Tidewater Times February 2024

Page 1

Tidewater Times

February 2024


The “Keithly House,” circa 1786 & 1860 One of St. Michaels’ historic treasures! Located in the heart of the town’s Historic District, mid-way between Talbot Street and the Harbor, this beautiful home is absolutely charming inside and out. It has been lovingly maintained, expanded and updated, with care to preserve the 18th and 19th century character. Sited on one of the larger lots in town, this is a comfortable, livable home featuring downstairs living and family rooms (both w/fireplaces), dining room and modern kitchen. Three bedrooms (one w/fireplace) and 2 full baths upstairs. All rooms are bright and cheery! Private, professionally landscaped back yard and off-street parking. Just listed. $1,485,000

Tom & Debra Crouch

Benson & Mangold Real Estate

211 N. Talbot St., St. Michaels · 410-745-0415 Tom Crouch: 410-310-8916 Debra Crouch: 410-924-0771

tcrouch@bensonandmangold.com dcrouch@bensonandmangold.com



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Vol. 72, No. 9

Published Monthly

February 2024

Features: About the Cover Photographer: Alice Berg Penchenski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Winter: Helen Chappell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Canadian Rockies - Part II: Bonna L. Nelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Mid-Winter Peace: Michael Valliant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 All Quiet on the Sound (chapter 6): B. P. Gallagher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Tidewater Gardening K. Marc Teffeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Navigating Rough Waters: A.M. Foley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Tidewater Kitchen: Pamela Meredith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Capt. Wade Murphy Tells All: James Dawson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Changes - Turning Left: Roger Vaughan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

Departments: February Tide Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Easton Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Dorchester Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 St. Michaels Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Oxford Map and History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 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

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.



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About the Cover Photographer Alice Penchenski Alice Penchenski, a native of St. Michaels, grew up with, at various times, dogs, cats, turtles, ducks, chickens, and a rabbit. But when she reached adulthood and began her career in public education, she and her late husband, John, decided there was no room in their busy lives for pets. In September 2019, after John’s death and her retirement, Alice and her partner, Jay, accepted a month-long pet-sitting gig for Jay’s son and his fiancee. Soon, two young Brittany spaniels, Cora and Gunni, arrived from Baltimore and quickly stole the couple’s hearts, despite Jay being allergic to their dander. By the end of the month, Alice was trying to figure out where to hide the two dogs so that they did not have to give them back. Although the plan was foiled, Alice and Jay soon welcomed new labradoodle puppy Harper into their home. The couple looked forward to watching Harper enjoy a good snowfall, but it would be two more years before any measurable snow accumulated on the mid shore. Finally, on January 3, 2022, the family awoke to what seemed like blizzard conditions. By late afternoon, the snow had stopped falling, and the sun was just beginning to shine

down onto Old House Cove, where they live. Harper bounded out into the winter wonderland, followed by Alice and her phone. As Alice watched and tried to capture the fun, Harper romped and played, stopping only to decide which area of fresh snow to tackle next. Alice and Jay have so enjoyed Harper that they brought home a second labradoodle in the fall of 2022. Today, Alice, Jay, Harper, and Violet are anxiously awaiting the next “real” snowfall.



Winter by Helen Chappell Once upon a time, I lived in Bellevue, near the ferry. I liked it there because I felt like a part of the community. My house looked out over a field and from time to time a deer would wander through my backyard, which faced a shallow creek. I could look out my study window and see the birds at my feeder in the winter and raccoons and squirrels all year round. Once, an eagle stooped over my head so closely I could see her wing feathers, but she was too fast for me in pursuit of her prey. In summer, the road in front

of my house was pretty busy with people heading for the ferry or launching their boats, watermen going out, rafts of people on bikes or whatever. Some nights, you could go down to the harbor and there would be an impromptu party where you could have a little recreational fun and catch up on the latest. From the ferry as far as the harbor with the ferry dock, as the boat launch and the slips and the jetty are collectively known, you have a great view of the Strand in Oxford across the Tred Avon and a broad



sweep up and down the river. The ferry itself plied from Bellevue to Oxford and back. It would be busy almost all year round, but after the holidays, things got considerably more peaceful. The ferry doesn’t run in the winter, not too many of the guys went after oysters and it was too cold to party. Time to hibernate. In the dead of winter, it’s bitter cold and often icy at the shoreline and threatening to freeze up to the channel. There are days when the sky and the river are both the color of cold steel and the promise of snow hangs in the air like a threat. Sunlight filters softly through the pale and watery sky. This is when I like to be down there with my cheap binoculars and my Peterson’s. Because that’s when the sea ducks come off the open water and into shallow water, where it’s safer and maybe warmer. Real birders, and I know quite a few, laugh at me, but I like sitting out there just watching all

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It interested me that they never seemed to squabble at each other, just f loated along. They courted with neck and head dances, which were so romantic. Some of them were divers, some would f lap their wings and walk across the water before taking off. I didn’t care; I just felt a sense of peace and admiration for their f loating grace and how realistic decoys could be to

those ducks rafting up together, so beautiful in the colorless, endless winter. I just think they’re beautiful. In addition to the mallards who live here year round, all sorts of waterfowl are banded together there. Canada geese, black ducks, pintails, canvasbacks, oldsquaws, mergansers and buff leheads and whoever else happens to be there. I’d watch the diving ducks and sing: If the river were whiskey and I were a duck I’d dive to the bottom and I’d never come up.

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Winter lure them into what they believed was a safe place. The sea ducks were safe with me: I think they taste muddy and gamey. I’ve tried cooking them in various ways, but they never come out the way they should. The closest I’ve ever come is a meat smoker. My father was an avid hunter: it seems to me looking back that he spend almost every weekend ducking in the season. My mother, who was an avid fisherwoman, disliked ducking. I think she and a lot of other wives thought, and probably rightly, that the men went ducking to get away from the women and kids, sip a little Jack Daniel’s,

swear, tell tales and otherwise do manly things. Escape, for a little while, the burden of being doctors and lawyers and upright citizens. And who can blame them? We never ate duck.

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In fact, when I’m watching those beautiful ducks all rafted up, I often think of him because observing the natural world interested him. Gave him a sense of peace, away from the pressure of surgery and being in charge. The kid in me loves waterfowl. Sheltering sea ducks are a sign spring is out there somewhere.

People still go gunning for sea ducks, but I’ve never done it. As a kid, I sat in blinds with my father to hunt geese (which are very good on a meat smoker with applewood), but once I hit full-bore adolescence I was no longer interested. But I don’t regret the time I spent with my father.

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.


Simply Sensational!

Welcome to waterfront luxury living in historic Oxford, Maryland! This spectacular Tidewater Contemporary home with western exposure overlooks the Tred Avon River showcasing gorgeous water views and sunsets! Featuring private waterfront pool and spa, pier with lift, rip-rapped shoreline, this property is a haven for those seeking the ultimate maritime lifestyle! Boasting 1st floor primary suite, 5 bedrooms, 4. 5 baths, large waterside family room & dining room, upgraded kitchen and formal living room with fireplace, and office. Sited on a .4-acre lot, the residence is further complemented by a 2-car attached garage. Boasting coastal elegance and a blend of sophistication and warmth, this is the perfect Eastern Shore escape or final destination! Seller financing available to qualified buyer. Price is $2,795,000


WINK COWEE, ASSOCIATE BROKER Benson & Mangold Real Estate 211 N. Talbot St. St. Michaels, MD 21663

410-310-0208 (DIRECT) 410-745-0415 (OFFICE) www.BuyTheChesapeake.com winkcowee@gmail.com


Historic Waterfront on 2.5 ac. Carefully restored and updated, a unique opportunity. 4 BRs, several outbuildings, private pier and boat ramp. SOLD $1,105,000

Easton Village A beautifully designed home in one of Easton’s most sought after communities. Spectacular kitchen, private porch and yard. SOLD $638,000

Historic St. Michaels. Charming home in the heart of town, one block from the water and close to all the amenities the area offers. SOLD $630,500

Perfect Waterfront Retreat This house may be small but has everything you could want – 2 BRS, open plan, fabulous paver patio, private pier, great views. SOLD $632,000

Waterfront Near St. Michaels Sold to the first buyer! Private setting, 2+ acres, in-ground pool, pier & floating dock. Breathtaking sunsets. SOLD $1,090,000

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Canadian Rockies Pioneer Village, Gondola Ride and River Float Kootenai, Banff and Lake Louise

by Bonna L. Nelson I guess the most beautiful sound in the Canadian Rockies is just silence. Eddie Hunter - Fodor’s Travel We were all pretty much silent on the Caravan bus as we headed south along the eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies to the town of Pincher Creek in the Alberta Province of Canada. Silent, in awe of the Rockies or in need or more sleep, who’s to say? We were on day one of a Canadian Rockies adventure with Caravan Tours company, hav-

ing spent the three preceding days on our own exploring Calgary and Drumheller, Canada (see Canadian Rockies Part I, Tidewater Times, Ja nua r y 202 4 issue). Kootena i Brown Pioneer Village was our first destination. Pincher Creek is a renowned historic ranching town first inhabited by Blackfoot and Kootenai indig-


Canadian Rockies

A third-generation family staffs the village. The manager heartily greeted us as we disembarked. He walked us through the rustic general store, which is filled with period furniture and accessories, an old pot belly stove, quilts, household implements and products and a gift shop area with souvenirs, crafts and books for sale.

enous clans. Prospectors named the town in 1868. Many residents are descendants of European pioneer families who settled the area in the late 1800s. The Kootena i Brow n P ioneer Village provided us with the opportunity to take a step back in time and experience how those early settlers lived. The six-acre village was established in 1966 to preserve the area’s vibrant pioneer heritage. The museum includes 31 buildings from the Pincher Creek area dating prior to the 20th century and has more than 30,000 artifacts on display. The outdoor heritage facility provides self-guided tours and allows visitors to enter and tour every building on the property.

The beginning of this trip seemed to have a theme starting with the Calgary Stampede—all things cowboys and cowgirls. As we walked out the door of the country store, we almost smacked into a covered wagon. How we all regretted not buying cowboy hats, boots and belts from the huge selection on the Stampede Midway! Instead, we were dressed in our boring REI and Land’s End garb. Nevertheless, we set off touring as many Kootenai buildings as time permit ted. The str uctures were moved to this location from the local area, creating a village, a main street and a replica of Canada’s past vibrant frontier and agricultural life. Included in the array of 31 historical 22


Canadian Rockies buildings are a large horse barn, Brown’s iconic log cabin, a blacksmith shop, 2 ranch houses from the 1880s, country schools, doctor’s office, bank, bakery, and other business structures. Each building is furnished with authentic furniture and artifacts, making the experience inspiring and educational. We wandered in and out of the village homes and shops admiring the historical artifact collections. We ended our tour with a scrumptious lunch at the Village Café, an authentic cowboy chicken barbeque with chili and bread pudding. I wondered if the early pioneers ate as well as we did that day.

