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by dave ammenheuser

Returning home after 30 years to take care of my late parents’ estate has given me a lot of time to reminisce about Thurmont and Northern Frederick County. I’ve driven over the country roads and through the covered bridges; I’ve returned to Cunningham (to me, it will always be McAfee) Falls; and taken leisurely drives through Foxville, Wolfsville, Sabillasville.

All of those scenes and settings have provided some comfort in a year when I lost both of my parents.

Perhaps nothing has been more therapeutic than returning to 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.

As a youth, I spent hundreds of Thursday nights at that Thurmont address, home of Scout Troop 270. It was the building where I became the region’s third Eagle Scout, and where Scoutmaster Norman Feldser provided leadership and mentorship to hundreds of youth. 

So, it was with great pride that I returned to 26 Elm Street on June 12 to join in Troop 270’s weekend 75th anniversary celebration.

More than 125 current and former Scouts, parents, and friends attended the weekend festivities, which included skills competitions, a pig roast, campfire, and more.

The concrete building has been home to the local Scouts since 1946. The troop was founded in 1942, supported since day one by the Thurmont Lions Club. (A quick history lesson: The original local organization was Troop 11, founded in 1928. It disbanded during World War II; Troop 270 was founded after the war).

Felder is still active in the troop, but he has taken on a larger district-wide role. The troop is now led by Sean Young and Carie Stafford. Sean is the Scoutmaster for the boys Troop 270-B, while Carie is the Scoutmaster for the girls Troop  270-G, which was founded in 2019 when Boy Scouts of America transitioned to Scouts BSA to reflect its policy to allow girls to join separate, gender-specific troops.

“Sean had the idea to celebrate the 75th anniversary,” Troop Committee Chair Julie Bostian said. She told me that it was Young’s idea for the weekend celebration. “He said we needed to do something to celebrate. So, we decided to have a big party.”

One of the weekend highlights was dedicating the new outdoor pavilion to Sherm Pearsall, John and Beth Ruppel, and Feldser. Key long-time board members, they were honored for their leadership for the pavilion project and other endeavors throughout the past half-century.

William Bentz, who became the troop’s first Eagle Scout in 1975, returned for the weekend and was honored at the pig roast. The troop now boasts 75 Eagle Scouts, with a couple more expected to join the elite rank in the coming months.

Seventy-five Eagles in 75 years! With a few more targeted to join the elite rank very soon.

The weekend was so successful that Bostian told me that the troop leaders are thinking of having an annual alumni weekend. However, she and the troop need help in locating many former Scouts (reach her at 301-471-8419).

The troop is constantly fundraising to support their monthly outings and summer camping adventures. 

Boys and girls interested to learn more about Scouting should attend a meeting. They are held each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.

Dave Ammenheuser, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in November 1977, is writing a monthly column for The Catoctin Banner in 2021. He can be reached at

Returning Scouts share stories and look through mementos and scrapbooks that highlight the troop’s history.

Current scouts participate in a competition during the weekend festivities.

Scouts, families, and friends enjoy a pig roast to celebrate Troop 270’s 75th anniversary.

Twenty Tips for a Successful Vacation

by Valerie Nusbaum

Summertime is here and that means a lot of you will be taking vacations. This summer, the beaches, mountains, roads, and airways will likely be very busy since we were all relegated to taking stay-cations last year.

No matter what your travel plans may be, here are some tips, ideas, and suggestions that might help make your vacation more memorable:

(1)  Take someone with you who can carry things. Husbands are especially handy for this task. My Randy proudly tells people that he has three tasks to perform whenever we leave our house: to carry things, to hold things down when the wind blows, and to kill the bugs.

(2) Avoid family at all costs. Yes, I know that a lot of you take annual multi-generational family trips, but I also know that you’re the same people who get back home and vow never to do it again.

(3) Take good snacks. Children and old people love them.

(4) Pack absolutely everything you own and go out and buy new stuff, too.  Pack the new stuff as well.

(5) If all your stuff won’t fit in your vehicle along with everyone else’s stuff, empty someone else’s suitcase and put your stuff in there, too. If your snacks are good enough, your grandparents might never notice that they have no clean underwear and your kids won’t care.

(6) Do not stay in the same hotel room with other family members. Heck, don’t even stay in the same hotel.

(7) If you must go visit family, don’t call it a vacation. You’re only fooling yourself.

