Tidewater Times April 2024

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Tidewater Times April

& Mangold Real Estate 211 N. Talbot St., St. Michaels · 410-745-0415
Debra Crouch Benson
Tom Crouch:
Debra Crouch:
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3 Anne B. Farwell & John D. Farwell, Co-Publishers Editor: Jodie Littleton Proofing: Kippy Requardt Deliveries: Nancy Smith, Brandon Coleman and Bob Swann P. O. Box 1141, Easton, Maryland 21601 410-714-9389 www.tidewatertimes.com info@tidewatertimes.com Published Monthly Tidewater Times is published monthly by Bailey-Farwell, LLC. Advertising rates upon request. Subscription price is $45 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. Vol. 72, No. 11 April 2024 Features: About the Cover Photographer: Steve Fegan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Red Emperors: Helen Chappell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Cormorants - From China to the Eastern Shore: Bonna L. Nelson . . . . . . . . 21 To See the Shore with New Eyes: Michael Valliant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 The Factory - Weaving Tales of Artistic Evolution: Tracey F. Johns . . . . . . 51 All Quiet on the Sound (chapter 8): B. P. Gallagher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Tidewater Gardening K. Marc Teffeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Soul of the Shore: A.M. Foley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Tidewater Kitchen: Pamela Meredith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 11th Biennial Chamber Music Competition for Young Professionals . . . . . . 123 Captain Murphy's Oyster Tales: James Dawson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 Changes - Smart Guys Retrospective (part 2): Roger Vaughan . . . . . . . . . . 149 April Tide Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Easton Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Dorchester Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 St. Michaels Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Oxford Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Caroline County - A Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Kent County and Chestertown at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 Queen Anne's County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Departments:
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About the Cover Photographer

Steve Fegan and his wife Carol live in the St. Michaels area. Both were born and raised here. They’ve been married for 30 years and have two daughters - Sarah and Helen.

Steve graduated from St. Michaels High School and went directly into a carpentry career. He’s been self employed since 1996.

In 2004, the Fegans moved to their current home in the Mt. Pleasant area where she designs the gardens and plants the beautiful flowers that attract the hummingbirds. Some call it a sanctuary. They can never really count them all but at

peak activity in August there are at least 20 to 30 birds buzzing around. Its quite a show.

In 2006, Steve fulfilled a lifetime desire to build stringed instruments that include acoustic guitars and ukuleles. He completes one instrument per year while working full time with his contracting business.

Steve got himself a nice camera to photograph the guitars, and that turned into a hobby photographing hummingbirds!

To contact Steve, e-mail fegan. acoustics@gmail.com .

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Red Emperors

I drove past my old house the other day. It’s changed, of course, but I was distracted from missing everything I left behind. Because I saw that my Red Emperor tulips were still blooming in front of the house, after all this time.

Many years ago, I joined a group who wanted to watch spring creep from way down south to way up north. The way we did all this was to plant Red Emperor tulip bulbs. These scarlet bulbs are

the first to bloom in the spring. We could check their progress on a map as gardeners reported in on their progress, a red blurb slowly spreading from California to the Florida Keys, slowly climbing as spring arrived, until about a month or so later they were blooming in Ontario. Red Emperors seem to move north at a rate of a week to a fortnight, depending on where you live in your state. Watching them spread north on


Red Emperors

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screen as spring crept up was fascinating. It was a great community, and I enjoyed being a part of it.

Then, slowly, the color faded in the south as it moved into the Maritime Provinces.

Warm weather and sunlight seem to slowly come up from the Equator, according to the Red Emperor. Sure, there’s a whole scientific thing about this, but I like the romance of watching spring travel in red.

I also figured the Shore is about a week behind Virginia, and Cecil and Hartford are about a week or two after us.

The Red Emperor is a comparatively modest flower, neither

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Red Emperors

flashy nor complex. Master Gardeners and tulip collectors would pass it by in their colorful, carefully landscaped gardens.

It’s probably close to the first tulips, which first grew wild in central Asia millenniums ago. Someone must have liked them, because the bulbs traveled down to Turkey, where they pleased the Sultan so much he started to cultivate them, breeding more colors and shapes and exotic designs.

Tulips went on the Silk Road and traveled west, where they were always popular, but they started an absolute craze in Holland.

The climate was right, and the country liberated from Spanish rule was becoming one of the richest countries in the world. It was the Dutch Golden Age, when the arts and the economy flourished,

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Red Emperors

and everyone seems to have had a little disposable income.

Suddenly, tulip bulbs became so popular that people speculated wildly on them. Thousands of guilders were paid for a single exotic bulb. In short, it was the Bitcoin mania of its time. Whole fortunes rose and fell on tulip bulbs.

The upside of this is the varieties of tulips grew and grew, and in brighter colors. Striated patterns produced by a bacterial infection created a mania within a mania, and whole fields were devoted to cultivating these blossoms, spreading rainbows across the land.

While it lasted, what’s become

known as the Tulip Bubble caused a kind of scramble where bulbs were as good as gold. My speculation is that the Dutch were starved for color. Their Calvinism forbade any colorful clothing, and everyone went about in somber black and white. Flowers satisfied a thirst for life and color, tulips in all their rich and varied glory, easy to grow, easy to hybridize probably satisfied the same hunger for color and light and joy as the thriving arts scene of the time.

Of course, after a lot of hoo-ha, the Tulip Bubble burst and the price of tulips fell. Whole fortunes were lost. A bulb worth thousands was suddenly worthless.

But Holland never lost the love for the blooms, and it still pros -


Red Emperors

pers to this day. During World War II, when the Nazis occupied and starved the country, people were eating tulip bulbs just to stay alive.

Tulips are just as popular in the Americas as in Europe. Today, you can go to a garden center or open a catalogue and a hundred gorgeous tulips are out there, a long way from the modest Red Emperor. They’ve bred every kind of tulip you could imagine, but only one seems to elude the breeders. So far, no one has been able to cultivate a black tulip.

Sure, there are some deep purples, but nothing, not even the

popular Queen of the Night is purely black. Although I’m sure, someone in that commercial es-

tablishment is just that close to producing one. Meanwhile, my Red Emperors keep blooming every spring, the announcement that spring is almost over.

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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From China to the Eastern Shore

I first saw cormorants up close in China in 2013 while traveling with my friend Fran Teitelbaum. The sleek black water birds were perched on a small flat wooden fishing boat helmed by a bearded, grizzledlooking fisherman. We watched the cormorants diving for and catching fish with their curved bills in one of the many canals in the town of Tongli, nicknamed “Venice of the East,” about a two-hour drive from Shanghai.

Astonishing! We had never seen anything like it! When not fishing, the birds rested on wooden perches connected to the outer edges of the boat. Their throats were tied with a thin collar. They dove into the brownish water, retrieved fish and then presented their catch to the fisherman, who put the fish into a lidded basket. The cormorants served as the fishman’s fishing partners!

I next encountered the large black fishing birds on a boat trip with my


husband, John. We have always loved exploring the Bay looking for fish, birds, skates, dolphins, crabs and amphibians. He was fishing and I was reading when we drifted past Adams Island south of Bloodsworth Island, parallel to Deal Island, near the coast of Dorchester County, in the Chesapeake Bay. Loud bird calls and flapping and flying activity took my attention away from my book. We were floating near the Island and alarming the inhabitants. Adams

Island had become a cormorant rookery with birds and nests adorning a toppled Navy spotting tower. Brown pelicans, sea gulls and a few eagles also nested there.

Now more aware of the shorebird, I have since spotted them along the coast of the Chesapeake, sitting on piers and pilings, as well as floating and diving in the Bay. Since those first encounters with the cormorants, I have learned more about this fascinating bird.

In Southwest China, in Guangxi Province, cormorant fishing is considered a dying art according to thehindubusinessline.com . Dating back more than 1,300 years, the fishing practice seems to have originated on the muddy waters of the Li River. Fishermen tie a loose collar around the throat of the birds, as Fran and I had witnessed. They have trained the cormorants since birth to catch fish.


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The collar prevents them from swallowing larger fish, which they hold in their beaks to return to their master.

Larger fish are captured by multiple birds, a team effort. The birds dive to the bottom of the river, or other body of water, to locate fish. Often several birds jointly bring up their prizes from the deep. The captain of the fishing crew sings, croons, and whistles to the birds while they fish. He paddles his boat around in little circles with oars to keep the birds’ attention. When his basket is filled with the catch, he summons his “fishing crew” to the boat. They return to their perches, are tethered and receive a reward of small fish that they can swallow, even with the restricting collars.

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Multiple sources mentioned that the formerly successful fishing method was also popular in Japan and a few other countries but has mostly died out, replaced by more modern methods of fishing. However, cormorant fishing has become quite a popular experience for sightseeing tourists and thus the practice continues as art and entertainment rather than for catching fish and produces some income for the practitioners. I do not know if the fisherman that Fran and I watched was fishing for his dinner or for us. But he did not ask us or other passersby for money. He didn’t even seem to notice us. We were enchanted.

According to the Museum of Maritime Pets:

The cormorant is a beloved and ancient bird inhabiting the world’s shorelines. Cormorants were revered by early explorers and seal hunters because they never venture far from their shore nests and were a positive indicator of approaching land. Various types of cormorants reside or migrate to the Artic and Antarctic regions, as well as the other continents. They are commonly seen along the Chesapeake Bay, often nesting near piers and docks.

Back to my Chesapeake Bay cormorant encounter, I learned from the e-edition of Southern Maryland News (10/13/21) that Bloodsworth and Adams islands were used as

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a “Navy shore bombardment and bombing range for firing and dropping live ordinance from ships and aircraft that included bombs, small and large caliber ammunition, rockets, and missiles that contained explosives, propellants, and other energetics,” during the 1940s–1996.

The Navy has tried to remove the ordinance from the area, and due to its remoteness, it has become an active bird nesting colony. Representatives from the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River visit the islands

twice a year to check for unexploded ordinance revealed by rapid land erosion. They also observe and record wildlife.

Due to the sea erosion, the overturned Navy spotting tower is now mostly in the Bay. With the danger of unexploded ordinance a possibility, no trespassing is allowed on the islands. Boaters must stay seventyfive yards away from the Shore, as we did that day in May 2020, when we were delighted to observe the raucous cormorant rookery.

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It’s Like to Be a Bird , shared that “Cormorants are the most efficient marine predators in the world, catching more fish per unit of effort, on average, than any other animal.” No wonder the fishermen in China chose cormorants over fishing rods!

I consulted numerous resources for more information about the curious cormorants, including National Geographic Society, Field Guide to Birds of North America; Lives of North American Birds, by Kenn Kaufman; www.reconnectwithnature.org; U.S. National Park Service; and Bay Journal.

The cormorant’s fishing ability has much to do with their features. Sleek

black cormorants possess a slim, long and snaky-looking neck, long hooked bill, large-rounded throat pouch and penetrating turquoise

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eyes. The neck, bill and pouch features help seabirds catch and hold onto their prey. The bird’s feathers, wings and webbed feet propel them through the water to the depths necessary to reach their catch deep underwater.

The double-crested type of cormorant is the most common, numerous and widespread cormorant in North America and in Chesapeake Bay. They are so named for the double crest of two white tufts curving back from behind the turquoise eyes on breeding adults. They are also recognized by their orange throat pouch. They are found on rocky coasts, beaches, inland lakes and rivers.

The goose-sized prehistoric-looking seabird does not have waterproof feathers. Water helps to weigh down their feathers. Being waterlogged helps to keep them underwater for up to twenty minutes while chasing fish. When the water loving birds are not diving and fishing, they perch in groups, drying out with wings widespread on rocks, dead trees,

piers and other structures.

A very social bird, cormorants almost always nest in colonies, like the one we saw on Adams Island on the fallen Navy watch tower. They often nest with other types of water birds. Both sexes build the nest and may use the same nest for several years. The bulky nests are usually 1.5 to 3 feet in diameter and 4 to 17 inches high. They are made of sticks, seaweed and flotsam and are often lined with grass.

Both parents help incubate the eggs, resting the eggs on the webs of their feet. Up to seven pale blue eggs are laid. Both parents also help to feed the brood. Parenting equality amongst birds, yes!