We were comfortably accommodated at the Heritage Inn in Pincher Creek that night and enjoyed both dinner and breakfast the next day at the hotel. While our luggage was loaded on the bus in the morning, we boarded and greeted everyone. Our next destination was one that we were very excited to experience, the famous town of Banff, a three-hour drive north of Pincher Creek. Though not on our itinerary, we were treated to a surprise stop, a common practice on Caravan Tours. (This was our third Caravan tour, the first was Mt. Rushmore & Yellowstone and the second was Guatemala, including Tikal). The Bar U Ranch National Historical Site was a cultural and snack/rest stop. The site preserves ranch life from the late 1800s. Historical buildings including ranch houses, barns, blacksmith,

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Canadian Rockies

harness repair shop, etc. are backdropped by t he majestic Rock y Mountains. The Bar U was founded in 1882, by the Northwest Cattle Company and is now a popular tourist destination. The ranch hands, in proper cowboy attire, shared the history of the area and brought out a saddle horse for petting and photo ops. Fresh-baked cookies, tea and coffee were offered in the main building. It was a very pleasant surprise to visit what was once an 800,000-acre ranch. Next up—Banff. Continuing our drive north we traveled through the beautiful Kananaskis Valley along the foothills and front ranges of the Canadian Rockies, cattle ranch country, to the vibrant mountain tow n of Banf f. We passed w ind turbine farms, yellow canola flower fields, wheat fields, grazing cattle, oil derricks, towns and villages. As we left the valley for higher elevations, we passed rolling hills covered in aspen and lodge pole pines with the

jagged, thrusting peaks of the Rockies in the background. The scope of our Banff visit included a gondola ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, a Bow River float, town touring and a two-night stay at Banff Park Lodge. The town of Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is a resort hub for exploring Banff National Park (BNP), in which it is located and its surrounding natural wonders. And oh, those Rockies, is there a more spectacular site? Ooohs and aaahs bounced around the bus as we traveled through what some say are the most beautiful mountains in the world. Cell phone cameras were constantly clicking. Staggeringly amazing and humbling in their breath and majesty! How and when were they formed? What are they composed of? I found the answers to those questions and 26

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Canadian Rockies

feet, Mount Robson is the highest peak. The landscape of spectacular beauty is dominated by snow-topped peaks, luminous glaciers and iridescent glacial lakes. The Canadian Rockies are protected in several national parks, with Banff National Park (BNP) being the first, created in 1883, after natural hot springs were discovered in the area. Banff and a few of the other Canadian Rockies National parks are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 2,564-square mile BNP is 96% wilderness. The Park contains 25 peaks that rise over 10,000 feet. Some are snow or glacier covered, and the peaks are magically reflected in the turquoise waters of the park’s many lakes, including Lake Louise, which we would see in the coming

more in Smithsonian Guides to Natural America, DK Eyewitness Travel Canada, Fodor’s Canadian Rockies, and various websites. The Canadian Rockies occupy a band of the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta nearly 500 miles wide and 1,000 miles from north to southeast, forming a border between the two. It is thought that between 65 and 100 million years ago, a slow but massive upheaval of the Earth’s crust caused the rise of the Rocky Mountains and the fascinating, dramatic, jagged appearance of their peaks. Over 50 mountain peaks in the C a nad ia n Rock ie s re ach above 10,000 feet high! At over 13,000


tion to the BNP on the Banff Gondola ride, our first stop in the park. The 8-minute ride in glass enclosed gondolas, with bench seating for the four of us, offered excellent views of the almost 7500-foot Sulphur Mountain Summit as we rode up. The summit observation deck offered marvelous 360-degree views of the stunning Canadian Rockies. It was a mountaintop experience like no other. We observed the sweeping scenes of six mountain ranges, the Bow Valley and downtown Banff, where we would soon be headed. After taking in the jaw-dropping vistas and browsing in the gift shop, it was time to take the gondola back down and meet up with our group. We had timed tickets and had to

days. As you can imagine, the BNP’s trails, lakes and mountainscapes are a hotspot in a cold, chilly winter for all things winter sports, including camping, birdwatching, winter walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, ice skating, downhill skiing, exploring, touring and hot spring bathing. We had an adventurous introduc-

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Canadian Rockies queue up in a line both coming and going. Tom and I, both faint-hearted about heights, stayed well away from the edge of the observation deck and had carefully planned our gondola ride back down. For our comfort we sat together with our backs to the descent, avoiding looking down into the abyss, while Genny and John laughed at us good naturedly! For me it was scary fun. The almost five-mile adventure on low, calm water was both relaxing and thrilling. Along the way we passed multiple snow-capped mountains, saw wildflowers on the banks, waterbirds, and were surprised to see Hoodoo formations (mushroomshaped rock formations formed millions of years ago) as we had seen in Drumheller, CA, in the first leg of the trip. Rafting was a marvelous, unique way to take in the grandeur of the Rockies. Nex t, we were on our ow n to explore the exciting, bustling, yearround resort town of Banff. Situated in the heart of the BNP and covering 2 ½ square miles, the town has an elevation of 4,500 feet with a population of 8,000. The dazzling, snowcapped Rocky Mountains dominate the skyline of the valley town whose Banff Avenue main street is populated with boutiques, museums and restaurants mixed with chateaustyle hotels, sports and souvenir shops. We finally fit right in with our

Phe w! We m ade it! We ne x t checked into our comfortable hotel, the Banff Park Lodge, and met our tour group for a delicious Italian dinner at the hotel restaurant before spreading our wings to explore downtown Banff. After breakfast the next day, we hopped onto the bus for an excursion along the shores of Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake, where we stopped for a walk and photos. We disembarked near the Bow River Falls to take a scenic guided float trip down the Bow River with the Rockies towering overhead. 30


Canadian Rockies

Fairmont Banks Springs Hotel, nicknamed “The Castle of the Rockies.” Opened in 1888, the Scottish castlelike hotel was built when Canada’s railway expanded. The exquisite architecture showcases the grandeur of the times and is a major attraction, as well as providing luxury accommodations and multiple restaurants. A n ea rly mor ning pick up re quired, for us, an early bedtime. The sixth day of our trip took us to two beautiful Canadian Rockies alpine lakes—Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. My husband, John, had been telling me for years about how beautiful Banff and Lake Louise were, having visited there on a business trip years before. My John was so right! Now I know why they call the

sporty travel attire; no cowboy/girl attire needed there. Highlights of our walking tour included meandering through shops and museums and the Cascade of Time Gardens at the end of Banff Avenue. We enjoyed the winding paths, bridges over streams, cupolas and fabulous flowers in bloom (this was July). We were also thrilled to come upon a First Nations dance program in full regalia in one of the town plazas. After lunch and ice cream, we walked along the Bow River, where many families frolicked and picnicked. Our tour guide had already driven us to the nearby, famous, stunning



Canadian Rockies glacial lakes the “Crown Jewels of the Canadian Rockies.” One of the major draws of the BN P, L a ke L ouise’s beaut y and famed blueness is framed by the snow-capped peaks that surround it. There really aren’t perfect words to descr ibe t his nat ura l beaut y properly. Breathtaking, amazing and awe-inspiring seem inadequate. We all stood at the lake’s edge and tried to sear the view in our minds. Scientists say that Lake Louise, named after one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, was formed some 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. The amazing color of the water of this and other lakes in the BNP,

a brilliant turquoise, sometimes emerald green, comes from deposits of glacial silt known as rock flour suspended just beneath the surface, carried there by glacial melt-water.

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Canadian Rockies

forest. We relished the walk on a trail lakeside taking in the stunning vistas of otherworldly beauty. Postcard perfection! We ended the day traveling on the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. We passed waterfalls, more glacier lakes, and snow-capped mountains. We would have beautiful dreams that night of all that we had seen. Memories were made to hold on tight to. Jasper and glaciers, here we come. More stories, mostly of the glacial type, coming soon.

The sun’s ref lection in the water creates a magnificent color never to be forgotten. The lake also boasts the Victoria Glacier, which stretches almost to the water’s edge. A beautiful, imposing hotel, Chateau Lake Louise, built in 1894, also graces the water’s edge. There we purchased cups of steaming hot chocolate for our stroll along the lake’s edge. Lesser known than Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, is just as beautiful. A waterside lodge offers accommodations, and canoe rentals by the tealblue lake surrounded by majestic, snow-decorated, jagged peaks and

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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Chuck Mangold Jr. - Associate Broker BENSON & MANGOLD R E A L E S TAT E C 410.924.8832

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Welcome to the enchan�ng retreat of Irish Cove, where tranquil waterfront living meets �meless elegance. Nestled along the picturesque Irish Creek, just off the Choptank River, this one-level residence invites you to experience the epitome of luxury and comfort. Spanning over 4,000 square feet, this residence boasts an expansive layout designed to capture the essence of waterside living. Be cap�vated by the breathtaking water views throughout the living spaces. The home features four generously appointed bedrooms, including two primary suites strategically posi�oned to offer stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape. Gather around the wood-burning fireplace in the heart of the home, crea�ng a cozy ambiance. The spacious waterside living rooms, adorned with large windows, invite natural light, crea�ng an atmosphere of serenity. Expansive waterside deck, a perfect vantage point to savor the beauty of Irish Creek. The 2.74-acre lot provides ample space for relaxa�on and recrea�on, complete with a private dock for seamless access to the water. Imagine spending evenings on your dock, watching the vibrant westerly sunset views over the Choptank River. Addi�onally, a large shed and a beau�ful fenced garden provide the perfect se�ng for outdoor ac�vi�es and hobbies. Discover the harmony of luxury, nature, and waterfront living at Irish Cove. ROYAL OAK | $1,999,000 | www.5560 HeronPointRoad.com


Chuck Mangold Jr. - Associate Broker BENSON & MANGOLD R E A L E S TAT E C 410.924.8832

O 410.822.6665

chuck@chuckmangold.com · www.chuckmangold.com 31 Goldsborough Street, Easton, Maryland 21601

Welcome to your dream waterfront retreat! With 7 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, this residence offers the perfect blend of comfort and sophis�ca�on. Ample natural light that floods through the large windows, crea�ng a warm and invi�ng atmosphere throughout the home. The cathedralceiling dining and living rooms add an extra touch of grandeur. First floor primary suite with water views, custom walk-in closet, and a luxurious bath with heated floors, double vani�es, relaxing je�ed tub and beau�fully �led steam shower. The hardwood flooring adds a �meless and classic touch complemen�ng the high-end finishes and a�en�on to detail that is evident in every corner of the home. The gourmet kitchen features stainless steel appliances and custom cabinetry. This property also includes a detached 3-car garage with a 2-bedroom guest apartment, offering versa�lity and addi�onal space for hos�ng friends and family. Step outside, and you’ll discover the guest co�age, a charming retreat overlooking the serene waterfront. With its own unique character, this co�age provides an ideal spot for guests or even a private home office. 250’+/- of rip-rapped shoreline, a private pier and boat li�. Spend your days basking in the sun on your waterside deck, relaxing in your Swimspa, fishing off the pier, or taking a boat ride to explore the nearby waterways. Don’t miss the opportunity to make this gorgeous waterfront property your own! ST. MICHAELS | $2,495,000 | Visit www.24756RaysPointRoad.com



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8:06 8:57 9:50 10:45 11:43 12:39 1:35 2:29 3:22 4:16 5:10 6:07 7:05 8:06 9:09 10:16 11:25 12:04 1:00 1:50 2:36 3:18 3:59 4:39 5:19 5:59 6:39

8:00 8:44 9:36 10:36 11:38 12:43 1:41 2:36 3:28 4:17 5:03 5:48 6:32 7:18 8:07 9:01 10:00 11:03 12:33 1:34 2:26 3:09 3:44 4:15 4:44 5:12 5:40 6:12 6:47


1:59 2:33 3:11 3:56 4:50 5:50 6:54 7:57 8:57 9:56 10:54 11:53 12:31 1:11 1:53 2:38 3:29 4:27 5:31 6:35 7:34 8:26 9:12 9:54 10:33 11:12 11:54 12:04 12:31