(8) For road trips, make sure you have lots of water, Diet Coke, and empty cups in the car. Sometimes, there is absolutely no place to make a pit stop, especially when you’re lost. And even if there is a place to stop, you’ll drive right past it as you’re screaming at each other about who missed the exit.

(9) Be flexible. Plans don’t always work out. Your first-choice vacation destination may not be doable. It also helps to be flexible if you are planning to share a hotel with your family because you might be the one stuck sleeping on the sofa bed.

(10) If you’re traveling with an older person, check their stuff. Before you leave home, be sure to go over the checklist to make sure they’ve packed hearing aids and batteries, glasses, teeth, a cup for the teeth, hair that is not being currently worn, and a shoebox full of medicines and ointments. These items are more important than clean underwear.

(11) Have very low expectations.  Anything good that happens will seem like manna from heaven.

(12) Don’t let your husband choose the hotel. Randy is wonderful about scouting locations, and he’s great at negotiating a discount, but I get the final say on where we tuck in at night. His one exception to that rule was an Embassy Suites in San Antonio, and he hit it out of the ballpark with that one. On the other hand, there was the inn in Kill Devil Hills where we spent our honeymoon and found someone else’s leftover food in our refrigerator. The place actually blew down during a hurricane a few years later. Oh, and Daniels Resort in The Poconos, and the Beachmark in Ocean City, and someplace at Deep Creek Lake with a hole in the wall….

(13) Be prepared for bad weather. If you’re spending a LOT of money on the trip, be prepared for a natural disaster.

(14) If you’ll be flying, assume that you will get the seat next to the person who will take off his shoes for the whole flight. And the person who ate a pound of garlic will be on your other side. If only one or neither of these things happen, enjoy your flight. This may well be the high point of your trip.

(15) Ask the concierge or hourly attendant (depending upon where you’re staying) where the locals eat dinner. The prices and food will be better and you will upset all the local diners by going there. They hate tourists.

(16) Split the driving with your travel companion(s). Randy and I enjoy giving each other a break from driving and a thrill on the road.  With him driving, I never know if I’ll live to see our destination, and with me driving, he says he’s never sure he’ll live long enough.

(17) Don’t depend on GPS. Pack some maps and/or a road atlas and learn how to read them. It doesn’t help if you point out that your exit was a half mile back.

(18) Get your priorities straight. Don’t pass a Dunkin Donuts without stopping for some munchkins. 

(19) Take along some good road trip music if you’re driving but make sure it’s not irreplaceable. See Number 20.

(20) Always assume that things will get lost or broken.

Please don’t think for a second that all of our vacations have gone badly. They haven’t. We’ve had some great trips and made some wonderful memories. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues when the Nusbaums venture out, most of it unintentional.

I also happen to like my family very much. Most of them, anyway.

 I’m actually looking forward to having some new adventures with my hubby this year, and I’m wishing all of you safe and happy travels this summer.

by James Rada, Jr.

July 1921, 100 Years Ago

Sheep Poisoned

Fourteen sheep belonging to Mr. L. R. Waesche sealed their doom when they strayed from their usual grazing land to the roadbed of the H. & F. electric line on Friday of last week. On Thursday the road had been given a treatment of poison to kill the weeds.

The sheep were seen coming upon the track by Mr. Portner, who is employed on the farm by Mr. Waesche. Within not more than five minutes they were driven back into the field, but they evidently had all the time that was necessary, and the fourteen sheep are dead.

Mr. Waesche lost also by death last week two hogs. This, he thinks, was due to too much dry feed.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 14, 1921

Bitten by Spider

Mr. Grayson Shaffer had the unusual experience on Tuesday of being bitten by a spider. He had just put on his coat when he felt a sharp pain, similar to that of a bee sting, on his neck. On investigation he found a medium sized spider between his collar and neck, and a swelling half an inch in diameter with a central puncture about the size of a pin head. An application of iodine relieved the distress.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 28, 1921

July 1946, 75 Years Ago

Bunt Gives Thurmont Victory Over Hanover

Shortstop Duncan bunted on the third strike, to sacrifice in Thurmont’s winning run Sunday, 4-2 over Hanover, in the Penn-Maryland League baseball feature at Thurmont. The daring strategy was pulled in the third inning with home club runners on third and second base. Duncan also pulled the most spectacular fielding play of the stanza with an acrobatic stop and assist from behind the pitcher, in the fourth stanza to stop a Hanover rally.