What about food? Is it only fish, fish, fish? They do catch most of their food underwater. They swim along the surface dipping their head to look for prey before diving up to twenty-five feet or more. When they dive, their wings are usually tightly pressed against their bodies. Using their large, webbed feet, they rapidly propel themselves in pursuit of fish that they have already spotted with their special vision. Then they bring the fish to the surface to eat.

Though fish is their primary diet, they do enjoy frogs, salamanders, crayfish, snakes, insects and other sea critters. Interestingly, they swallow the catch head first. The flexible structure of their neck and throat allows them to swallow prey nearly as thick as their own head.



Because the cormorant consumes a variety of fi sh species and at a high consumption rate, they sometimes get a negative review by local fi shermen. Conservationists and anglers occasionally raise concerns about the growing population of cormorants and how it will potentially impact certain fi sh populations. But generally, they are respected as an integral part of Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem.

Considered natural swimmers, expert divers and skilled opportunists when it comes to fi shing, the gangly, dark-colored seabird beautifies treetops and other perching sites. We were impressed with the uniformity

of their colony and nests on Adams. They greeted us with squawks and wings fl apping as we admired their community and architecture.

Cormorants entertained Fran and me with their diving antics in Tongli, China. And they intrigued John and me with their flying, flapping, diving and carefully constructed nests on the tower grid on Adams Island in Chesapeake Bay. We hope to observe the world-renowned fi shing bird and other Bay denizens on our next boating adventure.

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


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Lona is a 3rd generation realtor in the family business with her father as the current broker since 1978.

To See the Shore with New Eyes

When there are palm trees in the field with grazing cows, you know aren’t on the Eastern Shore. Traveling, near or far, can stir the familiar and the absurd into postcards that both feel like home and Timbuktu at the same time. And spring is a time to stretch our legs, to use the added sunlight and warmth to stir ourselves up and move around.

Holly and I did what the spring breakers do this year: we went to Florida. Part of the trip was to visit her parents and a daughter there,

but it was also to indulge in some wanderlust, change the scenery and wake our bodies and souls up after a winter slumber. Though I have been up and down the east coast, and seen a fair amount of the country, I have not been a big traveler—in 52 years I have still never had a passport. Whenever I do travel, I try to bring something home with me, something that informs my daily life.

“Four Quartets” might be T.S. Eliot’s most quoted and least read book. It ends in a beginning, and


New Eyes appreciate even the extraordinary if it becomes routine? Traveling can be a reset button.

among the last stanzas are words that have been written on my heart since I read them:

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

Oxford is where I started. It serves as a benchmark in so many ways. When I walk down a sidewalk in a new place, my mind is comparing it to the brick sidewalks my Keds and Kangaroo tennis shoes walked on as a kid. When I see historic houses in Key West, it’s the houses on Morris Street, or in Easton, or St. Michaels that I have walked next to and been struck by most frequently that are speaking in the background aesthetically.

Sunrises and sunsets are stopeverything-and-watch events. They take precedence over anything else that is happening. Whether it is the park in town, the Tred Avon Yacht Club, or a picnic table at one of Campbell’s Boat Yards, Oxford’s sunsets are a reason all their own to be in the town when they happen.

But do we always take them in? Do our eyes grow too accustomed to things we see all the time? Is it possible to become complacent, to not

There is something about an Airstream trailer. At the beginning of Tom Robbins’ wild romp of a novel, “Skinny Legs and All,” a newly married artist couple are driving about the country in a chrome roast turkey—an Airstream motorhome with matching silver turkey legs welded onto it to change it from an egg into a turkey. I’ve had an eye for Airstreams prior to reading Robbins, but the silver roast turkey across America is a picture that has never left my mind.

We found an Aistream trailer to stay in at Geiger Key Marina, RV Park and Fish Camp, on Big Coppitt Key, just 10 miles outside Key West. It was on the water, with a picnic table looking at Saddlehill Key. I sat there with coffee, books and notebooks and watched the sunrise to the left, and we had happy hour there and looked to the right for sunset. Palm trees and mangroves are atmosphere changers.


New Eyes

From our Airstream, the restaurant was 15-20 yards by water and 75-100 yards walk. In the Keys, grouper is like rockfish on the Chesapeake Bay, and eating a Grouper Reuben sandwich at Geiger Key, sitting on the water, was a transcendent experience. People come in at night carrying fish filets from their day’s catch and the chef prepares it for them to order.

It might be a lot warmer, but the Keys have an Eastern Shore feel to them. The people there, the type of tourist who are drawn to be there, fishing and being on the water, and

feeling like you are in a Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, or Jack Johnson song the whole time you are there.

Closer than the restaurant were kayak rentals and guided tours from Key West Eco Tours. Holly and I were paired up with “Tortuga Jack” Hackett as our guide. His epic beard matched his spirited storytelling. He moved to the Keys from Chicago in 1979, after stopping over while sailing to St. Croix. He’s done work with the turtle population in Dry Tortugas National Park, and if you Google his name, the first thing you pull up is how he became Key West’s Poet Laureate on the heels of putting 50 poems he wrote around the town’s parks and businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Tortuga Jack was a fascinating

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3 month tides at www.tidewatertimes.com 9:27 10:31 11:40 12:03 1:03 2:00 2:56 3:50 4:43 5:34 6:25 7:16 8:08 9:07 10:10 11:1812:25 1:19 2:09 2:55 3:36 4:13 4:48 5:21 5:56 6:34 7:18 8:09 9:06 1. Mon. 2. Tues. 3. Wed. 4. Thurs. 5. Fri. 6. Sat. 7. Sun. 8. Mon. 9. Tues. 10. Wed. 11. Thurs. 12. Fri. 13. Sat. 14. Sun. 15. Mon. 16. Tues. 17. Wed. 18. Thurs. 19. Fri. 20. Sat. 21. Sun. 22. Mon. 23. Tues. 24. Wed. 25. Thurs. 26. Fri. 27. Sat. 28. Sun. 29. Mon. 30. Tues. AM AM PM PM 10:02 11:0212:48 1:49 2:44 3:33 4:20 5:05 5:52 6:41 7:32 8:27 9:26 10:26 11:27 12:24 1:21 2:06 2:43 3:17 3:50 4:24 5:01 5:40 6:23 7:10 7:59 8:53 9:50 2:49 3:57 5:15 6:34 7:47 8:54 9:56 10:57 11:56 12:55pm12:38 1:26 2:23 3:30 4:47 6:04 7:12 8:11 9:03 9:51 10:37 11:23 10:08pm 12:53pm 1:38pm12:40 1:33 2:37 5:21 6:18 7:10 7:57 8:40 9:21 10:00 10:38 11:16 11:56 1:54 2:53 3:52 4:49 5:44 6:35 7:20 7:59 8:33 9:02 9:29 9:55 10:22 10:50 11:22 11:57 2:25 3:12 4:01 4:51 HIGH LOW

New Eyes in hearing music coming out of his Margaritaville café.

cat who took us through and around mangroves, pulled up a conch (and put it right back where he found it) for us to get a good look at, and could identify whatever fish went by, including a number of nurse sharks who swam under us. In my time kayaking around the Eastern Shore, I have never put my hand on an iguana while reaching for a branch, but I did while we kayaked in the Keys.

We spent a day walking Duval Street in Key West, which has its St. Michaels and Annapolis moments, though on Duval you can carry your beer or margarita with you on the street in a plastic cup. It has barely been six months since Jimmy Buffett died and there was reverence

Most towns we visit, the big church downtown is not an Episcopal Church. But just down Duval Street from Margaritaville was St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where you can go inside, sit and pray, light a candle, and be in awe of incredible stained glass windows that open to let in the breeze.

Our time away started in the Keys and ended with happy hour near Lake Okeechobee with Holly’s parents and their friends, a number of whom live in Caroline County for most of the year and head south together for the winter. And it is there, at sunset, where the cows graze with palm trees in the fields.

Kayaking this spring and summer on the Tred Avon and Choptank


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New Eyes

Rivers, the nurse sharks, clear water, and Tortuga Jack will be on our minds and a part of our collective paddling experience. Sitting on the water at Capsize or Doc’s Sunset Grille or at the park in Oxford for sunset, the color palette will blend with the coral pinks and oranges next to the Airstream. And a prayer that I first read sitting with coffee in Florida, I have since read and written out multiple times back home. It is from Steven Charleston and his book, “Ladder to the Light”—I’ve made it a point to say/pray each morning:

“If time is my measure, then let me fill it to the brim, pouring out my

best, sharing my heart, loving all I can, giving all I have. Let no day be wasted, no chance taken for granted, no moment passed by unseen for the blessing it reveals.”

No moment unseen for the blessing it reveals. Part of that is coming home with new eyes, to see the place where I started with new eyes.

Michael Valliant is the Assistant for Adult Education and Newcomers Ministry at Christ Church Easton. He has worked for non-profit organizations throughout Talbot County, including the Oxford Community Center, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Academy Art Museum.

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The Factory: Weaving Tales of Artistic Evolution in the Heart of Easton

“Chaos” was the nearly simultaneous reply of three members of The Factory in Easton’s team when asked what word best described the center for stagecraft’s atmosphere. The word is apt because the creative process is messy and frenzied, especially when you’re pulling together a production that includes the collaborative work of actors,

musicians, vocal artists, lighting, video, sound specialists, costumemaking, set production, stage management, fundraising and more.

Yet when I enter The Factory’s spaces at their Brookletts Avenue storage location, chaos is nowhere to be found. The exquisite lighting and ambiance are carried well along the shelf-lined wall staged with a

CeCe Storm and Casey Rauch

The Factory

plethora of props—many from the highly sought ‘40s era and other period props—transforming the space into a moment that begged pause and the wonder of “tell me more.”

This “tell me more” feeling makes sense because The Factory builds

on the transformative power of storytelling while bringing the arts together. The organization’s work is under the stewardship of Creative Director Cecile “CeCe” Storm, a dedicated board of directors led by President Casey Rauch, and a cadre of volunteers and performers.

The Factory’s Fearless Leader

CeCe Storm encapsulates the essence of the shared human experience of storytelling, saying, “It’s the live, collective experience, the communal experience of embracing being part of an audience and having a shared experience together.”

Storm holds a bachelor of arts degree in contemporary theatre and fi lm from East 15 Acting School in London, England, and has deep roots on the Eastern Shore. She and the entire team share a passion for performance production and mentoring the next generation of artists.

She says The Factory took over what was known as Perfect Storm Productions in 2023 and credits its beginnings to the acquisition of former Easton resident and the-


The Factory

atre supporter Marie U’Ren’s iconic costume shop. Storm inherited the shop from Kate Levy, a local costume designer long involved in supporting art productions, who had single-handedly been keeping the costume shop on life support.

In an attempt to save the costume shop, Storm explored partnerships with local entities like the Avalon Theatre and the Academy Art Museum but found no takers. Undeterred, she and artists she’d worked with for years, including Rauch, decided to forge a new path, with the inception of The Factory.

The Factory has grand ambitions beyond costume preservation.

Storm reflects on their journey, “It evolved from saving a costume shop to discovering a new generation of community theater that wanted something different.” She says The Factory represents a community arts project with in-house resources ranging from a costume shop to editing equipment, forming a production wing and an education wing.

The creative force within The Factory also took an unexpected turn toward radio plays after the success of their original immersive production, Stage Fright: 1964.

Storm recounts the serendipitous entry into the radio realm, stating, “Somehow we found ourselves in radio because we had just fi nished


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Stage Fright and didn’t have enough time for another full production by December.”

Instead, The Factory’s folks said “yes” to the project and used their creativity to embrace the vintage charm of live radio shows, complete with live sound effects and music.

Each performance distinguished itself through immersive elements, involving the audience in ways they may have never experienced before. Not to miss is an upcoming performance of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” coming to the gardens of The Talbot County Historical Society this summer.

The Factory turning the costume shop and props into resources accessible not only to the local community but also on a national and international scale. She says through meticulous cataloging and online accessibility, The Factory also has plans to loan its assets to a larger audience, establishing a sustainable model that covers community arts program expenses and adhering to the principles of reuse, repurpose, and recycle.

Reach a Vision with Rauch

Storm envisions The Factory broadening its outreach, including

Casey Rauch has cultivated his lifelong passion for writing for much of the original work produced and says The Factory serves as a creative outlet for him beyond his role as an engineer and Rauch, Inc. Rauch and Storm also have more

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The Factory

than 20 years of individual experience in both the professional and community theatre worlds.

