Archives for May 2015

Helping Hands at Scary Times by George Merrill

Last week, two years after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, a federal jury voted to condemn Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for what is considered the worst terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11. The decision was not arrived at lightly, as Massachusetts has no death penalty for state crimes. Reactions were mixed. I didn’t sense from what I read that anyone took pleasure in the verdict, including some victims and their families. Some would have preferred that Mr. Tsarnaef were given a life sentence but most hoped the verdict would at least bring some closure to one of the darker moments of our history. However, appeals are to follow, and that will only prolong the suffering of victims and their families.

It was scary that day in the Boston neighborhood when a bomb went off. When I first heard about it, I remember being stunned. I felt angry, then frightened, sad and finally confused. Again in our world, guns and bombs, more hate and more violence. Why?

Photo by George Merrill

Photo by George Merrill

How does anyone harbor such hatred and feel driven to express it in such sadistic ways? The explosion, I read, had been engineered to disperse shrapnel at near ground level tearing apart the legs and lower torsos of runners and bystanders, a vicious touch to a vengeful act. There are dark sides to our human condition.

At the marathon, people had gathered to celebrate life, to take pleasure in their mobility, to delight in the simple joy of being alive on a sunny day and to enjoy the feeling of being a part of a community. Joy is life’s premier gift. Joy wants to be celebrated, and it wants a community to celebrate with.

The violence seemed meaningless to me. I know that in the perpetrators’ minds the calculated violence was purposeful and justified. I cannot see how. Madness? A sense of righteous indignation, perhaps? Some messianic delusions, or were they two deprived or abused boys who knew only hatred and violence? Only God knows.

We’ll soon hear theories about why the brothers acted as they did.

The theories will be only explanations, attempts to be rational about what isn’t rational, and while explanations may serve psychological or perhaps social curiosity, they will ultimately satisfy none of the survivors of the incident. Reasons offer cold comfort. Comfort can be found in adversity, but not from explanations. Comfort comes from those who show up to offer a helping hand. The helping hands seem to materialize, appearing as if out of thin air.

Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood once said, “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
This quote went viral in the media. It struck a chord. I had the thought that Mr. Roger’s ghost had returned to earth to assure the victims of a violent world someone is always going to be there to offer a helping hand. Mr. Rogers knew all about the dark side of the human condition. He spent his life helping children to embrace that darker side of life so they would not have to be afraid of it. It’s hard for kids or adults to have a beautiful day in the neighborhood when they’re hurt, feel alone or are scared to death. Then, at times like this, as if from nowhere, a helping hand appears.

In the Boston neighborhood that day, there were helping hands everywhere: they shepherded people through their fear, held one another, prayed together. A physician who ran the race continued on running to the hospital where he could operate on the wounded. Nurses left private homes and showed up just to lend a hand, and soon a sense of solidarity in suffering arose from the desolation left by the carnage.

As the shock of a crisis settles, grief and mourning begin. It is a slow process. There’s a lot of darkness that must be traveled in order to heal. For grief and mourning to do its work, it must have helpers, like midwives comfort and encourage mothers who endure the pain of birth. There is no birth here but there will be for many, although unwelcomed, the beginning of new lives.

Helpers traveled with the wounded through the dark that day, lifted up the injured, held the grieving, calmed the frightened, helpers who just ‘showed up’ and listened to the stories of fear, loss and sadness that must be told. Healing requires the kind of listening that communicates to the sufferers, that they are not alone.

In Boston that day, there was evidence of a healing presence, the kind Mr. Rogers communicated to children who feared they’d be lost in the dark.

It was a terrible day in Boston’s neighborhood. But neighbors endured because of the helpers that offered a hand. It made all the difference in the world, the difference between despair and hope.


Church Donates Canned Chicken to Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 1.44.54 PMOnce again the Mid Atlantic Church of the Brethen in New Windsor, Maryland, has stepped up to provide the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVdP) with canned chicken for distribution to Talbot County’s needy.

The Church runs a canning facility in New Windsor that processes and cans chickens for missions and churches worldwide. This year’s delivery of 30 cases of 24 cans, each 28 ounces, is the sixth year that the Church has made the donation.

