Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowstorm in Crisfield

“For many years I was a self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms and did my duty faithfully, though I never received payment for it.” ~  Henry David Thoreau

We have been in Crisfield for four years and have not seen much snow. When it does snow, it usually melts quickly due to the marshy terrain. I am sure the old-timers can tell you a story or two about snow, but for the most part, Crisfield is spared the blizzards that plaque many states. But today we had a blizzard. And it is still snowing.

The morning began like this:

And quickly turned into this:

But Crisfielders love a little snow from time to time...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cat Chatter

“When my cats aren't happy, I'm not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they're just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.” ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

One of our cats (we have five) has been secretly corresponding with a a cat he met though my blog. He finally fessed up after I started to notice traces of catnip and cat-food crumbs on my keyboard, not to mention finding strange emails floating around. After forgiving Skipper for using my  bandwidth,  I thought I would post these  photos of Skipper and his friend Gray, a cat who lives in Canada.

I think it is wonderful that a blog such as this one can bring people together in a positive way, showing them parts of the world they might not otherwise see. From the Friday Shootout that I started with Reggie Girl (I don't have time to participate these days, but the shootout continues to grow and bring people together) to the many people who come to this blog though searches or other blogs, I have met some fascinating people - and animals.

I have followed the adventures of Barry and Linda's dog Lindsay, two more Canadian friends I met though this blog, and met Charleston, South Carolina's Butler and Bagman's dog Sallie. Sallie recently passed away, but Butler and Bagman provide us with some cat "tales" from time to time.

I have met cats and dogs around the world via this blog, but I never dreamed cats would be communicating over the Internet.

First, let me provide you with an email from Gray (photo by Geoff):

"Hiya Skipper,

I'm dictating this to my human because I'm busy playing with my bouncy mouse (photo attached).  My nicely posed photo was taken in a sunny spot in our diningroom.  I have a big comfy chair by the window in the diningroom where I can sleep or watch the birds at the feeders, two in the livingroom and one in my own room - which is upstairs and gets the morning sun too.  My humans think the chairs in the livingroom are their chairs but they have nice blankies on them for me (which make great forts...) so they're sitting ducks too.

I hope you're having fun watching winter birdies from your windows too.

Hi to your humans from mine!Your Canadian friend,

From Canada with love - Meet Gray...

And our little devil Skipper...Yea, I woke him up for this photo. He was't too happy. If looks could kill.

 Gray owns Elaine Dale and Geoff. Geoff is a freelance writer and is Gray's personal photographer, updating a photo of Gray on Elaine's blog on a regular basis (see her top sidebar). Elaine has some wonderful photos on her blog. Her snow photos are fantastic and she loves to photograph birds - in the summer months you can watch the doves nest and have their babies. Check out her archives for some fantastic nature shots.

"Cats are connoisseurs of comfort” ~ James Herriot

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary and a Belated Happy Anniversary...

 “Dedication is not what others expect of you, it is what you can give to others.”

 I started this blog on February 16, 2009. This will make my 332rd post. On February 27, 2009, I started the "My Town" shoot-out with Reggie Girl. It was a little fun thing we did every Friday, posting photos from our towns.We would take turns picking the assignments. I picked the first assignment - signs. The above photo was one of ten signs I posted. We usually tried to post ten photos for each assignment.

People enjoyed our little shoot-outs and wanted to join in. "The more the merrier," we thought. I even started the Friday "My Town" shoot-out blog for those interested in joining up. It grew a little faster than we had expected and Reggie Girl dropped out. Due to time restrictions, I too, had to drop out. But I am happy to say that we picked up a great team of dedicated people who have done a wonderful job of keep the shoot-outs going.

Thank you to everyone for their dedication. This is your anniversary, too.I hope we can celebrate another one next year.

 I have enjoyed keeping up with what is happening, and when I have time, I do try and visit blogs around the world. My, we have some wonderful photographers who have joined up.

Thanks for your continued emails and friendship. Don't write me off completely. I may just "Mr. Linky" in one day.

Crisfield Valentine's Ball...Ya'll Come

2nd Annual Valentine's Ball to benefit Crisfield Events
Saturday, February 13th, Crisfield Chesapeake Masonic Lodge
$75 - Catered by Watermen's Inn
Dancing to Barren Creek

From last year's event...