He says one of his favorite things to do as a child growing up in the ’90s was to write episodes of The Simpsons. Rauch feels the arts tease out the creativity in all people and that he needs to balance the orderly, meticulous methods of engineering.

Rauch says funding for The Factory has primarily come from individual donations and private foundation grants. As The Factory transitions from a grassroots initiative to a more structured organization, support from the community

through donations and project underwriting will become more important.

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As The Factory looks toward the future, it’s also launching a major fundraising campaign. Its current space is not ADA-compliant, which not only limits who can participate, but also the grant funding that they qualify for. In response, fundraising plans are underway to help fund a permanent home, with all gifts serving as an investment in The Factory’s 25-year vision and commitment to nurturing creativity.

The Future with The Factory

The Factory is also the realization of a dream to provide more opportunities for young talent in rural communities. The education

wing of The Factory is equally ambitious, with plans to offer sewing and pattern-making classes using the

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The Factory

costume shop’s archival pieces. Collaborations with Sweet Foot Studios, a local recording studio, have played a crucial role in the success of The Factory’s radio shows, showcasing the strength of community partnerships.

The Factory is fueled by chaos, creativity, tradition, and forwardthinking innovation and stands poised to become a transformative force in the world of community arts. As it continues to evolve and grow, The Factory invites everyone to be a part of the narrative, weaving tales that resonate far beyond the shores of the Mid-Shore community.

Individuals can invest in The Factory’s work as a patron or spon-

sor by donating their tax-deductible gift through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, and there’s also an Amazon Wishlist as an additional way for supporters to contribute. You can learn more by following them on Facebook or Instagram, or by visiting thefactoryartsproject.org.

Tracey Johns 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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All Quiet on the Sound

Chapter 8: Out With The Tide

Moore Island slumbered as Earl and Leon stole into the night. Margaret shut and bolted the front door behind them, had already locked every window in the house. Would’ve closed the storm shutters too, if Earl hadn’t pointed out that that might have the reverse effect of making the house more conspicuous. None of its neighbors’ houses were shuttered, and the goal, they all agreed, was to be as unobtru-

sive as possible. To that end, Pastor Calhoun’s body was to be removed from the house last, after all other preparations had been made.

Shortly after midnight, the brothers ventured out to scope out the island and prepare the rowboat for a hasty departure. The night was cold, and their neighbors’ chimneys spewed fragrant plumes of wood smoke that stood out like inky smudges against a sky blanketed with grey clouds. It looked like snow. But no lights shone in


the windows of neighboring houses, and the brothers needed no light to guide them along familiar footpaths to the landing, nor to uncover and carry the rowboat from behind the boatshed to the water’s edge, where it would remain until they were ready to launch. Returning to the house, they set about the funereal process of readying the body for disposal.

Pastor Calhoun had not been moved since Earl and Leon flipped him over to needlessly search his pockets. They wrapped him in the ratty quilt Maggie had chosen for the purpose, then tied the slack bundle with cord at the ends and middle, like a bloody haunch of meat tied off with butcher’s twine. Once Earl’s mind conjured that ghoulish image, handling the corpse became an even more revolting task. Covering the preacher’s disfigured face was an improvement, but still. Could Earl bear to row miles alone in its company?

He was going to have to.

They were all going to have to overcome their horror. To the best of his knowledge, Maggie hadn’t reentered the kitchen since shortly after killing the man. She would need to find the courage once her victim was removed. That slaughterhouse stink would take more than a mop to expunge—lye, preferably, or gasoline —and it really was her mess to

clean up, though she’d done a hell of a job getting all their hands filthy in the process.

That ain’t fair, he tried to convince himself. It ain’t her fault. The proselytizing pervert brought it on himself.

The latter part was certainly true, but he was having a harder time convincing himself of Maggie’s blamelessness in the matter. Even for crimes as heinous as Peter Calhoun’s, bludgeoning the perpetrator to death with a hammer subverted all conventional channels of justice. Maggie had to have known the legal system would not look kindly upon her chosen course of action, yet she’d chosen it all the same. But there was no time for such quibbling now. Earl would just have to withhold his judgment until after the evidence was banished from memory. A tiny concession, in the grand scheme of things.

With Pastor Calhoun packaged for transport, they had no choice but to embroil Betsy in the scheme, much though doing so made Earl imagine Pop rolling over in his grave. He suspected they’d given their late father ample cause to stir in his coffin of late, and they’d give him much more before this grey day was out. No use delaying. Leon took hold of one end of the boneless bundle and Earl the other—was he carrying the head or the feet? He didn’t know and didn’t care to—and together they lugged the preacher’s

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body out the front door, down the porch steps, and heaved it onto Betsy’s bed.

The front door shut and locked a final time behind them. Margaret appeared briefly at the window, face ghostly pale and drawn with worry, then fled further into the house. Betsy coughed to life a minute later, her sputtering engine frightfully loud in the pre-dawn stillness though Earl knew it would be scarcely audible to neighbors asleep in their homes. He was fairly certain, anyways. Leon kept the headlamps switched off to further lower their profile. Nonetheless, the short drive down to the landing felt like an eternity to Earl, who spent the entire ride convinced the next divot they hit would jolt Pastor Calhoun’s body out onto the road.

The rowboat was in the water by quarter till one, its passengers—one living and the other deceased— loaded aboard a couple minutes after that. Had they been duck hunting instead of offloading a corpse, Earl might have been encouraged by the efficiency of the process from uncovering the rowboat to launch. As it was, he only felt slightly less nauseous as he took up the oars and reviewed the plan with Leon one final, hushed time.

“You tug that truck way out into the middle of the Bay and sink it deep, hear me?” said Earl. “The

barge too, if you have to.”

“Don’t worry ‘bout me, little brother—I helped come up with the damn plan, ain’t I? Just see to your part of the business, and I’ll handle mine.”

Earl was unconvinced. Despite his relative composure thus far, Leon had been known to cut corners, especially when he hit the bottle. Earl hoped his brother was smart enough not to get shit-faced on a night like this, but the possibility loomed worrisome enough for him to insist again, “Far out, past where the oystermen dredge, alright? And if you ain’t sure how deep, take it farther!”

“I heard you well enough the first dozen times!” said Leon, growing peevish. “And I told you, I know what I’m about. I been on the Bay longer’n you, remember.”

By no more than a year, thought Earl, and less if you count the times I took over as captain while you were falling-down drunk.

But his brother’s word would have to serve. If Earl wanted to be well away before Moore Island stirred, he’d best get to rowing. “Good luck.”

“Don’t need luck,” said Leon, planting a foot on the transom of the rowboat. “Just stick to the plan, and we’ll be fine. See you later.” With a firm push, he launched Earl into the shallows.

As the rowboat bumped into the water, the length of cord securing one end of the preacher’s bundled

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body slipped free, baring the dead man’s horribly slack, misshapen features. Earl shivered as the deceased’s ruined regard fell upon him, sightless eyes registering nothing. He could’ve sworn there was an accusation in that glassy gaze just the same. He could hardly bring himself to take up the oars again, even after replacing the tarp. He almost called out to Leon, to beg him to come along and let them deal with the Pastor’s truck later, together. But that wasn’t the plan, and his brother’s tall form was already disappearing into the gloom at the top of the landing.

“Dammit, Maggie. What’ve you

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done?” Earl groaned. Trying not to glance at the macabre passenger draped across the opposite seat, he headed out onto the Sound.

Once he was far enough from shore he turned north towards the mouth of Fishing Bay, keeping the indistinct landmass of Moore Island astern. Visibility was limited to a couple yards of inky water on all sides, but he was loath to light the lantern he’d brought. So long as that radius contained only water, he’d be fine. The rowboat moved only as fast as he could pull, and on the big water a few seconds’ warning was all he needed to change course. The sound of the water lapping against the wooden hull was enough to give him that. Hell, he probably could’ve made the voyage blindfolded. So he told himself.

Moore Island receded into the dim as he rowed up Fishing Bay, giving the point of land known as Elliot Island a wide berth. So far so good. All was quiet and still as he hugged the western banks of Fishing Bay and rounded Blackwater Point. After the big water, the Blackwater River seemed a claustrophobic corridor, further choked with chunks of ice upon which the blades of Earl’s oars constantly snagged. The constricted waterway demanded frequent backpaddling and course corrections, until Earl was so spitting mad that lighting the damned lantern seemed the lesser of two evils. Worse was to


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carry on blundering around in the dark, which seemed equally likely to result in capsizing or getting caught.

The halo of orange lanternlight helped a little, but it was another forty-five minutes of icebreaking like an Arctic explorer before Earl and his cadaverous passenger neared the ponds. At every curve along the snaking chute he expected to find an impassable congestion of ice and mud, and what would he do then? Portaging boat and body across the marsh was no option, not by himself. If only Leon had come along! The dreaded dead-end never materialized, however, only a staggered lane of broken ice. At times Earl was fending off frozen chunks on both sides at once, but the rowboat was in no real danger of getting stuck.

Did someone come through here ahead of me? he wondered, then fended off the thought also. Plenty to worry about without introducing fresh paranoia. Besides, he’d come too far in the cold and dark to turn back now. By the time he reached the end of the ice-choked river and the blessedly unfrozen expanse of the Blackwater proper, it was approaching three a.m. To the east, the sky was incrementally brightening behind its curtain of clouds. Well then, that’s the hard part over with. Right?

A haze hung over the creeks and ponds of the Blackwater, as there always seemed to be in the small hours no matter the weather.

Countless hunts past Earl had worried about those mists malingering to obscure the birds come shooting time. Now he was thankful for their vaporous embrace. Even after extinguishing the lantern, the black of night and the depths of the Blackwater seemed insufficient concealment for his morbid errand. Rowing to the center of the ponds where the water was blackest and deepest, he prepared his passenger for off boarding. End of the voyage, Pastor.

Peter Calhoun’s corpse was a long, dark parcel slumped in the foot of the rowboat across from him. Every time Earl glanced at it he was reminded again of a side of meat, distinctly inanimate within its neatly tied butcher paper wrapper. Nonetheless, a superstitious, overly-imaginative part of his mind expected even now for the dead preacher to sit up, cast off his motheaten shroud, and admonish him for the indignity of it all. He’d been avoiding looking at the bundle as much as possible for that reason, and was dreading the prospect of handling it even more. But why wait a second longer? One final indignity, and he’d be rid of Pastor Calhoun for good.

Setting aside the oars, Earl took up the rusty anchor and chain he


and Leon had lifted earlier from the communal boatshed. Wrought to secure a larger vessel, the set had been gathering dust and rust in a rear corner of the shed since before Pop died. It wouldn’t be missed—which was good, because if Earl did his job correctly neither it nor the Pastor’s remains would ever be seen again.

Try as he might to force the association from mind, it was impossible not to think of Mom as he wound the heavy iron links around the bundle, bunching and cinching the chain at the preacher’s wrists and ankles. He further secured the bindings with a spool of chicken wire poked through slits in the quilt. The wire, like the anchor and chain, had been fortuitously on hand. Amazing how many implements for concealing a murder could be found lying around the average toolshed. With the chain and anchor bearing him under, Pastor Calhoun’s shattered corpse would sink into the silt and be entombed by the black depths of the marsh. Years from now, when the quilt and flesh—and, God-willing, memory—

of the preacher’s corpse had decayed, the chained and anchored skeleton would remain to condemn his loathsome legacy to the mud, and the Higginses’ secret with it.

Kneeling in the foot of the rowboat for balance, Earl lifted the lighter end of the unwieldy bundle— that containing the Pastor’s crushed head and upper torso, he was now acutely aware—onto the gunwale. The rowboat listed starboard as he followed suit with the heftier lower portion, briefly balancing the chainwound corpse on the gunwale. With a grunt of exertion, Earl dumped the weighted bundle overboard, heaving the rusted anchor out after to drag it down, down, down. The modest splash with which the tannin-stained waters accepted his offering sounded like a gunshot to his ears, its imagined echoes resounding over the ponds for all to hear. In truth, within seconds only gentle ripples emanating across the surface recalled what had occurred there.

Good riddance.