Assisting with the delivery and unloading of the St. Vincent de Paul truck, at the SVdP Thrift Center, were SVdP President Alex Handy, Peter Diffley, Anny Williams (who arranged for the first delivery), John Bayliss, Ed Marcoon and Dick Weaver.

SVdP volunteers are thankful to the Church of the Brethen members for their generous and consistent donation to Talbot’s most needy residents.



Academy Art Museum & St. Michaels Art League to Host Martha Hudson Exhibit

Pictured is Martha Hudson, whose watercolors will be the focus of a new retrospective exhibition at the Academy Art Museum, “Martha Hudson: Retrospective of Watercolor,” from Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7, 2015, with an Opening Reception on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Museum.

Pictured is Martha Hudson, whose watercolors will be the focus of a new retrospective exhibition at the Academy Art Museum, “Martha Hudson: Retrospective of Watercolor,” from Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7, 2015, with an Opening Reception on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Museum.

The Academy Art Museum, in collaboration with the St. Michaels Art League, is hosting a retrospective exhibit, “Martha Hudson: Retrospective of Watercolor,” on Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7, 2015, at the Museum to honor Martha’s many contributions to the art community in which she lived. There will be an Opening Reception on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Museum during Easton’s Friday Gallery Walk.

Many of Martha Hudson’s patrons have graciously loaned paintings from their collections to make this retrospective exhibit available to the public. These paintings were completed from the mid 1970’s until a few years before her death. Martha was known for paintings of landscapes, wildlife, and marine subjects.

Martha graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art and completed post-graduate work at the Schuler School of Fine Art. She was an active participant in Easton’s Waterfowl Festival, displaying her paintings at the Festival for 27 years. Martha was known for her many contributions to the art community. She was a founding member of the Traveling Brushes; an instructor at the Academy Art Museum; a Signature Artist of the Baltimore Watercolor Society; and a charter member of the Working Artists Forum. As a member of the St. Michaels Art League, Martha endowed an annual award for “Excellence in Watercolors.” This judged competition held in December, recognizes artists for achievements in the medium. As an instructor she conducted workshops here and abroad, and taught painting at her studio until shortly before her passing.

For further information, visit or call 410-822-2787.


Upcoming Compass Regional Hospice Events

The following is a list of upcoming Compass Regional Hospice events:

HALOS (Healing after a Loved One’s Suicide) Support Group: Second Wednesday of each month, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Compass Regional Hospice, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. Contact Rhonda Knotts 443-262-4109, or Patricia Kotzen, 410-643-7674,

Sunday, June 7: 5K Run to Benefit Compass Regional Hospice, 10:00 am to noon, Queen Anne’s County High School, 125 Ruthsburg Road, Centreville. Cost: $12. Contact Kenda Leager,, 443-262-4106.

Sunday, June 14: Farm to Table Dinner to Benefit Compass Kids & Camp New Dawn, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, private waterfront property in Centerville. Tickets: $75, include dinner, beer and wine. To purchase tickets, contact Kenda Leager, 443-262-4106,

Saturday, August 8 through Tuesday, August 11: Compass Kids Camp New Dawn: A healing grief retreat for children, teens and families, Camp Pecometh, 136 Bookers Wharf Road, Centreville. Kids retreat: $30 per camper; family retreat: $75 per family. Contact Rhonda Knotts, 443-262-4106,

Op-Ed: When Is Washington College Going to Show the Love for James M. Cain

I’m throwing down the gauntlet, Washington College.

In 1934, James M. Cain shocked the nation with his best-selling The Postman Always Rings Twice, a book his biographer Roy Hoopes would call “one of the first big commercial books in American publishing.”

psotmansIn the 1946 cinema version of Postman Lana Turner and John Garfield scorched the silver screen with smouldering eroticism as they planned the murder of her immigrant husband. Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange would ignite that scene 40 years later.

Twenty years earlier, James Cain was listening to bricklayers talk as they constructed the sidewalk along Washington Avenue in Chestertown, where his father was president of Washington College. Eastern Shore dialect and “real talk” became a trademark of his dialogue.

Cain graduated from the college in 1910—he entered at 14— and went on to work as a road inspector, teacher, singer, police reporter and soldier during WWI before finding newspaper work with various publications including The Baltimore Sun where he was a protégé of H.L Mencken. He also had a brief stint as editor of the New Yorker Magazine.