2:43 3:58 5:19 6:31 7:32 8:24 9:09 9:52 10:32 11:12 11:51 12:56 2:04 3:17 4:34 5:48 6:53 7:49 8:37 9:18 9:54 10:25 10:52 11:16 11:39 12:39 1:31

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Mid-Winter Peace by Michael Valliant “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,” This winter I have been living inside Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things.” I thought I might write inside it too. Berry is a farmer, a novelist, a poet and an essay writer, among other things. He’s written more than 50 books and lives and farms in Henry Country, Kentucky, where he is from. The subject matter, rhythm, language and imagery of his writing brings me peace. I need that, especially during winter. February is a short, cold, dark month. I’ve never cared for Valentine’s Day, so it offers no reprieve. This year, Valentine’s Day is on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which I’d much rather observe. Winter, especially with little to no snow, can take its toll, mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s a great time to read Wendell Berry. Wintering, as an act, introduced me to the writing of Katherine May. In her book “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times,” she writes, “Wintering is a season in the cold. It is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from

the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.” But it’s part of a natural and necessary process. We need to winter. May adds, “Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in all who have wintered.” We can take some cues from na45

Mid-Winter Peace

year where there isn’t some huge blowout sale, encouraging us to buy a car, or some shiny expensive thing that we can’t do without. And of course, to afford it, we need to be going full bore at work. I’m reminded of the meme that shows hundreds of cars in gridlock on the freeway, stopped, endless, and it says something to the effect that we work so that we can afford houses to live in, but we can’t spend any time at home because we have to constantly work in order to pay our bills to afford the houses.

ture. Squirrels get busy and store up; bears hibernate; birds migrate; trees drop their leaves. What can we learn from them? Society seems to run on consumerism and productivity all the time. There is not a time throughout the



That doesn’t even take into account all the problems in the world locally and globally. This is the state of things that can cause me to despair, both for us, now, and for the lives our kids might lead. What can I do?

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“I go and lie down where the wood drake 46


Mid-Winter Peace rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.” Thank you, Wendell Berry, for the reminder. Locally, Tuckahoe State Park and Wye Island have been personal sanctuaries for more than 20 years. Finding a sunny day, bundling up, throwing a book, notebook, pen, binoculars in a backpack, go for a slow wander and find a place to sit and listen. It gets me off the hamster wheel and stops its spinning. It’s okay to slow down seasonally. Here is Katherine May again: “Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal

efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.”



Mid-Winter Peace

ments sparkle. It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order.”

That’s such a powerful thought, though it helps to have a ready sense of what “crucible” means, so here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary says. It’s “a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.” From these fallow times, when we can’t seem to sing the Lego Movie theme song of “Everything Is Awesome!” during these times when we are encouraged to catch our breath, to sit still for a spell, something new can emerge. “I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water.”

Our dog Harper loves to play in the snow. She is fascinated by it, flings powder into the air with her nose and runs under it. There are times when the backyard is abstract art of her tracks cris-crossing over a white canvas. She’s not thinking of anything but those moments as they happen. When I look for it, when I don’t wish it away, May says it perfectly, “the world takes on sparse beauty and even the pavements sparkle.” Will I let winter be this kind of time? When the fashionable thing to do is use “summer” as a verb, to spend summer in pleasant places, will I dare to use “winter” as a verb, to give time to allow new energy and new ideas to take hold by letting go of things that are no longer helping?

It’s possible to find a new peace, a peace that lets go of the pain of the past or the worry of the future. For how many people is the “forethought of grief” a crushing, unwanted roommate living rent-free in our heads and hearts? Is it possible to stop trying to rush ourselves out of where we are right now in the hopes of what is to come? Here is Katherine May once more: “Once we stop wishing it were summer, winter can be a glorious season in which the world takes on a sparse beauty and even the pave50


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Thank you, Wendell Berry. The stars don’t lose their purpose or their power during the day, they wait with their light until they shine again. There is grace, all the time. May we find it and recognize it, and celebrate it, especially in winter. Michael Valliant is the Assistant for Adult Education and Newcomers Ministry at Christ Church Easton. He has worked for nonprofit organizations throughout Talbot County, including the Oxford Community Center, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Academy Art Museum.

“And I feel above me the dayblind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”


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All Quiet on the Sound A novel by B. P. Gallagher

Chapter 6: A Yuletide Visit The boatyard quieted in the weeks leading up to Christmas, giving Earl more time to devote to repairing crab traps. He even stayed late some nights, sending Leon home ahead of him in Betsy to pick up Maggie from the cannery on the way. No bother. A few more evenings bumming rides in the cold and dark and Earl could grant the Higgins household the merry Christmas he’d been envisioning. The seasonal spirit made itself

known as the holiday approached. Folks on the island hung wreaths on their front doors and garlands from their eaves, and hunters wandered afield of their blinds shooting mistletoe from the upper boughs of trees when the birds weren’t moving. Decorative sprigs of evergreen sprang up around the headstones in Moore Island’s cemetery, and family photographs were taken down from mantelpieces and dusted off for the first time since Easter. To the best of Earl’s knowledge, Pastor Calhoun hadn’t visited the


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spare it, now that Clara’s Pop Pop was having a harder time getting around. She often returned from these neighborly missions with a haunted expression on her face, as if whatever was ailing the Gibbses had rubbed off on her. Earl hoped there was no scientific merit to the observation. The Higginses had their own troubles to deal with. Winter blues make no allowances for Christmas cheer, and Leon was mired in a low tide worse than Bubba Coyne’s grounded barge. If Earl had hoped for a sea change in the wake of their cheerful family hunting trip, he’d been disappointed. In fact, he’d begun to stay later fixing crab pots at the docks to avoid his brother’s darkest

island since Earl had caught him slinking around the house, though as always at yuletide the preacher’s and others’ specters loomed large in mind. Clara and Geezer Gibbs reappeared, both looking thinner than when Earl had seen them last. He figured the poor girl must be losing weight out of sympathy for her ailing grandfather. Then again, Maggie said Clara was taking fewer shifts at the cannery these days, so it could be a case of tight purse strings tightening belts. All too common, given the times. Maggie had taken to cooking extra portions and ferrying the hot meals next door whenever they could


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can have dinner with me n’ the old lady, stay longer if you need. Looks like snow.” “Thanks Bunk, but I think I’ll be fine. Pretty sure I can see a lantern out there right now.” “Praise Jesus. Be careful rowing across the open wooder, hear? It’s a blustery one. I’ll see both of ya’ll bright n’ early.” Sticking a beefy arm out the window, Bunky slapped the door of his Chevy like a cowboy spurring his steed ahead and rumbled up the road. The pinprick of yellow light Earl had noted bobbing on the water neared as Bunky Hodges rattled off into the night. But as the rowboat drew close, Earl was surprised to see Maggie, not Leon, working the oars. His worry grew as he climbed aboard. In the lanternlight his sister’s distress was plain. “Where’s Leon?” Best cut to the chase. “I don’t know,” said Margaret in a squeak, displaying uncharacteristic fearfulness. “He was being horrible to me on the ride home, so I told him so. But now I can’t find him!” The latter statement was almost a wail. Now Earl was very worried, indeed. He spoke little as he rowed for home, trying to focus his full strength and attention on each stroke of the oars. It was no use. Troubling thoughts washed like jetsam against the shores of his mind, always returning no matter

moods, since Leon’s temper tended to quickly come to a head when the distractions of the workday receded. Those times, Earl didn’t envy Margaret her long rides home with their surly brother. He’d almost rather walk the whole way through the cold and mud than endure that. Almost. Earl was halfway lucky tonight— he’d missed his opportunity to cross home on the low tide, and Bunky’s yuletide charity extended only to the end of the washedout land bridge. The dockmaster knew far too much about the toll of brackish water on American engines to risk his Chevrolet’s transmission the way Peter Calhoun had swamped his pickup the other day. “Leon ferrying you home?” said Bunky, idling his vehicle at the water’s edge. “Oughta be rowing over now. Shoulda been here by half past seven, so he said.” Bunky grunted. “Hope he shows up soon, for your sake. Even Bubba was talking ’bout Leon had an off day, and if Bubba Coyne notices it…” “It’s not his fault he gets like that,” said Earl, a touch defensively. “I know it ain’t. Still, if he don’t show up soon, walk up the road a ways and have Moose Hannon ring me from the service station. You 58

how often he cast them back. Other things f loated in those murky waters, too—worse things. The black depths of the Sound had swallowed Higginses before. They might again. It was f lurrying by the time Earl and Maggie reached the landing, snowing in earnest as Earl walked alone across Moore Island, following an inkling of where Leon had gone. Striding through the snow by night, with the world softened and muted all around him, felt like walking in a dream. Earl had always thought as much about strolls in the snow, and never more so than now. But what sort of dream? Quite possibly a nightmare. So he bade Margaret return to the house and went on his lonesome to learn what lay at the end of this snowy trudge. He could have made the walk blindfolded; he’d trod this footpath countless times. This occasion was different—strained and surreal—but not unique. He’d made even this strangely elongated walk before. Once for Shane, and again for Mom. Earl found Leon standing among the gravestones with his head bowed. Feeling like an interloper on the periphery, he picked a path through the graveyard to his brother. The history of Moore Island was arrayed all around them. Fewer than two dozen families had continuously occupied the island since the colonial era, whose prog-

eny tended to dig fresh graves fanning out laterally from the resting places of their forefathers. The resulting gridwork was configured in roughly the same manner as their family trees dating back some 300 years. The Higgins quadrant was populous even by Moore Island standards. Earl couldn’t quell a shiver as he strode over the interred remains of deceased kin to reach his living brother. Leon was poorly dressed for the weather, clad in his half-unbuttoned work shirt with house slippers on his feet. He’d at least had the decency to throw on a pair of trousers over his longjohns. At his side Leon clutched a whisky bottle, nearly empty, its


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‘She lived her life wholly unto God. May her dearly departed soul find eternal succor in His embrace.’ The last bit dictated posthumously in a letter left by the grave’s occupant. The other two headstones in the row were smaller than Mom’s and Pop’s, the smallest scarcely more than a brick bearing a placard marked only with a date: ‘December 14, 1923.’ That belonged to their stillborn little sister, never granted a name. Earl didn’t think about her much, except for how her loss had impacted Mom. She’d never been the same after that, and hadn’t survived the loss long once grief beset her mind and left it pliable to the warping inf luence of their esteemed preacher. Pastor Calhoun’s finest work, thought Earl, brushing his fingertips over the gravestone. Leon was where Earl had expected to find him, swaying before the larger of the child-sized headstones. Its inscription read: ‘SHANE JACOB HIGGINS: January 6, 1917 – February 28, 1923.’ Etched below that, in tall stark letters, were the words ‘The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.’ Another plum of an epitaph selected by their late mother. Earl had always hated it. May as well read ‘The Bay giveth, and the Bay taketh away,’ and the same on Mom’s— if there were any more space for writing on her headstone, that was. Or worse, as Earl feared Leon had

absent contents doubtless responsible for his sagging posture as he surveyed the latest additions to the family gravesite. ‘ELDRIDGE GILROY HIGGINS: October 19, 1889 – April 26, 1930’ read the first headstone in the row, ‘Devoted Husband and Father. Veteran of the Great War.’ Its neighbor, the largest and most ornate of the bunch, was inscribed ‘ELISABETH ANNE HIGGINS: March 3, 1892 – February 29, 1924. Beloved Wife and Mother. Daughter of Christ.’ And crammed into two smaller lines at the bottom of the headstone, the latter partially obscured by browning winter grass,