As the corpse sank into the impenetrable murk of the Blackwater,


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Earl was forcibly transported to that fateful day long ago. The parallels were unmistakable, mental images of the two episodes overlapping through the fog of intervening years. In his mind’s eye he saw not Pastor Calhoun’s bound and shrouded corpse disappearing underwater, but Mom’s auburn hair swaying in the Sound, her pale arms extended limply to either side. That day had been at least as cold and bleak as this one, yet she’d donned her favorite Sunday dress for the occasion. A short-sleeved summer dress, despite the season. That had always stood out to Earl, an incongruity so sharply crystallized in his memory that its recollection could cut. Painful though the uninvited memory was, it hardened his resolve to see this ghastly business through to its end, whatever that may be.

With the most gruesome aspect of the plan out of the way, Earl was eager to be home. He felt relieved of an enormous weight, spiritually and physically. Unencumbered, his return journey ought to be a breeze compared to the arduous trip here. Rowing across the backwaters, he would retrace his lantern-lit voyage up the Blackwater River and be back to Moore Island before most folks had put out their decoys for the morning, with none the wiser. But as he approached the ice-choked

mouth of the river, he remembered the head of Pop’s roofing hammer stowed in the foot of the rowboat.

“Dammit.” Was the water deep enough here to toss it overboard? More importantly, was he far enough away from the corpse?

Don’t matter, he decided. Pastor Calhoun’s body would be settling down deep into the marsh mud even now, and Earl had packaged him for the long haul. Even if the hammer head did turn up, whoever found it would mistake it for a weight off a decoy, which these backwaters were chock full of. To be safe, though, he rowed a bit further off course before chucking it somewhere in the midst of Harper’s Pond. This time the splash was sharp and crisp and celebratory, like the pop of a champagne cork.

Goodbye, damning evidence! thought Earl with a thrill more akin to hysteria than glee. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

But exhilaration devolved into horror as the gentle chorus of his breathing and the quiet slice of his oars through the water were joined by a new sound, instantly recognizable: Chunks of ice, bumping and thudding against the keel of a boat. A big boat, by the sound of it. Someone was motoring up the Blackwater River!

Earl froze, his mind performing a series of frantic, jittering leaps of logic as it tried to make sense of this harrowing development. The


Blackwater was a federal wildlife refuge now, had been since ‘33. For the most part that was functionally meaningless to the local waterfowlers, who were still free to hunt on the grounds so long as they stayed within legal limits and seasons. But that was during hunting hours, which were a ways off yet. Hard to think of a good reason why anyone would be out this time on a cold night like this, unless they were doing something shady or out looking for folks who were. Might be the Oyster Police on a routine patrol for poachers and night-dredgers, or they might be looking for him specifically. Either way, he was a sitting duck. But how had they known he was out here?

The lantern, stupid. Stupid! Someone must’ve spotted his light going up the Blackwater River in the dead of night, wondered who the hell was out this time and why, and launched from the nearest point to fi nd out. Might not even be a lawman, come to think of it. Might be someone shadier, like an oyster pirate or a poacher. Depending on what the latter ilk felt they had to hide, running into one of them could prove more dangerous than a run-in with any lawman.

Which led Earl to arrive at a whole new set of questions. What did he have to hide? Was he feeling dangerous? Not very much

was a fair answer to both, once he thought about it for a second. The evidence was sunk, and its hiding place would soon be forgotten even to him. Wasn’t that the whole point of this witching hour operation?

Now he was just Earl Arthur Higgins, a respectable local hunter scoping out his favorite duck spot before sunup. It got crowded on the backwaters these days, after all, and a man who stayed abed too long was apt to fi nd his favorite spot taken. Not like the good old days, and Earl Higgins would know. He had roots in these parts. Men like Earl Higgins belonged on the Blackwater any time of day, no questions asked, just like his father and his grandfather before him. Maybe you knew one of them, back in the day—most folks did, these parts. Oh, you don’t say! You wouldn’t happen to be soand-so’s…

These were the sorts of backwater banalities with which he would assuage the nerves of the inquiring law officer or shotgun-toting redneck, if it came to either of those. It didn’t, thankfully, but the ensuing encounter was scarcely less unnerving.

A ghostly pale deadrise was emerging apparition-like from the fog, a field of ice chunks milling in its berth. The broken ice parted with ease, rebounding from the boat’s hull and producing the crunching cacophony that had brought its approach to Earl’s attention. As

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the boat passed from the mouth of the icy river out onto the Blackwater, Earl was struck with the cold certainty that here was the vessel responsible for the shattered lane he’d followed earlier. In the mistladen darkness, the whitewashed deadrise looked much like any other workboat on the Bay, yet Earl could’ve sworn he recognized her beyond that simple resemblance. As she neared, passing close enough for her wake to rock his rowboat, he saw that the vessel was indeed known to him, if not familiar. Earl had encountered her once before.

She was the Jimsonweed, the odd moniker stenciled in black across her prow her only distinguishing characteristic. No captain or crew were visible on her work deck, only a long, lumbering shadow in the cockpit. If the faceless pilot saw Earl, he gave no indication, just continued on into the night on what

errand Earl had no desire to know. He prayed the feeling was mutual.

The episode had spooked him something awful, though, and for all his envisioned obfuscation and hastily-concocted banter, he intended to do everything in his power to avoid being noticed on the way home. This time when he made his way back up the Blackwater River, it was sans lantern light. Fortunately the cloud cover had abated somewhat by then, allowing silver moonlight to filter through in places to help him navigate the river’s winding turns and ice. Even so, it was a great relief to reach the open waters of Fishing Bay mostly dry and with the rowboat still in one piece. After his unexpected run-in on the ponds, he’d halfway expected to find the eastern mouth of the river jammed not with ice, but Oyster Police boats. Not until he was a couple hundred yards out from Moore Island with dawn creeping over the Sound did he permit himself a genuine sigh of relief.

Maggie had hung all the curtains in the house back up in his absence, and drawn them tight. She met him at the door wearing gardening gloves, rubber galoshes, and an ill-fitting housepainter’s smock she must’ve rummaged from Pop’s stuff in storage. Earl didn’t protest when she threw her arms around him, though the gloves were soot-blackened and the stains on her smock didn’t look like paint. She looked

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like she’d recently fi nished a long shift at the slaughterhouse. The evidence of her hard work was clearest in the kitchen, which smelled strongly of turpentine but had been restored to its former state. Earl nodded approvingly as he surveyed the room.

“Leon’s not back yet?”

Maggie shook her head. “He had to wait for the tide to go out a bit before crossing the bridge.”

Earl frowned. What’d he been doing in-between? Hopefully not drinking; they couldn’t afford mistakes in this venture. Nothing to do now but have faith in his brother.

“He’ll be back soon,” said Maggie, reading his thoughts. Trying to reassure herself too, probably. Time to change the subject.

“Looks good in here.”

“Thanks…I did my best. We’re gonna need a new dining table.”

“What’s wrong with it? Looks okay to me, and we can always replace the chair.”

“Do you want to keep eating at it?” She had a point. Would Earl ever feel at ease in this room again? Would any of them?

Betsy trundled into the drive at half past six, and Leon appeared at the door a minute later. The Higgins siblings embraced in the front hall, exchanging fervent promises that they’d performed their roles and completed their tasks beyond reproach. As the sun climbed over Moore Island and the rest of the

Shore arose for the day, the Higginses found themselves in the strange position of being utterly exhausted but too restless to sleep. Not knowing what else to do with themselves, they decided to make breakfast.

“What now?” asked Maggie when they’d sat down together in the dining room. Sat being the operative word, since no one had yet touched their grits. They really would have to replace the table, where Pastor Calhoun had lain twisted and dead not twelve hours past, if they wanted to keep taking meals in here. Maybe tear up the floorboards too, while they were at it.

“It’s over,” said Leon. “Now we get on with our normal lives.”

Earl feared that wasn’t true, desperately though he wanted to believe it. Some secrets weren’t easily forgotten, no matter how deeply sunk. Drowned things could cast mighty long shadows, and sometimes those shadows could even drag you down with them, long after the fact. Shane and Mom were proof enough of that. But maybe, just maybe, if they all tried their damnedest to act like it was over, they could will it into reality.

A man could hope.

Brendan Gallagher is a 2013 graduate of Easton High School and is currently finishing up a Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology at the University at Albany.

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Easton Map and History

The County Seat of Talbot County. Established around early religious settlements and a court of law, Historic Downtown Easton is today a centerpiece of fine specialty shops, business and cultural activities, unique restaurants, and architectural fascination. Treelined streets are graced with various period structures and remarkable homes, carefully preserved or restored. Because of its historical significance, historic Easton has earned distinction as the “Colonial Capitol of the Eastern Shore” and was honored as number eight in the book “The 100 Best Small Towns in America.” With a population of over 16,500, Easton offers the best of many worlds including access to large metropolitan areas like Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington, and Wilmington. For a walking tour and more history visit https:// tidewatertimes.com/travel-tourism/easton-maryland/.

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Dorchester Map and History

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/.


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Don't Rush the Season

“April showers bring May flowers” is the old saying for spring. With the wet winter that we have had and the spring rains, don’t be in a hurry to work the garden soil when it is wet. Doing so will destroy the soil structure, especially of claying soils, and will make it hard as concrete in July when it does dry out. The easy test to determine whether the soil is ready to

work is to squeeze a handful into a tight ball, then break the ball apart with your fingers. If the ball of soil readily crumbles in your fingers, the soil is ready to work. If it stays balled, however, it is too wet to work. Wait a few days and do the test again.

Lots of things to do in April in the yard and garden, but remember not to rush the season by plant-


ing those tender plants out too early. We usually have a cold front at the end of April or the first of May that brings freezing temperatures, so wait until the soil has warmed up and to the second week of May before you set out the tomato, eggplant and pepper transplants. The average last frost date in Talbot


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County is around April 27. In the past, we have experienced hard frosts into early May.

For springtime lawn care, now is the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass control in the lawn. The best control for crabgrass, however, is mowing your lawn at two inches or higher. The higher the grass height, the more shade the soil surface gets. Crabgrass seed needs light to germinate, so if you reduce the light, you reduce your crabgrass population, not to mention having a thicker looking turf. Make sure that your lawnmower blade is sharp. This will give a cleaner cut to the turf, reduce the ragged edge on the grass blade, which gives the grass a brown tinge appearance after being cut and reduce potential disease problems.

In the pruning department, you can prune out the water sprouts

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and sucker growths that we find at the base and along the main branches in crabapples and other spring flowering trees. Also, you can prune needled evergreens now if they need to be cut back. This includes cutting back the “rat tails” on yews.

If you want to keep the needled pines and other whorl-branched conifers from getting taller and want a bushier appearance, pinch the candles at the end of the branches in half. This will cause the plants to branch out instead. Pinching by hand rather than using pruning shears is recommended because using pruning shears will leave the needles with brown tips.

The perennials will be poking their heads out in April as the soil

warms up. Now is a good time to dig and divide fall-flowering perennials that have multiplied and overfilled the flowerbed. That’s one of the nice things about perennials—after you have planted them and they become established, all you have to do is divide them rather than having to buy additional plants. Check with some of your gardening friends—if they have extra fall-flowering perennials they have dug, you can do a plant swap.

While we all enjoy the beautiful outdoor flower displays of the many types of tulips that flower in the spring, you can also cut them and bring them inside to brighten up the house, especially on those rainy April days. A bunch of cut tulips from your yard will last six to eight days indoors.

When cutting tulips, use a sharp knife and cut the tips of the stems off at a slight angle. This will help the stems take up water. Unlike most cut flowers, tulips keep growing in the vase. In addition,

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as they grow taller—often an inch or more—they tend to bend toward the light. Most people enjoy the unpredictable twists and turns of the tulips. However, it you want to re-straighten the stems, simply remove the flowers from the vase, re-trim the stem tips, and roll the tulips in newspaper with the paper extending above the flower tops but not covering the lower third of the stem. Place the wrapped bunch upright in a container of cool water deep enough to submerge the exposed stems. Leave in a cool place for an hour or two. Your tulips will soon be standing tall, and you can return them to the vase.

Most cut spring bulb flowers respond well to the addition of cut flower “food” or floral preservatives to the water. Tulips are the exception to this. Keep the tulips fresh and full of vigor by adding

fresh cool water to the vase every day or so. Fresh tulips will last a good week or more in the vase with some help.

For the longest flower life keep tulips in a cool spot in the room with no direct sunlight exposure and away from heat sources. If you like to combine tulips and narcissi (daffodils) together, first treat the narcissi by trimming the stems and keeping them in a separate container of water for a few hours before adding them to the arrangement. This step allows the slimy sap in the narcissi stems to run off. The mucilage sap of narcissi can adversely affect other flowers in the vase by clogging up their water-uptake channels.