During the Depression, Cain went to Hollywood to scratch out a living as a screenwriter. In the company of Raymond Chandler and William Faulkner, and encouraged by the great publisher Alfred Knopf, Cain also worked on Postman.

A year later Double Indemnity became an immensely popular serialized novel—influenced by his police reporter’s eye on a sensational 1927 murder trail—and amplified his  fame with the movie by the same name, scripted by none other than Raymond Chandler. Chandler called Cain, “Proust in dirty overalls.”

The infamous Mildred Pierce followed, along with the movie version that gave Joan Crawford her only Academy Award. HBO recently revived interest in Cain with a five-part miniseries starring Kate Winslet. The production upheld Cain’s dialogue almost verbatim.

But for decades following Cain’s last big book, it seemed as though thoughtful criticism of his work required wearing an intellectual Hazmat suit. Many critics dismissed him as a lightweight, even as a moral leper.

To noirish authors of his day, Cain represented a deformed vision of life, godless without heroes or heroic goals. Moral compasses, they felt, were buried under landscapes of obsession and depravity. His gender roles became legitimate targets for feminist’s disdain, and the shock value of his plots, from incest to adultery, seemed shopworn to a readership cynical enough to praise  Fifty Shade of Gray.

Others, however, consider James Cain a master of the Noir or “hardboiled” genre. Edmond Wilson called Cain “one of America’s poets of the tabloid murders.”

In a way, Cain hinted at an emotional-dystopian world similar to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. His characters were never in a well-lighted place. If he’d been a musician—and he wanted to be—he might have foreshadowed punk rocker, Johnny Rotten.

Iconoclasts are usually appreciated after the sting of the whiplash subsides.

Seven months before he died in 1977 in Hyattsville, Cain granted an interview to Paris Review’s David Zinsser,  the Art of Fiction No. 69.

When asked about his writing style, specifically his dialogue, Cain answered—now famously—with his story about the bricklayers at Washington College.

“Let’s talk about this so-called style. I don’t know what they’re talking about—“tough,” “hard-boiled.” I tried to write as people talk. That was one of the first arguments I ever had with my father—my father was all hell for people talking as they should talk. I, the incipient novelist, even as a boy, was fascinated by the way people do talk. The first man I ever sat at the feet of who enchanted me not only by what he told me but by how he talked, was Ike Newton, who put in the brick walk over at Washington College, right after my father became President. My father decided we needed a new brick walk down the side of the campus instead of the boardwalk they had. …But he had Ike Newton put in a brick walk and I would sit out there while he worked, listening to him. He was a stocky man, rather nicely put together. He had a hammer with a screwdriver in the end of it that he’d tap the bricks with. Well, Ike Newton put the bricks in, gauging them with his eye, and doing a beautiful thing, and as he worked he talked. The way he’d use language! I’d go home and talk about it, to my mother’s utter horror, and to my father’s horror, too, because he was such a shot on the way people should talk. My childhood was nothing but one long lesson: not “preventative” but “preventive”; not “sort of a” but “a sort of”; not “those kind,” but “that kind” or “those kinds.” Jesus Christ, on and on and on.”

Here’s my challenge.

Washington College prides itself for its creative writing program. Scholarships and awards are offered to students promising bright talent. Authors, famous and emerging are invited to read and work with the students while recognition has been  given to alumni who have succeeded in the publishing world.

But still, Cain continues to languish as if in the company of “embarrassing family members” where even a waiter would cringe to deliver a glass of water.

And yet, he may be one Washington College’s most famous authors.

It’s too easy to dismiss Cain for his moral ambiguities, his billboard size characters or the appearance of their lack of self-reflection. In Cain’s universe, redemption was thrown off the bus at noon. Life played out in the shadows.

Why should there not be a College sponsored weekend honoring James Cain as a master of Noir fiction, who learned his craft in the classrooms of Washington College and on the streets of Chestertown?
The Folio Society writes in their introduction to The Postman Always Rings Twice:

“ Today it is seen as one of the most important crime novels of the 20th century – translated into 18 languages and listed in the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels. Described by the New York Times as a ‘six-minute egg’, it epitomises the hardboiled roman noir.