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inscribed in self-loathing upon his own heart long ago, ‘The Lord giveth, and Leon taketh away.’ As if at the thought, Leon sniff led and said, “I let him down, Earl. Poor kid didn’t have a chance with me looking out for him. Not a goddamn chance.” “That ain’t true, Leon.” “It is! I can’t ever forgive myself,” slurred Leon. “I ain’t nothin’ but a fuck-up.” “You done alright by me and Maggie, and by Pop when he was sick, especially at the end. Hell, you done well by Shane too. What happened to him weren’t your fault, just dumb shit luck.” “I let him down,” said Leon again. “I was s’posed to be watch-

ing him, and I let him down.” Screwing up his face, and he blubbered, “I let him d-d-drown!” “Shane fell through thin ice, Leon. Coulda happened to anybody, and there weren’t much you or anyone else coulda done to save him. I was there too, remember? I know it for a fact—it’s fixed in my mind’s eye same as yours. Accidents just sorta…happen sometimes,” finished Earl lamely. Leon looked up, red-eyed and snot-nosed. “Mom didn’t think so.” “Yeah, well…Mom never could figure out who to blame for nothin’.” It was telling that Elisabeth Anne Higgins had chosen a line from the book of Job to stand for

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day morning, leaving Moore Island blanketed in half a foot of powdery snow. Far from impassable, but it would complicate getting to work. Leon was suffering from a wellearned and by all appearances hellacious hangover, but he staggered down the stairs for breakfast more or less on time, if a touch green around the gills. And Betsy, despite her troublesome reputation on frigid mornings such as this, started with minimal coaxing. They left her rumbling in the drive while they scarfed down a hasty breakfast of grits. “I think I’ll stay home today, take care of some things around the house,” said Maggie over coffee. “Miss Gladys at the cannery told me yesterday I’m free to take the day off if I want. She doublebooked us girls.” “You sure?” said Leon. “We could take you in if you want the extra cash.” It was quite a detour to the cannery, especially with snow on the roads. But maybe Leon was trying to make good on last night’s drunken promise to start doing better by his siblings. If so, Earl ref lected, he could do worse by way of an early New Year’s resolution. Still, Earl was somewhat relieved when Margaret turned down the offer. “I’ll stay,” she said, jaw set, lips pursed to a line. “You go on without me, I’ll see you tonight. I promised Clara I’d help her with something

eternity upon their little brother’s grave. Mom always had felt the overwhelming weight of persecution, real and imagined. Pastor Calhoun had helped none with that either, quite the opposite. Earl was convinced that the malingering preacher had cultivated the belief in her, given Mom’s deep-seeded paranoias the nourishment they needed to spring forth and f lower into madness. He felt an immediate pang of guilt for the sentiment— and at the woman’s graveside, no less. But Leon smiled blearily through his tears at Earl’s words, callous or not, which made speaking them worthwhile. Then the eldest surviving member of the Higgins family teetered and sat down hard in a puddle of slush, soaking the seat of his trousers. “Ah Jesus, Leon. Get up.” “I mean to do better by you n’ Maggie, alright?” Lurching forward, Leon gripped Earl’s arm and allowed his brother to pull him to his feet. “Whatever it takes.” “Dry up, for a start,” said Earl, and plucked the bottle of scotch from his brother’s fingers. Before Leon could protest, he hurled it hard as he could into the night. “C’mon, let’s go home.” Together they started back, Leon with an arm slung around Earl’s shoulders for balance. The snowsquall cleared by Fri62


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that I mean to see through today, if I can.” “Fine by me, Maggs,” said Earl. It was clear as day that her mind was made up, though he wasn’t sure why she looked so grim about skipping work. But if she wanted to stay home to spruce up the house and maybe get some holiday baking done, let her. They’d all reap the benefits, even if she stole a few nips from Leon’s liquor cabinet along the way. “We gotta get going now. Can’t leave Betsy idling too long or she’s apt to stall. Coming, Leon?” “For Clara, huh?” Leon was still frowning at their sister, but if he took issue with her vague plans for the day, he was too queasy to press her on it. “Okay then. Uh…give her my best for me, will you?” Maggie nodded. Then, oddly, she threw her arms around each of their necks in a hurried hug and pushed them out the door. Snow couldn’t accumulate on the island’s tidal land bridge, but it became a moderate hindrance upon crossing to the Eastern Shore. From time to time, Earl was forced to stop Betsy to shovel off the road or employ pails of gravel and wooden slats to free the pickup from snowdrifts. They made it to the boatyard over an hour late to find Bunky asleep in his rocker, a lit cigarette lolling from his lips.

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probably out on the Bay, but maybe as the day warms up. In the meantime, think you can finish up them traps so they ain’t cluttering up the end of my dock no more?” “Mean it?” said Earl. “I only gotta couple more left to do, and John Barnhart’s s’posed to come by and pick ‘em up no later’n next week. Then they’ll be outta your hair for good.” “Only ‘til next season, I’m sure,” said Bunky. “But sure, get to it. So long as you’re all finished up with Johnny’s boat, too. I’m ready to be done dealing with Barnhart ’til the new year.” “Yessir!” Earl had finished work on Mr. Barnhart’s deadrise last week, and by lunchtime he was

The dockmaster lurched upright as the Higgins brothers pulled up, spitting out his cigarette, which fizzled in the slush. “Late!” coughed Bunky. “Late and late!” “Late for what, you old coot?” said Leon. “To watch you nap?” “That’s enough outta you, Leon Higgins,” said Bunky, yawning. “Sorry, Bunk,” said Earl. “The roads are in rough shape.” “Yeah well, no real bother. I’m just giving you a hard time.” “Slow morning?” Bunky nodded. “Lotta the rivers and creeks are iced over, if I had to guess. Nobody come up this way all morning far as I’ve seen. What few folks are out on the wooder are

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for a roundabout approach to avoid arousing Leon’s suspicions right away. “Maggie’s been talkin’ ’bout taking in one of them stray cats down by the boat ramp lately.” “Has she now? I ain’t heard her say nothing like that.” “She’s been saying it.” Leon snorted. “What does she want with a cat, anyhow? She’s been goin’ on about getting a dog all this time.” “Maybe she’s given up on that.” “Hm. You think so?” Earl shrugged. “A cat, huh? Lot different from a dog.” “Can’t fault your logic there.” “Shut up. I’m just saying it ain’t the same sorta house pet.” “Wouldn’t have to walk a cat,” said Earl, stoking the winds of opposition. “And they don’t eat much.” “That’s true, but we couldn’t take it hunting neither! A good bird dog’s a beautiful thing.” Now the breeze was blowing of its own accord. From here on Earl needed but nudge, and Leon was apt to sell himself on the idea of adopting a dog by the time they got home. “Sure would be nice to have a retriever, or a good pointer.” “A black lab, maybe,” supplied Leon, the readiness of his response betraying forethought on the matter. “Or a spaniel. Remember Dave Howell’s uncle had that Britney?”

done repairing crab pots as well. Which meant, to his considerable excitement, that he could now exchange the favor for Maggie’s Christmas present. John was brokering the arrangement between Earl and a faceless Barnhart cousin who kept a kennel out in Edgewater. Earl planned to go over there sometime before Christmas to pick out a pup—preferably one that’d grow up big and mean, at least in the right contexts. He’d kept Leon in the dark about his plans so far, worried his brother might balk at the deal if he knew what Earl was up to. They’d devoted enough idle talk to the subject that Leon shouldn’t protest, but given his brother’s contrarian nature Earl figured he ought to keep his intentions to himself just to be safe. If it was going to be a surprise, then a big, strong puppy to hone into a fine hunting and guard dog would go over best. Waterborne traffic failed to pick up as the day wore on, so Bunky wished the Higgins brothers a good weekend and sent them packing early. Leon was in such good spirits as they puttered home from the docks in the afternoon sunlight that Earl decided to put out feelers about adopting a dog, after all. He was already committed to the plan, but why go in blind if it could be avoided? Still, he opted 66


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The modest snowfall had melted down some as the day warmed, leaving the roads a slush of mud and ice. As Betsy lumbered down the Shore in fits and starts, Leon’s convictions gathered momentum. By the time they reached the causeway to the island, he was insistent that Maggie hold off on luring home a stray cat. Moore Island was quietest this time of day, the bulk of its inhabitants dispersed to toil elsewhere. The north pier was all but empty of boats, and only Geezer Gibbs’s workboat was docked at the south pier. Seeing her bobbing idly there, Earl wondered whether he ought to ask if Mr. Gibbs needed help wintering the vessel—might even be

“Sure I do—Mulligan. Great dog.” Leon nodded. “Or a big goofy golden like Chuckles. Pop never got over that dog—why d’you think we ain’t had one since?” Earl felt a tug of affection for their childhood pet. Good old Charlie. Glancing over, he saw in Leon’s eye a twinkle of the same nostalgia. Time to reel him in. “Well, it’s too bad Maggie’s moved onto the cat now.” “Forget the cat!” said Leon, passion inf lamed. “What good’s a cat? Besides, Maggs was just a baby when Chuckles died. She don’t even know what she’s missing, really!”

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hopped from the vehicle without bothering to shut the door behind him. Leon was of like mind, marching right up to the front door and thrusting it open, Earl hot on his heels. But hostility gave way to horror as they entered the house. A strange, coppery scent hung heavy on the air, thick as the eerie stillness that pervaded the home. Both sensations crashed over Earl in a palpable wave of foreboding as he crossed the front threshold. The foyer and front hall were undisturbed, and at the top of the rickety stairs the door to Leon’s bedroom remained shut. Down the hall a lantern f lickered in the den, or perhaps ambient light from the hearth. The kitchen and dining area were around the corner, out of view. The dread tide emanated from that direction. Earl followed his brother down the hall on padded feet, loath to break the still by calling out to Maggie. For this frozen moment the house felt as though it were in tableau, and him and Leon but spectators—or shadows. If either of them spoke the spell would shatter, and they would be plunged into this disquieting scene and enmired in it, perhaps irretrievably. Leon seemed to have reached a similar understanding, and held his tongue. The additional seconds of silence were meaningless. Two more steps saw them both immersed in the muck.

able to make an early bid if the old waterman was considering selling the deadrise to pad his retirement. Something to think on for later. The neighbors’ driveways were even emptier than the docks. No surprise there. More of the islanders owned boats than motorcars, and only a select few owned both. Turning down the lane, Earl noted that the Gibbs house was unlit. Apparently whatever Maggie had promised to take care of for Clara today hadn’t required the Gibbs to be home. Picking up Clara’s housework while she accompanied her Pop Pop to see some fancy doctor on the Shore, maybe. The Higginses’ lane seemed clogged by contrast to its vacant neighbors. Clotted, more precisely, by a vehicle the color of dried blood. Earl’s stomach did an uncomfortable somersault at the sight of the distinctive truck, the fine hairs on the back of his neck prickling with unease. Something awry here, said a paranoid whisper in the back of his mind. “That damn, dirty, sneaking bastard!” said Leon. A f lavorful update to the tried-and-true ‘basturd-pasturd’ of their nonage, but one which captured the gist of Earl’s thoughts rather well. Bringing Betsy to a rattling halt in the driveway behind Pastor Calhoun’s truck, Earl shut off the engine and 70

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painted the hard wood with blood. Earl could see at a glance that the preacher was…indisposed. Maimed, massacred, and mutilated also leapt to mind. Murdered too, louder than all the others. He wished he could dismiss it, but the permanence of Pastor Calhoun’s injuries was unmistakable, and it looked an awful lot like the preacher had been sitting when the lethal blow—blows, Earl corrected, and lots of them by the looks of it— landed. Pop’s roofing hammer lay on the floor nearby, slick with blood and grey matter and flecks of bone. Hard to see how this could’ve been a roofing accident. Without a word, Leon staggered out of the kitchen, doubled over and spewed into the hall. When he reappeared in the doorway, spitting and scrubbing at his mouth with his sleeve, he said, “Lord and savior, Maggie—what the hell did you do?” “Don’t yell at me!” she said, voice on the verge of breaking. “Please don’t!” “Don’t yell at you?” said Earl, incredulous. The request was so absurd in the present context as to be almost laughable. “You got bigger problems to worry over than that, lemme tell you! We all do, now!” “Gotta get your story straight…” Leon was muttering. He’d retreated to the corner, and couldn’t seem to bring himself to look at Peter Calhoun’s sprawled corpse. “Ours too, for that matter.”

