class combining cardio, streng th and balance on Zoom, taught by Wendy Palmer. With my strength zapped while in treatment, I had to sit down between songs to catch my breath and rest, but now I can remain standing, though not yet able to work at the level I did


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Journey in Pink

expanded to sending cards, emails and texts to those I thought could use a lift. I also found other opportunities along the way.

For me, it was gain. A doctor told me that 80 percent of cancer patients gain weight and that it takes a year or so to lose. Because cancer treatment can be stressful, stress eating is common. For me, it was chocolate milkshakes as a treat after chemo treatments and the many candies, cookies, homemade breads and muffins that family and friends gifted us. Also, chemo changes the taste of food. Good-for-you foods like salads had no appeal. There are also cautions about eating foods ~ raw foods, for example ~ to prevent bacterial infections in a compromised immune system brought about by cancer and treatment. Now I am trying to eat cleaner and less. I have upped my nutrition game plan, including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, fewer sweets, sugary foods and non-nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water. TIP #4: Practice gratitude and send it forward. Sharing is healing. There is healing and purpose in doing something for others. Throughout my journey, I thought about how I could help others with challenges. How could I turn my cancer diagnosis into doing something special to help others? How could I give back? During my treatment, my nightly prayer list grew to include cancer and Covid-19 patients, and my nightly gratitude prayer giving thanks for the blessings in our lives

The Hope Scarves organization gave to me and allowed me to give back. The organization has reached more than 16,000 individuals in all 50 states and 24 countries. The international non-profit shares hope with people facing cancer through giving away scarves, sharing cancer stories and funding cancer research. They sent me a beautiful shimmering cream scarf with a story from a cancer survivor. They asked me and I agreed to share my cancer story, which will be passed on to others to inform, inspire and empower them. The Lydia Project provides free ser v ices to indiv iduals f ighting any t y pe of cancer any where to facilitate healing. Their support includes ongoing correspondence and encouragement every month for at least twelve months. I have received beautiful uplifting cards from four volunteers, for which I am thankful 30

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Journey in Pink

my first assignment. TIP #5: Practice good sleep habits. Get 8 hours sleep for healing and wellness. Two other aspects of life should be mentioned because both contribute greatly to wellness and healing. Sleep is one. Sleep during treatment was sometimes difficult due to the localized discomfort from surgery as well as chemo and radiation side effects. Special pillows and doctorapprove over-the-counter medications helped, as did soothing music and aromatherapy. Frequent naps were my friends, and on many days my body demanded two-to-threehour naps. Post-treatment, I am needing fewer naps and mostly sleep well by practicing good sleep habits, including sticking to regular sleep times, reading quietly before bed

and have sent them cards in return. They also sent a handmade tote bag with personal items and a journal. I sent a donation and plan to become a correspondence volunteer. I was asked by a University of Maryland Shore Regional Health nurse and communications specialist to w rite about my breast cancer experience during Covid-19. My stor y was submit ted to and published by a national consumer website, Very Well Health, which is an award-winning online resource for understandable, reliable health information. My story was included with a few other women’s stories about struggling with breast cancer treatments during the pandemic restrictions. Most recently, I was asked by one of my nurses if I wanted to participate with a peer support organization to help other women with breast cancer. She thought that I would be a good mentor. I thought it would be a great opportunity to send it forward and that I would enjoy helping others going through treatment. Sharsheret is a Jewish organization that serves women of all faiths diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancers. I was interviewed by phone, participated in a webinar training session, received a training manual by mail and await


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Journey in Pink and eliminating caffeine or heavy food late in the day. TIP #6: Surround yourself with family and friends and a support system to share and help each other. Socializing is another healthy and necessary practice. We will be forever grateful for the love of our family and friends and for their staying in touch via visits, Zoom sessions, FaceTime, texts, emails, calls, cards, prayers, flowers and meals. It was healing and uplifting to see and feel the love that surrounds us. Our outside, distanced gatherings gave us a chance to laugh and talk about things of interest to family and friends and took us out of the cancer-focused loop. My new precious life journey will include the medical checkups, fun exercise routines, moving more, eating less and clean, practicing gratitude, sending it forward, 8 hours of sleep and spending time with family and friends. I will treasure each moment of every day and count each day as a blessing. I will continue to write, not about cancer, but about our beautif ul Eastern Shore and about, hopefully, more trips to local and exotic locales (when the pandemic allows) and other topics to benefit our readers. I will dabble in the visual arts again. I will plan more great adventures that don’t involve doctors and hospitals. I was inspired by other cancer

survivors’ stories and photographs in the book Picture Your Life After Cancer. The stories were solicited from readers of The New York Times and published by the American Cancer Society. They have inf luenced my thoughts and decisions as I move forward with my life post-cancertreatment. Life changes after a cancer diagnosis and is never the same afterward. Cancer both changes and shapes your life. I consider it an opportunity to learn and grow and update my bucket list with what I still want to do. I discovered more about myself. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. John said that I was stronger than he thought he would be under the same circumstances. I was surprised and do not agree. I have become more self-aware. I have become more aware of and in tune with others. I find myself 34


Journey in Pink

Coming for us in the middle of the pandemic, it was a punch in the gut, a totally unexpected surprise, wholly unwelcome, disruptive and the cause of huge changes. He wondered where it came from. Why did it happen? He is thankful for the knowledge and expertise of our medical team, who gave us confidence, and in our own research, which added to our trust and ability to make decisions. He thought that our education made it more manageable. He shared that it was emotionally hard and stressful and that he tried to be sensitive, patient, sympathetic and compassionate. I can confirm that he was. He upped his game! He is glad to have his partner back. He didn’t mind all of the driving to Baltimore for radiation treatments because we both agreed on that

continually thinking of how to help and support others the way that I was so generously and kindly helped and supported. I can more easily let go of the mundane distractions in life and, at the same time, value the routine. I am trying to laugh more and find humor in life’s absurdities. I crave laughter. I heal from laughter. I am trying to be only positive, joyful, blissful, cheerful and eager to return to normalcy, whatever that is. I asked my husband, John, my partner, primary supporter, caregiver and best friend, for his thoughts as we close this chapter on our lives. He said that like the COVID pandemic changed our lives and lives around the world, the cancer diagnosis was also a major game-changer for us. 36


Journey in Pink

and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

treatment program. He was fine with and is still doing all of the shopping and meal preparation (I am still at risk for infection and so do not go to stores, etc.). He thinks we have come out of the experience stronger, happier and healthier, and with a greater appreciation for the early detection and treatment of the cancer. He is hoping that the treatment worked, knows that it is a wait-and-see but we are prepared for whatever comes our way and moving forward. I am glad that he is attending to his medical checkups, enjoying time with his friends and again pursuing his interests in archery, dog training, fi shing and hunting. Meanwhile, I am cherishing the thought that I am a survivor. I am in remission. It’s time to celebrate. In celebratory gestures, our daughter, Holly, created a collage of photographs from my Pink Journey, and John planned a two-week family getaway. It’s party time!!! I have initiated my new precious life journey. What better to use as a guide than Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Defi nition of a Successful Life:

Special Note: Many thanks to Anne and John Farwell, owners and publishers of the Tidewater Times, for allowing me to share my Pink Journey with readers and for their love and support during my adventure. It has been an empowering experience for me, and I hope others have benefited from my sharing. Some helpful websites: Susan G. Komen: https://secure. info-komen.org/ Sharsheret: www.sharsheret.org/ Hope Scarves: https://hopescarves.org/ The Lydia Project: https://www. thelydiaproject.org/ The National Breast Cancer Foundation: www.nbcf.org The American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics

Bonna L. Nelson is a Bay-area writer, columnist, photographer and world traveler. She resides in Easton with her husband, John. 38


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Farming in Talbot County in the 1930s From the letters of ‘Bess’ and Sallie Caulk

by James Dawson a lot of money for a farm in 1839, even if it was for prime waterfront property on Island Creek. People didn’t much care about waterfront views then, but in those days of bad roads, the water provided convenient access for shipping crops from farms to markets in Baltimore and else-

Recently when going through papers in an old family desk, I found some wonderfully descriptive letters written in the 1930s by my greataunts, Elizabeth “Bess” and Sallie Caulk of Trappe, when they were trying to sell their big waterfront farm on Island Creek Neck. Written to a prospective buyer, who did, in fact, buy the property, these letters give an intimate and detailed view of farming in Talbot County just before the coming of the telephone and electricity. It ’s a m a z i n g ho w muc h h a s changed in eighty-some years. Farming was much more diversified then ~ raising several different crops instead of mostly the corn and soybeans of today. Yields were lower then, but expenses were less, too, and help was cheaper. Also, in the days of horses, no one needed to buy expensive fertilizer like farmers need to do now. But first, here’s a brief history of their Isle of Rays farm. Joseph Caulk bought 338-1/2 acres of land in Trappe District from John Stevens in 1839 for $10,000. This seems like

Bess and Sallie Caulk 41



OXFORD, MD 1. Thurs. 2. Fri. 3. Sat. 4. Sun. 5. Mon. 6. Tues. 7. Wed. 8. Thurs. 9. Fri. 10. Sat. 11. Sun. 12. Mon. 13. Tues. 14. Wed. 15. Thurs. 16. Fri. 17. Sat. 18. Sun. 19. Mon. 20. Tues. 21. Wed. 22. Thurs. 23. Fri. 24. Sat. 25. Sun. 26. Mon. 27. Tues. 28. Wed. 29. Thurs. 30. Fri.