How about it, W.C.? A Noir Weekend, a limited edition of one of his stories?

James Dissette is managing editor of the Chestertown Spy, a Washington College graduate and was awarded the school’s Sophie Kerr Prize for Literature in 1971.


Food Friday: Strawberry Season

Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, potassium , dietary fiber, folate and antioxidants. Not only are strawberries delicious, they are good for you, obviously. But trust Wikipedia to suck all the joy out of something as delightful as a strawberry. A strawberry “ is not a botanical berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit”. While this information is not as quite as disturbing as looking behind the curtain and discovering that the Wizard of Oz is a merely a nice man from Kansas, it does not inspire felicity. Strawberries are exquisitely tasty, juicy, glistening, ruby-red globules of bliss which happen to healthy food. One doubts that there are many aggregate accessory fruitopians wandering out there.

These wonderful aggregate accessory fruits* abound right now, and so it is time to claim your rightful fill of them. The farm stands and green markets are groaning with the weight of so many strawberries! Hull a handful and sit on the front steps to watch the passing parade. Strawberries are the prelude to summer porch behavior.

Experiment this weekend. While it may be cliché, pop a couple of strawberries into a glass of Champagne. They will beautify that sparkling beverage. It is like algebra – you are squaring two kinds of perfection, resulting in a fizzy glass of X. Even if you are cheap like me and use Prosecco or Cava…

One day I would like to go to Wimbledon. Not for the tennis, mind you, but for the legendary strawberries and cream. The concept of strawberries and cream is genius; so simple, so pure, so divine. Sun-warmed berries are already perfection, but you can go ahead and gild those lilies, and lay on the whipped cream. Slather it on. Nirvana.

Now you can start tinkering. Take those strawberries and whipped cream, and add some sponge cake and meringues and voila – Eton Mess Trifle:

This is one of my favorite summertime dishes. Take the strawberries and whipped cream and add some simple shortcake: Taste the sweet, smooth whipped cream, combined with the juicy berries and crumbly, salty shortcake. It is time travel for me. I am back in the kitchen in the house where I grew up. The room is warm because we have had the gas oven churning away, baking the shortcakes. But I can walk away, out to the cool shady front porch, and I can sit in one of the old wicker chairs, eat my shortcake and read a book. The perfect summer pastime: literature and fine food.

A few more ingredients are required for this Strawberry Crisp, but it is easy and sweet and you don’t have to turn on the oven – one of my adult requirements for perfect summer eating:

Now some of you might be more ambitious than the rest of us. In which case I invite you to try Melissa Clark’s Double Strawberry Cheesecake recipe. You do have to turn the oven on for 30 minutes. Call me when it has cooled, and I’ll bring the Prosecco.

And finally, our friends at Food52 have a great strawberry recipe that doesn’t require an oven, just a food processor and a freezer. No wonder it is one of their Community Picks. It is a fabulous combination: simplicity and blessed coolth for our crazy, overheated world.

Years ago my mother gave me a small metal strawberry huller, which has since disappeared. Actually, I don’t think I have seen it for twenty years – never once in this house. So, as the family disappointment, I stopped hulling strawberries and merely lopped off their leafy little heads with a paring knife. You have to sit through a commercial before you can see this helpful video, so I do apologize, but it really is one of those brilliant ideas you wish you could claim as your own – using a drinking straw to hull strawberries:

*“Technically, the strawberry is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries.[4] Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it.”

“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
― Sam Gamgee

Shore Health June Events Calendar

Acupuncture, Massage and Psychotherapy – By appointment, Mon-Fri, except holidays. Center for Integrative Medicine, Easton.  Contact: 410-770-9400.

Free Blood Pressure Screenings – Every Mon & Tues, 9am-12pm, Diagnostic & Imaging Center, Easton; every Tues & Fri, 11am-1pm, UM SMC at Dorchester, Main Lobby. (Excluding holidays).

Breast Cancer Support Programs Transition to Wellness: Free workshops for breast cancer survivors and patients who are ending treatment. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5866. Survivors Offering Support (SOS): Free program pairing women who have breast cancer with mentors who are breast cancer survivors. If you need support or would like to become a mentor, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5866.