The metallic odor that Earl had noted in the foyer intensified as they approached the kitchen, growing sharpest in the doorway. Leon entered the room first, emitting a hiss of breath that told Earl something had gone horribly awry, indeed. Bracing himself for a waking nightmare and begging his mind with every step to wake up, just wake up, he stepped into the kitchen. Margaret Anne and her visitor were on the side of the room usually reserved for dining, but which at present resembled something closer to a slaughterhouse floor. Maggie stood in the far corner; not weeping, but staring slack-faced at the scene of carnage at her feet. She hardly glanced up as her brothers entered the room. “Oh, Christ!” said Earl, uttering the first words he could summon enough spit to choke out. The chair at the head of the dining table lay on its side in a pool of coagulated blood, one rear leg snapped clean off, the other splintered and askew. Beside it, Pastor Peter Calhoun lay crumpled on the f loor, likewise askew. One of his arms was folded awkwardly beneath his body, and his long, narrow legs—so much like a grasshopper’s or a bullfrog’s—jutted in opposite directions. Crimson smears on the f loorboards marked where his thrashing heels had 72

“But why?” Leon was tugging at this beard, a sure sign of distress. “What for?” “For Clara! For me, I guess! Maybe even for Mom a little, too.” “What the hell does that even mean?” said Earl. “I can’t tell you! It’d shame her.” “You’d better!” roared Leon, then glanced around as if he worried he might be overheard. Quieter, he said, “Start talking. Now. We ain’t got long to figure this out.” “That sick bastard violated Clara!” Maggie’s eyes blazed with fury. “Defiled her! That’s why he was after us for his damn Christmas charity, and he woulda done the same to me given half a chance, just you bet. And you’ve both said

“Story?” said Earl, bewildered by what he was hearing. By what he was seeing too, and smelling. All his senses conspired against him. “He musta come at you, Maggie, didn’t he?” prompted Leon. “He musta, for you to do that to him.” “I…” said Margaret numbly. “I don’t—” her voice cracked, trailed off. Is this really happening? Earl thought. Looking down, he noticed a sticky patina of blood and gore smeared across the soles and toes of his shoes. “Well?” said Leon. “I was only gonna scare him!” blurted Maggie. “I just wanted to threaten him a little, just enough to make sure he never came back to Moore Island.”



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her in a protective embrace, which she accepted gratefully. “Then he deserved what he got.” “Christ, Maggie.” Earl shook his head in disbelief, still struggling to process the scene. “You coulda just come to us with this, instead of taking it into your own hands!” “I am coming to you with it!” she said, lip quivering. “A little late, dontcha think?” said Earl, who had bigger worries than preserving his sister’s feelings. Maggie withheld her tears, however, displaying an emotional fortitude that bordered on the uncanny, all things considered. Frightening, really. And when he thought about how she’d insisted on staying home today… Good

yourselves how he rotted out Mama’s heart long before speaking ill at her graveside!” “What’d you say?” Leon’s tone had undergone a sudden shift, hard and f lat. “What’d he do to Clara?” “Please don’t make me come out and say it, Leon. What d’you think? He—he had his way with her!” Such a look of unadulterated rage and disgust f lickered over Leon’s features that for a moment Earl thought he might lash out at the preacher’s prone corpse. Instead, Leon surprised him by going to their sister and enfolding

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thought for a moment, then said, “There’s a trunk of musty quilts packed away under the eaves in the corner of my room, Maggs. Go on upstairs and look for it, will you? Just make sure you grab something big enough to wrap him up head to toe. Hurry, now!” Maggie seemed relieved to be given a task. When she’d scurried upstairs, Leon said, “This is bad, Earl.” A late entry for understatement of the year, that. “She…she was just protecting herself,” said Earl, f loundering for a rationale. “Just an act of self-defense. She can’t be blamed.” Right? Wrong, said his heart. It was all too calculated, no matter how pure her intentions.

lord. How much of this madness was just plain chaos, and how much had she orchestrated? “Alright, let’s all calm down a minute,” said Leon. Come to think of it, he too seemed incredibly even-keeled for the circumstances. Was Earl the only one whose heart was beating so frantically he could hear it pounding in his ears? Eyeing the dead man with distaste, Leon added, “Can’t we cover him up with something? I’m gonna be sick again.” “Better don’t,” said Earl. “We got more’n enough mess to clean up as is.” “Cover it up, then!” “With what?” “Shit, I don’t know.” Leon


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the proverbial f lock paled before that of murdering their shepherd. Whatever claims Maggie might have of self-defense—and Earl had dire misgivings in that regard— they would be like morning mists before the gale of Calhoun fury that was certain to follow the preacher’s disappearance. And where the Calhoun clan went, so went the opinions of folks in the county, about half of whom were related to the family by marriage if not blood. Leon was right; their sister wouldn’t stand a chance if the Shore got wind of this, no matter how they tried to get out ahead of it. “Maggie’s not going away for this,” he said. Leon agreed. Margaret descended the steps a minute later clutching a pile of motheaten quilts, which Earl and Leon draped over the corpse. When that was done, the siblings convened in the den. “Alright,” said Earl. “Let’s figure out what the hell we’re gonna do.” “Best make it quick!” said Leon, peeking out the window at the rapidly setting sun. “We’ve got maybe half an hour before folks start getting home from work. Better get a head start on this before they do.”

“Killing the preacher?” hissed Leon, careful not to let Maggie overhear. “At Christmastime? And a Calhoun at that? No way she’d get off on self-defense. Hell, she’d be lucky to avoid the chair!” “The chair!” exclaimed Earl, aghast. Wincing at the careless volume of his voice, he added in a whisper, “She’s a girl, Leon!” “Maybe not the chair, then. Maybe a lifetime behind bars at the state penitentiary. Either way, she wouldn’t get a fair shake in court, not where Peter Calhoun’s involved. Man’s got roots, Earl.” Earl didn’t like the tack of this conversation one bit. “Our family’s been here nearly as long as his! We got roots too, ain’t we?” “Ours are all shriveled, Earl, and you know it. Plus, the Pastor’s got roots where it counts—on the Shore. His uncle’s county clerk, for Chrissake, and his cousin’s the goddamn deputy sheriff! At least a couple other volunteer lawmen in that clan as well.” That gave Earl pause. He remembered all too well how readily Pastor Calhoun’s congregation had ostracized the Higginses following the hubbub at Mom’s graveside and Pop’s decision to quit the church in protest. Even some folks from Moore Island had turned the cold shoulder after that. But the transgression of leaving

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. 76

Bridging the Gap

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Easton Map and History The County Seat of Talbot Count y. Established around early religious settlements and a court of law, Histor ic Dow ntow n Easton is today a centerpiece of fine specialt y shops, business and cultural activ ities, unique restaurants, and architectural fascination. Treel i ne d s t r e e t s a r e graced with various per iod str uctures and remarkable home s , c a r e f u l l y preser ved or re stored. Because of its histor ic a l significance, historic Easton has earned distinction as the “C olon ia l C apitol 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/. © John Norton


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Dorchester Map and History

© John Norton

Dorchester County is known as the Heart of the Chesapeake. It is rich in Chesapeake Bay history, folklore and tradition. With 1,700 miles of shoreline (more than any other Maryland county), marshlands, working boats, quaint waterfront towns and villages among fertile farm fields – much still exists of what is the authentic Eastern Shore landscape and traditional way of life along the Chesapeake. For more information about Dorchester County visit https://tidewatertimes.com/travel-tourism/dorchester/. 81



by K. Marc Teffeau, Ph.D.

Waiting for Spring Thankfully, February is the shortest month of the year and the winter. While indoors there are several gardening activities we can still do, February is the time to start plants indoors for setting out later on in spring. A good example is tuberous begonias that are set outside for summer-long f lowering in pots, beds or hanging baskets.

You can also start slow germinating seeds such as alyssum, coleus, dusty miller, geranium, impatiens, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, vinca, and verbena in February. Make sure they get adequate light during the early growing process to reduce lankly and tall transplants. Artificial light sources are the best way to


Tidewater Gardening provide light, as daylight is not enough. Anxious to get a little spring flowering early in the house in February? An easy way to brighten your winter home is by forcing spring-blooming shrub branches. “Forcing branches” is a technique that involves pruning non-essential branches of flowering trees and shrubs and putting them in a vase to encourage the buds to open indoors. This practice is typically done in late winter and early spring when the branches are budded but haven’t bloomed on the tree yet. Generally, it takes two or three weeks to bring to blossom such

items as pussy willow, forsythia, Japanese quince, f lowering almond, azalea, magnolia, European birch, and red maple. Forcing can be done as soon as the buds begin to swell in late winter. Forsythia and pussy willow can be forced as early as late February, but it’s best to wait until March for more difficult-to-force ornamentals such as crabapples, magnolias and redbuds. Prune non-essential branches of spring-blooming trees and shrubs at a 45-degree angle with clean, sharp pruners. Place the branches in a vase of roomtemperature water overnight. I recommend recutting the ends using a slanting cut the next day. This will ensure that the exposed stem tissue can suck up the water.