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Farming in Talbot County

Joseph and Mary E. Caulk where on schooners that could pull right up to the farm wharves. Not to mention the added opportunities for fi shing and oystering. To make the purchase, Joseph borrowed $5,000 from his father, Major William Caulk, of Lostock farm in Bozman. Although Lostock had been the Caulk family homestead since 1705, legend has it that Major William was motivated to get his son Joseph removed some distance away from the clutches of Mary Elizabeth Haddaway, whom he disapproved of for some reason, so a farm all the way across the county in Trappe seemed perfect. And for this, Joseph was to pay his father $500 a 46

year on the loan. Not counting the seven slaves needed, which were $500 extra. Joseph had only made one partial payment of $225 on the loan when William died in 1841. So Joseph got the farm and then, perhaps to no one’s surprise, got the lady, too, when he married Mary Elizabeth Haddaway in 1842. Apparently Trappe wasn’t far enough away after all to be out of the reach of true love. It is said that Isle of Rays got its name from the way the rays of the morning sun slanted through the trees and across the lane, but the name could also have been inspired by Maria Southworth’s best-selling 1851 novel The Mother-in-Law: Or, The Isle of Rays, which has vivid descriptions of sunlight reflecting on water and trees on an island farm. Perhaps someone in the family had read that book. Joseph died in 1858 and was buried in the back lawn with a great view of the water. In 1866, Mary Elizabeth planned to split the farm between her two sons, William H. and John K. William H., being the first born, would get the better half, with the brick manor house that Joseph built in 1845 using bricks made on the property. The hole from which the clay was dug was visible for many years. When Mar y Elizabeth died in 1868, the farm was divided. However, when the unmarried William H. died unexpectedly of typhoid

r Fo ty ll bili a C ila a Av


Farming in Talbot County

which sale was so noteworthy that it was mentioned in John K.’s obituary when he died in 1913. Mary S.E. Caulk died in 1926 and left each of her five children equal shares of her farms. Three of her children, Owen, Elizabeth “Bess” and Sallie, who were living on Isle of Rays, bought out the shares from their two siblings, and Owen ran the farms until his death in 1931, when Bess and Sallie took over the management of Isle of Rays, the neighboring Milan Farm, which Owen had purchased in 1910, and the original Lostock farm, which was a notable accomplishment for two women in the days when farming was, and still is, male oriented.

fever in 1870, his younger brother, John K., inherited William’s half and the farm was complete again. John Kersey Caulk married Mary Susan Elizabeth Caulk, and they had five children. Mary S.E. Caulk was his first cousin. Curiously, marrying one’s first cousin wasn’t all that unusual on the Eastern Shore then and may help explain some of the eccentricities found among the natives. Besides farming, John K. specialized in raising high-grade Jersey cattle and prize-winning trotting horses. He sold one horse, Phil Daugherty, winner of many races at the Talbot County Fair, for $2,200,


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Farming in Talbot County

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This finally brings us up to 1936, when the management of 800 acres was getting to be too much for the two single ladies, so they wanted to downsize, sell Isle of Rays with its big house, pay off the two mortgages Owen had taken out and buy a small house in Trappe. By now, waterfront property was being appreciated for its aesthetic reasons by rich come-here from out of state who were buying up beautiful estates from the now land-rich and cash-strapped former gentry who couldn’t maintain them, especially in the Depression years. Isle of Rays was listed for sale by the Eastern Shore Estates Co. of

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sisters, excerpts from which follow. My comments and additions are in brackets,

farm land. The soundest and safest investment in America today. One which every member of the family can enjoy. EASTERN SHORE ESTATES CO. Centreville Queen Anne’s County - Maryland Booklet “OLD HOMES ON DEEP RIVERS” sent on request.”

Feb. 4, 1936 Dear Mr. Voshell, Your letter received. There are around two hundred seventy five acres [the acreage was actually 339] and about two hundred in cultivation. We have found a diversified cultivation of cropping system is the best therefore along with wheat, corn, peas and tomatoes. We raise cows, sheep and pigs also chickens and turkeys. This is an excellent stock farm. Peas have paid well grown for the canners and they also build up the soil. We raise about a ton to the acre

The accompanying photo showed that Isle of Rays’ house was completely covered by ivy, except for the roof and areas cut out for the doors and windows! This ad was seen by Ber tram Voshell of Orange, N.J., who worked for what is now Mobil Oil in their New York office, which prompted these fascinating letters from the Caulk

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Farming in Talbot County

He farms his land but lives in the village and has a hired man on the place. On the right side our neighbor rents his place on shares and he is well pleased with the result. We plant our own seed wheat and seed corn and we buy clover seed. We planted $25 worth last spring. Two years ago we planted alfalfa for hay and that will last several more years. We have 18 acres and cut it four times last year. We have already about thirty five acres plowed last fall for tomatoes, but peas and sweet corn in the spring. We hire two men for fifteen dollars a month. They also get their house and firewood on the place. Three hundred pounds of hog meat per year and six barrels of flour a year. The wheat we take to the local mill and have their flour ground also the hogs are raised on the place for their allowance. When we have to have daily help to get off the wheat, corn and hay we pay from one dollar a day to a dollar fifty. The taxes on the place are about $234.00. Ours are paid up until next August when we get a discount. There are two houses for the hired men on the place and also a stable and shed extra across the field where we keep sheep. I enclose the drawing I made. If there is anything else you do not understand I will answer any question to the best of my ability and if at anytime you wish to come down if you will let us know a day or so before you can come we will be here

which is a good crop and after the peas are off put the same land back in corn thereby raising two crops on the same land the same year. Tomatoes yield well about ten tons to the acre. When tomatoes were a good price my brother’s check was six thousand dollars for one year on twenty five acres. Corn yields around forty bushels to the acre and wheat twenty to twenty five bushels to the acre. I am sure that the money invested in this farm will pay good interest as well as a good living. One of our neighbors told me yesterday that his farm paid him well.

Bess Caulk drew a map of Isle of Rays in 1936. 52



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Farming in Talbot County

New York City, My sister and I have talked over your plans of renting the place and we both think that we cannot do that because we might lose the chance of a sale of the property from someone who may want a farm such as ours. We do know of a man about thirty six years old and his wife they have two little boys. They are thoroughly reliable and dependable… They would do anything you wish and would take care of the place in every way and I am sure you would be delighted with the result… We could promise also to look out for things here in your absence as far as lay in our power so you would not need to be worried about

to show you around. [Elizabeth’s drawing was a map showing the locations of the various crops and the woodland.] There are several beautiful sites for building on the farm and the farm could easily be divided into two smaller farms if you wanted to sell part. Very sincerely Elizabeth Caulk Trappe Talbot Co. Maryland We own the farm next to this one. April 13, 1936 Dear Mr. Voshell,


to pay the expenses but on a small farm the production is so little that it does not quite amount to enough to pay expenses. The roads have greatly improved since your visit and today is a good drying day. We hope to get some oyster shells and scrape our road. We surely did enjoy your visit last Saturday. Please give our kind regards to Mrs. Voshell and tell her now is the time to start her flower garden. very sincerely Elizabeth Caulk

that what is happening when you are not here and I am sure that the proceeds of our farming would pay all expenses. I am sorry I could not give you an account of the proceeds of our farming but we have carried on these 800 acres [in three farms] as one farm. My sister has just looked over the amounts we took in last year and it amounts to around six thousand. When my brother was living his peas amounted to four thousand. You cannot always know what your intake may be. Down here the farmers generally help each other in busy seasons and we could help your men and yours could help ours. The advantages of having a place the size of this farm is that you can raise enough produce

“Isle of Rays” Aug. 7, 1936 My dear Mrs. Voshell, ....We have 800 acres of land and


Farming in Talbot County

Coronation? [of George VI] Sincerely Elizabeth Caulk

we feel if we sell one of our three farms we can make the other two more valuable. We expect to put in a telephone at Isle of Rays as soon as we can get the poles cut and set up but next week we have a very good crop of sugar corn that we have to get off. Sincerely Sallie B. Caulk

October 12, 1937 Dear Mr. Voshell, I have just received your letters and the map for which I thank you. [Apparently, Bess had asked for the letters to be returned, which accounted for them still being in her desk]. We are trying very hard at the present time to get the wheat planted and if this good weather keeps up I believe we can soon get through… We do not plan to cut any trees until we get all the farm work done and Sam did say our woods would be all right but I was afraid he might be mistaken. We cannot start to build until sometime in the spring anyway. As for the Kersey blood you have just as much in you as I have. [Curiously, the middle names of both Voshell’s and Elizabeth’s fathers was Kersey]. I have a piece to read you about them when you come. Please give us a little notice before you come if possible. Sam [one of the hired men] wants to smooth the road up a little and we might be out somewhere. You will have to have a key so you can get in anytime. It’s beautiful here today I wish you could see it. I am glad Mrs. Voshell arrived safely and sorry she can’t go to the Sale with us on Thursday. Very sincerely Elizabeth Caulk [The Voshells bought Isle of Rays

May 28, 1937 Dear Mrs. Voshell, We were glad to get your letter and have intended writing to you before this and telling you to come down anytime you would like and bring your brother. The place looks very lovely just now. We had a lot of rain last night and everything looks like it had been washed. We have a telephone now and our number is Trappe 340 so if you happen to be down this way just call us up. We are getting ready to put down a little wharf and I have just finished painting my boat. We have been wondering if you and Mr. Voshell had gone to the



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Farming in Talbot County

lane has been splendid all winter. I certainly hope the electrical current will not cost much to install. I do not believe it will if we can prevail against Mr. Spring who is now in Florida according to the Star-Democrat. I have written to Mr. German to about putting it across from Stevenson’s to the Point Field... Your bulbs are coming up around the front of the house. They look nice and green. I surely hope and pray that you will be very happy here. With best wishes Sincerely Bess Caulk

on Dec. 2, 1937, taking a $21,000 mortgage from the Caulks as part of the purchase price.] December 15, 1937 Dear Owners of Isle of Rays, How do? It hasn’t snowed yet, but it sure does look like it won’t be long. We haven’t had any zero weather either. Sallie and I went to Cambridge yesterday to do some shopping and get some flour from the mill and we went to Easton on Saturday the 10th and pay the interest on the mortgage which I know you will be glad for you didn’t know what would happen if we didn’t. …I believe everything is all set for a happy Christmas and look out for the turkey and hope to get off the first of the week. We decided as long as you couldn’t come here that the big bird had best go to Orange and we hope you all will have a very joyful time. Sincerely E.C.