                                          – The Frederick Post, July 15, 1946

Thurmont To Be Host To Co. Fireman Assn.

Highlighted by the annual convention of the Frederick County Firemen’s Association on Thursday and Friday, the Guardian Host Company’s annual carnival at Thurmont next week Monday through Saturday, bids fair to be the largest yet held in the north county town. The Guardian Host Company is this year’s host to the county convention.

                                          – The Frederick Post, July 27, 1946

July 1971, 50 Years Ago

Town Loses Court

Effective July 1, the Emmitsburg Magistrate Court was eliminated. In the future, the Emmitsburg District will be served by a District Judge located in Thurmont. Other District Judges are located in Frederick.

Mayor Hays said that the change has been a disservice to the Emmitsburg District. Hays said that Judge Guy Baker has done an excellent job in the past and has been considered as having very good judgement and common sense.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 9, 1971

Teen Center Opens in New Location

The Emmitsburg Teen Center moved last Saturday night into a new location at the Emmitsburg Public School, and opening night proved to be a great success. Between 40 and 45 area teenagers enjoyed an evening of quiet recreation. Of special interest was the new pool table that was broken-in by being used continuously until closing.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 22, 1971

July 1996, 25 Years Ago

June 19, 1996 — What a Night!

That night about eleven o’clock I wakened to hear on the monitor that Gettysburg had had four inches of rain in two hours! The Adams County dispatcher reported that people were stranded in cars on many major streets in the town. Many streams and creeks converge on Gettysburg–Middle Creek, March Creek, Rock Creek, Conowingo Creek. There was heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

Within an hour reports started to come in from Emmitsburg. There was an entrapment at Flat Run on North Seton Avenue; another on Flat Run at the end of De Paul Street. Also several mobile homes had to be evacuated. Trooper 3, the State Police Helicopter, flew in the rain, dodging.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1996

Reading Center Introduces New Project

The Marguerite Naseau Literacy Center at Villa St. Michael’s is starting a new project–using computer software to help rehabilitate stroke victims or persons with some brain trauma. It is also very valuable as an Awareness Program to help people keep their minds alert.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1996

Rocky Ridge Woman Becomes POW

by James Rada, Jr.

Edna E. Miller of Rocky Ridge was a young, idealistic teacher in 1940. The graduate of Western Maryland College (McDaniel College) had taught at schools in Rocky Ridge and Thurmont, but her life changed when she joined the faculty of a school outside of Washington, D.C. and was sent to teach at the Brent School in Baguio in the Philippines. Charles Henry Brent founded the boarding school in 1909 for the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States.

The Japanese invaded the Philippines the day after they attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, and Edna’s family and friends lost contact with Edna. The Japanese, meanwhile, installed a Council of State to direct civil affairs in the Philippines. They abused the civilians, forcing many young women to act as “comfort women” for the Japanese soldiers.

Edna escaped this fate, but the Japanese imprisoned her. The Brent School closed during the war. It became a Japanese hospital and officers’ residential area. The Japanese Army sent the Brent School faculty and staff to a concentration camp called Camp Holmes in La Trinidad, according to the Brent International School website.

Back in the United States, “An attempt was made to learn of her whereabouts through the International Red Cross, but without success. She had been in the Philippines about three and a half years,” the Frederick Post reported in 1945.

Edna later told the press, “In all that time I received one 25-word message from my family and one package from the Red Cross.”

That 47-pound package came near Christmas 1943. “You should have seen the children scamper out on the green in broad daylight dressed in pajamas and shoes, the first they had had for many a long shoeless month. And Bagnio (sic) is not a place to be without warm clothing with its 200-inch rainfall and its coolness-70 degrees or less,” Edna said.

More importantly, the packages contained food and medicine that helped keep the prisoners alive in 1944, when their daily food allotment from the Japanese was 800 grams of moldy rice or corn.

“Conditions were so bad in camp with no medicine to stem the diarrhea, dysentery, anemia and malnutrition that even the doctors and nurses were sick. What those vitamins and sulfa drugs did for us, only the thousands of suffering internees could tell you,” Edna said.

The prisoners used the food and medicine they had received in their Red Cross packages sparingly since no one knew if they would receive another package.