For the flowering bulbs in the landscape a little post-flowering maintenance is needed. Cut flower stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths and other springflowering bulbs as the flowers

Tidewater Gardening


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fade. Do not cut the foliage until it dies naturally. The post-flowering leaves are necessary to produce the food needed for the strong bulbs to reflower next spring. To keep the planting going you can fertilize bulbs, upon emergence of foliage, with a 10-10-10 fertilizer us -

ing a rate of 1 to 3 pounds per one hundred square feet. Repeat the application after the bulbs have bloomed. Make sure that the fertilizer is on the soil and not on the bulb leaves.

In the vegetable garden, seed some of your cool-season root crops like beets, turnips, parsnips and leafy greens such as spinach and kale as soon as the ground can be worked. Early lettuce trans -

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plants can be set out if you can cover them if a hard frost is predicted. Do not forget to seed the edible pod peas and the traditional peas as they can germinate and tolerate cool soils. To help supply a natural source of nitrogen to the peas, buy inoculants for the peas and treat them before planting. These naturally occurring bacteria will grow into the pea roots and fix nitrogen from the air and convert it to a source that the plants can use.

If you plant root crops, the seedlings must be thinned after emerging. Thin carrots, beets, parsnips and onions so you can get three fingers between individual plants. When planning your vegetable garden, consider that leafy vegetables

need at least six hours of sunlight to develop properly. Fruiting vegetables like squash, tomatoes, eggplant, beans and peppers need 10 hours of full sun.

When the weather is wet and cold in April, allow about twice the germination time listed on the

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seed packet for the seeds to germinate in the soil. If there is no sign of sprouting after this time, dig around a little where you planted the seed to check for sprouted seeds. If you find no signs of life, the seed has probably rotted and you will need to replant. Another reason not to rush the season!

Happy Gardening!

Marc Teffeau retired as Director of Research and Regulatory Affairs at the American Nursery and Landscape Association in Washington, D.C. He now lives in Georgia with his wife, Linda.


St. Michaels Map and History

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/.

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Soul of the Shore

Real estate advertisements frequently tout the special aura of life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but they generally tie it to an expensive house or waterfront acreage. Actually, it’s the people who exude that amorphous quality that makes Shore-living unique. For example, take Dwight Camper, sometimes called the unofficial mayor of Vienna—Vienna, Maryland, that is.

Dorchester County’s Vienna has taken on another identity in recent years, gentrifying into “Vienna-on-Nanticoke.” But when Dwight Camper was a youngster, Water Street’s historic riverside homes mingled with their owners’ industries: fragrant canneries and freight warehouses. Inland of Water Street, it was a waterman’s town. No ordinance prohibited a fisherman from trailering his skiff home. A neighbor strolling around town might happen upon a driftnetter pulling his day’s catch, perhaps receive a sampling of blues, trout, or even rockfish.

Dwight’s family, on the other hand, lived a mile south of town, where rich, riverside farmland began. The Camper family tended to work the soil or to help process the harvest in the canneries and

packing houses that rimmed the town. The Campers lived in a former schoolhouse, which Dwight’s “Grandpop” had bought, relocated, and remodeled into a two-story home. Two more generations made their home there in the expanded house of James Allen and Oma Camper: their daughter, Clara, and her children.

Youngsters in Dwight’s era—before day care centers were invented—learned early about work. “I stuck by my Mother,” Dwight says, of summers when tomatoes dominated the Dorchester scene. In his youth, Dwight picked for a number of local farmers: Bill Murphy, Alvin Pinder, Lena Pinder, among others. In time, he matured to harvesting watermelons. Before graduating in 1970, on his way home from North Dorchester High School, he packed spinach on the Nichols farm.


Soul of the Shore

Integration came along while Dwight was in school, but any discord had little lasting impact on him. The process went smoother in small schools around Vienna. “At one point,” he says, “it was hard dealing with some people who didn’t understand about life. I just went to school and went on home, minding my own business.”

Dwight followed the old poet who wished, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” The Camper house stood at a fork in Elliott Island Road, leading either to Steeles Neck or through Hurleys Neck and marshland before dead-ending on the island.

Whichever direction a youngster took, adventure lay ahead. Dwight learned to fish, shoot and hunt game: deer, rabbit, squirrel, wild turkey. Remembering how a hunting pal gave him a nickname, Dwight says, “Ronald and I were going deer hunting one day when we run up on this raccoon. I forget which one of us shot him, but the ’coon fell out of the tree. We cleaned him up right there, left him by the tree, and went on deer hunting.” Having no further luck, they eventually found their way back to where the raccoon lay by the tree.

Dwight remembers Ronald pointed to the next tree, saying, “‘I bet I can climb this tree before


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Oxford Map and History

Oxford is one of the oldest towns in Maryland. Although already settled for perhaps 20 years, Oxford marks the year 1683 as its official founding, for in that year Oxford was first named by the Maryland General Assembly as a seaport and was laid out as a town. In 1694, Oxford and a new town called Anne Arundel (now Annapolis) were selected the only ports of entry for the entire Maryland province. Until the American Revolution, Oxford enjoyed prominence as an international shipping center surrounded by wealthy tobacco plantations. Today, Oxford is a 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/.

The Strand Tilghman St. Market St. HighSt. East St. Division St. Oxford Road BenoniAve. Pleasant St. Robes Hbr. Ct. South Morris Street Bachelor Point Road Pier St. E. Pier St. Bonfield Ave. Third Street Jack’s Pt. Rd. First Street 2nd St. W.DivisionSt. St.WestCarolineSt. Tred Ave.Avon Myrtle Ave. Sinclair St. Richardson St. South Street TownCreek Rd. WilsonSt. Ave.Stewart Norton St. Mill St. St.Jefferson Banks St. Factory St. Morris St. Oxford Community Center Oxford Park Oxford Bellevue Ferry T r e d A v o n R i v e r Town Creek Oxford To Easton 333 8 1 2 3 7 9 10 11 13 15 16 17 18 19 4 5 6 12 14 © John Norton

Soul of the Shore

you climb that one.’ I laughed and said, ‘You wanna make a bet?’ Back in those days we hustled, cutting grass after school, stuff like that. So we had a few dollars in our pockets and made a bet. I was up and down my tree before Ronald was half-way up his. I was standing back down on the ground laughing at him coming down. Ronald said, ‘I’m gonna call you Polecat.’” The name stuck. Decades later, many friends recall Dwight’s proper name only with effort.

On the job, his favorite employer was Mr. Bill Murphy, who farmed on Griffith Neck Road, where Dwight worked in his mid-teens,

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later as needed in adulthood. “Anything he asked me to do, I’d do it. When I weren’t old enough to know how, he’d show me. He taught me a lot in the field. He even taught me how to drive. You had to have a license to drive the corn truck on the road, but he taught me to drive in the field. He took a liking to me.”

After getting old enough to have a driver’s license and own a pickup, Dwight’s seldom ventured beyond the waters defining the Eastern Shore. He’s been quite content on his native soil since his arrival July 3, 1951, the second son of Clara Virginia Camper. Birth on the eve of a holiday celebration may have marked his ultimate profession, but he followed a checkered path

before fulfilling his destiny. He’s held jobs from shore to shore, from local tomato patches to Ocean City, Wye Island and back home again, where he established his own businesses.

“I’ve worked every year of my life,” Dwight says. He learned construction from the ground up, first close to home with his mother’s cousin, Ike Chase, later working on condos in Ocean City during offseasons. He stayed year-around in Ocean City for ten years. Before, during and after that oceanside decade, his occupations were usually food-related: agricultural field work, stacking cases in Phillips and DeCecco canneries and Bateman’s Vienna pickle plant; progressing

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Soul of the Shore

in Ocean City kitchens from dishwasher to supervisor; then back home, hauling fish when Coldwater Seafood docked at the former port of Cambridge; monitoring deliveries at Perdue Grains; eventually grounds-keeping for Marriott Corporation at the Aspen Institute.

Dwight had settled back home when family responsibilities made seasonal employment impractical, but life is never all work. As a youth he had played ball on a team sponsored by Vienna’s Red Fox Inn. In young adulthood, “No grass grew under my feet.” Vienna night life customarily stayed segregated, but all residents were well-

served. In the Black community, the Red Fox Inn and Keema Supper Club eventually closed and, ironically enough, the Paradise Inn was converted into a church. Among several choices for Whites, the Nanticoke Inn, built around 1930, endured. Integrated but otherwise unchanged, it succumbed to gentrification in 1996, morphing into offices. The only restaurant in town now is Millie’s Roadhouse, where Dwight can display his well-honed pool-shooting skills. In league play he’s rated at the highest grades: 5 or 6. On rare trips off the Shore, he matches against some of Baltimore’s best.

Dwight never worked on the water, but one day he was luckier than

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most Elliott Island watermen. They complain there’s nobody around if they come into harbor with a catch to be proud of, but on a bad day a crowd’s watching them dock. Dwight’s mother got a call one day from Miss Nora Foxwell, who kept store on the Island: “Clara, your son’s in Chesapeake Bay Magazine!” Dwight had been fishing off the bank at the harbor one sunrise, trying out a newly-purchased 15foot rod. “I was the only one fishing. I thought these other people there were bird-watchers. They took my picture when I hooked a 24-inch trout and it showed up in the magazine. They’d come down to write an article about Wylie Abbott and Miss Nora. Under my pic -

ture it said, ‘The lonely fisherman.’ They said I’d caught a 24-inch rock, but it was a trout. I know what I caught.”

None of Dwight’s experiences went to waste. Boyhood years hustling a few dollars cutting grass progressed into his becoming groundskeeper overlooking Wye River at the Aspen Conference Center, while it dominated the news in 2000. The government had stashed seven-year-old Elian Gonzalez there, when he was the object of his family’s international custody dispute (a tug-of-war between the U.S. and Castro). After the boy’s return to his father in Cuba, U.S. Marshal and Coast Guard security were lifted, and Dwight left

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Soul of the Shore

to establish Camper Lawn Care of Vienna. He built his business from three customers to twenty-two, among them the historic grounds of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and its Chapel of Ease Cemetery.

“I love cutting grass,” says Dwight, but “the best part of my life’s been Camper Catering.” After spending hectic summers in oceanside kitchens with the Embers, Bonfire and JR’s The Place for Ribs turning out hundreds of meals daily, he could appreciate working from his home base, mixing business with pleasure, catering private parties. There he can interact personally and see guests enjoying themselves, offering hosts and hostesses their choice from a menu including barbecued baby back ribs, fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, fried trout or whiting, deer, coleslaw and potato salad. “Everybody has a nice time. I get my work done and go party too.” (Just don’t ask for the secret recipe of run ingredients.)

Dwight has touched just about every base on his way through Eastern Shore life, except he never trapped muskrat. “There were too many good trappers around here already. Trappers like Bob Mollock, Wylie Abbott, Teddy Eberspacher, Eddie Majors. I’ve just cooked muskrat for my family and friends.”

A personal touch and leisurely pace epitomize Dwight’s Shore life. As a friend says, “When you’re traveling through Vienna and meet Dwight passing in the street, he stops and turns his pick-up off and rolls down his window. That’s when you just turn your car off and roll down your own window to get caught up on the happenings since you talked last.”

Forty-some years ago, A.M. Foley swapped the Washington, D.C. business scene for a writing life on Elliott Island, Maryland. Tidewater Times kindly publishes Foley’s musings on regional history and life in general.