My friend Holly Eliot, who manages several thousand acres of her family’s farms in the Midwest, has the following 21st-century take on the Caulks’ farming letters, “This is very interesting! It does appear that crops were more diversified back then. Elizabeth mentions ‘the canners’ taking the peas, and I’m guessing the tomatoes, too, since she gives the yields in tons. I wonder if the cannery industry is still in business on the Eastern Shore? [No, the canneries are long gone, for the most part. J.D.] “I think it’s marvelous that they could get two full crops in one year! I don’t have experience with fresh green peas, which would obviously be harvested earlier than dried soybeans, but it’s cool that they could harvest them and then plant a new crop of corn the same summer. Also

Feb. 8, 1938 My dear Mrs. Voshell, ... it’s perfectly beautiful weather today. We worked the road up early yesterday morning that is we ran the logs over it and smoothed out the rougher places. Sallie says if we could jump from one piece of gravel road to the other we would be all right. The county road as far as the 60

infringement. Isn’t that crazy?… “I love the account of how they had to drag a log over the road to smooth it, and the slow advance of telephone and electricity wires. It sure must have been a beautiful peninsula back then!” The Voshells lived at Isle of Rays for many happy years, finally selling it in 1960 to a new owner who changed its name to Roslyn. It was briefly run as a horse farm, then has since been sold several times and subdivided. Without a doubt, despite the name change, the morning sun still slants through the trees and across the lane just like it did over 150 years ago.

it’s interesting that they recognized that legumes ‘build up the soil.’ “I’m impressed that two hired men could do all the work on all those different crops, haul the wheat to a mill, etc. But then again 275 acres is not that huge a farm. In those days, and even in my grandpa’s day, 200 acres could feed a family. Elizabeth says the investment would pay ‘good interest as well as a good living.’ Not anymore… “Yields have changed, too. Wheat yields have doubled, to around 40 bushels per acre, but corn yields have grown 4-5 times, to anywhere from 180 to 225 bushels or more per acre. And another thing - people don’t save their own grain for seed anymore, mostly because it would be a patent

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Queen Anne’s County The history of Queen Anne’s County dates back to the earliest Colonial settlements in Maryland. Small hamlets began appearing in the northern portion of the county in the 1600s. Early communities grew up around transportation routes, the rivers and streams, and then roads and eventually railroads. Small towns were centers of economic and social activity and evolved over the years from thriving centers of tobacco trade to communities boosted by the railroad boom. Queenstown was the original county seat when Queen Anne’s County was created in 1706, but that designation was passed on to Centreville in 1782. It’s location was important during the 18th century, because it is near a creek that, during that time, could be navigated by tradesmen. A hub for shipping and receiving, Queenstown was attacked by English troops during the War of 1812. Construction of the Federal-style courthouse in Centreville began in 1791 and is the oldest courthouse in continuous use in the state of Maryland. Today, Centreville is the largest town in Queen Anne’s County. With its relaxed lifestyle and tree-lined streets, it is a classic example of small town America. The Stevensville Historic District, also known as Historic Stevensville, is a national historic district in downtown Stevensville, Queen Anne’s County. It contains roughly 100 historic structures, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located primarily along East Main Street, a portion of Love Point Road, and a former section of Cockey Lane. The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center in Chester at Kent Narrows provides and overview of the Chesapeake region’s heritage, resources and culture. The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center serves as Queen Anne’s County’s official welcome center. Queen Anne’s County is also home to the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (formerly Horsehead Wetland Center), located in Grasonville. The CBEC is a 500-acre preserve just 15 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Embraced by miles of scenic Chesapeake Bay waterways and graced with acres of pastoral rural landscape, Queen Anne’s County offers a relaxing environment for visitors and locals alike. For more information about Queen Anne’s County, visit www.qac.org.




Rediscover the simple joys of a rural getaway! Stroll or pedal along scenic trails, visit a farm, explore our small towns, or camp under the stars at our state parks. We’re open for you, if you’re

VisitCaroline.org 64

Caroline County – A Perspective Caroline County is the very definition of a rural community. For more than 300 years, the county’s economy has been based on “market” agriculture. Caroline County was created in 1773 from Dorchester and Queen Anne’s counties. The county was named for Lady Caroline Eden, the wife of Maryland’s last colonial governor, Robert Eden (1741-1784). Denton, the county seat, was situated on a point between two ferry boat landings. Much of the business district in Denton was wiped out by the fire of 1863. Following the Civil War, Denton’s location about fifty miles up the Choptank River from the Chesapeake Bay enabled it to become an important shipping point for agricultural products. Denton became a regular port-ofcall for Baltimore-based steamer lines in the latter half of the 19th century. Preston was the site of three Underground Railroad stations during the 1840s and 1850s. One of those stations was operated by Harriet Tubman’s parents, Benjamin and Harriet Ross. When Tubman’s parents were exposed by a traitor, she smuggled them to safety in Wilmington, Delaware. Linchester Mill, just east of Preston, can be traced back to 1681, and possibly as early as 1670. The mill is the last of 26 water-powered mills to operate in Caroline County and is currently being restored. The long-term goals include rebuilding the millpond, rehabilitating the mill equipment, restoring the miller’s dwelling, and opening the historic mill on a scheduled basis. Federalsburg is located on Marshyhope Creek in the southern-most part of Caroline County. Agriculture is still a major portion of the industry in the area; however, Federalsburg is rapidly being discovered and there is a noticeable influx of people, expansion and development. Ridgely has found a niche as the “Strawberry Capital of the World.” The present streetscape, lined with stately Victorian homes, reflects the transient prosperity during the countywide canning boom (1895-1919). Hanover Foods, formerly an enterprise of Saulsbury Bros. Inc., for more than 100 years, is the last of more than 250 food processors that once operated in the Caroline County region. Points of interest in Caroline County include the Museum of Rural Life in Denton, Adkins Arboretum near Ridgely, and the Mason-Dixon Crown Stone in Marydel. To contact the Caroline County Office of Tourism, call 410-479-0655 or visit their website at www.tourcaroline.com. 65


Sweet Endings What’s for dessert? During the day, except for fruit, dessert is probably the thing you skip. But when you are making a special meal for friends or family, dessert is the good part ~ the smile of relief in the seriousness of life! The dessert should be the final perfect touch to a good meal, and my main

course always determines what I serve. If I have served a light dinner, I usually prepare a rich dessert to follow, and with a heavier main course, my dessert is always light. The main advantage of making cookies, pies and muffins from our own kitchen is that they are cheerfully irregular and lumpy. People


Tidewater Kitchen who love good food are suspicious of perfection. They know that a machine can turn out perfectly regular crust or muffins, etc., but who needs that? Good desserts look as handmade as they are. Many of the desserts included here are classics and favorites of my son, Keillan. They will make a special occasion out of an ordinary supper or a picnic at the beach. Whether they come out of the oven picture perfect or a bit lopsided, their taste will be spectacular MOLASSES GINGER SNAP COOKIES 3/4 cup butter, shortening is best 1 t. ginger 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1/4 cup molasses 2 cups f lour 1/4 t. salt 1 t. baking soda 1 t. cinnamon 1 t. cloves

1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup butter, softened 2 eggs, room temperature 1-1/2 t. vanilla 2 cups all-purpose f lour, plus 2 T. 1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. baking soda 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup toffee chips, optional

Mix all ingredients together at once. Form dough into balls. Roll dough balls in sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Place sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer. Attach bowl and f lat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and mix for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape the bowl. Turn to Speed 4 and beat for 30 seconds.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES You can make these in your stand mixer. The speeds and mixing time make the cookies really soft! 68

1/2 t. cinnamon 2 t. baking powder 1/4 t. salt 1/2 t. nutmeg 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup shortening 1 egg 1/2 cup pumpkin 2 t. milk

Sift f lour, salt and baking soda together. Gradually add f lour mixture to sugar mixture on Stir Speed, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to Speed 2 and beat for 30 seconds. Add chocolate chips and toffee chips on Stir Speed and mix for 15 seconds. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Tip: Chilling the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour, no matter how the dough is shaped, can inhibit spreading in the ovenand thus prevent the cookies from becoming too thin.

Sift the dry ingredients together. Then cream together sugar, egg, shortening, pumpkin and milk until just blended. Do not over mix. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes on the 2nd shelf. Makes six muffins. BANANA BREAD 1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar

PUMPKIN MUFFINS 1 cup f lour


Tidewater Kitchen 1 t. vanilla 2 eggs 1-1/2 cup2 all-purpose f lour, sifted 1 t. baking soda 1/2 t. salt 1/4 cup buttermilk 1 cup ripe bananas In a bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat again until well blended and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir gently only until moist. Fold in bananas and nuts and pour into a

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greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350°. BAKED APPLE CRUNCH For the filling: 6 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 cup sugar 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 t. nutmeg 1/2 t. ground cloves For the crunch: 1/2 cup flour 4 T. sugar 3 T. butter 1 t. vanilla extract Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

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Combine apples, sugar, cinna70

mon, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl. Stir to coat apples and place in an 8” pie pan. Preheat the oven to 350°. To make the crunch, combine the flour, sugar, butter and vanilla and work the mixture between fingers to make crumbs and drop on top of apple filling. Bake for one hour or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then serve warm with fresh whipped cream or powdered sugar. WHIPPED CREAM This is a wonderful topping for fresh fruit, ice cream, cake or hot cocoa. If the dessert is sweet, don’t add any extra sugar. The whipped cream is better if served immediately after

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1 t. ground cinnamon 1-1/2 T. butter For dough: 1-1/2 cups all-purpose f lour 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 5 T. ice water- very important! Equipment: 8-inch pie pan Peel and cut apples into thin slices. Stir the 3/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl until they are thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the apple slices. Toss the slices with your hands until they are coated with the cinnamon sugar. Set aside. Making the Dough Turn the oven to 400°. Make sure it is on the middle oven rack.

whipping. 1 cup heavy cream 2 t. confectioners’ sugar 1 t. vanilla Chill the cream, the metal bowl and the beater in the refrigerator. Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Beat in the sugar and vanilla, and continue beating just until the cream stands up in peaks when you lift the beaters. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to an hour until ready to use. Serve in a chilled bowl. ALL-AMERICAN APPLE PIE 7 large firm apples 3/4 cup sugar 72

dough-lined pie pan, then cover with the other rolled dough. Using the prongs of a fork, press down the edges of the dough all the way around the pie. This seals the edges. Make a few slits so the steam will escape. Bake for 40 minutes.

Place f lour in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening. Blend together using either a pastry blender or a fork. When most of the f lour and shortening has been transformed into lots of little lumps and the mixture looks like grated cheese, you have mixed enough. Make a well, and add the water. Stir with a fork to press the dough together until it forms a ball. Divide the dough ball into two equal parts. Leave one in the bowl, and roll out the other between two sheets of wax paper. Place the rolled dough into the pie pan. If the dough is hanging over an inch, trim it with scissors. Roll the other ball of dough for the top of the pie. Pile the apple slices into the

PUMPKIN PIE Yield: 2 pies 1-1/2 cups pumpkin 1 cup sugar 1/2 t. salt 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 t. nutmeg 1/2 t. ginger 3 eggs, beaten 1-1/2 cups milk Follow pie crust recipe and di-


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HOT FUDGE SAUCE This is a great Hot Fudge Sauce. Always make sure you use a good quality chocolate. This makes about 2 cups of sauce. 6 T. unsalted butter 1/2 cup water 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate 1 cup superfine sugar or brown sugar 3 T. heavy cream 1/8 t. salt 2 t. vanilla extract Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed 1 quart saucepan, then add the water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar. When dissolved, add the heavy cream. Add the chocolate, stirring until it melts completely. Boil and make sure everything is mixed

rections in previous recipe. Line two pie plates with crust and set aside. Mix together pumpkin and next five ingredients; add eggs and milk and mix well. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. VANILLA ICE CREAM (makes about 1 quart) 2 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 cup milk 2 cups whipping cream 1 t. vanilla extract Combine eggs, sugar and milk with a mixer. Stir in cream and vanilla extract. Place mixture in an ice cream maker. Once ice cream is thick enough to stick to the back of a spoon, add chocolate chips or any favorite mix-ins. This is a fun and easy way to make ice cream. 74

1/4 cup heavy cream Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and beat for about 30 seconds. Serve this delicious sauce hot or cold. It is wonderful over coffee ice cream. A longtime resident of Oxford, Pamela Meredith, formerly Denver’s NBC Channel 9 Children’s Chef, now teaches both adult and children’s cooking classes on the south shore of Massachusetts. For more of Pam’s recipes, visit the Story Archive tab at tidewatertimes.com.

together. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. EASY BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE 3 T. margarine 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)



Easton Smiles

Second Annual Dental Outreach Day A day of FREE dentistry Soistman Family Dentistry & Associates is hosting their second annual Easton Smiles event on April 10, 2021. Easton Smiles is a day of free dentistry for our community! The purpose of Easton Smiles is to give back to the community and provide dental care for those who may not have the opportunity to have their dental needs met. Participants will have the option of a cleaning, extraction or filling free of charge. There are no stipulations for this event (no insurance verification, no financial documentation needed, etc).