Lovin' you is easy cause you're beautiful
Makin' love with you is all I wanna do
Lovin' you is more than just a dream come true
And everything that i do is out of lovin' you
La la la la la la la... do do do do do

No one else can make me feel
The colors that you bring
Stay with me while we grow old

And we will live each day in springtime
Cause lovin' you has made my life so beautiful
And every day my life is filled with lovin' you

Lovin' you i see your soul come shinin' through
And every time that we oooooh
I'm more in love with you
La la la la la la la... do do do do do
Loving You by Minni Riperton

Glenwood Evans and Son in Crisfield

"You are blessed if your  family is well and your house don't burn down." ~ Lewis Culbertson

Meet Lewis Culbertson. He knows a lot about family. He has seventy-five grandchildren. I featured Lewis on my blog last summer. He holds the status of rock-star around Glenwood Evans and Son, having worked for the family since he was ten-years-old. Culbertson will be eighty-five in June, 2010.

Charles Bradshaw, who works at Glenwood Evans, says of Culbertson, "When he is gone there will be a void around this place. All the waterman know him; they wave when they pass by and they expect to see him when they drop off their crabs and oysters or pick up their bait."

Culbertson is known for sitting on the dock in an easy chair when he is not working. When one chair wears out, another ones arrives. Local recreational boaters also know Culbertson. In the summer months when we take our boat out,  we always look for the chair to see if Culbertson is there so we can wave. If we don't see him in his chair, we know he is busy working the forklift, putting gas in boats, or doing a million other things  around the dock that keeps it running smoothly.

I plan on writing a "real" story on this fascinating man and the family who has kept him in their employment for nearly seventy-five years, when I get a little time to actually sit and write.

Culbertson is a walking history book and he has so much to say. For now, enjoy this little photo essay. I was at Glenwood Evans today and had a chance to chat with Culbertson before the oyster boats arrived with their bounty.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Thank you Crisfield!

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Don't want to toot my own horn here but I wanted to thank the Crisfield Chamber of Commerce for the nice award they presented with me with at their annual chamber banquet. It was greatly appreciated.

As I have stated before, photographers don't get many official thank you's. We don't expect them. We are just doing our jobs.

Here are a few photos from the chamber banquet.

Our new 2010 chamber president John Phoebus.

  Valerie and Tim Howard. Chamber office manager Val keeps everyone in line. Tim is the curator
of the J. Millard Tawes Museum.

Mary Beth and Frankie Pruitt. Frankie is captain of the Lower Somerset County Ambulance & Rescue Squad.

 Steve and Lee Ann Flaherty, left, received volunteer-of-the-year awards from out-going Crisfield Chamber president Chris Sterling, center, and chamber president John Phoebus. Many awards were given out that evening but you know I can't show you everything. Let me say that we have some wonderful people in this town that give of their time and money to make Crisfield a great place to live and visit. A big "Thank you" from me to all of you.

I can show you this photo of me receiving my award.

And a letter went out to my editor at the Herald, our county paper. My editor at the daily paper also received a copy.

Thanks, Crisfield! I love my town. And I love all of you!

Thanks also to the Crisfield Elk's Lodge for the use of the lodge.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A little road trip...

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."  ~ Lin Yutang

I am not sure where I shot this photo that I filtered. It was on a little road trip we took to Onancock, Va. last week. Onancock is a tiny town about sixty miles from Crisfield. I love abandoned motels. They are so Americana. I hate to see them disappear.

And this mailbox was photographed in Onancock. It must be as old as I am. Of course, we did not have 13-ounce rules when I was growing up.

There are so many things to do within an hour or two of Crisfield when you feel the need to go on a road-trip. In some towns you have to drive for hours to get away from your front-door. Traffic, stores, same-old-same-old; here, you can get to dozens of quaint little towns, the ocean, or the big city in a  few hours. And we are only a three-hour drive to Washington, D.C.

Think about talking with one of our many realtors when you are ready to make the move to the quiet life. Crisfield is a great place to live and a great place to come home to, especially if you are returning from a trip to the big city.

Help a former Marine

My husband wanted me to make this post about a former Marine who is in need of a new set of lungs. People from all over the country have come together to help him. The Marine does not live in Crisfield, nor even in our county, but he does live in the county where my daily newspaper has its office.

I will not go into the details because this blog is just a humble little small town blog and we like it that way. You never know where tags will take you these days. I will direct you to where you can read all you need to know. I can tell you that we purchased a ticket.