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Tidewater Gardening

you need to know is the name of the plant and its cultural requirements. This information is readily available on the internet. Light is always a critical factor for houseplants, but it’s especially so during the winter months. The shorter days and lower light intensities during the winter months will result in slower plant growth. It’s important to be aware of each plant’s light needs and provide accordingly. Many foliage house plants that we grow are native to tropical rain forests, where light levels are low. A sunny south or southeast windowsill is good for houseplants that require a lot of light, but be careful that the foliage doesn’t touch the cold windowpane and perhaps get frostbitten. Flowering houseplants require the most light and foliage plants less. Low light problems can be easily remedied by growing the plants under artificial light. All you need are two 40-watt f luorescent lamps. The best f luorescent lamps are special plant growth tubes that emit the proper quality of color of light

Make sure to keep the vase in a bright room away from heaters and direct sun. You should change the water every few days so the branches don’t rot from the buildup of bacteria that is growing in the water and on the stem cut. By spraying or misting the branches two or three times a day, you can prevent the buds from drying out. Our tropical foliage houseplants usually have a hard time this time of year because of low light intensities and low humidity interior air. If you are having problems with any houseplant, the first thing 86

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best results, plants should receive 12 to 16 hours of artificial light daily. But give them at least a 4-to6-hour dark period. Plants don’t “sleep” during this time; they move foods manufactured within the leaves into other parts of the plant. Because of reduced growth during the winter, houseplants should not be fed as heavily. Most potted plants should be fed regularly between March and October and sort of ignored from November to February. If leaves are smaller and paler than usual, it is usually due to lower light intensities of the winter months. If you have to feed your houseplants, do so with one of the commercially available water-soluble fertilizers. Use it at one-half the labeled rate to avoid encouraging leggy growth. If your houseplant is having problems, make sure that the problem is not the result of insect

for the best plant growth. They are sold under various trade names like “Gro-Lux” and can be purchased at garden centers and hardware and department stores. With the advent of LED grow lights, you can substitute them for f luorescents. You can now find “full spectrum light bulbs” for plant growing. A full spectrum bulb will emit all the electromagnetic rays ranging from infrared to ultraviolet rays, which are the wavelengths that are useful to plants and animals. To be effective, the f luorescent lamps must be right down at the tops of the plants. Light intensity decreases rapidly even a few inches away from the source. Most plants will do best when the f luorescent lamps are less than 4 inches away. Since f luorescent and LED lamps are cool, there is no problem with too much heat near the plants. For 88


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Tidewater Gardening

times the leaf loss problem is the result of overwatering because the plant is in too large a pot. The excess soil around the roots holds too much water, leading to low oxygen levels and root rot. To avoid this problem, don’t put a plant into a pot more than 1 to 2 inches wider than the root ball. Wilting of the plant can also be caused by too much water, too little water, or overfertilizing. Another problem that results in leaf loss is that the air is too dry, especially if you are heating it with a wood stove. Humidity around the plants can be raised by a light misting of the leaves once or twice a day with water. The spray bottles are inexpensive and can be purchased at any place that sells houseplant supplies. Try grouping your plants in a pan with a layer of small stones in the bottom. Apply water to the pan to cover the stones. This not only provides a bottom source of water, but as the water evaporates from around the stones it raises the humidity around the plants. Outside, if you can motivate your-

damage. Such clues as cottony bits on the stems may mean a mealy bug infestation. Sticky sap and/or brown bumps may indicate a scale problem, while grayish or pale green leaves could be spider mites. Treat these problems with an aerosol houseplant insect spray according to label directions. Most houseplant problems during the winter are because of poor growing conditions or incorrect watering. Overall leaf drop may occur when you move a plant from one room to another or drastically change its environment in some other way. Chilling and exposing the plants to drafts or hot air vents can cause the same symptoms.

If the leaves are turning yellow and dropping from the bottom toward the top, the culprit usually is overwatering. This damages the root system of the plant. Some90

self, on some of the milder February days there are gardening activities to be done both inside and outside of the house. If you did not get it done earlier, you can prune hybrid tea roses now, removing old canes and lowering the plants to a height of 12–15”. Apply a drop of white glue or place a thumb tack at the end of the fresh-cut canes to prevent borers from laying their eggs on the cut. Also, apply a dormant spray of lime sulfur and dormant oil before active growth appears. Clean up rose beds, discard old foliage, and pieces of canes, and remove old mulch with weeds. Re-apply a fresh layer of mulch to the rose beds. Now is a great time to prune the

clumps of ornamental grasses before new growth appears. Tie the large clumps with rope and cut them down to the correct height with a hedge trimmer. If you use hay and manure in the garden, one way to make old hay and manure weed-free is to spread it on the soil


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Tidewater Gardening

Another practice that you can do in February, if there is no snow on the ground, is to lime the lawn and garden if you didn’t get to it last fall. Apply the correct amount of lime based on your soil test results. If the ground dries out a bit, you can still take soil samples and send them to a commercial soil test lab in February, though the results will be a little slower getting back to you because of testing backup. Happy Gardening!

in late winter, water well, and cover it with black plastic. The weed seeds will sprout after a few days of warm weather and then will be killed by frost and lack of daylight. Now is also a good time to hang out or clean out bluebird houses before the birds start looking for a home.

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St. Michaels Map and History

© John Norton

On the broad Miles River, with its picturesque tree-lined streets and beautiful harbor, St. Michaels has been a haven for boats plying the Chesapeake and its inlets since the earliest days. Here, some of the handsomest models of the Bay craft, such as canoes, bugeyes, pungys and some famous Baltimore Clippers, were designed and built. The Church, named “St. Michael’s,” was the first building erected (about 1677) and around it clustered the town that took its name. For a walking tour and more history of the St. Michaels area visit https://tidewatertimes.com/travel-tourism/st-michaels-maryland/. 95

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Navigating Rough Waters by A.M. Foley

In the 1860s, tides of war mirrored the ebb and f low of Chesapeake Bay. On the lower Bay, Virginia opted to secede from the Union on April 17, 1861. To the north, Maryland barely clung on. Federal occupation troops were needed on the Eastern Shore and elsewhere to curb some Confederate sympathizers’ actions. Tempers had been simmering, as evidenced by violence in other border states, such as “Bloody Kansas.” Closer to the Free State, in the supposedly decorous U.S. Senate, Representative Brooks from South Carolina nearly killed an “esteemed

colleague from Massachusetts.” He attacked Senator Sumner as he sat at his desk, striking him repeatedly about the head with a gold-headed cane. In an earlier speech, Sumner had denounced slavery and a fellow senator, who was a slaveholder and Brooks’s first cousin once removed. Brooks resigned from the House but was reelected within weeks. Sumner was a member of the anti-slavery Republican Party. When Republican Abraham Lincoln won the presidency in 1860, passions boiled over. Maryland and Delaware’s fellow slave states to the south opted out of the Union one by


Rough Waters

frontations, troops disembarked above the Susquehanna, traveled by steamboat down the river and Bay to Annapolis, then by rail to Washington. Lincoln, a midwesterner who had received only 2.5% of Maryland’s presidential vote, didn’t know what to expect from Maryland and its Governor Hicks, a conf licted man. A native of East New Market, Hicks had switched from Democrat to Whig, then joined the Native American Party. He won governorship from his office as Dorchester County’s Register of Wills in a tumultuous 1858 contest. His party was popularly known as the Know-Nothings because of members’ secrecy. Hicks, on the other hand, readily manifested his leanings. He denounced immigrants; felt all new states entitled to permit slavery; opposed abolitionists as “fanatical and mis-

one. Two days after Virginia seceded, federal troops boarded horsedrawn Baltimore trams connecting railroads, en route to defend Washington against newly-declared foes across the Potomac. A mob blocked the last tramcars, forcing troops to march down Pratt Street to Camden Station under a shower of bricks and stones. Mayor George Brown, waving his umbrella, calmed the crowd momentarily, but soon gunfire erupted. The first fatalities of the Civil War fell on Pratt Street: troops, assailants and bystanders.

Despite the prior week’s action at Fort Sumter, Mayor Brown believed it was these deaths that made Civil War inevitable. He and Maryland Governor Thomas Hicks urged Lincoln to stop routing troops through Baltimore, the rail hub directly connected to the Capital. Lincoln said he couldn’t ask northern volunteers to tunnel under or f ly over Baltimore. Then local militia destroyed railroad bridges over the Bush and Gunpowder Rivers. To avoid more con98

of that body.” Ultimately, the president decided the general should await the vote. “If it shall be to arm their people against the United States…adopt the most prompt and efficient means to counteract, even if necessary to the bombardment of their cities; in the extremest necessity, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.” The legislature opted to relocate their fateful assembly from Annapolis to less-volatile Frederick. Governor Hicks expressed his conviction “that the only safety of Maryland lies in preserving a neutral position between the brethren of the North and of the South.” The legislature opted then 53-13 against seceding, but also

guided persons against property in slaves”; and maintained “slave owners had a right…to recover their property.” To be positive, Hicks swore, “I love my state, and I love the union, but I will suffer my right arm to be torn from my body before I will raise it to strike a sister state.” Lincoln expected Maryland’s legislature to meet a week after the Pratt Street Riot. Fearing their vote would encircle his government with hostile territory, he wrote General Winfield Scott that the legislature “not improbably will take action to arm the people of the State against the United States.” He pondered the necessity of having the army “disperse the members

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Oxford Map and History




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Mill St


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

Rough Waters for removal of Union troops from the state. Lincoln claimed federal troops were solely defensive, but soon the army established a new “Department of Annapolis” to encompass that city, plus twenty miles on either side of rails to Washington. Neutrality was not an option. Under martial law, Baltimore and Annapolis escaped bombardment, but many Marylanders were imprisoned and denied civil rights. (Newspaperman Frank Key Howard was held in Fort McHenry, which his grandfather, Francis Scott Key, viewed while a British prisoner.) Troops poured onto Annapolis

docks by the thousands and the Naval Academy morphed into a tented army camp. Midshipmen ranks had been thinning for four months, since South Carolina seceded in December 1860. The day after the Baltimore riot, when Virginia seceded, Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles decided the Naval Academy need be immediately relocated to Newport, Rhode Island.

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Those midshipmen and instructors remaining faced an agonizing decision. Many from the South as well as the North abhorred slavery, but differed on how the existence of the “institution” could be dismantled. Sentiments and traditions in students’ families varied widely, even between father and mother and among siblings.

Adding to the quandary, the relationship of individual states to the nation was still somewhat ambiguous. The Great Seal of the United States said E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one,” but academy classes taught proper usage as “these United States are…” It would be decades before common usage shifted to saying, “the United States is…” Forced to weigh loyalty to his native state and family against oaths to the f lag, opinions on slavery and feelings for academy comrades, what did honor require? In Maryland, sectional sentiments varied widely, as did the prevalence of slavery. Statewide, the numbers freed by birth, manu-


Rough Waters

mission or buyout neared the total number enslaved. (Former Maryland residents such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass had already self-liberated.) Eric Mills’s Chesapeake Bay in the Civil War describes scenes of Naval Academy midshipmen from North and South smoking a peace pipe and vowing lasting friendship, then separating, some to Newport, others for home. As 1861 dawned, Alabama seceded and a midshipman slated to graduate resigned to follow his home state. All his classmates accompanied him to the gate, parading in his honor, singing a sad song of farewell. As they passed the door of Commandant of Midshipmen Rodgers, he

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demanded to know the cause of “all the rule-breaking ruckus…” Grasping the situation, he told them to carry on. Ordered to embark for Newport, instructors faced equally difficult decisions. Lieutenant John Taylor Wood was a gunnery instructor, credited earlier in his career with capturing a Spanish slave ship off Africa and liberating three hundred fifty captives from chains. Wood’s father was an Army surgeon and staunch Unionist. On his maternal side, he was related to two presidents, grandfather Zachary Taylor of the U.S.A. and uncle Jefferson Davis of the C.S.A. Wood wrote in his diary, “I feel perfectly miserable, belonging neither to the North or South…” After counseling with his conf licted parents, he followed his older brother and went South, spurred by the sight of troops encamping on academy grounds and General Ben Butler declaring martial law. Perhaps the most conf licted Marylander was Baltimore-born Captain Franklin Buchanan, USN, grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Though reared in Philadelphia, he identified as a Marylander. After having married into the distinguished Lloyd family, he resided on the Miles River and enjoyed the services of a number of enslaved. Believing Maryland would secede, the captain resigned from

47 years of distinguished service. Following the vote in Frederick, he vainly attempted to withdraw his resignation, requesting assignment abroad. Refused, he too went South. As its first superintendent, he had actually sited the Naval Academy in Annapolis. That April of 1861, its midshipmen and equipment sailed for Newport on the Constitution. He had once served on that venerable frigate alongside his brother T. McKean Buchanan, whom he would later oppose in battle. Commanding the Confederate iron-sided Virginia in her first battle, on the eve of meeting the USS Monitor, Franklin Buchanan sank his brother’s frigate Congress and set it ablaze.