There will be no reservations or pre-registration ~ services are performed first-come, firstserved only. Easton Smiles is ready to serve community members here in Easton and the surrounding towns and counties. Soistman Family Dentistry & Associates plans to assist approximately 90 patients. Dr. Jonathan Soistman stated “This event is so important for many reasons. During these interesting times, we have seen our community come together by helping each other out in many different ways. At Soistman Family


Easton Smiles Dentistry, generosity is one of our core values. Giving back and serving our community is our duty. We are excited for the opportunity.” Easton Smiles will take place at Soistman Family Dentistry & Associates, 400 Marvel Court, Easton, on Saturday, April 10. Registration will begin at 7 a.m., and it is anticipated that lines will begin to form earlier than this. The event will conclude at 1 p.m., or once all available appointments have been filled. Make sure to arrive early, dress for the weather and consider that there may be a wait for services. The event will be following all

CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Please arrive wearing a mask. Temperatures will be taken and COVID screening forms will be completed onsite. Social distancing will be required. The entire Soistman Family Dentistry and Associates team is looking forward to giving back to the community. If you would like to sponsor or donate to this event, please contact and direct all questions to soistmandentistry@gmail.com soistmandentistry@gmail.com.

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by K. Marc Teffeau, Ph.D.

It's Finally Spring! Finally, spring has arrived! The landscape is in full color with the azaleas, rhododendrons, spirea, forsythias, dogwoods, crabapples and a host of other plants in bloom. Remember not to prune these spring-f lowering woody ornamental plants until AFTER they have

finished blooming and before the middle of July. While we are busy dodging the proverbial April showers, there is lots to do in the landscape and garden. You can still transplant cole crops ~ broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower,


Tidewater Gardening

them from freezing temperatures.

kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and Chinese kale ~ in early April. Make repeated seedings of spinach and lettuce until the end of April. Don’t rush the planting of warm season vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. The soil temperature is still cool, and this temperature will restrict the root growth of warm season crops. We also usually get frost at the end of April or in early May, and this will damage warm season transplants that are set out too early. If you have these vegetables in the garden and a frost is predicted, cover them with empty plastic milk jugs, paper hot caps or a Reemay-type fabric to protect

If you are a raised bed gardener, you have a little advantage in getting certain crops in earlier. The soil in raised beds tends to warm up more quickly, and this, plus the use of a fabric like Reemay, will help it to retain some heat. In normal years, these methods will give you a 10-day to two-week start on the production of broccoli, cabbage and summer squash. In addition, the fabric will provide some earlyseason insect control if you handle it carefully and keep the crops covered until it gets too warm during the day. Observe your daffodil and other spring bulbs while in bloom this


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To keep the planting going, you can fertilize bulbs upon emergence of foliage with a 10-10-10 fertilizer, using a rate of 1 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet. Repeat the application after the bulbs have bloomed. If we have warm weather in April, we might be looking at planting annuals in the landscape a week or two earlier than normal. When purchasing bedding annuals this spring, choose properly grown plants with good color. Buy plants with well-developed root systems that are vigorous, but not too large for their pots. Also, when you are out shopping for annual flowers for your garden, look for plants with lots of unopened buds. Plants that bloom in

spring to be sure they have not been shaded by the new growth of other tree or shrub plantings. If they have, you may need to move your bulbs to a new, sunny location or prune back the plantings. Label the clumps of daffodils that are too crowded, as overcrowding inhibits blooming. Dig up the bulb clumps, separate the bulbs and replant in July. Cut flower stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths and other spring-flowering bulbs as the flowers fade. Do not cut the foliage until it dies naturally. The leaves are necessary to produce strong bulbs capable of reflowering.

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the pack are often root bound and can be set back for several weeks after being transplanted. Plants not yet in bloom will actually bloom sooner, become better established and grow faster. In April, chrysanthemums pop up in the flowerbed. Lift, divide and replant them as soon as new shoots appear. Each rooted shoot or

clump will develop into a fine plant for late-summer bloom. Pinch out the top when the plants are about 4 inches high to thicken the plant. You can also take chrysanthemum cuttings now through mid-June for flowers during fall and winter in the greenhouse. Let’s not forget your perennial flowerbeds. Now is the time to do some planning and planting. A simple design technique to increase the apparent length of your flower borders when seen from inside is to place most of the warm- and hot-colored perennial plants (yellows, oranges and reds) nearest the house. Concentrate the blues, which tend to appear more distant, in the second half of the garden. Plant

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make the planting about 1-1/2 feet narrower and the path about 1 foot narrower at the end away from the house. If you would like to attract hummingbirds to the flower border this year, plant red or orange flowers. Monarda (beebalm) is a good perennial to provide nectar for these small birds.

some pink and mauve flowers along with the blues. Plants with silver foliage can be used to provide a unifying ground color throughout.

The actual dimensions of the borders and the paths separating them can help increase the illusion of distance. In a 20-foot-long border,

April is also a good time to scatter annual poppy seeds in flower borders. The fine seeds need no covering. Poppies have a taproot and, as a result, do not do well as transplants. Poppies are easy to grow, and they grow rapidly to provide colorful flowers in early summer. There are many different types and colors of poppies. If you are looking for a ruby red to deep purple flower color, consider sowing “Lauren’s Dark Grape,” which is available from Renee’s Garden seeds. Check out their website at reneesgarden.com.

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Mexican Zinnia or Amaranthus ‘Joseph’s Coat.’ Plant after all danger of frost is past, and plan for color until winter arrives. Late April is a good time to plant dahlia tubers in the flowerbed. If

For hot-weather color in the flower bed, consider one of the following: Gloriosa Daisy, Madagascar Periwinkle, Ornamental Peppers,



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you dug up and stored dahlia tubers over this winter, one easy way to determine if they have survived storage, is to sprout them indoors in a warm, well-lighted spot. If you have bare spots in the flowerbed, try filling them with moss roses or Portulaca. This drought-tolerant annual is easy to grow. Feed regularly to encourage blooms into the summer. Gardeners usually think about planting annual and perennial flowers to attract hummingbirds. You might want to think about adding some woody plants to the yard to provide nectar for our smallest native birds. Some common trees visited by hummingbirds are buckeye, horse chestnut, catalpa, apple, crabapple, hawthorn, silk tree, redbud and tulip poplar. Shrubs include azalea, beauty bush, coralberry, honeysuckle, lilac, New Jersey tea and red weigelia.


Tidewater Gardening In my experience, weigelia is one of the lesser used deciduous landscape shrubs. A native to North China, Korea and Japan, it is an easy plant to transplant and care for. With its dense, round form, it is often used as a foundation plant or in mass plantings or shrub borders. Weigelias grow and bloom best in full sun. Weigelias flower in late May and early June. They also bloom intermittently through the summer on the current season’s growth. Their showy, funnel-shaped rose-pink, white, pink, red, or purple red flowers bloom profusely in the spring, with a sparse and scattered repeat



Tidewater Gardening

scape. Traditional weigelias have green foliage during the growing season. However, many cultivars are available with varied leaf forms, colorful variegated foliage and anthocyanin-hued flowers, as well as a yellow-hued cultivar. These qualities add an interesting dimension to the plants. Dwarf cultivars are available and can be used as foundation plants or grown as container plants. As with many spring-flowering shrubs like lilac and forsythia, weigelias will benefit from renewal pruning. In mature plants, the older interior branches can be removed in late winter to improve the plant’s vigor and blooms the following year. Pruning is necessary after blooming to keep tidy ~ otherwise it will take on a weedy appearance. Happy Gardening!

bloom often occurring in mid to late summer. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. While weigelas adapt well to a wide variety of soils, they perform best in moist, well-drained soils. Many different weigelia cultivars are available to use in the land-

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Dorchester Map and History

© John Norton

Dorchester County is known as the Heart of the Chesapeake. It is rich in Chesapeake Bay history, folklore and tradition. With 1,700 miles of shoreline (more than any other Maryland county), marshlands, working boats, quaint waterfront towns and villages among fertile farm fields – much still exists of what is the authentic Eastern Shore landscape and traditional way of life along the Chesapeake. For more information about Dorchester County visit https://tidewatertimes.com/travel-tourism/dorchester/. 95


Dogs of State by A.M. Foley

Maryland led the nation in 1964, creating a tradition that has since been adopted by twelve other states. Maryland was the first to elect an Official State Dog, naming (of course) the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. One year later, Pennsylvania jumped on the bandwagon, formally selecting the Great Dane, though the breed is German in origin and not locally developed, as were Chessies.

Other states subsequently chose breeds and categories foreign and domestic. Selected breeds originating within state borders were: North Carolina’s Plott Hound, the Texas Blue Lacy, New Hampshire’s Chinook, the Alaskan Malamute and Massachusetts’s Boston Terrier. As for Delaware, it may be known as “The First State,” but it was late to this party, not naming the Golden Retriever as its State

Major and Champ Biden 97

Dogs of State Dog until 2016. Even then it was a tepid endorsement, qualified with an annual expiration date. Thus Golden Retrievers are currently dethroned, replaced with a blanket designation of Delaware “rescue dogs.” Delaware may have been inspired by President and Doctor Biden, who who, as private citizens Joe and Jill, adopted a rescue in 2018. Two years before Biden’s election victory, they adopted Major, a German Shepherd, from the Delaware Humane Society. Major has now gone from the pound to the White House, along with fellow Shepherd, Champ, purchased

from a breeder in 2008. So there are now two “First Dogs,” if such is possible.