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Oxford Business Association April 2024 Calendar

4/4 - Behind the Brussel Sprouts - Oxford Community Center, 5:30. Author Lynn Sanchez M.Ed. presents a refreshing perspective for parents who are uneasy or overwhelmed in their role https://oxfordcc.org/

4/5 - Auxiliary Card Party - Oxford Volunteer Fire Department, 11:30 appetizers & lunch, tables open till 4 p.m. Bring your own cards, mahjong, or other board games. $25pp. Reservations by 3/25. Checks to OFC Auxiliary, PO Box 431, Oxford, MD 21654. More info at https://www.facebook.com/oxfirecoauxiliary/events

4/6 - Cars and Coffee Returns to OCC - Oxford Community Center, 8:30 - 10:30 am. Come enjoy the incredible array of automobiles!. Free. Sponsored by Prestige Auto Vault, Eat Sprout & Doc’s Sunset Grille. https://oxfordcc.org/

4/6 - There is a City Called Heaven - MD Spirituals Concert - Oxford Community Center, 5 pm. The auditorium will be full of powerful voices and stories as Leroy Potter brings Barbara Paca’s book “There is a City Called Heaven” to life with the MD Spirituals Choir. In partnership with Water’s Edge Museum. Free. Books available onsite. RSVP at https:// oxfordcc.org/

4/10, 5/1, and 6/5 - Sea Level Rising - Floods, High Tide & Erosion in Oxford - Oxford Community Center, 5:30 pm. A three-part interactive series, looking at the impacts of sea level rise in Oxford and possible steps to arrest its most devastating impacts on our community. Participation at all three sessions is encouraged, since they build on each other, but come for any you can attend. https://oxfordcc.org/

4/11 - Boating Safety with Gary Culver - Oxford Community Center, 5:30. This will be an interactive presentation on boating safety skills and emergency preparedness led by Captain Gary Culver of Culver Yacht Services and Coast Guard BM1 Bryant Gooch. Free. Refreshments and Oysters will be available for purchase. Limited space, RSVP at https:// oxfordcc.org/

4/12 - Improv Easton - Oxford Community Center, 7 p.m. Get ready for an evening of laughter and spontaneity as Improv Easton returns to the stage in Oxford. $10. RSVP at https://oxfordcc.org/

4/12-13 - Half Triangle Quilting Workshop - Oxford Community Center, 9-5 both days. Taught by Jean Konopacz, owner of JKThreads $140. https://www.jkthreads.com/ for more information and registration.

04/13 - Spring Afternoon Tea Hosted by Doehrn Tea Co. at the Oxford Community Center, 1 pm.; $45 pp, call or text 202-320-1110 for reservations.

4/14 - Pancake Breakfast - Oxford Fire House, 8-11 am, $15

4/18 - 28 - Vanities presented by the Tred Avon Players – Oxford Community Center. This bittersweet comedy is an astute, snapshot-sharp chronicle of the lives of three Texas girls. Check https://www.tredavonplayers.org for more info, dates, times, and tickets.

4/26 - Blessing of the Ferry - 6 pm.

4/27 - Oxford 1964: The Times They Were A-Changin’ - Oxford Museum. Opening exhibit celebrating its 60th birthday with a look back at life in the 60’s. Museum open Friday-Monday, 10-4. https://www.oxfordmuseummd.org/

4/27 - OXFORD DAY - parade, food, activities, displays. Come, enjoy the day! Check https://oxfordday.org/ or https:// portofoxford.com for more information and the schedule as it becomes available.

4/27 - Come Play at OCC - Oxford Community Center. Come to Oxford Day and Plan to ‘Linger for Lunch’ at the OCC with Eternal Life Ministries Grillin’ Crab Cakes and Singing on the Patio with OCC’s Jam Band from noon and beyond. Crab cakes will be for sale and the entertainment is Free. https://oxfordcc.org/

4/29 - Annual Meeting and Open House - Oxford Community Center - 5 pm. Come learn about all the excitement brewing at the OCC as we thank departing board members and welcome new ones! Light refreshments available.Free. RSVP online so we can plan accordingly! https://oxfordcc.org/

Oxford Bellevue Ferry opens for the season. Check https://www.oxfordferry.com/ for more information

Sandaway Suites and Beach open for the season. https://www.sandaway.com

Check restaurant and shop websites or facebook for current days/hours.

Open Art Studio - Oxford Community Center. Every Wed. https://oxfordcc.org/

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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 .

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Spring Produce

What is spring produce, and why should you eat it? It sounds cliché, but I feel it every year—spring is miraculous! I love watching the once dreary landscape covered in frost, snow and mud transform into a fresh and new green world.

And I look forward to spring every year because as much as I love root vegetables, winter squash and

apples, I crave the tender edible vegetables and fruits. The green delicate vegetables that don’t even need to be cooked—just plucked from the ground and enjoyed. They are never as sweet and delicious as when they first emerge from the newly warmed earth.

Eating raw vegetables like peas, asparagus and fruits, such as straw-


berries, is such a treat. If you don’t have your own garden, the vendors at the farmer’s market will gladly share their early arrivals from their gardens as their fruits and vegetable are so fresh and delicious!

When cooking these vegetables, I do as little as possible to them. Usually nothing more than a light dressing with extra-virgin olive oil, some lemon or vinegar, salt, freshly ground pepper and sometimes Parmigiano-Reggiano.


1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon sea salt

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3 cups homemade vegetable stock or store-bought vegetable broth

2 cups or ½ bag tightly packed baby spinach; Tuckahoe Creek Produce are the best with Barry at the Easton Farmers Market

2 cups (10 ounces) frozen or fresh green peas, thawed

1 cup plain Greek yogurt, or your favorite non-dairy sour cream or nondairy milk


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Tidewater Kitchen

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat, add the leeks and teaspoon of salt and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until just tender and wilted. Bring to a slow boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and peas.

Carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender, or even better, use an immersion blender right in the pot. Add the yogurt, sour cream or non-

A Taste of Italy

dairy milk, parsley, mint and lemon juice. Blend on high speed until the soup is very smooth.

To serve, garnish each bowl with chopped chives. Serve warm, at room. Serves 4.


Cook together for 1 minute: 8 ounces rice noodles—cook 4–6 minutes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red curry paste

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Boil and simmer 15 minutes:

4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons fish sauce, optional

1 lime, juiced

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1 teaspoon coconut aminos

1 can coconut milk

8 ounces cremini or your favorite mushroom

Add and cook 2 minutes:

10 ounces spinach leaves; Tuckahoe Creek Produce are the best with Barry at the Easton Farmers Market

1 cup shrimp


2 green onions, sliced Cooked noodles


1 cup tender kale, trimmed; Tuckahoe Creek Produce are the best with Barry at the Easton Farmers Market

2 cups cooked quinoa

½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Smoky Lemon Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice & zest

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Tidewater Kitchen

1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Cut the kale into large pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry on absorbent paper. Toss the kale with the quinoa and parsley.

To make the smoky lemon dressing, combine the lemon juice, paprika and oil. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.

Divide the salad between serving plates and top with your favorite local cheese or nondairy cheese to serve. Serves 4


4 eggs

2 egg whites

1¼ cups whole or nondairy milk

sea salt and cracked black pepper

Adjust the cooking rack to the middle or bottom placement, preheat the oven or toaster oven to


350°F. Generously spray or brush a mini muffin cups or 6-cup muffin pan with oil.

Place the eggs and whites, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Heat a non-stick ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add your filling to the basic mixture and cook for 3 minutes or until the base has set. Place under preheated hot grill (broiler) and cook for 5 minutes or until and set.

Serves 4


For fun I like to double the basic recipe, so half are basic and 1/2 have a twist with Ricotta & Pea for a sign of spring.

Cook 1½ cups peas and baby

spinach leaves in the pan for 3 minutes or until warmed through. Pour over the basic frittata mixture. Top


with 1/4 cup ricotta and cook as stated above. Top the cooked frittata with mint leaves


For one more twist you can make these also and triple the recipe for an Easter Crowd or hosting a brunch.

Before adding your basic mixture, cook 3 pieces of chopped bacon in the pan for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup shredded kale and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Pour over the basic frittata mixture and top with 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan. Cook as per the basic recipe.


1 baguette or your favorite bread, sliced into bias rounds

Onion relish, store bought

2 garlic cloves, smashed, and more for rubbing the toast

1 cup Kale

Block or container of shredded Parmesan

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You can either toast these when the grill is hot or brush the bread with olive oil and grill on each side for 1½ to 2 minutes, until lightly browned. You can also place them on a jelly roll pan and bake at 375 degrees for 3–5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the grill and rub each slice of bread with the cut side of the garlic clove.

Spread the bread slices with store-bought caramelized onion relish. Top with stir-fried kale and garlic and sprinkle with a tablespoon with finely grated parmesan.


1 bunch Asparagus

Clove of Garlic

Favorite mayo Bruschetta, toasted

Spread the bread slices with soft roasted garlic and top with steamed asparagus and a dollop of your favorite mayo. Follow recipe above for the bruschetta.


When my grandmother spotted the first strawberries of the season, she knew it was time to make her favorite dessert. She sweetened the plump berries and then sandwiched them between pieces of shortcake. More berries and whipped cream make it taste as luscious as it looks.

4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

¼ cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons butter

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

2 cups sweetened whipped cream

6 additional strawberries (optional)

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Combine sliced strawberries and ¼ cup sugar, chill. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder; cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine milk and egg, stirring well; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spread mixture in a lightly greased and floured 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cut shortcake into 6 pieces; slice each piece crosswise in half. Place bottom half of shortcake, cut side up, on an individual serving plate; top with a dollop of whipped cream and 2 ½ tablespoons of strawberry mixture. Add a second layer of

shortcake, cut side down; top with a dollop of whipped cream and 2 ½ tablespoons of strawberry mixture.

Garnish with an additional dollop of whipped cream. Add a strawberry, if desired. Repeat for each of the remaining five shortcake squares. Serves 6.

Tip: Berries should be sorted to remove imperfect fruit before refrigerating; then wash and hull just before serving.

Pamela Meredith, formerly Denver’s NBC Channel 9 Children’s Chef, has taught both adult and children’s cooking classes.

For more of Pam’s recipes, visit the Story Archive tab at tidewatertimes.com.

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Chesapeake Music Announces 11th Biennial Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition for Young Professionals

The 11th biennial Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competition for Young Professionals will be held live on April 13, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ebenezer Theater in Easton, Maryland, and live-streamed all day. The awards will be given around 5 p.m. This exciting daylong celebration of chamber music will feature five of the most distinguished young ensembles competing for the Lerman Gold ($10,000) and Silver ($5,000) prizes, as well as the Au-

dience Choice Award ($1,000) and three Honorarium Awards ($1,000 each).

This year’s finalists come from around the U.S. and have studied and prepared at distinguished schools and conservatories. The average age of an ensemble must be under 31, and some include members as young as 21. The applicants represent a wide range of instrumental combinations: winds, strings and mixed instruments, including piano. The preliminary

The Amara Trio of New York, New York

Chamber Music

judging panel reported this to be a particularly talented group of young musicians. The five finalists are The Amara Trio of New York, New York; The Hesper Quartet of New York, New York; the Kodak Quartet of New York, New York; the PULSE quartet of East Lansing, Michigan at Michigan State University; and Trio Menil of Houston, Texas.

The Amara Trio was formed at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival during the summer of 2023 and began its musical journey studying Schubert’s B-flat Trio. What ensued was some of the most meaningful artistic and per -

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sonal experiences of their lives, stemming from their deep love of music and the unbridled joy of sharing this music with those around them. Since Kneisel Hall, The Amara Trio has performed in venues including Prior-Jollek Hall in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Paul Hall at the Juilliard School. The trio is extremely passionate about community engagement, and they often share their love of music in the Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York and multiple retirement homes around the New York and New Jersey areas. The Amara Trio is continuing their studies at the Juilliard School as an Honors Chamber Group, under the guidance of Laurie Smukler and Joel Krosnick.

The Hesper Quartet is a Korean-American string quartet that was formed in 2022 at the Emerson String Quartet Institute of Stony Brook University. Its members hold degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, Yale University, Stony


Brook University and Seoul National University. “Hesper” means evening star, and like each star in the night sky has its own story, the Hesper Quartet strives to tell the fascinating story of each work of music that they play. The Hesper Quartet has performed at a variety of venues such as the Staller Center for the Arts, Capitol Theatre Windsor, and the JeJu Cultural Arts Center in South Korea. Last year, the Hespers enjoyed sharing music with the community at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. Notable achievements include winning first prize at the Fanny Mendelssohn International Competition, the Servaas Competition and the Ackerman

Chamber Competition.

The award-winning Kodak Quartet is setting the world on fire with its passionate and energetic playing. They are highly regarded for their work with contemporary composers and for presenting traditional works with a contemporary flavor. Formed in Rochester, NY, while attending the Eastman

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School of Music, Kodak Quartet is currently based in New York, NY. Kodak’s members hail from the U.S., Canada and France. The quartet won the first prize at the 2023 Frances Walton competition and was honored with first prize and grand prize at the 2023 Coltman Chamber Music Competition. They have performed concerts at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, the Banff Centre and MISQA. They have also performed for thousands of children at non-traditional performance venues such as schools, movie theaters and other outreach programs. Kodak Quartet has also performed with GRAM -

MY-winning artists Time for Three, Kronos Quartet and JACK Quartet.