For those of you who wish to donate, I can assure you that this is a worthy cause. And for helping out you could win a 1,360 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bath town house located in Preserves Court in Sarasota Florida, AND a brand new Mercedes Benz SL Convertible.

The Marine and his cause have been featured in my newspaper and on TV, including CBS (you can read all about that on the site). So check out the link above and give it a go. If you have any questions please feel free  to email me.There are also numerous official contacts on the above site if you have any concerns.

Semper Fi to ALL Marines from my husband! As many of you know he was a helicopter door-gunner in Vietnam in 66-67. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Marines are blood-brothers forever. So how could I not make this post?

Oh, and for those of you who play the lottery your chances are really good here. Only 40,000 tickets will be sold.  But more importantly, even if you don't win, this former Marine will win a new set of lungs. And that is worth every penny.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ordinary snapshots...

“It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary.” ~  David Bailey

I have competition

 A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.  ~Eudora Welty

I had some competition at my last assignment at Woodson Elementary School. These two gals were on the job shooting for Wave-TV, the school's TV station.

Every morning the school starts the day with a little video that includes the Pledge of Allegiance. We did the "Pledge" when I was in school but all we had for sound was one of those old speakers that sounded like a broken fast-food speaker. - Ruh ruh wa wa. And remember those old 8mm films. Oh, my!

Today schools have digital TVs, cool sound equipment, and their own media.

We have some wonderful schools and many dedicated teachers in Somerset, and they have all the tools available to steer our students in any direction they wish to go in life.

"The young child approaching a new subject or a new problem is like the scientist operating at the edge of his chosen field." ~ Jerome Bruner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Masonic Lodge in Maryland - Crisfield

"Whenever or wherever people are in need Masons are there to help. From large undertakings to the smallest of needs, Masons are always there, caring and serving. I have always been interested as to why Masons devote so much time to their Fraternity. A good answer to this question came from a Grand Master who once told me that he enjoys his involvement because it gives him another dimension to living."  ~ Excerpt from speech by Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

This past summer I was honored to be allowed to take photos inside the Masonic Lodge in Crisfield, Lodge 147, the building being completed in 1926. The lodge was actually charted in the mid-1800's. Some of you may remember the fascinating photos I posted on this blog.

Last week it was my pleasure to be allowed inside once again to shoot the installation of officers. It was a rare treat  not only because it was fascinating to watch, but because it was the first time in the lodge's history that the press had been allowed to shoot such a ceremony.

I don't have time to run through all the names and titles but I want to thank Worshipful Master Arthur Tawes of the Chesapeake Lodge and Most Worshipful Grand Master Thomas M. Velvin, Jr., of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, A.F & A.M. for allowing me to share these photos with you. All photos can be seen on the newspaper web site (see side bar and look for photo gallery). 

Thank you to all the Masons from around the state who were present. A special Hello goes out to the Mason from Bel Air (he lives near our son).

I was both awed and impressed by your professionalism and your pride. You are truly a Band of Brothers.

To the left, Most Worshipful Grand Master Thomas M. Velvin, Jr. of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, A.F & A.M., escorts Worshipful  Master Arthur Tawes of the Crisfield Chesapeake Masonic Lodge. Tawes, a 33rd Degree Mason, is entering his 21st year as the Worshipful Master.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A good day for a John Deere tractor ride

"Anything that is good for our customers normally bodes well for John Deere." ~ Ken Golden

 It felt like spring today. We were working in the yard (my least favorite thing in the world to do) when I heard this noise coming from around the curve. Oh, my. I had to throw down the hedge clippers and run upstairs to grab a camera.

And of course all good tractor operators want to make sure their trailer is not overloaded.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cedar Island Marsh Sanctuary in Crisfield

Still a little cold here an evidenced by the ice at Cedar Island Marsh. This is a great place for you kayakers. Takes you right into Jenkins Creek.

The structure to the left was erected last year and is awaiting its first family of ospreys. If you know any ospreys who are looking for a good home with excellent views and hunting grounds please let them know about this prime property.

The Crisfield Heritage Foundation  has received a grant to install a live-cam in the nest. They are currently seeking someone to install and maintain it. I will keep you bird watchers posted and let you know when the cam is up.

In Honor of Columbo

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made." ~ M. Acklam

"Oh, just one last question." ~ Peter Falk as Columbo

Some of you old-timers might remember the 1971 TV show Columbo starring Peter Falk. Actually,  the TV movie starring Falk first aired in 1968. There were other "Columbos" before him but Falk was the best, at least in my opinion.