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boarding the brig: “ . . . I found aboard her two Newfoundland pups, male and female, which I saved, and subsequently, on our landing the English crew at Norfolk, . . . I purchased these two pups of the English captain for a guinea apiece. Being bound again to sea, I gave the [male] pup, which was called Sailor, to Mr. John Mercer, of West River, and [the female] pup, which was called Canton, to Doctor James Stewart of Sparrow’s Point. “The history which the English captain gave me of these pups was, that the owner of his brig was extensively engaged in the Newfoundland trade, and had directed his [agent] to select and send him a

In the case of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, all of them are descendants of actual “rescues,” two dogs that were saved at sea in 1807 from a British brig sinking offshore into the Atlantic. The brig had foundered in an ocean gale while bound out of Newfoundland with a load of codfish for England. The storm swept away all the sinking brig’s boats. The helpless crew apparently abandoned all hope. They were described as “in a state of intoxication” by the seaman, George Law, who effected their rescue. Law was in charge of a boat launched from his uncle’s ship Canton, which had chanced upon the scene on its way to Baltimore. He wrote some years later of

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St. Michaels Map and History

© John Norton

On the broad Miles River, with its picturesque tree-lined streets and beautiful harbor, St. Michaels has been a haven for boats plying the Chesapeake and its inlets since the earliest days. Here, some of the handsomest models of the Bay craft, such as canoes, bugeyes, pungys and some famous Baltimore Clippers, were designed and built. The Church, named “St. Michael’s,” was the first building erected (about 1677) and around it clustered the town that took its name. For a walking tour and more history of the St. Michaels area visit https://tidewatertimes.com/travel-tourism/st-michaels-maryland/. 101

Dogs of State pair of pups of the most approved Newfoundland breed, but of different families, and that the pair I purchased of him were selected under this order. The [male] dog was of a dingy red colour; and the [female] black. They were not large; their hair was short, but very thick-


coated; they had dew claws. “Both attained great reputation as water-dogs. They were most sagacious in every thing, particularly so in all duties connected with duck-shooting. The [female] remained at Sparrows Point till her death, and her progeny were and are still well known, through Patapsco Neck, on the Gunpowder, and up the bay, amongst the duckshooters, as unsurpassed for their purposes.” George Law recorded this incident decades after the rescue. He was undoubtedly sought out by the sportsmen who had grown somewhat obsessed with the bloodlines of the canines that shared their duck blinds. Along the shores Law

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mentioned, the nineteenth century saw “gunning clubs” developed and refined by gentlemen whose own bloodlines ran to Maryland’s most prominent families. In Maryland history, Charles Carrolls are beyond number, but in 1783 Charles “The Barrister” expanded his island holdings at the mouth of the Gunpowder River with a tract he named the Shooting Ground. So, obviously, wildfowling was popular on Carroll’s Island decades before Sailor and Canton landed in Maryland. About the time of their rescue, a sportsmen’s club developed on the island that is credited with honing the retrieving skills of the pair’s progeny. The Carroll’s Island Wild Fowl

Shooting Club, which had hunting rights on the island pre-1833, became especially noted for developing the breed that became recognized as Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. In the introduction to C. John Sullivan’s Chesapeake Retrievers, Decoys and Long Guns, J. Fife Symington, Jr. speaks of these “noble animals” and the “reverence that early sportsmen held for these dogs.” Reverence is hardly an overstatement. Meticulous records survive of dog breeding on Carroll’s Island and in similar clubs ringing the upper Bay, records reminiscent of the Biblical Begats. Opinions differ as to whether Sailor and Canton were the same breed as Newfoundlands known

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Oxford Map and History




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Bonfield Ave.

First Street


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. Mill St


Oxford is one of the oldest towns in Maryland. Although already settled for perhaps 20 years, Oxford Oxford Bellevue Ferry marks the year 1683 177 166 as its official founding, 155 nd Stra St. 144 for in that year Oxford The 133 was first named by n a 18 8 19 9 hm Tilg the Maryland General k e e Assembly as a seaport Cr 122 St. n and was laid out as a son il W 11 East town. In 1694, OxSt. lair St. t nc 10 e Si rk St. Ma ford and a new town Oxford 9 t. Park hS called Anne Arundel son Hig 8 Richard . St (now Annapolis) were n Divisio St. selected the only ports of entry for the entire i Town Rd. non . eek Cr e B Ave Maryland province. n 3 isio t. Until the American S Div W. 2 Revolution, Oxford 1 t. S ne enjoyed prominence roli 7 ad Ro Ca d 333 Oxfor To Easton as an international Pleasant Oxford St. Community shipping center surCenter Hbr. Robes t. 4 C rounded by wealthy E. Pier St. Pier St. tobacco plantations. Oxford Today, Oxford is a © John Norton 6 5 charming tree-lined and waterbound village with a population of just over 700 and is still important in boat building and yachting. It has a protected harbor for watermen who harvest oysters, crabs, clams and fish, and for sailors from all over the Bay. For a walking tour and more history visit https://tidewatertimes. com/travel-tourism/oxford-maryland/.

Dogs of State today, or perhaps were St. John’s Water Dogs, sometimes called Lesser Newfoundlands. Regrettably, this latter breed in its purest form is now extinct, but undoubtedly survives in some measure in its larger cousins, as well as in Labradors and other retrievers. The rescued “Newfoundlands” and their progeny were bred with other strains already used along Chesapeake shores to retrieve waterfowl. By 1876 a recognizable new breed had emerged, traceable to both rescued pups, and shown at a bench show in Baltimore. Rod and Gun and American Sportsman magazines reported “a display of

Chesapeake duck dogs, a breed of surpassing excellence for the purpose for which it is used.” Their double-thick coat colors were described as either brown, sedge or dead grass. The undercoat made them virtually waterproof on frigid winter retrieves. In addition to distinctive physical qualities, adherents described them in terms such as “noble,” “sagacious,” “hardy” and “unrivaled.” Lured from New York to Maryland, J. Pierpont Morgan and other prominent bankers and businessmen maintained a club on Spesutie Island, active from the 1890s until the property was sold to the Army. A stone “mystery monument” found standing there was assumed

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to mark the grave of a favorite retriever but later proved to be the burial ground of mere mortals, a

family named Gallup who pre-dated moguls on the island. Despite the political clout of

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Dogs of State such well-connected club members around the Upper Bay, beginning in 1917 their prime locations were gradually absorbed into the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. Carroll’s Island became part of the chemical laboratory and testing site designated as the Edgewood Area. From the First World War through the Cold War, military usage was relatively exempt from environmental concerns. Then, in the 1990s, the Department of Defense began to study what the 20th century’s wars and near-wars had induced them to create, test and/ or dispose of on Carroll’s Island.

Pentagon-ese described their creations as “military unique chemical agents.” In plainer English, the Edgewood Area was said to have tested “every toxic chemical known to man.” Ironically, the Shooting Grounds had once been a century ahead of time in environmental and wildlife preservation efforts. Because of its ideal location near the Susquehanna River, Carroll’s lay on the Atlantic Flyway, where the first settlers measured f lights of canvasback by the mile. By the early 1800s, market gunners and impatient sportsmen had devised ever-more-lethal harvesting methods, putting a noticeable dent in duck populations. As their sport became impacted, a

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Oxford Business Association April Calendar

2-4 – Scottish Highland Creamery Opening Weekend. Open Fri-Sun, 12 – 8 p.m.; 314 Tilghman Street, Oxford; scottishhighlandcreamery.com 3 – Cars and Coffee - Anyone can come out and enjoy cars, coffee, and camaraderie. If you have a new, classic, or other interesting automobile, you and your car are welcome. Sponsored by Prestige Auto Vault and Doc’s Sunset Grille. Oxford Community Center. Free; 8:30 -10:30 a.m. 3 – Fred Hughes Jazz Trio Virtual Concert from the Oxford Community Center stage. Fred Hughes has performed in all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, and Europe. A sampling of the jazz festivals at which he has performed include the Newport, Montreux, Nice and North Sea Jazz Festivals. 5 - 6:30 p.m. $35 pp. Visit oxfordcc.org or call 410-226-5409 for more info tickets. 5, 9 or May 17 – SILK All-In-One Mineral Paint Demo & Instruction - Use Dixie Belle’s new Silk All-InOne mineral paint on practice boards. Morris St; 5-6 p.m.; $10 pp; Space limited to 6, social distancing, mask required. For more info or sign up, go to treasurechestoxford.com or 410-924-8817. 12, 22 or May 26 – All About Waxes to Finish Your Chalk Mineral Paint Project - Learn about finishing your chalk mineral paint furniture. 10% off all paint product purchases during the class. The Treasure Chest, 111 S. Morris St; 5:30 - 7 p.m.; $36 pp; Space limited to 4, social distancing, mask required. For more info or sign up, go to treasurechestoxford.com or 410-924-8817. 17-18 – Zoom conference “The Journey of a Hollywood Idea.” Do you have a good movie idea? TV? Have you ever wondered how the studio system works? This weekend is for you. Join Liza Ledford as she welcomes five studio executives via zoom to tell us how it works. In partnership with the Chesapeake Film Festival. Tickets are $75, discounted $65 for WIFTV members. Visit oxfordcc.org or 410-226-5409 for tickets & more. 19, May 13 or 21 – Bring Your Own Piece Furniture Painting Class. Three chances to learn how to use chalk mineral paint to paint and seal it! Furniture piece should be on the small side. The Treasure Chest, 111 S. Morris St; 5:30-8:30 p.m.; $65; Space limited to 3, social distancing, mask required. Pick your date and sign up at www.treasurechestoxford.com or 410-924-8817. 24 – Oxford Walks 21654 Celebration and Awards. Get your picture taken at the finish line. Outdoors, masked and socially distanced, but come together. 10 a.m. at Oxford Community Center - Free coffee. 26 – Oxford Community Center Annual Meeting. Zoom meeting and installation of new board members with a virtual happy hour; 5 p.m. Oxfordcc.org or more info. 26 – Beginner Chalk Mineral Painting Class. All materials provided. 10% off any paint or supplies purchased the night of the class. The Treasure Chest, 111 S. Morris St; 5:30-8:30 p.m.; $45; Space limited to 4, social distancing, mask required. For more info or sign up, go to treasurechestoxford.com or 410-924-8817. 29 – Capsize Restaurant Season Opening Open 7 days a week, 11am – 9 pm; 314 Tilghman Street, Oxford; capsizeoxmd.com; 410-226-5900 May 14-16 – Oxford’s Fine Arts Fair – Virtual Show and one day “Pop-Up Exhibit and Sales.” Don’t miss the dynamic Sneak Peak Preview Show online Friday the 14th, as well as Saturday 10-4 p..m online and outdoor gallery. Lunch and Strawberry shortcake available carry-out on Saturday. Sunday virtual show and raffle!

Check www.portofoxford.com calendar for event updates and ongoing events.