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Rough Waters

When the War Department returned the campus to the Naval Academy in 1865, what had been a handsome, landscaped facility was barely recognizable. Once-pristine lawns were rutted with wagon tracks, parade grounds trampled by foot traffic to and from huts housing beer rooms and shops. Cavalry horses had feasted on the willows lining the shore. The superintendent’s residence had been converted into a billiard parlor. Those who had chosen to “go South” were no longer eligible to serve in the U.S. Navy. More importantly, the Union held and, like the Buchanans, many former opponents reconciled.

McKean survived and lived to visit Franklin Buchanan in a post-war prison.

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. Published works are described at www.HollandIslandBook.com.

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Forever Favorites In a time when food trends seem to move quickly, we continually return to our favorite dishes. This is why trends seems to come and go, but the best clam canapés, your favorite chicken casserole and the winter squash soup that tastes better than any has before are not things that have an expiration date. I have been making these recipes for decades.

A keeper recipe is the kind you make, and it is instantly clear that you will not need another recipe for this frozen salad, shrimp and cheese casserole, apple cake, etc. It is perfect, it’s doable and it is a recipe that you will have in your back pocket. If you are in a rut from serving the same recipes, it might be time to bring these old-fashioned recipes back to the menu. These


Tidewater Kitchen classic recipes that your mama has been serving for years still deserve a spot on your table today. There are plenty of recipes that fit your family’s taste. Plus, homemade from scratch doesn’t mean you must spend hours in the kitchen. Make-ahead and slow-cooker options will ensure that you can serve your family a warm meal no matter how busy your day may be. And, if they are one-pot—even better! It has never been easier to whip up a beloved dish! Clam Canapes One of my mom’s most used recipes! So easy to keep ingredients on

hand for that last minute guest! 1 8-ounce package cream cheese 1 can minced clams, drained Sea salt to taste Dash of red pepper—optional 3/4 teaspoon minced green onion Whip the cheese with a fork. Add the clams and mix well. Add

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Tidewater Kitchen remaining ingredients and whip well. Place in the refrigerator in a covered dish. When ready to serve, heap generously on plain white saltine crackers and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika for “looks.” Mixed Bean Salad Ideal for a barbecue. A wonderfully “fool proof” recipe! 1 28-ounce can green beans 1 28-ounce can wax beans 1 28-ounce can kidney beans 1/2 cup chopped green pepper 1 medium chopped onion 1/2 cup sugar

A Taste of Italy

1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup expeller pressed vegetable oil 1 teaspoon sea salt Freshly ground pepper to taste Drain canned beans well. Add chopped green pepper and onion to beans. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Mix together and let stand, refrigerated, for 24 hours. Drain off excess liquid before serving. Serves 6–8. Shrimp and Cheese Casserole An all-time favorite! Serve this at your next party, and you will agree.

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6 slices white bread 1 pound cooked and peeled shrimp ½ pound shredded sharp cheese ¼ cup butter, melted ½ teaspoon dry mustard 2 whole eggs, beaten 1 pint milk Sea salt to taste Break bread in pieces about size 114

these over ingredients in casserole. Let stand a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight in refrigerator, covered. Bake one hour in 350-degree oven, covered. Serves 4. Easy Chicken Casserole “Easy” is right.

of a quarter. Shred cheese or break into small pieces. Arrange shrimp, bread, and cheese in several layers in greased 8 x 8- inch casserole. Pour butter over this mixture. Beat eggs. Add mustard and salt to eggs. Add the milk. Mix and pour

1 cup uncooked rice 1 can mushroom soup 1 package dehydrated onion soup 1 ½ cans of milk or water 1 large fryer, cut in serving pieces Salt and pepper Mix the rice, soups, and milk. Place in a large 3-quart casserole or a 9x13 dish. Put the chicken on top, skin side

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Tidewater Kitchen

Family Dinner for Four Meat, potatoes, and vegetables, all in one! 1 pound lean ground chuck Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 3 medium sized potatoes 1 sliced onion ½ teaspoon Worcestershire 1 large can solid pack tomatoes

down and add salt and pepper to taste. Make this 3 hours ahead of time. Place in a 250-degree oven, uncovered, for 2 hours. Turn the chicken over once. That’s all! Serves 4.

Brown the meat with the onions and add salt and pepper. Peel potatoes and slice them into a 2-quart casserole. Place meat and onions on top of potatoes. Add Worcestershire to the tomatoes—do not drain them—and pour this over all. Refrigerate. When ready to bake, place


wedges, top with ice cream, and serve to 6 happy dessert lovers! Pie freezes well.

in 350-degree oven, covered, for 1 ½ hours or until potatoes are done. Note: If you want to be fancier, you may add 2 cups diced celery and ½ cup diced green pepper. Arrange in layers with the potatoes. Serves 4.

4 egg whites 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon vanilla ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs Vanilla ice cream

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Beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar, baking powder, and vanilla. Mix each in well. Fold in nuts. Add cracker crumbs (crumbs are easily obtained by using a rolling pin). Mix all carefully and pour into wellgreased 8” pie plate. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool in its plate and cut. 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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Capt. Wade Murphy Tells All by Capt. Wade Murphy Jr. Transcribed and lightly edited by James Dawson Note by J.D.: Capt. Wade Murphy Jr. from Tilghman is a thirdgeneration waterman know n up and down the Chesapeake Bay until recently as the owner and captain of the skipjack Rebecca T. Ruark, the oldest skipjack, built in 1886. Sail-powered skipjacks are unique to the Chesapeake Bay and were designed for dredging oysters. Once there were hundreds, but now only a dozen or so are left. Capt. Murphy is also known as a master story teller. What follows is a sampling of some of his favorite tales—tall and otherwise—which you may have heard if you’ve gone

sailing with him. If you have not had that treat, my transcription follows Capt. Murphy’s narrative as closely as possible to give the full f lavor of his delivery. So now, Capt. Murphy will do the talkin’… I’m gonna tell you ‘bout myself and about the boat. I started dredgin’ 1957. I quit school when I was 16 years old. I hated school. I didn’t wanna go. My Dad said if you wanna quit school, you’re gonna go to work. So OK, I’ll go to work. First day November 1, 1957. First day of the season.


Murphy Tells All Northeast rain all day. Second day northeast rain. We worked from sunup to sundown. Cold. It wasn’t no sun. Third day. It was rainin’. I said I think I’m gonna go back to school! So then the weather got better and I stayed with it. So I went with my Dad seven years on his boat. My Dad was always tellin’ me to do everything. I thought to myself, don’t you know anybody else’s name on the boat but me? He said, Wade, get the jib reef. Wade, get the yawl boat down. I thought he don’t know any-

body else’s name, but what he was doin’ was teachin’. He was teachin’ me. Tryin’ to teach me. After seven years, I bought my first skipjack. It wasn’t much of a boat, but it’s all I could afford. My old boat was named the Sigsbee. It wasn’t much of a sailboat. I’m the only person who went to every race in Sandy Point and never won. Rebec ca is much d if ferent. I boug ht t he boat i n ’84 . Had it rebuilt in ’85. The reason I had it r e bu i lt w a s b e c au s e we h ad loads of small oysters for the next yea r or t wo, so I bor rowed t he money. They estimated $20,000



Murphy Tells All to rebuild the boat in Virginia. Anybody from Virginia? Virginia! They estimated $20,000. When they finished—$80,000. It cost me $80,000 on a $20,000 estimate. Bad! Took me ten ye a r s to pay that off. I’ve seen the best years dredging’—the worst is still comin’, so I have to take people sailing’ in summer. It costs a lot of money to keep my boat f loatin’. A lot of money. I can’t do it with oysters. People are easier to catch than oysters are. A lright. They have a skipjack race on Deal Island. They had it since 1960. Rebecca never went to the race. The guy that owned it be-

fore me never took it. I took it 1988. Rebecca won ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94. ’95 we lost. Won ’96 and ’97. Nine out of ten. Nobody ever did that before because Rebecca is a good sailboat. Sk ipjack s were built bec ause they were cheap to build. Rebecca is called a skipjack because she’s got a skipjack sail plan. Rebecca is not a skipjack. The first skipjack was built in 1891. Rebecca was built in 1886. Five years before the first skipjack. She was a sloop. She had a gaff rig. She had two jibs on her. They took the rig off and they put a skipjack sail on her and she has been sailing under a skipjack rig. Sloops, schooners, t hey were round bottoms. My Rebecca draws


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Murphy Tells All five and a half feet of water. Skipjacks, most of them, draw three feet of water. Flat bottom, straight sided. Round bottoms sail better and if you built a round bottom workboat or skipjack, it’s a lot more work to build. It takes a lot better carpenter to build a round bottom sloop. It’s been said before if you can build a house, you can build a skipjack. If you can build a house you might not be able to build a sloop because the round bottom has less resistance in the water and that’s why she’s faster. She’s not a real skipjack, but they feel sorry for me because I didn’t win for 20 years.

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So anyway, I’ve seen the best and I’ll tell ya I was that close to being drownded once. But that’s another story. It’s been 61 years [in 2019] and this is the first year that I’m not dredging this year. My son has a skipjack and every once in a while he lets me take it out. I don’t have the rig on my boat. I’m sorry I didn’t put the rig in my boat. I miss it. Workin’. Walkin’ round the boat. I’m ‘bout half nuts anyway. Now I take cruising parties out on Rebecca in summer and tell stories. I got stories you don’t even believe on my boat. I don’t tell ’em here, so come see me this summer. Anyway, that’s the story on the Rebecca. [Note: Capt. Murphy is now retired and no longer takes out sailing parties.]





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Murphy Tells All

Set Him Again! The four nicest ladies in my life. My mother was number one. My daughter and my wife were tied two and three. My mother-in-law was the fourth best woman in my life. She was a poor judge of men—she couldn’t judge men. She had a fellow in the late ’30s. No good. She had three children. My wife was the third and my wife didn’t know her father because he abandoned them when they were babies and my mother-in-law raised these three children by herself. I’ve heard, not to be smart, but I’ve heard that she

said I will never eat another mouthful of hominy in my life because she had it a lot of times. I never had that because my father always provided, but my mother-in-law, that was the best that she could do. So after the children got raised, she married another guy not much better than the first one, but there were no children involved. Then he passed away and after he passed away she mar r ied anot her man whose wife had passed away. Best thing ever happened in her life. First thing he did was to buy a brand-new automobile. First big car he ever had. He took her on vacation trips. He took her to just about every country on vacation. She deserved it. I was happy for her. The last trip he took was on a cruise ship. And the last night on the cruise ship, he disappeared. They couldn’t find him. They searched the ship over, but he wasn’t there. He fell overboard and drownded. Nobody knew this. Two weeks later, the Coast Guard found his body and they called my mother-in-law, and

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had, too! Next time you eat crabs, you remember him. Everything I told you was true ‘til I got to the cruise boat. Black Dog Did I ever tel l you about my dog? I had a black lab and they are nice dogs. I had a black lab. He went crabbin’ with me every day. they said we found your husband’s body whatdya you wanna do? She in her eighties and was as deaf as me and she couldn’t understand and she said, I’m sorry. I can’t hear what you’re sayin’. They said we found your husband’s body, what do you want to do? She said I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. They said, look, we found your husband’s body, when we pulled it he had a c ouple dozen crabs hanging on ‘im. Oh my! she said. Well take the crabs off and set him again. What else you gonna do with him? Take the crabs off and set him again! They were the best crabs I ever