Ah, those were the good old days. We only had a few channels to choose from.  TV Guide was king. We had no VCR because we could not afford $700. That saved us some headaches (meaning we didn't have to learn how to use it) and made for quality family time. If everyone was not in their seats when shows started, that was tough luck.  If you missed an episode of your favorite show you had to wait until summer to see the reruns.

In 1971, in Atlanta where we lived, Ted Turner was still getting  his cable company off the ground. It was channel 17, and it gave us shows like Hazel, Father Knows Best, Lucy, and Speed Racer.  Turner went  national in 1981.

Technology has made our TV viewing  more enjoyable but what it has given us is a lot of useless dumb-downed programing - Columbo was smart. Five-hundred-thousand channels and not a thing to watch. Ok. That was an exaggerated number. But sometimes it does seems like we have a zillion channels and nothing to watch but reality shows and mis-informational programming.

My time is valuable but when I am too tired to read or blog I turn to my Tivo. It knows what I like. Though I am a fan of some of the series on HBO and Showtime, I find myself looking for old black and white movies, sitcoms, and programs like Columbo.

I used to love watching Columbo figure out who-done-it. Well we knew he knew who done it and he knew we knew he knew, but what fun it was to watch him make those poor people sweat it out. Thanks to Tivo, I can still enjoy Columbo reruns when they make their rounds.

Now for the photo. This is one of our neighbors walking their dog, who I call Columbo. Columbo called his dog Dog. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the neighbor's dog, though I am sure it is not Dog.

Everytime I see this cute little guy I run to my Tivo, hoping it has sniffed out a old rerun.

For you Columbo fans, here is a little trivia (from Wikipedia):

The following details of Lt Columbo's life have been gleaned from statements the character has made or observations of the character's behavior in the show. He may have been lying about any or all of these to establish a rapport with the person he was speaking to, though some facts, like his marriage, have enough other support to establish them as definitely consistent in the fictional universe.

Columbo was born and raised in New York City in a neighborhood near Chinatown. In the episode Murder Under Glass, he revealed that he ate more egg rolls than cannelloni in his childhood. The Columbo household included the future police officer's grandfather, parents, five brothers, one named George, and a sister. His brother-in-law is a lawyer. His father wore glasses and did the cooking when his mother was in the hospital having another baby. His grandfather "was a tailgunner on a beer truck during Prohibition" and let him stomp the grapes when they made wine in the cellar. He is Italian on both sides, though he professes to be "the only Italian who can't sing". Falk has stated during an interview on Inside the Actor's Studio that he wasn't truly sure how many relatives Columbo had aside from his wife.

Columbo's father, who never earned more than $5,000 a year and bought only one new car in his life, taught him how to play pool, an obsession that stuck with the future detective. His boyhood hero was Joe DiMaggio, and he also liked gangster pictures.

Hardly a model child, Columbo broke street lamps, played pinball and ran with a crowd of boys that enjoyed a good prank. The trick of putting a potato in a car exhaust — which purportedly prevents the car from starting without causing permanent damage — served well on one of his cases. He jokes that he became a cop in part to make up for these juvenile pranks.

During high school, he dropped chemistry and took wood shop. While dating a girl named Theresa in high school, he met his future wife. After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Columbo joined the New York City police force and was assigned to the 12th precinct. He trained under Sergeant Gilhooley, a genial Irishman who tried to teach him the game of darts. He moved to Los Angeles in 1958. While studying to make Detective, he acknowledged that he had nowhere near the smarts of his fellow candidates. But he determined that he could even the odds by working harder than any of them... by reading all of the books and paying attention to every detail.

He is compulsive about little details. Little things keep him awake at night and he likes to bounce ideas off his wife. They may or may not have children; in "Any Old Port in a Storm" (series three), in two different scenes he refers to the difficulty of getting a babysitter, and elaborates by indicating that the Columbos have a 'usual' babysitter, but that they also use college students as baby sitters. He also says in this episode "I took my wife and my kid out on a picnic....". In what appears a later contradiction in "Rest In Peace, Mrs. Columbo" (series nine), he says that he and his wife have no children. However there are seventeen years between these episodes therefore it may be that their child/children had grown up and left home. Children or no children, the couple do own a Basset Hound named Dog.