PULSE is an internationally award-winning saxophone quartet based in East Lansing at Michigan State University studying under Professor Joseph Lulloff. Its mission is to deliver a diverse range of repertoire that will engage and inspire any audience while breaking down the proverbial barrier between the audience and the performer. PULSE was artists in residence for the 2023 Manitou Music Festival in Glen Arbor, MI, and for the Interlochen Public Radio and the Sound Garden Project. Through the Sound Garden Project, PULSE worked to plant music in unexpected places and bring music outside of the concert hall to educate the community about diversity within classical music. PULSE has been recognized or achieved accolades in multiple competitions, including the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, NOLA Chamber Festival Competition, Coltman Chamber Music Competition, Barbara Wagner Chamber Music Competition, and the International Music Competition.

Based in Houston, Texas, Trio Menil is a versatile ensemble at home in both the concert hall and classroom. The trio has performed in venues around North America and has received the

Chamber Music

Chamber Music

Grand Prize and the Odyssey Chamber Music Series Award at the 2023 Plowman Chamber Music Competition. The trio is named after hte Menil collection, a museum and neighborhood of art in the heart of Houston, and shares the same mission to attract, educate and inspire diverse audiences through art. Trio Menil is part of DACAMERA’s Young Artist Program, where they present concerts in collaboration with art exhibitions, and teach musicintegrative workshops in Houston public and private schools.

Formed at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, the trio has worked with James Dunham, Paul Kantor, Jon Kimura Parker,

Virginia Weckstrom and Kathleen Winkler.

It takes a dedicated and experienced group of musicians to make great decisions about young talent, and the Competition’s two panels are no exception. The preliminary judges, responsible for selecting the finalists, conduct blind evaluations based only on an audio performance included in the application. The finalist judges watch the live performance on April 13 and select the prize winners at the end of the day. Over the past 20 years, they have proven their expertise as many of the winners and finalists have gone on to illustrious careers.

The two judging panels are chaired by Chesapeake Music’s artistic directors, Marcy Rosen, Head Judge, co-artistic director, Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, and cellist, and Catherine Cho, Head Judge, co-artistic director, Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, and violinist/violist. Preliminary judges include Catherine Cho, Laurie Bloom, clarinetist; Daniel Phillips, violinist/violist; Todd Phillips, violinist/violist; and Diane Walsh, pianist. Final judges include Marcie Rosen, flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, and pianist Robert McDonald.

The Competition will begin at 11 a.m. on April 13 and last all day with prizes announced following


Chamber Music

the final performance around 5 p.m. There will be Sunday afternoon concerts on April 14 by the ensembles at the following locations: St. Marks UM Church, Easton, Pulse, 3 p.m.; Christ Church, Cambridge, Kodak Quartet, 4 p.m.; Holy Trinity Church, Oxford, Amara Trio, 2 p.m.; Temple B’nai Israel, Easton, Hesper Quartet, 2 p.m.; and Trio Menil, Private.

The Competition is a program of Chesapeake Music. Tickets for this all-day extravaganza are available online. The cost for the entire day of beautiful music is $25 per person and students

are admitted free of charge. For those who cannot make the trip to Easton, the event will be livecast for $10. Contributions to help fund the Competition are also welcome. The recording will be available both on the day of the performance and for the week following. For further information about attending the Competition events, visit chesapeakemusic.org/ competition or call 410-819-0380.

The Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition is underwritten by the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, and private benefactors.

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Kent County and Chestertown at a Glance

Kent County is a treasury of early American history. Its principal towns and back roads abound with beautiful old homes and historic landmarks.

The area was first explored by Captain John Smith in 1608. Kent County was founded in 1642 and named for the shire in England that was the home of many of Kent’s earliest colonists. When the first legislature assembled in 1649, Kent County was one of two counties in the colony, thus making it the oldest on the Eastern Shore. It extended from Kent Island to the present boundary.

The first settlement, New Yarmouth, thrived for a time and, until the founding of Chestertown, was the area’s economic, social and religious center.

Chestertown, the county seat, was founded in 1706 and served as a port of entry during colonial times. A town rich in history, its attractions include a blend of past and present. Its brick sidewalks and attractive antiques stores, restaurants and inns beckon all to wander through the historic district and enjoy homes and places with architecture ranging from the Georgian mansions of wealthy colonial merchants to the elaborate style of the Victorian era.

Second largest district of restored 18th-century homes in Maryland, Chestertown is also home to Washington College, the nation’s tenth oldest liberal arts college, founded in 1782. Washington College was also the only college that was given permission by George Washington for the use of his name, as well as given a personal donation of money.

The beauty of the Eastern Shore and its waterways, the opportunity for boating and recreation, the tranquility of a rural setting and the ambiance of living history offer both visitors and residents a variety of pleasing experiences. A wealth of events and local entertainment make a visit to Chestertown special at any time of the year.

For more information about events and attractions in Kent County, contact the Kent County Visitor Center at 410-778-0416, visit www. kentcounty.com or e-mail tourism@kentcounty.com . For information about the Historical Society of Kent County, call 410-778-3499 or visit www.kentcountyhistory.org/geddes.php . For information specific to Chestertown visit www.chestertown.com .


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 .


Events for April 2024

TUES. 4/2 - Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain - Avalon - 7 p.m.

THURS. 4/4 - Okan - Stoltz - 8 p.m.

FRI. 4/5 - Crack the Sky - Avalon - 8 p.m.

SAT. 4/6 - Bluezapalooza2 featuring Saved By Zero - Avalon - 7 p.m.

SUN. 4/7 - James Maddock - Stoltz - 8 p.m.

Wed. 4/10 - APG Media’s Women to Watch - Avalon - 5 p.m.

THURS. 4/11- Zachary Lucky - Stoltz- 7 p.m.

FRI. 4/12 - Chatham County Line - Stoltz - 8 p.m.

WED. 4/17 - The Heart Collectors - Stoltz - 8 p.m.

THURS. 4/18 - Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves - Stoltz - 8 p.m.

FRI. 4/19 - Steep Canyon Rangers - Avalon - 8 p.m.

SAT. 4/20 - The Met: Live in HD La Rondine - 12 p.m.

SAT. 4/20 - Robyn Hitchcock - Avalon - 8 p.m.

WED. 4/24 - Spy Nights: A Writers Series feat. Laura Oliver - Stoltz- 6 p.m.

FRI. 4/26 - Nadjah Nicole - Stoltz - 8 p.m.

SUN 4/28 - Mari Black - Stoltz - 2 p.m.





Capt. Murphy’s Oyster Tales by

Transcribed and lightly edited by James Dawson

Note by J.D.: Here are a few more of Capt. Murphy’s oyster tales—tall and otherwise, some of the many that he told on board his skipjack the Rebecca T. Ruark and at talks that he gave on land. Capt. Murphy crabbed and dredged oysters from 1957 until his retirement in 2019, so he is chock full of stories as you might imagine. This is the third collection for Tidewater Times readers.

Poachin’ and Goin’ to Court

Years ago, lemme tell you, I had three children. We had to sail full time to dredge oysters. You didn’t get a lot of wind, sometimes we could go a week day after day with no oysters to sell. Well the kids don’t understand it, they wanna eat, so I’m gonna feed ’em, so if I have to poach I’m gonna poach. No satellites

watchin’ you then like now. I’m only doin’ this to feed my babies. I ain’t doin’ it to buy a big house.

Every once in a while the oyster police catch us, take you to court. I get a ticket I go to court.

Capt. Murphy, what’s the problem?

I say it’s no problem, Judge, it’s no problem, your Honor. This po -


Oyster Tales

liceman arrested me. He is a good policeman. This is a good cop, but I’m sorry, he made a mistake. It wasn’t me it was him.

The Judge slap me on the wrist and say two hundred dollar fine.

I said, Oh, my god. I ain’t makin’ no money!

Hundred dollar fine.

I say my god!

Fifty dollars and get out and don’t come back again!

No never!

Next time I get caught, I go to court again.

What happened, Capt. Murphy?

I go through the same thing, he slap me on the wrist. Fifty dollar

fine, but you see the Judge’s grandfather was a dredger from Tilghman. He knew we had to do thus to make a livin’.

Well, then I get caught and I go to court again. Now he fines you probation before judgement, which is nuthin’ except to save face for the police. You’re definitely wrong.

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Oyster Tales

I’ve never been found guilty, it was always probation before judgement. Today if you do it one time, maybe twice you lose your license for life. These judges now, if you get caught certain places they take your license for life. I’ve never had a guilty verdict.


I’d say they are gettin’ more and more educated about it, so I think they’re gonna do better and better with the DNR laws. I don’t know if you all know this, you can be in your backyard havin’ a barbecue and they can read the name on this hat from satellite. They can watch where the boats are on their laptops. They can watch ‘em better now they have a lap top, they look at it right here their oyster beds out there they have it marked. They can see a boat on satellites so it’s getting’ better protection.

Yeah, So no more law breakin’ and I’m glad they weren’t around when I was dredgin’ or be in jail. No question.

Dredgin’ For the Church

It was 1985 and what happened was they had a septic system comin’ to Tilghman and the church, the local church, could not pay for puttin’ it in. So I’m not a big church man, but I wanted to help the community and told the congregation, I said if

you boys wanna go out Saturday mornin’ we go dredgin’ and give the money to the church. They said OK. These guys were all hand tongers, but they know how to cull oysters.

We went out. It was no wind at all much and we weren’t catching nuthin’. 9 o’clock. 10 o’clock the wind started pickin’ up a little bit. Well we have to shorten the sails when we get a lotta wind, so I put a single reef in the mainsail, single reef in the jib. It’s still breezin’ up so double reef in the mainsail and double reef in the jib. Then took the jib off altogether, put a third reef in the mainsail.

Now, it’s blowin’. We started catchin’ oysters, but we had agreed, the boys, they agreed to work till lunchtime so when we just started catchin’ oysters so at 12 I went up there to one of them I said look we ain’t caught no oysters all mornin’ we’re doin’ good now, how ‘bout workin’ another hour? They said we don’t care, so I asked all the crewmen, they said OK. Well, 12 o’clock the preacher is down in the cabin. He’s down there prayin’ for wind!

I said Ho! we’re goin’ fast enough already! I said we’re gonna work


another hour. He said, no we’re not! I asked the good Lord for wind to dredge, we’re gonna quit at 12. We’re not gonna be greedy, so he wouldn’t let me work. We went to Tilghman and we caught $800 worth of oysters that mornin’ for the church to have enough.

Dredgin’ on T.V.

Ok, I’ll tell you ‘bout when I was dredgin’ on Sharps Island. You know where the lighthouse is. It’s in the middle of the bar. We had hit some oysters there by the lighthouse and the bottom is just as hard as

this table. So hard you need a heavy dredge and you need a lot of wind to put ’em. I don’t know if any of you know Buck Garvin but he was my buyer he got a phone call from Maryland Public Television. They wanted to go on a skipjack and he said you wanna take ’em and I said yeah, I’ll take ’em. Now I don’t know if you all know this, but Charles Kuralt was my favorite news commentator. I always liked his show. Same day he called his company and they want to go on a skipjack and Buck asked me and I said I’m sorry I already got Maryland Public Television, I can’t take ’em.

So I took Maryland Public Tele -

Oyster Tales

vision that mornin’. It was light wind, real light winds. It was about 30 skipjacks. It was 1970s. They were all out there where we had hit those oysters the week before. There wasn’t enough wind to pull the dredges. I went out on the western edge where there’s a lot of big stones so you can only go there in light weather ’cause if it’s windy you’ll tear the boat up with a hang. It was just perfect, just enough to get movin’ drop the dredge and wind it up full. I started dredgin’ sun up 7 o’clock.

Now while we were dredgin’ all the other boats were all over there together, half a mile away from me.

I was workin’ I had four Black crew members from Deal Island. They were all Black and they were all White, their names were White, so I used to say I got four Blacks and they’re all White. So while I was dredgin’ a boat named the Ida May, with a Black captain from Deals Island. He was over there with these people, he wasn’t doin’ much. He seen me over there by myself.