Oxford Business Association ~ portofoxford.com 109

Dogs of State number of gentlefolk joined an efforts to curtail market gunning. In 1833, they successfully petitioned legislators to ban night-shooting and “guns so large they cannot be fired from the hand” in Baltimore County. Through all this history, with a little help from their friends, retrievers gradually perfected their craft and diversified. A Chessie’s soft mouth and good nose made him ideal as a Prohibition Era “Hooch Hound” and as a modernday search-and-rescuer and bomb or drug sniffer. *** My personal history with Chesapeakes is somewhat iffy, as there was something questionable in my beloved Chuck’s background,

just as some mystery attached to antecedents of Sailor and Canton. Chuck had the trademark Chessie amber eyes, smiling expression, oily brownish coat and love of Chesapeake waters (particularly Fishing Bay). He could pass for a purebred in a casual glance or a quick whiff. Chuck had one fault, and that one defect brought him to my house. His prior owner was a hunting guide who was disappointed to discover that his promising-looking pup was gun-shy. Needing a working dog, the guide was happy to pass Chuck along to serve as a mere companion ~ a role he filled brilliantly. He was loyal to a fault and eager to “ride shotgun” with anyone who was unarmed. Early of an evening one December, the Elliott Island wags were sitting in their usual spots in Miss


Nora’s Store, planning to enter the fire company’s secondhand tanker in the Cambridge Christmas parade. With no Dalmatians on the island, one suggested, “We could use Chuck for our fire dog.” “No,” said his neighbor, “if one of those old trucks backfires, we might never find him again.” Forty-some years ago, A.M. Foley swapped the Washington, D.C., business scene for a writing life on Elliott Island, Maryland. Tidewater Times has kindly published portions of one upcoming work, Chesapeake Bay Island Hopping, along with other regional musings. Foley’s published works are described at www.HollandIslandBook.com.

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Weaving Creativity with Yolanda V. Acree by Tracey F. Johns

Writing and journaling have always been part of Yolanda V. Acree’s self-care practices. She’s been entwining nouns and verbs as an author and blogger much like her maternal ancestors have been weaving and knitting fibers and other textural materials over generations. Acree uses her writing as part of her journey looking inward, which began when she was a young girl growing up in Caroline County. Now she makes her home in Federalsburg with other family members nearby (she is the youngest of eight siblings) as they await the arrival of Acree’s baby, who is expected this spring and who may be among the family’s next generation of creative thinkers and artists. Acree says she became more serious about her writing through maturity and feeling more confident about transitioning her writing abilities as a blogger and author. She began her minimalist lifestyle blog in 2014 at yolandavacree. com, where she keeps an online diary and explores minimalism, with features on “The Hillbilly African” and “Melanin Habits.”

“Journaling as a kid made me more comfortable expressing myself and my emotions through writing,” says Acree. “Journaling requires taking things in, not commenting but absorbing it, sitting with it, and then writing it out to make sense of it. It’s a journey looking inward.” In 2017, she became the founder and one of the main content


Weaving Creativity creators for blackminimalists. net, an online community of individuals who identify as black and live a minimalist lifestyle. Other co-founders include Kenya Cummings, Farai Harreld, and Anekia Nicole. Mindful Simplicity, Acree’s book published in 2019, explores mindfulness-based strategies to declutter and organize through a step-by-step guide that includes practical tips, helpful advice and daily inspiration so that readers can spend more quality time and energy on the people and things that matter most. “Callisto Publishers came to me

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Weaving Creativity in 2019 to write a story based on their concept,” said Acree. “I executed and wrote Mindful Simplicity.” The book is available through major retailers Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as on her blog site. Acree also embraces her gift and spirit of storytelling as a collage artist. This past September, one of her pieces was featured in the Dorchester Center for the Arts’ Artist for Justice: Portraits of Black Lives Lost exhibit organized by artist Nancy Tankersley. The show focused on black lives lost to brutality and terrorism, with Acree’s work representing a black transgender woman, Mya Hall of Baltimore, who was killed by NSA police on March 30, 2015. Acree also curated the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore’s first black art show this past November and December. Connecting Kuumba Through Community: Black Fiber Artists Showcase explored quilting, crochet, fashion and accessory design, collage and

more, and featured both heirloom pieces and the creations of local and regional artists. “Kuumba” means creativity in Swahili and is the sixth principle of Kwanzaa, an African American celebration of family, community and culture.

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Weaving Creativity “I didn’t understand much about Kwanzaa until a couple of years ago,” Acree says. “Attending Caroline County’s first Kwanzaa celebration in 2019 helped me learn that the celebration is principle- and values-based, much like minimalism. Our Showcase explored the principles of Kwanzaa through art.” She says the exhibit included several of her own collages, plus the quilting work of artists Renata Philippe and Dedra Downes Hicks. Acree’s mother, Althea Massey, exhibited crocheted pieces, while her aunt Aleta Groce contributed a crocheted blanket that had been made for her in the early ’90s.

In addition to being a writer, collage artist and community change agent, Acree works as an online ESL tutor, helping adults and international students learn English. Acree says she relies on her English to help teach the classes. She is currently working with Brazilian, Taiwanese and Turkish students. She says the people that have been her guiding light and have her admiration are overwhelmingly black women ~ starting with her mother as a fiber artist. “I grew up with a creative mother,” says Acree. “My grandmother, my mother, my aunt ~ they are all very strong people who taught me to believe in myself. They went beyond taking care of me and taught

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Weaving Creativity me to live well despite the challenges and struggles of life.” Acree also finds inspiration from the likes of Harriet Tubman and Denton native Anna Murray Douglass ~ a free black woman who worked and lived in Baltimore, where she met her husband, Frederick Douglass. She went on to support her husband financially so that he could escape slavery. Acree experiences joy through

being able to connect with people through her art and writing, and from practicing self-care and love. She says the biggest challenges to the work she does include the solitary practice of writing and finding self-motivation. “When you are internally focused, as writers are, you can overthink things and doubt yourself,” she says. “Another challenge that most creatives deal with is wondering, ‘will my work resonate with someone else?’”

From left: Kiesha Hynson, Yolanda Acree, Samara Massey, Althea Massey, and Aleta Groce. 120

Her aspirations include becoming a mother this spring and finding more ways to marry her interest in black history on the Eastern Shore with her collage work. She’s also pursuing writing a book about black history on the Eastern Shore. “Living as authentically and unapologetically as I can is important to me and to black women in particular,” she says. “We need to be ourselves and not apologize for everything we are. Now that I’m bringing a child into the world, I want to be that example. I want my child to know they can be free and explore whatever they want.” Much like the arts in her family, collective liberation and personal freedom will be among the priori-

tized values Acree plans to instill in her child, bringing hope in humanity to a new generation with strong black women the guiding lights to help lead the way. Tracey Johns is a storyteller, engaging local, regional and national audiences through her words and photography. She has worked in communications, marketing and business management for more than 30 years, including non-profit leadership. Tracey’s work is focused on public and constituent relations, along with communication strategies, positioning and brand development and project management.

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The Lion, the Church and the Library: Dustin Carpenter in Cambridge by Michael Valliant

It’s always been about books for Dustin Carpenter, who considers books his main form of training for life and work. And these days, as Pastor for Anchored Church in Cambridge and working at the Dorchester Library, sharing stories is how Dustin connects with community. Dustin, his wife Mandy, and their three daughters Lilly, Juliette, and

Emily, moved to Cambridge in February 2019, to help plant, or start, Anchored Church, a process which began in the summer of 2018. “We were looking for a place, both a place to live and a place to worship, and we were just hitting brick walls,” Dustin said. “And there was a church here in town that was closing down and they said they wanted to see gospel ministry

Mandy, Juliette (5), Dustin, Emily (4) and Lilly (12), Carpenter. 125

Dustin Carpenter continue, so they worked with us on the building and the parsonage and that’s been phenomenal—having a building right off the bat that’s paid for has helped us cement ourselves and say that we’re here and we want be a part of the neighborhood.” Even through COVID-19, Anchored has had 50 people active in the new church. A number of them are younger, who were at first skeptical about church. As well as older members who liked what they saw at Anchored. “People have told us that what attracted them to our church is that we are like a family, we are here in your life and will be there through

thick and thin. And there has been a desire for a deeper Gospel preaching.” Dustin’s call to faith was unlikely. He was born in Indiana and when he was five years old, he was diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor, a kind of kidney cancer. There was a comic book store down the street from the hospital and they gave him comics to read while he was there. The doctors caught the cancer early enough, stage three, that they could address it. Dustin’s family moved when he was seven, and one of the reasons they picked Maryland was the proximity to Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, in case his cancer ever came back. Though he grew up an atheist,

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Dustin cites comic books as one of the things that helped him develop an ethical code. He was (and is) a big fan of Batman, to the point where he got a full ride to college to study criminology. He went to school at University of Baltimore and became a Christian three months into his freshman year. He changed his major to philosophy and started leading Bible studies. One of the students who was a regular in Bible study asked if he could bring his pastor. “I was picturing an older guy with a collar coming and in walks this 30-year-old with a mullet and a mohawk, who had just moved from Greensboro in Caroline County, to plant a church in one of the worst neighborhoods in Baltimore,” Dustin said. “And I thought, ‘this guy’s a pastor?’ And he took me under his wing and I did an internship and that’s where I really got the taste of wanting to plant a church and pastor it.” After college, Dustin attended Faith Theological Seminary in Baltimore. He considers seminary his initial training, though he says his training has always been books. “It’s who we are as humans ~ we love stories,” he said. “Take a look at how popular the Marvel show WandaVision became ~ the reason each episode had a theme is because Wanda fell in love with the stories that brought her comfort and longing for home ~ through 127

Dustin Carpenter Bewitched, or I Love Lucy, or The Brady Bunch. Stories can save us. I think we are made, or as Christians, saved to read, in a sense. And as a pastor, I think we have the greatest book, because it’s the greatest story ever told. And as C.S. Lewis said, ‘the myth became fact.’ It’s the stories in the Bible that capture us.” Most churches that are starting out can’t afford to pay a pastor a full-time salary. And Anchored is still in its early growth. When he began as the church’s pastor, Dustin was working as a supervisor for UPS. But he loved libraries and became a board member at the Dorchester Library. He was hoping an opportunity to work there would come up. And it did. Dustin works in the information department, both at Cambridge

and Hurlock, doing circulation and information. “I have always wanted to work with books,” he said. “On top of that, working at the library, I am out in the community and meeting people in new ways. I have so many conversations about almost everything.” So what are some of the formative books for the pastor and the librarian? Here are a few of Dustin’s favorites. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and all of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. “I started reading the Narnia books when we had kids and I keep re-reading them. They are where I get most of my sermon illustrations from. You can see all of Lewis’s non-fiction books played out in Narnia.” The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller’s epic graphic novel of an aging Batman. “In that book, Miller