Murphy Tells All He couldn’t wait. After I had him awhile—you won’t believe this, but he could talk. Me and him would have a conversation. He’d talk. That dog could talk. I’d tell my friends about him. They said you’re crazy, he can’t talk. I said he can talk. They said they’ll put you in the nut house. I said the dog can talk. I said I’ll tell you what. Tomorrow evening 5 o’clock come down my house. Don’t make any noise. Come in the front door. I’m gonna be in the back porch talkin’ with my dog an’ you’ll be able to hear him. So 5 o’clock is coming’. I got a six pack. He drank a beer and I drank a beer and finally we were talkin’. Two minutes before 5 he stopped talkin’. My friend. I think the dog heard him comin’, but he stopped. He wouldn’t talk and I was beggin’, but he wouldn’t talk. My friend said now I know you’re crazy. Well I’ll tell you what. Finally I can prove it to you. You all know about trotlinin’ for crabs? You get a place. You establish

a place and you go there every day. I was crabbin’ on Cook’s Point over on the south side the river. A lot of crabs there. In the summer time the prevailing w ind is from the south-southwest. In the winter the prevailing wind is from the northnorthwest. Well, it’s nice workin’ over there when the south wind is smooth, but you gotta go every day. So as soon as I get up in the morning the dog’s gotta go. We get on the boat, go across the river and we crab. I was catchin’ lotta crabs. Well, later on summer. It started to fall. Then October. The wind started comin’ from the north and northwest, so I got up one mornin’ it was blowin’ a gale nor thwest. The dog, he’s


pantin’. He wants to go on the boat. I said, I told myself I’d better go there to protect my spot. You know if you don’t go, you might lose it. So we got the boat. We went all way across the river. Fair wind with the wind behind us. We got on the other side the river and it’s rockin’ bad like this. Back and forth. It upset the trotline in my boat. I looked at t he black dog. I said, “Black Dog what do you think?” He said, “Ruff! Ruff!” I said, “Damn right it’s rough!” So I could prove he could talk. The Last Cup of Chocolate One more thing I want to tell you. When I started with my dad, we had a young crew. The old guys always had coffee. We didn’t have coffee,

we had hot chocolate. So we had a pot about this big, holding about three gallons filled up, and put it on the stove so it would stay warm all day. Cold weather and we go get hot chocolate. One day I went and got a cup of hot chocolate. Had a cup and the pot’s about half full. I went to dump it. Nuthin’ come out. You could feel the weight in the pot. Well, these cof fee pots had a spout and it was holes in the strainer inside. Well, the pot was half full and it wasn’t nuthin’ come out. I took the top off. A rat was in there! So help me, a dead rat was in there! He was just about white. All the hair was in them holes. It’s the last cup of chocolate I’ve ever had! That’s the truth! I got better stories, but I save them for my payin’ people. Afterword by J.D.: Capt Murphy retired in 2021 and gave the Rebecca to his son, Capt. Wade Murphy III, so he no longer oysters, crabs or takes people on skipjack cruises, but he can still tell tales. These transcripts are from talks Capt. Murphy gave at the Talbot Co. Free Library in Easton on Feb. 11, 2019 and onboard his skipjack the Rebecca T. Ruark at Deal Island on Sept. 2, 2019. James Dawson is the owner of Unicorn Bookshop in Trappe.




Turning Left

the culture made him do it by Roger Vaughan Incident ~ I was stopped three cars back in the left lane at the Dover Street light in Easton, going north on Rt 50. If you don’t know it, it’s a fairly long light. When the left-turn arrow goes green, it lets five or six cars through. There was a lot of traffic. We waited. Finally, the left-turn arrow appeared. Nothing happened. The lead car didn’t move. The Mustang in front of me tooted gently to take the driver’s

attention away from his phone, or from whatever else might be distracting him (or her). Nothing happened. I tooted not so gently, as did the car behind me. Nothing. The seconds ticked away. The lead car didn’t move. Come on, man! Now several of us were leaning on our horns. My growing road rage turned to concern. Virtually, I returned my pistol to the glove compartment. Maybe the driver was in trouble. Was his car stalled? Heart attack? Should I call 911? The Mus-


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Turning Left tang driver had rolled his window down and given a hands-up, helpless shrug. Nothing from the lead car. The green left- turn arrow turned yellow. The driver of the lead car mashed the accelerator and skidded into a powerful left turn as the oncoming traffic prepared to move. The rest of us were left to sit through another series of lights. I was stunned. Outraged. What a petty, mean-spirited move for someone to lay on a bunch of strangers. But I began to feel lucky. That driver could have just as easily gotten out of his car with an automatic weapon and started firing at us. Whatever triggered his aborted left turn could have triggered something much worse. There goes, I thought, another victim of our culture. As, honestly, am I. Mouths Wide Open ~ Having your mouth wide open after doing or even thinking something successful seems to be a current trend, if we are to believe what we are seeing on television. We should believe what we see on television. Because what we see on television is presented after mountains of data have been crunched, sampled, and categorized in many thousands of ways by complex al-

gorithms that conclude this or that is IT. If you want to keep up with the mass culture, watching the subjects, casting, behavior, and even the music track presented in television advertising is a good way to do it. Mouth-Wide-Open (WMO) started with athletes’ reactions after dunking basketballs, hitting home runs, making circus catches, or beating their opponent in some spectacular fashion after which they were taking a moment to imitate a monkey being excited out of its wits, eyes popping and mouth wide open in a hair-raising scream. Always looking for some expression or sign that will com-



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Turning Left mand viewers’ attention and sell products, Madison Avenue was quick to pick up on MWO. It was a good bet it would work given the violent nature of our society. And it was something everyone could do. MWO goes well with the scores of killings in television series and films we watch every evening. Now it is damn near impossible to watch any advertisement in which the actor or family of actors lucky enough to be enjoying the furniture, cars, drinks, clothes, medications, cruise ship vacations, or various other products being sold aren’t screaming (or just being insanely happy) with their mouths wide open. Modelo beer, Coca Cola, Body Armor, Geico, movie advertising (Godzilla & Kong, the seminal), and Olympic and NFL ads, of course, are just a few examples. MWO is often accompanied by frantic gyrating. This is new to me. I’ve been a sports fan all my life. I’ve cheered lustily for my teams back when the players on my home team were part of the family for more than a year or two. I’ve opened my mouth to cheer lustily, but I’m sure it wasn’t wide open. Probably the dentist chair is the only place I’ve ever opened my mouth wide open, and that was usually a mistake. And last century I don’t recall players screaming MWO after dunking,

or sacking the quarterback. When John Riggins or Larry Csonka scored for the (then) Washington Redskins, they would drop the ball in the end zone and trot back to the sidelines projecting admirable humility. I played sports, racket sports, and I sailed, winning my fair share of matches. But I don’t think I ever gave my losing opponent a MWO scream accompanied by a fist pump, as players seem to do now after every tough point won. The fact that many of the men tennis players also grunt loudly when they hit the ball—many women players scream shrilly—causing this viewer to watch with the sound off, is another, related subject. Recently I read the reason President Joe Biden’s approval numbers are down is because his administration is boring. People want a show, and Biden is just governing. Boring. MWO, Joe, get with it. More Television ~ Take this test: turn on your television. I’m giving you long odds that when the picture appears it will be an ad. Try it. My numbers are around 85%, so there’s a slim chance you’ll get editorial content of some sort. Don’t bet on it. The point is, we are being advertised to death. I watch ESPN on my exercise bike. Did you know they


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Turning Left

loss pills, assisted living centers, and pop songs could make me do a delayed left turn if the rest of my day had gone sour. If that didn’t do it—speaking of Csonka and Riggins—watching tough pro football players performing their choreographed, aprés touchdown dances would certainly trigger something aggressive. Money ~

are running five-minute blocks of advertisements these days? Five minutes! That’s long enough to visit the bathroom while cooking a soft-boiled egg. Everyone dances in television commercials. Have you noticed? Dancing is good, don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been much of a dancer myself. I’ve often relied on Norman Mailer’s amusing line, “tough guys don’t dance,” much to my partner’s annoyance. I enjoy watching the great dancers, like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Michael Jackson, Bill Robinson, and Eleanor Powell. But having to watch today’s actors dancing to promote everything from diabetes medicine to weight

• The LA Dodgers have guaranteed Shohei Ohtani $700 million to play baseball for the next ten years. • A high-end men’s Christmas catalogue featured a leather and f leece “casual jacket” listed for $3750. • Blogger Professor G (Scott Galloway) suggests that Time magazine selected Taylor Swift as person of the year for her money, not her talent. He writes the fact that her tour will gross a billion dollars was the decider. It makes sense, given that several singers with, in my opinion, far greater talent (Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Kelli O’Hara, Lady Gaga—to name a few) have never received the honor. Galloway goes on: Time’s “Athlete of the Year” is Lionel Messi. Not for winning his first World Cup—that was last year. Time gave him the nod for his megacontract. The year Messi



Turning Left

Harriet Tubman MUSEUM & LEARNING CENTER 424 Race Street Cambridge, MD 21613 410-228-0401

did win the Cup, the Athlete of the Year was Aaron Judge, who did not break baseball’s home run record that year (he was 11 short) but did “sign the richest free-agent contract in the game’s history.” Galloway’s conclusion: Time’s real person of the last few years: MONEY. • Gambling, advertised liberally on prime-time television, is now legal for most professional sports. Turning left? Don’t forget to signal.

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Chesapeake by Del Webb - Popular one-story, one owner Claiborne model. Great room with gas fireplace and wood flooring, formal dining room with wood flooring, large eat-in kitchen with breakfast area and island, sunroom opens to paver patio and overlooks Seth Forest. Large primary bedroom with walk-in closet with built-in shelving, primary bath with double vanity, Jacuzzi tub and separate shower, guest bedroom and bath and laundry room. 2-car attached garage and concrete driveway. New roof Sept. 2021. Bryant HVAC new in 2021. Community amenities include Clubhouse with exercise rooms, event room, billiards, library, game and craft rooms, outdoor pool, tennis/pickleball courts, Bocce ball, exercise paths and putting green. 55+ age restricted section. Active adult community close to downtown Easton, restaurants and shopping. $450,000 This is a great time to list your home. Our inventory is low and we have buyers looking for their dream home. Please call me for a no obligation Comparative Market Analysis.

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5816 Ross Neck Road, Cambridge, MD $1,850,000 Meticulously maintained 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom home situated on 9.62 +/- acres with 600 +/- ft of water frontage on Hudson Creek. Equipped with Chef ’s kitchen, entertainment room, sauna, detached 3-car garage, in-ground pool, putting green, and private pier with lift and two slips. 3590 Choptank Road Preston, MD $329,000 3 bed, 2 bath rancher located in the heart of Preston, MD featuring hardwood floors throughout and fenced backyard with lighted patio. Recent updates include new kitchen appliances in 2020, septic tank replacement, 50-year roof, & relocated asphalt driveway in 2019. Convenient to Seaford or Easton.


28948 Jasper Lane, Easton, MD SOLD for $750,000 Larger floorplan offering 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with over 3,200 sq feet +/-. First-floor primary and a great room with soaring ceilings and gas fireplace. Large kitchen with newer appliances. Two car garage and a lovely screened-in porch that opens to a paver patio.


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COOKE’S HOPE Pristine residence on Old Pasture Drive. Firststory Bedroom with tiled bath and 14 ft long walkin closet. Great Room (27 x 20) with fireplace and built-in book/display cases. Formal Dining Room (17 x 15). Well designed Kitchen open to Breakfast Room. Study. 10 ft. ceilings, 2-car Garage. 3 BRs, 2 baths up. Decks, nature trails, fitness center. Dog park. Community pier. $995,000 Call Bob Shannahan


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