Edna said the women shed tears over receiving bobby pins and powder, things they considered luxuries at the time. They were having to hammer out homemade pins from old iron on a forge or use bamboo pins.

Although the Millers hadn’t heard from their daughter in years, they prayed she was still alive.

The tide of the war began turning. American forces began retaking the Philippines in late 1944. Most of the Japanese in the Philippines surrendered on February 23, 1945. However, Gen. Douglas MacArthur continued routing the Japanese from other parts of the country until it was declared free of the Japanese on July 4, 1945.

In the meantime, the War Department announced on February 21, 1945, that Edna was one of the American prisoners freed as the American forces took Luzon. The Frederick Post encouraged friends and family to write to her, care of the Red Cross, but they cautioned people to mail more than one letter because getting mail to and from the islands still took weeks and could be unreliable.         

“The night that we were liberated we had to leave our Bilibid prison to escape the fire surrounding it, and we were asked to leave all, save a handbag and we would come back for our other things,” Edna said.

It was during this time the Red Cross impressed Edna. The volunteers stepped in to help take care of the freed prisoners. They had even arranged for them to cable their families and let them know they were safe.

Edna was so impressed that she didn’t return immediately to the United States. She stayed to volunteer with the Red Cross and help others.

According to information the United States released years after the war, U.S. casualties in the Philippines were 10,380 dead and 36,550 wounded; Japanese dead were 255,795. Filipino deaths during the occupation was estimated to be 527,000 (27,000 military dead, 141,000 massacred, 22,500 forced labor deaths and 336,500 deaths due to war-related famine).

Prisoners liberated from a prison camp in Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, line up for their first square meal in over three years of Japanese imprisonment.

Courtesy Photos

“Helping You Find Plants That Work”

by Ana Morlier

Houseplants that grow in water

Happy July everyone! I hope everyone is taking the proper precautionary measures to stay cool—and not just figuratively. After my last article about shade trees, I decided to find another project that would ensure a refreshing feeling from the summer heat. You can now bring style, elegance, and plant friends together with houseplants (that can be grown in water)!

All of the ones listed below can be kept inside and look fashionable no matter where you put them. You can also look for fun containers—beakers, cups, vases—whatever you want to use. It is generally a good idea to change the water out once a week.

Lucky bamboo: I’m sure we’ve all heard of it at this point, but upon closer inspection, it is actually a type of Dracaena. It doesn’t require a lot of attention; just remember to check on it once in a while. It prefers indirect light. Pebbles can be used to line the bottom of the container to promote growth (and it looks like a little aquarium!). You can even unlock your inner bonsai mater and train the bamboo to grow in spirals, heart shapes, woven together to make a living basket, or however you want to grow them. Copper wire is usually required, and experimenting with the light it receives can encourage different shapes.

Begonia: This is the kind of flower I picture in a garden, but it does well in water, too! Begonias have succulent-like leaves and stems that make them very durable. Wax Begonias are best to use when starting out. They do well in any light condition; grow continuously; and come in white, pink, red, and yellow.

Heartleaf philodendron: I feel posh just reading the name! If you are worried you’ll cause the downfall of even a succulent, let your worries cease with this plant. It is rumored to be harder to get rid of than to grow. The leaves cascade down beautifully, with glossy, green leaves. The heartleaf philodendron is more so a tropical plant, so it is advised to keep it in a room that is at least 70 degrees (or just keep it outside).

Spider plant: Probably one of my favorite plants. This tiny plant grows quickly, beautifully exploding out of the container. Even if I can’t have a dog, I can have a plant pup, as the offspring of spider plants are called “pups.” Isn’t that adorable? They can survive in water for long periods of time, out of direct sunlight. Make sure to change the water once every two weeks or when the water gets cloudy.

Paperwhite: As the name suggests, this plant produces delicate, thin flower petals with a sweet scent. I was able to attain seeds after the flowers shriveled up, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Be sure to line the bottom with pebbles or even seashells for a beach theme.

Tradescantia pallida: A tough plant that does well in warmer temperatures. Described as a weed for its hardiness. Towering high with green, purple, and white striped leaves, it makes a perfect addition to any terrarium!

Coleus: With bold stains of vibrant red and dark purple complementing the green leaves, this plant makes a perfect centerpiece for your kitchen table, as it doesn’t require much light. They even survive during the hard winter months.

You can begin to grow the following plants in water, then they have to be sent back to the ground.