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Dustin Carpenter asks so many big questions: what does it mean to leave a legacy? What does it mean to be someone who can stop injustice, but who lets it happen. I first read “Dark Knight Returns” when I was 12 and I am still blown away by it.” Homer’s The Odyssey. I didn’t read this until graduate school, and I don’t know how many times I’ve read it now. Andrew Kern, president of the Circe Institute, said, ‘Homer is significant because he started The Great Conversation, gave birth to The West, inspired and taught the Greeks and therefore us, wrote virtually perfect poetry, thought about every great idea deeply, embodied

them in story and is the best philosopher who ever lived.’” Nuff said. Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin. “This might be my favorite book of all-time. Calvin often gets a bad rap from people

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who haven’t read him. With many theology books, the author is writing to an academic audience, and the writing it dry and fact-based. Calvin is trying to write something beautiful that speaks to the subject matter.” Anchored Church is on an upward trajectory. They are building community. The Dorchester Library is one of the most active libraries on the Mid-Shore. And Dustin and Mandy are home-schooling their girls, a job which Mandy takes the lead for. Life is busy and full. What does looking ahead hold? “I want to see our church grow, lay down roots here, and I really want to be a writer,” Dustin said. “That’s something I really I want to

do. The first book I want to write is a theology book about following Jesus, that gives a systematic theology for everybody. I saw a statistic that something like 75 percent of Americans read one book a year. And the rest aren’t much higher than that. And I want to write a book that I can give to someone and say, if there is only one book you read this year, this should be it.” Michael Valliant is the Assistant for Adult Education and Newcomers Ministry at Christ Church Easton. He has worked for nonprofit organizations throughout Talbot County, including the Oxford Community Center and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

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All American Part XIX of a novel in many parts

by Roger Vaughan Previously: The year is 1988. Andy Thomas made an ill-advised tactical call during a race in 50foot sailboats that nearly caused a dangerous collision. His father, Mitchell (at the helm), was livid. Later, at the awards dinner, a drunken Andy delivered a public declaration that made it virtually impossible for Mitchell Thomas, a well-known amateur sailor, not to mount a Round the World Race challenge. Okay, you know the rest, but if you missed anything or need a refresher, go to www.tidewatertimes. com (writers, Roger Vaughan), where you can find all previous chapters. ***


n dy had dozed off. Becky shifted in his arms, waking him. “Wow.” Andy was still in another world, his first visit to that place where love and the convergence of souls reduce the speed of light to a crawl, creating a weightless, delirious limbo and providing a momentary hallelujah glimpse of all things

perfect. Organ music, full stops. He was still suspended, just starting to feel gravity reclaiming him. His mind felt the way fingers prickle after being sleep-bound. “Spectacular,” Becky whispered in his ear. “You knew.” “Yes. So did you, I’ll bet.” “I have to admit. . .” “That’s why, well, there’s a lot of important stuff, but this, I mean, priorities are so vital.” “We had to finish what we started 15 years ago,” Andy said. “That would be 17 years. . .” “And how many days?” Becky laughed. “Thirty-four days and ~ what time is it ~ 14 hours.” “Really?!” “You bet.” She laughed. Becky slipped out of bed and stretched, pulling her hair back. Andy couldn’t believe the extraordinary view, the beauty. “Come on, get dressed,” she said. “Lots to do.” She opened the door and gave a signal. Gus dashed in and jumped on the bed, licking Andy’s face. A lot of animal, Andy thought. Formidable.


All American

ous colors. “The colors indicate seasonal Lucky he’s willing to share. bird activity,” Becky said, joining Andy at the map. “Ducks ~ Coots, ndy loved Sam Cotton’s cab- Mergansers ~ are in red. Scaup are in. It was very basic, a hunting and blue, Snow Geese green, Brants are fishing camp that reflected Sam’s brown. I can’t imagine shooting a nature. It was small, with a large Snow Goose. They are so pretty. mud and laundry room off a living You’ve seen them circling in the room/kitchen that was built around midday sun, the way the light keeps a fireplace in which a proper wood changing. Gorgeous. It’s a crazy stove had been installed. There was place. Getting out to the Sound is Sam’s bedroom, which Andy now like running a maze. Some of the had a fondness for, and across the channels dry up at really low tides. hall a bunkroom for Sam’s buddies. And they change. The other cotBoth bathrooms had a drain in the tages out here are closed up by now. middle of the floor for easy clean- Only my father keeps his place going. Oil-filled radiators kept those ing all winter. He loves it here yearrooms warm. round.” The cabin was “No kidding. Why Getting out to the one of five that had haven’t I ever been Sound is like been built on a hilly, here?” running a maze wooded island of “Too busy, I supabout 1000 acres pose.” Becky gave surrounded by a confusion of tid- him a look, then a smile. al streams, creeks and channels She went to the side table and leading to Long Island Sound. Gus picked up the box Myrtle had delivflopped down on his bed next to the ered to her. It was the size of a shoe wood stove. Andy set up a teepee of box, varnished teak and holly, with the dry kindling Sam kept handy dovetailed corners and brass hardand torched it off while Becky made ware. An art piece. She put it on the tea. Then he studied the map of kitchen table. the area pinned to the wall in the “Handsome,” Andy said, his finkitchen. A path was indicated, lead- gers caressing the finish. ing from the house a hundred yards “Ossie’s work.” or so through woods and scrub to a “I could have guessed.” boathouse. The four other camps on “Myrtle delivered it to me the day the island were indicated. Blinds for after Deedee died.” hunting were noted by push pins. “You know what’s inside?” There were inked notations in vari“I’ve seen and read everything.




All American

the handwriting. “I’ll read it if you wish. I know it Sam’s read it. He’s the executor of by heart.” Andy handed her the letter. the estate.” “First she says she wrote it by “He told me that in Punta. He hand so there would be no missaid I’d better be nice to him.” “You’d better.” take about its authenticity. Then it Andy had to admire his mother’s goes on: “‘For some months I have organization. It felt good that the known I have cancer of the pancrebox had been previewed and that as, stage four. I have a few months Becky was so comfortable about left. Only Myrtle and I know this, urging him to open it, so he did. and the doctor, of course, not that it Two envelopes were on top. One ad- would matter to Mitch, whom I am dressed in Deedee’s unmistakable certain is trying to end my life. My shaky but formal hand to Sam and green medicine has had a distinctly Becky, and one to him and Becky. sweet taste of late. If only he knew he needn’t bother. It’s my little surBoth had been opened. “Huh,” Andy said. “So much for prise for him.’” “Damn, are you personal and confiThe woman Mitch is kidding? Christ, dential.” currently seeing is could she be right?” “Hey, my name is “There’s more: on it, too. She wantcalled Isha ‘The woman Mitch is ed it all on the table,” Becky said. “You can read Sam’s currently seeing is called Isha. . .’” “Stop!” and my letter, but it’s mostly legal details you can pore over later. Read Andy’s head was in his hands, eyes closed, the better to take in ours.” Andy sat down and opened the this onslaught of information, the envelope. Becky brought him a mug better to speed-scan cloudy imof tea, then watched him squint at ages of oh-so-subtle glances here

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and there between Mitch and Isha at dinners and cocktail parties at the Club, split-second glimpses of touches that he ignored at the time or passed off as totally innocent, or maybe just letchy, under the influence of too many drinks. But it made sense. It definitely made sense. Two of a kind, for Christ’s sake. Another puzzle piece. He knew Mitch had always had women on the side. Everybody knew, Deedee included. But Isha? Whew. Blind. Then again, when Isha had come along, he had been blind most of the time, totally pissed about everything, pissed from drinking all the time, just carrying on the family tradition, his mother’s side. Isha was suddenly there for the taking,

and that wasn’t all bad. She liked the money, of course, but exactly why she had shown up, or who she was, had never occurred to him. But Mitch? Ho, boy. “Okay.” “‘But I am at peace,’” Becky continued reading. “‘There are facts you should know. Mitch is not your biological father. I probably should have told you this long ago, but I try not to regret that decision. Your well-being was always first in my heart. Your real father is a man named Grady Smith, a New Zealander who was my father’s boat captain. How I loved Grady. He was living in Australia when I last heard. When I became pregnant, Father was outraged. He was embarrassed!

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“Sit. There’s more.” Andy sat down carefully. “Old What would people think. . .of him! Randolph,” he said. “What a conAbortion was out of the question. summate bastard. What a paranoid Me marrying a lowly boat captain fool, what a son of a bitch. Pathetic. was out of the question for Ran- Can you imagine doing that to your dolph Moss. Instead, he threatened daughter? You know, she told me he Grady, sent him away and arranged called her to his bedside when he for Mitch, his ambitious protégé at was dying, told her he was leaving Moss, to be the acceptable father of her everything, everything except what she wanted most ~ his recogmy unborn child.’” Andy held up his hand for Becky nition of her talent, her ability. You to stop. He got up and walked un- know why? Because he didn’t want steadily to the window, eyes brim- her to think for a minute she was as ming with tears. He turned to good as he. On his death bed that Becky. “It must be Christmas,” he narcissistic mad genius reached said, “because I’ve received two out and severely damaged her. His amazing presents today. Now I dispatching of Grady Smith had to have been a terrible learn Mitch is not I might have blow. Mean. Cruel. my fucking father, sent you to your death Unforgivable. And oh my God, can you Mitch! Randolph believe that? I must on The Race could really pick ’em. have known inside, all these years, I must have known. But when her own beloved dad told her she wasn’t worthy, that’s what I knew! I did.” “I knew you would like that part,” really crippled her.” “Listen,” Becky read on: “‘For Becky said, going to him and laying a hug on him that rang bells and years Sam has thought Mitch was made him feel like he was in the trying to harm you. I never agreed with him until lately. He told me clouds.