Carb Counting Class – Tues, 6/2, 1:30-3:30pm, UM SMC at Easton, UM Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. Overview of the most commonly-used method of meal planning for diabetics. Referral and advance registration required. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Diabetes Support Group/Denton – Tues, 6/2, 6pm, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Denton. Topic: Healthy Summer Snacking. Led by Doris Allen, BSN, CDE, UM Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. Contact: 410-479-2161.

Breastfeeding Support Group – Tues, 6/2 & 6/16, 10-11:30am, UM SMC at Easton, 5th floor meeting room. Led by lactation consultants for new and expectant mothers. Contact: 410-822-1000 or 410-228-5511, ext. 5200.

Cancer Support Group/Easton – Tues, 6/2 & 6/16, 5-7pm, Cancer Center, Easton. Information and support for cancer patients at any stage – diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship. Contact: 443-254-5940.

Diabetes Self-Management Class/Easton – Two sessions: Tues, 6/2-9-16, 9am-12pm; and Weds, 6/3-10-17, 1:30-4:30pm. UM SMC at Easton, UM Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. Medical information and strategies enabling patients to manage their diabetes for optimal  wellness. Referral and advance registrations required. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Mid-Shore Stroke Support Group – Thurs, 6/4, 1-2:30pm, The Presbyterian Church, Easton. Topic: Vision Problems After a Stroke. Presenter:Jennifer Kungle,  OD, Center for Vision Development.Open to stroke survivors and their caregivers; light refreshments served. Contact: 410-822-9962,

Gestational Diabetes Classes – Fri, 6/5 & 6/19, 10am-12pm, UM SMC at Easton, UM Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. Single-session class addressing care during pregnancy and what to expect afterward. Referral and advance registration required. Contact:  410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Labor and Delivery Class – Sat, 6/6, 8:30am-3pm, UM SMC at Easton Health Education Center. An overview of pregnancy and birth; expectant mothers, spouses and birthing coaches encouraged to attend. Free. Contact: 410-822-1000 or 410-228-5511, ext. 5200.

US TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group – Tues, 6/9, 6:30pm, Cancer Center, Easton. Topic: Common Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment. Presenter: Christopher Parry, DO, of Shore Comprehensive Urology. Contact: 410-820-6800, ext. 2300.

Diabetes Self-Management Class/Chestertown – Thurs, 6/11-18-25, 1-4pm, UM SMC at Chestertown Education Center.
Medical information and strategies enabling patients to manage their diabetes for optimal wellness. Referral and advance registration required. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Diabetes Self-Management Refresher Class – Mon, 6/15, 10am-12pm, UM Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, UM SMC at Easton. For those who have completed diabetes education classes but want to take their self-care to the next level. Referral and advance registration required. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Look Good … Feel Better – Mon, 6/15, 10am-12pm, Cancer Center, Easton. Free ACS program for women with cancer includes hair, skin and make-up tips, samples and a visit to the wig room. For more information, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5355.

Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregivers Support Group – Thurs, 6/18, 6-7:30pm. UM Shore Nursing and Rehab Center at Chestertown. Led by Stephanie Golebieski, RN. Contact: 410-778-4550.

New Mom, New Baby: Safety and CPR – Sat, 6/20, 9am-1:30pm, UM SMC at Easton, Health Education Center. Learn about post-partum care, pain management, nutrition and more. Free. Registration: 410-822-1000, ext. 5200.

Diabetes Support Group/Easton – Mon, 6/22, 5:30pm, UM SMC at Easton, UM Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. Topic: Summer Safety with Diabetes. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Wills, Probate & Estate Planning: What You Need to Know/Denton & Easton – Mon, 6/22, 6-8pm, Caroline County Health Department, Denton; and Tues, 6/23, 6-8pm, St. Mark’s Methodist Church, Easton. Presenters: Charles Capute, Patrick Fitzgerald and JoRhea Wright, Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kehoe, P.A. Free, but advance registration required: 410-822-1000, ext. 5792,

Cancer Patient Support Group/ Chestertown – Mon, 6/22, 7pm, UM SMC at Chestertown, Education Center. Information and support for cancer patients at any stage – diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship. Contact: 410-778-7668, ext. 2175.