Vegetables such as carrots, celery, bok choy, spinach, and cabbage;

A surprising amount of crops such as mangos, pineapple, avocados, sweet potatoes, ginger, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic; and

Herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, mint, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and fennel.

Most of these, such as celery, carrots, peppers, and mint, can be grown from simple kitchen scraps of the crop! It saves you money when you can enjoy the fruits of your efforts and reduces food waste. All you need for growing any of these plants is water, a cute container, and a little patience. Don’t let your plants have all the fun in water—get out and enjoy a nice swim!

Lucky bamboo makes for a wonderful centerpiece at our table!

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Program at CTC

Happy July! Hopefully, your summer is going well. It’s nice to have time to celebrate with friends, to kick back, to relax, and to enjoy new cuisines. Summer offers the perfect time to taste all of what the food world has to offer.

In regards to experimenting with garden crops, this recipe integrates seasonal crops with the flavors and desired temperatures of summer: Salads! Easy to make, cold (good for resisting July temperatures), and good for a crowd (giving you more time to go on summer adventures), salads are the ultimate summer dish. However, it can seem salads only appear as uncreative sides, made up of a few shreds of carrot, some pale iceberg leaves, and a sad tomato. How can a salad be creative and filling? What does a salad consist of when made as the main dish?

A salad consists of two parts: a base and the toppings. The base can include greens and other ingredients. The greens used in a salad should be appropriate for the dressing. For example, using salad greens in this salad is a great way to incorporate color and can hold the thin dressing. Whereas, a salad with a heavier dressing (like a creamy ranch) uses thicker and stronger greens, such as romaine or iceberg lettuce.

The ingredients in the base (the extras added to the greens of the salad) should incorporate color and texture. For example, candied pecans add a sweet crunch to this salad, while the shredded carrot and strawberries add natural sweetness and color. The ingredients of the base should also either mirror the flavors of the dressing or contrast well with the dressing (i.e. Contrasting salty onion rings with a creamy and slightly sweet creamy parmesan dressing). The ingredients also do most of the nutritive heavy-lifting: they can provide protein (think chicken breast, salmon, or edamame), fats (nuts and cheeses), and carbohydrates (croutons or crouton variants, such as wonton strips).

The other part, the toppings, is where a chef can get creative. Deliberate placing of ingredients on a salad adds a layer of elegance that messy placement cannot provide. In other words: Have fun with creating the image of the top of the salad: it is your canvas.

Hopefully, this salad will help you cool down and enjoy summer, tastefully!

Balsamic Vinagrette Salad

For the Base
  • 1 bag spring lettuce mix
  • ¼ head of iceberg lettuce
  • ½ carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 6 strawberries
For the Candied Pecans
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
For the Croutons
  • ¼ loaf bread (can be any kind; crusty French bread works best)
  • olive oil and Italian seasoning mix (2 tbsp. oil to 1 tsp. Italian seasoning; you can use more seasoning if desired)
For the Dressing
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. raspberry sauce
  • ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 pinch each: crushed fennel, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, salt, pepper

Tools Needed

Medium pan, spatula, medium baking sheet w/ edges, small bowl, tongs, serrated knife, cutting board, parchment paper, measuring utensils (dry and liquid), several cutting boards, grater, chef’s knife, paring knife, large bowl (for mixing greens with other ingredients and dressing), tongs, large plate.