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He’s 80, don’t forget. He thought it was just, you know, locals having a about being attacked in the taxi in go at a ‘rich American.’ It didn’t ocPunta Del Este. Now I fear I might cur to him until it was too late that have sent you to your death on The the thugs might have been commissioned.” Race.’” “Who has control after Sam?” Andy had his head in his hands “I do.” again. He was in free fall, running “So I’d better be nice.” more tapes, the gunshot in the tun“Right.” nel ~ that was for him? ~ that ugly “And you’d better be careful. If he meeting in Mitch’s office about The Race, harassment on the boulders went after Sam. . .” “I know.” at Outward Bound, nearly going Andy sat down at the table. He over the side during the first leg, the knife man and his meeting with and Becky looked at each other over Isha. . . Finally, he was putting it Ossie’s box. She looked fantastic: together with growing trepidation turtleneck, flannel shirt, hair in a hasty braid, bright-eyed. “Deedee that made him feel claustrophobic. left you everything,” “Sam was really attacked? In a He maced them, left them Becky said. “Full both mewling on the ownership of Moss taxi?!. . .” ground Optics. The property. “You didn’t know? Everything. I guess How could you. It was after the fashion show. Dad that would include the race boat.” grabbed a cab to the hotel. It turned She smiled. Andy wasn’t smiling. “It’s daninto an alley, and this guy and the gerous right now. Feels like Mitch driver came at him.” “He must be okay or we’d be at is closing in, trying to cash in big time, expand the deal he made with the hospital.” “He maced them. Left them both Randolph nearly 30 years ago, turn mewling on the ground. He car- it into his personal bonanza. He ries these little mace pens, pepper wants it all. It’s coming together. spray, has for years. We’ve always And Sam, you, me, we’re in the way. I don’t know the details, but Mitch kidded him about them.” Andy laughed out loud. “Sam. Je- has a plan. He’s got to be behind the Mountain View catastrophe.” sus. Did he call the cops?” “Sam is sure of it. Just another “No, he just wanted to get to his hotel. He had a golf date the next way of discrediting you, trying to morning and a plane that after- break you. We’ll know soon enough. noon. He was anxious to get to bed. I’m told we now know where your 142


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tal. Andy recognized it as a favorite of Deedee’s. “Myrtle was smart man George Cooper went to ground. enough to pick this up, with a napSomewhere in Malaysia.” kin, from Deedee’s bedside table “Malaysia!” after she fell asleep the night she “They’ll find him.” died. It’s been to the lab. They found “So stupid. You know who intro- insulin residue in it, and Mitch’s duced me to him? Jeff reminded me. fingerprints. And, of course, Myrtle Isha!” saw him deliver it.” Becky shook her head. “That’s Andy got up, walked to the winwhat happens when dow and stared out The car was you let your. . .” at the fields dusted moving fast along “Yeah, yeah, I lightly with patches know.” of snow. The tan the causeway “We’ve got Mitch.” dead grasses and Becky pulled a photograph from scrub beneath showed the dreary the box and handed it to Andy. It winter patina of a Wyeth landscape. was a shot of an old-fashioned glass The snow had stopped, but the day inside a plastic evidence bag. The was gray, the temperature in the glass was a delicate piece of crys- low 30s.

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Tilghman’s Island “Great Choptank Island” was granted to Seth Foster in 1659. Thereafter it was known as Foster’s Island, and remained so through a succession of owners until Matthew Tilghman of Claiborne inherited it in 1741. He and his heirs owned the island for over a century and it has been Tilghman’s Island ever since, though the northern village and the island’s postal designation are simply “Tilghman.” For its first 175 years, the island was a family farm, supplying grains, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs and timber. Although the owners rarely were in residence, many slaves were: an 1817 inventory listed 104. The last Tilghman owner, General Tench Tilghman (not Washington’s aide-de-camp), removed the slaves in the 1830s and began selling off lots. In 1849, he sold his remaining interests to James Seth, who continued the development. The island’s central location in the middle Bay is ideally suited for watermen harvesting the Bay in all seasons. The years before the Civil War saw the influx of the first families we know today. A second wave arrived after the War, attracted by the advent of oyster dredging in the 1870s. Hundreds of dredgers and tongers operated out of Tilghman’s Island, their catches sent to the cities by schooners. Boat building, too, was an important industry. The boom continued into the 1890s, spurred by the arrival of steamboat service, which opened vast new markets for Bay seafood. Islanders quickly capitalized on the opportunity as several seafood buyers set up shucking and canning operations on pilings at the edge of the shoal of Dogwood Cove. The discarded oyster shells eventually became an island with seafood packing houses, hundreds of workers, a store, and even a post office. The steamboats also brought visitors who came to hunt, fish, relax and escape the summer heat of the cities. Some families stayed all summer in one of the guest houses that sprang up in the villages of Tilghman, Avalon, Fairbank and Bar Neck. Although known for their independence, Tilghman’s Islanders enjoy showing visitors how to pick a crab, shuck an oyster or find a good fishing spot. In the twentieth century, Islanders pursued these vocations in farming, on the water, and in the thriving seafood processing industry. The “Tilghman Brand” was known throughout the eastern United States, but as the Bay’s bounty diminished, so did the number of water-related jobs. Still, three of the few remaining Bay skipjacks (sailing dredgeboats) can be seen here, as well as two working harbors with scores of power workboats. 149

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the deck, steps led down to floating docks. There were lifts for two boats. “Did you say all the other places Sam’s duck boat was on one. Becky out here are closed up?” threw on the power and flipped the “Yes. I know because. . .” switch on the other lift that began “Expecting anyone?” Andy lowering Sam’s classic 1950s Chrispulled the powerful little scope Craft runabout. Andy grabbed the from his pocket. “Car down by the box, then pulled himself up on the Gatehouse.” boat and began removing the cover, “They’ll need a code to get in.” tearing at the cold snaps and zip“Not these guys.” Andy whirled pers. The boat lowered down at a around. “We’re outta here!” snail’s pace, the wire cables grind“Boathouse!” Becky said, step- ing on the rollers. It was maddenping into her boots, grabbing a jack- ing. Andy didn’t think they’d make et. She stuffed the letters and photo it. He’d heard the dull thunk of car into the box, slammed it shut and doors shutting. It wouldn’t take the picked it up. visitors long to search the cabin and Pulling on his jacket, Andy took pick up the foot tracks to the boatone more look tohouse. ward the Gatehouse. He went down hard on He jumped down The car was mov- the wet deck and slid into onto the floating ing fast along the dock and looked for a the freezing water causeway. Behind it, weapon. He grabbed the broken gate was open. “Come a long wooden boathook hanging on on,” Becky said. Gus led the way the wall, then took the three steps out the back door. Snow was fall- up as one. He slammed the boating again, and it was slippery un- house door, grabbed the hunk of derfoot. Becky went down but was small line hanging from the handle quickly on her feet again. The path and quickly secured it around a was narrowed by bushes sagging large nail protruding from the door down, heavy from ice and snow. jam. He grabbed a bucket with a They needed several minutes to line hitched to it, lowered it into get to the boathouse. It took all of the water and pulled up a load he Andy’s strength to wrench open the sloshed on the deck. He positioned door that was swollen shut. himself beside the door. It was a small boathouse, old, solBecky was in the runabout beid, but, like the cabin, without frills. fore it touched the water, pumping Inside the door was a narrow deck the choke, advancing the throttle, about three feet off the water that turning the key. The motor caught, ran the width of the building. From sputtered, quit. She tried again with 150

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All American the same result. Becky turned the key and the motor cranked again as someone began pulling on the door. On the third heave, the line broke and the door flew open just as the runabout’s engine roared to life, belching a thick cloud of black smoke into the boathouse. A man dashed into the boathouse. Andy drove the boathook between his legs. He went down hard on the wet deck and slid into the freezing water. The second man followed quickly, pistol in hand. Andy heard Becky’s low double whistle. In a flash, Gus leapt and sank his teeth into the second man’s wrist just as he fired. The round missed Becky, taking

out the runabout’s windshield. The man’s weapon clattered onto the deck and bounced into the water. Struggling to release Gus’s hold on him, the man howled in pain. Andy ran to the boat. Another whistle, and Gus leapt aboard. The boat was barely afloat, but it was enough. Becky threw it in gear, hit the throttle and the boat slipped off the lift just as the man in the water was pulling himself up on the transom. His face contorted in agony and he screamed as the propeller cut heavily into his foot, turning the boat’s wake a bad color. Becky threw the engine into neutral after blasting out of the shed. She dug in her parka, pulled out a small camera and grabbed a


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“No big rush. They’ll have to regroup.” shot of the boathouse and the two “That’s lucky.” men, one in the water, the other “Nice work.” collapsed on the deck. She put the “This boat’s always been a tough boat in gear and idled ahead. Becky start.” knew the way. She’d been running Andy wanted these guys. He was these channels with her father right that it would take them a while since childhood. Dead slow was the to get moving. One of them had to only way to stay afloat and weave be fished out of the water by a man through the narrow, barely visible with one good arm. Both of them channels overgrown with bushes. would need the bleeding stopped “You okay?” before they could travel. If he hadn’t “Look at that windscreen,” Becky drowned, the guy in the water had said, her voice a little shaky. “Sam is to be in shock. gonna be very upset.” Becky steered the boat slowly “Some dog.” Andy scratched through the channels. Andy was Gus’s head. baffled by how anyone could com“I shot a K9 story. mit all the twists and Andy swung the Gus had broken his turns to memory. leg. They were going boathook, catching him There didn’t seem to put him down. I to be any markacross the forehead took him. One of the ers. It all looked the trainers told me his commands. He same to him. But in less than five wasn’t supposed to. First action he’s minutes they had come out of the seen.” Becky gave a shiver. “Me, marsh bushes into a slightly wider too.” creek that ran under the old wood“Can you get to the Gatehouse?” en causeway bridge. No car was in “There’s a little duck-in before we sight. Becky reversed the Chrisget there.” Craft into a natural indention in the

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All American creek hardly bigger than the boat, and passed a stern line around the trunk of a bush. She cut the engine. The Gatehouse was about 20 yards away. Andy grabbed the boathook and a ball of heavy twist cotton string he’d found in a dashboard compartment. Becky tucked the box under one arm. They hurried to the cover of the Gatehouse. Andy dragged the bent gate back just enough so it blocked the road. They waited. It was a good twenty minutes before the car appeared, moving fast down the hill from the cabin. It skidded to a stop in front of the gate. The driver got out. He was in obvi-

ous discomfort. Becky recognized one of Sam’s scarves he’d rigged as a sling for his right arm. As the man struggled to move the gate, Andy stepped out of his cover and swung the boat hook, catching him across the forehead. By the time the man regained consciousness, his hands had been tied and he was propped up in the backseat with his sopping wet friend, who was unconscious. “He needs help,” the man muttered as he came around. “I think I can arrange that,” Andy said. “But first, you have to do something for me. You have to call Mr. Mitchell Thomas and tell him what he wants to hear.” “I don’t know any Mitchell Thomas,”


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Becky made a quick, low sound in her throat. Gus, who was sitting beside the car’s open door, focused his attention on the man and began growling in a way that made Andy’s skin crawl. The man’s eyes bulged with fear. “Okay, okay. . .” “You blow it, pull any tricks, and I will toss you to this dog like a bone.” Hearing the anger in Andy’s voice caused Gus to growl a little louder. Gus lifted his lip, showing fangs. Andy couldn’t remember when he’d seen a better performance from a dog. He was full of admiration. He darted a look at Becky. Their eyes met and held like those of two singers harmonizing. Andy produced the flip phone he’d

taken from the man while he was unconscious. “How is he listed?” “Boss Moss,” he mumbled. Andy dialed, held the phone to the man’s mouth. Gus growled again. Becky gave him a signal and he was silent. “Job done,” the man said into the phone. Andy fl ipped it shut. “Okay, now maybe we can fi nd a police station on the way to the hospital. Hope you don’t mind if my friend rides with you.” Gus jumped into the back seat between the two men and sat upright, looking serious. Roger Vaughan has lived, worked and sailed in Oxford since 1980.

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