President Trump’s pathetic COVID-19 press briefings are NOT the highlight of my summer. They have, however, prompted me to turn off my television when they appear. Whenever you turn off a TV, it’s usually a good thing. Thus, the President makes it onto my list of highlights, one of which is NOT watching a lot of TV. Thank you, Mr. President.
Enough about the Orange Menace. Let’s not pursue such lowlights any further. Many good things are going on. Despite all the misery and challenges of this summer, I have a lot for which to be grateful. To identify them, I periodically reflect on things that have made me happy or a better person. I make a list of them. Where appropriate, I make a point of thanking those who made this possible.
On top of my list for the summer of 2020 are our hummingbirds. In May, we planted salvia, a plant that naturally produces the nectar on which hummingbirds thrive. Now that the salvia is in full bloom, we get air shows of these incredible birds every afternoon and evening. The agility of these tiny birds is incredible, as is their speed. I could, and have, watched them for hours. The highlight of this highlight is when a pair of hummingbirds work the flowers together. It looks like some sort of mating ritual, but I am told it is the wrong time of year. Whatever is going on, I hope it continues. There can’t be too many hummingbirds.
Sunflowers are also near the top of my list. I regularly drive by the fields of Eason’s farm, where rows upon rows of sunflowers can be found. I am deeply grateful for the beauty of these flowers.
I’ve also thoroughly enjoying harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden—cucumbers, tomatoes, blackberries, peppers, eggplant and zucchini have been a wonderful addition to our meals this summer, especially since we’ve been doing a lot more home cooking during the pandemic.
Oxford’s Strand also makes my list. I regularly load Lucca, the Eastern Shore’s best goldendoodle, into my car and drive there for walks. Lucca practices social distancing and loves seeing the occasional boat go by. She revels in the cool breezes and observes the families enjoying the beach. There are many, many good things about Oxford, but The Strand is my favorite. I am grateful for how the town manages it.
Curiously, a debate also makes my list of highlights. It is a debate I have been following on the pages of the Talbot Spy about the impact of Paul Prager and Bluepoint Hospitality on the town of Easton. It has been interesting, and educational, to me to read the comments of those who oppose or fear the changes he is making in Easton.
The concerns articulated, frankly, were things I had not considered. Things like the businesses being a “Disneyland” fantasy world intended for an audience of people who do not already live here. I also have appreciated those who welcome the new businesses, including the “perfectionism” that Bluepoint has pursued with each of them.
Where do I come out on this debate? I don’t know right now. So far, I think all Bluepoint establishments are top drawer and a welcome addition to the town of Easton. But I’m still listening and, hopefully, learning. In the meantime, I welcome the debate, at least those parts of it not involving name-calling, threats, or worse. Citizens engaged in an honest debate over Easton’s future is a good thing.
Let me also add to the list the remarkable vision of Chesapeake Music. The virtual chamber music concerts were a highlight of my June. I am grateful to the organizers and musicians. I am particularly fond of classical music. Thank you, Chesapeake Music!
Another highlight of the summer, and the last one I will mention here, is the way much of the Eastern Shore has responded to the pandemic. Adherence to safe practices—mask-wearing, social distancing, handwashing, etc.—has been remarkable. Our area puts other parts of the State (and country) to shame. I am grateful to all those who are doing their part to keep us safe. You have inspired me to step up my own efforts to join you.
J.E. Dean of Oxford is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant. For more than 30 years, he advised clients on federal education and social service policy.