  1. Preheat oven 3500. Line a medium sheet pan with parchment paper. On a cutting board, cut the stale bread in half with a serrated knife. Cut halves into thin strips. Stack thin strips and cut horizontally to make the bread into thin cubes.
  2. Put cut bread into the small bowl. In a separate bowl, make oil and seasoning mix. Pour into bowl containing cut bread; toss with tongs to evenly distribute oil. Once evenly tossed, put on a baking sheet and evenly distribute uncooked croutons. Make sure not to crowd the pan, as that will lead to undercooked croutons.
  3. Place in oven; cook for 10 minutes (or until golden brown and crispy). Once done, take out and let cool.
  4. Make the candied pecans: Place pan on medium heat. Once hot, add ½ of the sugar.
  5. Cook 3-4 min (or until melted), add pecans. Take the pan off the heat.
  6. Stir the pecans, making sure to evenly coat all the pecans. Once coated, remove from the pan and onto parchment paper or a ceramic plate. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and let cool. Once cooled, break up candied pecans
  7. Make the dressing: Combine oil, vinegar, raspberry sauce, and seasonings and whisk together. (This will temporarily combine them. Due to the heavy oil concentration, it may not mix very quickly. Putting the mixture in a leak-proof container and shaking well ensures the mixture will be evenly mixed.)
  8. Prep the fruits and vegetables: Wash the lettuce. Remove outer leaves. On a new cutting board, cut lettuce with a chef’s knife into long strips. Put in a large bowl.
  9. Add spring greens to the large bowl; shred by hand.
  10. Wash carrot and peel exterior. Grate into a small bowl.
  11. On a clean cutting board, hull and slice strawberries into fourths. Set aside.
  12. Assemble the salad: Add half of the sliced strawberries, croutons (only if the salad will immediately be consumed after creation; otherwise, the croutons will get soggy), and candied pecans, respectively.
  13. Add enough dressing to coat. Toss salad base with tongs until dressing evenly coats all ingredients.
  14. Pour onto a large plate. Top with the other half of the ingredients creatively. Serve.

by Priscilla Rall

John Henry Lehman was born in Reed near Hagerstown in 1922 to J. Henry and Elizabeth Hege Lehman. His grandfather, a Mennonite, owned and operated the Lehman’s Mill on Marsh Creek, one mile south of the Mason Dixon Line. The mill, first built in 1869, had been rebuilt three times, the last time using bricks made at the mill by Marsh Creek. The mill ground corn, buckwheat, and wheat for human consumption and for animal feed. It still had the original stone-grinding stones imported from France. His grandfather was progressive for those days. He installed a telephone in the mill and got rid of his horses and wagon, buying a truck to deliver his wares.

This upset the elders of the church, but Grandfather Lehman insisted that he was running a business and needed the phone in the mill. This might have been the reason that John was raised in the Lutheran Church. Eventually, the mill was sold to a woman who removed all of the milling equipment and then sold items made by the local women.

John’s father worked for the Western Maryland Railroad until the Great Depression hit and he was laid off.

John and his two sisters attended the Bridgeport school on the Cavetown Pike by Antietam Creek. It had one room, one stove, and one teacher. Later, they went to school in Hagerstown. The family survived the Depression, as their grandfather hired his father for small jobs and such. The Mennonites did not lose their money when the banks failed, as they only dealt in cash, which they kept in their homes, not trusting banks. The Lehmans saw many hobos during this time. John’s mother would always find enough to feed them a meal before they journeyed on, looking for work.

The family had a half-acre garden where the children would help plant, pull weeds, and harvest. At this time, they lived along the Cavetown Pike. Sometimes they would go to Hagerstown to the movies, but that was all the entertainment they had.

After graduating from the old Hagerstown High School, John went to the Bliss Electrical School in Tacoma Park for one year. Amazingly enough, Mr. Bliss had once worked for Thomas Edison! John then briefly worked for the C&P Telephone Company, but the war caught up with him. Before he was to be drafted, John joined the U.S. Navy.  A naval officer had visited the Bliss School and encouraged the boys to complete the course, saying that they would then be very useful to the Navy. So, the Navy it was!

At the Naval Yard, John continued learning about radios, even building crystals sets and one-tube radios. He returned to Bliss, which by now was under the Navy, and learned more about the budding science of radar. He then traveled to San Francisco and spent six months studying radar. Then, he was off to New London, Connecticut, to learn specifically about radar used on submarines. After finishing these courses, he traveled back across the country to Mare Island, where he joined the crew of the USS Barb (SS-220). With Captain John Waterman, John made five combat patrols in the North Atlantic and sunk one German ship. The seventh patrol began with a trip through the Panama Canal, and then off to Pearl Harbor, where Eugene Fluckey joined the crew for his final training. Waterman was old-school, and Fluckey was from the new; they clashed repeatedly. John could hear this from where he was stationed. Finally, Waterman said, “Shut up…I’m the captain!”

Commander Fluckey captained the submarine during the next seven war patrols, between March 1944 and August 1945, when the Barb sunk 17 enemy vessels. In addition, when a “hell ship” carrying Australian and British POWs was unknowingly sunk (as she had no identification) by the SS Sea Lion, the Barb raced for five days to reach the survivors just before a typhoon hit. She was able to rescue 14 Allied POWs from the SS Rakuyo Maru.