He hates guns and almost never carries one. He has such low confidence in his ability to pass a routine departmental marksmanship test that in the episode Forgotten Lady, he convinces a fellow officer to take the test for him, saying he himself could never hit the target.

He prefers to drive his trademark dirty 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible (which is equipped with a police radio), rather than an official LAPD car while on duty. He rarely visits the Police Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles, and in fact some members of the Department have never seen him there, a criticism to which he responds in the episode Forgotten Lady by commenting, "That's rarely where the murders take place!"

His reputation among his superiors tends to vary from person to person. Some regard him with poorly-hidden distaste, put off by his seemingly slipshod techniques. Yet he is often specifically assigned to high-profile cases that require the Department's most skilled investigator. He is uniformly respected and defended by people who have worked with him to the conclusion of a case.

His trademark costume (raincoat over a two-piece suit, with a bone-colored shirt and a rayon tie) never varies from case to case or year to year. When "on duty" he is never seen without it, except in rare cases when circumstances (such as a formal event) require alternate attire. He takes his "uniform" so seriously that when a murder was committed while he was enjoying a Mexican cruise with his wife, Columbo changed out of his cruisewear and wore his familiar suit exclusively until the case was solved.

He's prone to airsickness and seasickness, and he cannot swim — though he has been known to row a boat. He is squeamish, and does not like hospitals or autopsies, or even looking at photographs of 'messy' murders. He is also afraid of heights. "To tell you the truth," he explained to an FAA investigator who offered him a job, "I don't even like being this tall." In another episode when asked if, with his name, he would be at home on a boat, he responds, "It must have been another branch of the family."

He is not good with numbers. He likes cooking, limericks, Westerns, Italian opera, Strauss waltzes, golf (which he is very good at), classical music, bowling, and American football on television. He also plays the tuba. He is a self-proclaimed expert at tuning-in TV sets. In 1972, he earned $11,000 a year. He is extremely stingy and for his 25th wedding anniversary, rather than buying his wife silver he considered taking her camping. His parents and his grandfather are dead.

His favorite food is chili with crackers ("It's the crackers that make the dish", he comments in "Ransom for a Dead Man"), which he eats at a greasy spoon. He gets his chili at the famous – and very real – Barney's Beanery. In later episodes he is found eating chili at various different places, but he is a "regular" at each chili spot that we see him patronize, and is familiar to the staff, with whom he often chews over a case. He also eats raisins and candy, which he has been known to carry in his pocket and offer round — especially at uncomfortable moments during one of his unassuming interrogations. He eats hard boiled eggs for breakfast. He also loves coffee and drinks it black. He rarely drinks alcohol but has been known to have the occasional beer, or a glass of wine or spirits, and is not above sharing one last drink with someone he is about to put away.

When called to a case in the early hours he brings a hard-boiled egg to serve as his breakfast. He loves cigars (usually of the stubby, very smelly, "Toscano" variety), which he smokes regularly (although more than once he gives up smoking during the series, only to restart in the next episode). He speaks Italian and a little Spanish. In the episode Murder Under Glass, he spoke Italian to Mario (played by Antony Alda).

He is a whistler — in almost every episode of the ABC revival he is heard whistling the children's song "This Old Man". If he does not whistle it, it appears somewhere else, such as in the underscore. Its significance comes from the line "knick knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone" in the lyrics, since Columbo's standard tactic is to worry at a case like a dog worries at a bone. The motif also ties in with his basset hound, Dog.

In How to Dial a Murder he says that he loves billiards, but never gets the chance to play. He considers the comedian W. C. Fields a genius, and Citizen Kane a terrific movie.

Friday, January 8, 2010

January Snow in Crisfield

We have been in a deep freeze around here for a few weeks (still not as cold as in many places so we can't complain). We have had snow, ice, and now more snow. Oh, and lots of wind.

I was reading in one of my journals that in late December 2007, we were at the beach. It was actually in the high sixties, and reached seventy one day. I could sure use some of that beach weather now.

Actually, this morning felt like spring. The snow had fallen in the night as quietly as powdered sugar falling from an unattended cupboard.  Sometimes a snow can slow things down. Sometimes it stops Old Man Winter in his tracks. And for a few hours, there was no wind. Only the stillness of the beauty that covered the earth. And people came out.

And then the wind came back and everyone went inside.

See all snow photos from around  the area at the newspaper's photo gallery site - link on right.