Next thing I know, here he come. When I’m dredgin’ a place you ain’t gonna work with me. I guarantee, you ain’t. I’ve rammed boats for doin’ that! So when he got close, I made motions get off, get off. Finally he got tired and left. By 10:30 I had 160 bushels. Those boats didn’t have 20 bushels apiece because they couldn’t pull the dredge because of no wind.

They were filmin’ this whole thing. I’ve did a lot of films for different people and it’s the only day in my life that we had a perfect sail day. Most the time its either too much wind or not enough wind. That day was perfect. They taped the whole thing from the time we lowered the yawl boat in the mornin’ goin’ out dredgin’. They got the whole thing.

We come in, we unloaded the oysters. The way they do it, when they unload, you see’n them unload, There’s a man keepin’ tally—one, two, three, four, tally. Then they add up the tallies. That’s the way they keep it. if you watched the film you can count 160 bushels. I seen it

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on TV one time. It was perfect. It’s never been one that perfect.

Couple years ago, I thought about it. I thought I’d like to have that film. M.P.T. has two studios, one in Annapolis and one in Owings Mills. I called ’em, they said what day was it? I said I don’t know. I’ll tell you what, I’ll know. We called Charles Kuralt’s company—what day were you in Tilghman? It’s in the book and they told me on February somethin’ 1973. So we told M.P.T. the date. Good. They can’t find the film. This is before computers. If it was today they would have it on computer. They can’t find the film. We called ’em and called ’em and we had people lookin’. They said we can’t find it. It’s been lost, but I’ll tell

you it was a good film, so what was this question I started with?

Eatin’ Oysters

Do I still want to eat oysters after catchin’ and handlin’ them all day? Yes, I eat ’em, stewed. I eat ’em fried. I eat ’em every way but raw. Lemme tell you what—each oyster filters 50 gallons of water a day, so you gonna

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Oyster Tales

eat that stuff? They might be next to a septic system. No. No raw oysters for me. If they are, it’s a problem, cook ’em, you’ll kill the bacteria. You eat ’em raw? Be careful!

Red Foot Disease

I’ll tell you what. I had one of my crew. He was new, so I told the other boys, I said look we’re gonna play a trick on him.

I said, you all be careful now. You ever heard of red foot disease? No.

Red foot disease, if you get it in one foot you probably live but if you get it in both feet you’re gonna die.

First time they get a chance, they

put some red pepper in his boot.

Next day he come up. Oh! my god! Oh! he said, I’m sick!

I say, What’s the matter?

He said, I got red foot disease!

You do?


How you know?

He said my foot turned red.

Man! I said you’ll be alright. You only got it in one foot.

Then they put the pepper in the other boot.

Next day, Oh! My god! I’m gonna die!

I said, What’s the matter?

I got red foot disease in both feet and I’m gonna die!

He was so upset, I finally told him different. Oh my!

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All right, I’ll let you go home now.

Afterword by J.D.: Capt. Murphy wants me to add that he has retired from dredging oysters, sailing charters, and giving talks, but his son, Capt. Wade Murphy III, has taken over the Rebecca and not only dredges, but takes out sailing charters as well, so give him a call at 410-924-9975 during the months that don’t have an “r” in them when he would be oystering.

Note: These stories are based on a transcript I made of a talk Capt. Murphy gave at the Talbot Co. Free Library on Feb. 11, 2019.

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James Dawson is the owner of Unicorn Bookshop in Trappe.

Changes: Smart Guys Retrospective part

2 of 3

A recent article in The New York Times about Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (T.S.M.C.) measuring the advanced microchips it makes in single digit nanometers (billionths of a meter) reminded me of a group of amazingly creative

people in the hi-tech world who were in the forefront of twentieth century computer and electronics development. I interviewed them in 2007, seventeen years ago, when advanced micro-chips were roughly the size of a quarter, and contained less than a million

Robert McKim

Smart Guys

gates. While the accomplishments of these passionately intellectual pioneers were often considered seminal breakthroughs that opened gateways to further progress, their motivations and their concern about the implications of their work were equally engaging. Here are a few more examples.

Bob McKim: “The best way to capitalize on an idea is to find a tough Harvard Business School graduate and give him 51% of it.”

Bob McKim was a force in Stanford’s product design program. He died in 2022, at age 95.

The day in 2007 I visited Bob McKim, he spent time talking about the effect money had on him. McKim had been very successful, financially. While he was teaching at Stanford, he started

several companies that he sold for substantial gains. But his life style was understated. He lived in a modest home in an unremarkable neighborhood in Santa Cruz, a slightly dog-eared California town that’s off the beaten path. Finally, in his 70s, McKim was being the artist he wanted to be at age 20. He obviously relished making sculpture and sharing his quiet life with Debbie, his youthful companion. He didn’t enjoy looking back because for too long he had been caught up in the cycle of doing startups and making money and the mania all that involves.

“After I sold my second company,” McKim said with some hesitation, his voice soft as he entered old ghostly territory, “I had enough money to retire. But why would I want to do that? I was still having fun at Stanford. I had stock in one company I started that was mak-


Smart Guys

ing, or losing, as much in a day as my annual salary at Stanford. It was very disarming. I spent a long time trying to put my head together on that one. What I really wanted to do was make a lot of money and go to the beach. That’s the dream, isn’t it? But when you get to the beach what’s the point? I did another company and made a similar amount.

“You get so ingrained in a certain kind of activity, or pattern, that even when you say you want to stop it you can’t. I wanted to be a sculptor but I couldn’t stop doing what I was doing. I was consulting for Raytheon. With some associates we started Onset [a medical equipment company]. During this time I was asking myself what’s going on in my head? I’ve got to stop and do sculpture. Instead I’m continuing the same thing I don’t want to do anymore.”

McKim said that after he retired from the Stanford faculty his former co-workers would continue to include him in weekend retreats for professors to discuss academic policies. “I was no longer active, but got so heavily involved I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was combative, banging my fist on the table, because it was energetic stuff. The brain has this thing….

“The faculty involvement was very instructive to me,” McKim

said. “Now, the times I do go back, I’m very uncomfortable. I got mad reading Bill Moggridge’s book [Designing Interactions]. But partly it was anger at myself. The first part of his book is so self-aggrandizing. We’ve all had to do a bit of that. I used to puff up the design program a lot. It’s just part of the way it is, our culture. We are building mansions everywhere, buying Caddy SUVs. I stand in my castle, guns and all. It’s way off track. People in other parts of the world know it. And the problem is, wherever you go you bring your head along with you.”

McKim smiled. The kettle in the kitchen whistled. He got up and went out to make tea.

Jim Fadiman: “What interests me is how to get the best out of people.”


Smart Guys

Jim Fadiman is many things, including a doctor (PhD), a professor, an early and active proponent of LSD, outspoken, a novelist and fiercely independent. But most of all he considers himself a coach. He’s been a coach long before it was en vogue outside the sports world. As coach, he became associated with Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) in the late 1960s. He says the sports analogy about building teams and helping people use their strengths and work on their weaknesses is just right for the coaching he does.

“Coaching is now an acceptable component of the industrial mix,”

Fadiman says. “It has a name. You can get certified. Coaching is doing therapy on healthy people. From a marketing point of view it’s great because you have to be sick to get into psychotherapy.”

Recently his coaching has included a group from Carnegie Tech interested in how they could contribute to the wholesale determination to green the San Francisco Bay Area. Another group Fadiman is coaching wants to construct an information network in the Bay Area so people can get from point A to point B without using cars. “One thing they are contemplating is a fleet of 2,000 cars that are constantly moving, like taxis, that would bridge gaps in public transportation. They would take people to the bus station so they could get the metro to wherever they needed to go. It’s a good computer-generated systems problem.”

Another client is a company making a product that will focus sunlight on solar panels. Rather than making solar panels more efficient, they feel it could be less expensive to bring more intense light to the panels. “Google is about to cover its several acres of roof with solar panels,” Fadiman says. “They’ll give this new product a try. It’s another round of inventing and creating. Only this time it’s green technology.” (Today, Google’s main office building is covered with solar panels.)


Smart Guys

Fadiman finds it odd that such dedication to green technology is present in an area that happens to be the nation’s leading biotech center. The two would seem to be at odds, philosophically. “Why is the ground so fertile out here for environmental stuff? I’m not sure. There must be something in the water.”

As coach, Fadiman is interested in helping people balance their lives. “There is nothing inherent in human nature about ruining your life in order to start a successful company,” he says. “It’s cruel and mean to do what we do with startups.” He tells about a successful man who was starting a new company. He hired Fadiman to make sure his executive core group had strong enough outside interests (family, sports, hobbies) to pull them out of work at 5 p.m. “It was his intention to be inventive without killing people,” Fadiman says.

“The problem is, the American medical system sets a standard of sorts. They feel it’s important to torture residents and interns for two to three years, compromise their health and ruin their relationships so they can become doctors. Their law, which is broken all the time, establishes an 80-hour work week. In Sweden, if doctors in training work more than 60 hours, they must take commensu-

rate time off. And Swedish doctors are very good. But our medical system is for profit. Those eighty-hour weeks represent economic slavery. It’s one of those unspoken assumptions or traditions that need to be challenged.”

Allen Michels: “I worked for my father selling shoes….I learned how to not make money.”

Beyond retirement age, and having lost count of the heart events he’s suffered, Allen Michels has not stopped chasing the high. But he admits the excitement of a startup is not having to work for someone. “There’s a freedom in it that comes from letting it all ride on what you have and what you can persuade others to do,” he says. “It has nothing to do with money or power. I cherish independence more than anything.”

It has a lot to do with money, of course. And power. If Michels’ companies didn’t make money,

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he’d still be selling shoes. And power fits Allen Michels like a glove. He knows how to use and abuse it with the best of them. This is the guy who spray painted obscenities on the office walls of workers he thought were slacking. His hobby is collecting and firing machine guns. In his terms, slacking could mean taking one Sunday a month off. Finally, there is the high. “There is nothing as chaotic as a startup,” Michels says with a dreamy, satisfied look on his face. “There’s never order or harmony in creativity.”

Verdasys, Michels’ take on an internet security software company,


was startup number nine (his most famous one, and most successful, was Convergent Technologies, a computer company). His partner in Verdasys was a 33 year-old named Seth Birnbaum, a fellow he spotted along the way. Being young, smart, passionate, and fit, Birnbaum was the ideal mate for Michels. “I like to think of things, be innovative,” Michels says. “I like to have other people do the running. That’s what a fat guy normally does.” Michels gently pats his expansive stomach.

Come and enjoy our spectacular sunsets!




“Seth is going to really be something in technology. He went to MIT. At MIT, you’ve got a group of lower middle class, very intelligent, completely undisciplined, absolutely wild people. They all spend more time waiting in line on Wednesdays for their AIDS test than they do studying for exams. Seth’s a product of that environment. He’s wild, crazy, uninhibited, and that enables him to take risks that someone out of Worcester Polytech would never take. I love these MIT guys. Harvard guys would never risk their reputation by ever taking a chance on anything.”

A co-founder of Verdasys who went on to be CEO of EverQuote, an online auto insurance marketplace, Seth Birnbaum died in 2020.

Companies like Verdasys used established technologies in innovative ways to solve new problems that were born of technology. It

Smart Guys

was the modern version of cops and robbers, like drug runners and narcotics agents buying faster and faster boats, one after the other. “The bad guys are always going to be ahead because the technology will help them,” Michels says. “The authorities tell me we hear about less than 5% of the high-tech theft that’s going on. High school kids are ripping off on-line brokerage companies at the rate of a million a month. No one wants this in the news because it depreciates customer confidence. It’s a $20 billion industry.”

Michels dug a couple DVDs about Verdasys out of drawer in his desk and handed them to me. He spoke about his clients, real

410-463-1730 (Direct)

and potential, and the bright future of his company number nine. He talked about getting up at 4:30 a.m. to drive his son to swimming practice, and how he yearned for California. His shirt was ironed, his tie was cinched tight. He was selling all the way. It was a pleasure to watch him work.

“At my age,” Michels said (he was 65 at the time), “people sit around talking about how wonderful things used to be. I like to think I’m gonna die behind some used office furniture like this doing something exciting and having a great time. I love to have a great time.”



410-822-1415 (Office)


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