CARES Breast Cancer Support Group – Tues, 6/23, 6-8pm, Cancer Center, Easton. Information and support for breast cancer patients at any stage – diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship. Topic: Hot Flashes. Presenter: Robin Ford, MS, RN. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5411.

Safe Sitter Class – Fri, 6/26, 9am-4:30pm, UM SMC at Chestertown, Education Center. Teaches youth ages 11-13 the basics of babysitting, including basic first aid, CPR and much more. Cost: $40 per child (scholarships available). Space is limited; to register,  call 410-778-7668, ext. 2175.

Stroke Support Group/Queenstown – Fri, 6/26, 12-2pm, UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Queenstown. Topic:Exercise after Stroke. Presenter: John Murphy, Certified Physical Trainer. Contact: 410-822-1000, ext. 5068.

Big Brother, Big Sister: Sibling Preparation – Sat, 6/27, 9:30-11am, UM SMC at Easton, Health Education Center. Learn how to prepare your children for the arrival of a new baby. Free. Registration: 410-822-1000, ext. 5195.

Diabetes Support Group/Chestertown – Tues, 6/30, 6:30pm, UM SMC at Chestertown Conference Center. Contact: 410-778-7668,  ext. 2175.

Talbot Historical Society Project Rewind: Looking for Cadillacs in Easton

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Easton, Maryland. 1954. Hallowell’s car dealership was located on North Washington St. In the early 1950’s to the 1960’s. It later moved to Rt. 50. Jerry Hallowell was the original owner and when he died his brother Lewis took over. This Laird Wise Collection photo at THS was a “Star Democrat” Mystery photo March 15, 2004 and a caller identified the car in the window as a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air 4 door sedan with a white strip.

Anyone remember this dealership? Contact: Cathy Hill to share your old photos. Comment, Like our page and join THS!


Silver Linings Gifts Grads “Pearls of Promise” for Fifth Year

Skylar Stacey, a St. Michaels High School senior, wears her Pearls of Promise necklace from Silver Linings.

Skylar Stacey, a St. Michaels High School senior, wears her Pearls of Promise necklace from Silver Linings.

Silver Linings, a sterling silver and gemstone jewelry store with locations in Easton and St. Michaels, recently gifted every female graduate of Talbot County
High Schools a strand of freshwater pearls. The necklaces, valued at $75, are hand-knotted and finished with a traditional sterling silver filigree

Aida Leisure, owner of Silver Linings, developed the Pearls of Promise initiative in 2011 as a way to give back to the community. Now in its fifth year, Leisure estimates close to 800 senior girls have received a strand of pearls thanks to Pearls of Promise.

“We chose to give pearls to Talbot County’s graduates because they are timeless,” says Leisure. “Each girl will now be able to own and wear a classic piece of jewelry. It will most likely be the predominant accessory of the outfit she will wear for professional interviews. It very well could be worn on her wedding day, and she could even pass the necklace on to a child in future years. Even if she never purchases or receives another piece of fine jewelry in her life, she will always have her strand of pearls.”

Pearls are also a symbolic gift for Talbot County graduates, most of whom were born and raised on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, an area famous for the Chesapeake Bay oyster. Pearls are formed when foreign material slips between an oyster’s shell and mantle. The oyster reacts to the irritant by covering it in layers of iridescent nacre, eventually forming a pearl.


Exit Interview: Bob Horvath and the Talbot County Free Library

While there remains quite a few months left in Robert Horvath’s seventeen year tenure as Director of the Talbot County Free Library, the beginning of summer seemed to be a good time for him to reflect on his career there. As Horvath notes in his Spy interview, it was a time of significant physical expansion for both the Easton and St. Michaels branches, historic high levels of special programming and visitors, and the development of a close and steadfast relation with the Talbot County Council allowing the community library to survive post-recession budget shortfalls.

But Bob Horvath also talks about his future as well. Coming along with his retirement is perhaps an even greater challenge as the newly-elected chairman of the board of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. With a lifetime of collecting some of the country’s greatest illustrators, including Rockwell, Horvath was recruited to lead the museum at a time when Rockwell’s popularity and market value of his work has never been greater. He also expresses his thoughts about Rockwell’s ascendency and why so many are still moved and delighted by his vision of America.

This video is approximately five minutes in length