Captain Fluckey considered Lehman one of the best radar men he sailed with, noting him several times in his book, Thunder Below.

The last two patrols were particularly impressive. The Barb sank four Japanese ships, including an aircraft carrier, in the East China Sea, off the coast of China. Next, with John constantly monitoring the radar, the Barb sailed up a busy harbor on the Chinese coast, launching her torpedoes at a convoy of 30 enemy ships at anchor. This was the easy part…getting out of the harbor safely to open water was the tricky part. Then, running on the surface, she retired at high speed through the uncharted harbor, full of mines and rocks. Seaman 1st Class Layman was at his station the entire time. For this audacious feat, Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor and the USS Barb received the Presidential Unit Citation.

After John left the Navy, he worked for the telephone company. In 1960, he married Anne Pearce and adopted her two children from a previous marriage. They had one son, William, together. They eventually retired to Frederick at Homewood. John passed away on March 5, 2021, the last crew member of the famous submarine, the USS Barb.

USN — Official U.S. Navy photo 19-N-83952 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command.

USS Barb (SS-220)

Heart-Healthy Living

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

Understanding a heart-healthy lifestyle is important. It involves understanding your risk, making good food choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including coronary heart disease, the most common type. Taking preventive measures may lower your risk of developing heart disease and improve your overall health and well-being.

Understand Your Risks

Your risk for heart disease depends on many factors, some of which are changeable and others that are not. Risk factors are higher for heart disease if you: Have high blood pressure; have high blood cholesterol; are overweight or obese; have prediabetes or diabetes; smoke;        do not get regular physical activity; have a family history of early heart disease (your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65); have a history of preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy); have unhealthy eating behaviors; are older (age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men).

Each risk factor increases a person’s chance of developing heart disease.

Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include your age, sex, and a family history of early heart disease. However, many others risk factors can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating healthy are important steps for your heart health.

Women and Heart Disease

Women generally get heart disease about 10 years later than men do, but it is still the number one killer of women. After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease, in part because estrogen hormone levels drop. Women who have gone through early menopause are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not gone through menopause. Middle-age is also a time when women tend to develop other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

Get Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Checked

Two of the major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Your blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and your blood vessels.

Most adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you have high blood pressure, you will likely need to be checked more often.

Your blood pressure is considered high when you have consistent systolic readings of 140 mm Hg or higher or diastolic readings of 90 mm Hg or higher. Based on research, your doctor may also consider you to have high blood pressure if you are an adult or child age 13 or older who has consistent systolic readings of 130 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic readings of 80 to 89 mm Hg and you have other risk factors for heart disease.

High blood cholesterol is a condition in which your blood has unhealthy levels of cholesterol—a waxy, fat-like substance.

Many factors affect your cholesterol levels. For example, age, sex, eating patterns, and physical activity level can affect your cholesterol levels.

A blood test can show whether your cholesterol levels are in range. Your cholesterol numbers will include total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and “good” HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Ask your doctor what your numbers mean for you.

The following foods are the foundation of a heart-healthy eating plan: Vegetables such as leafy greens (dandelion, collard greens, kale, cabbage), broccoli, and carrots); fruits such as apples, cherries, oranges, pears, grapes, and mangoes; whole grains such as plain oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa; fat-free or low-fat dairy foods such as  organic milk, cheese, or yogurt; protein-rich foods (fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids; lean meats such as lean beef or pork tenderloin or chicken or turkey; eggs; nuts and seeds; legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans); foods high in monounsaturated fats (nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, and pine nuts; nut and seed butters; salmon and trout; avocados).

Foods to limit would be processed foods high in added sugar and salt, trans fats, and alcohol. Understanding nutrition labels can help you choose healthier foods.

Limit Sodium

Adults and children over age 14 should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to limit sodium even more.

Read food labels and choose products that have less sodium for the same serving size.

Choose low-sodium, reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added products.

Choose fresh, frozen, or no-salt-added foods instead of pre-seasoned, sauce-marinated, brined, or processed meats, poultry, and vegetables.

Eat at home more often, so you can cook food from scratch, which will allow you to control the amount of sodium in your meals.

Flavor your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

When cooking, limit your use of premade sauces, mixes, and instant products such as rice, noodles, and ready-made pasta.

Limit trans fats as much as possible. This includes foods made with partially hydrogenated oils such as some desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, stick margarines, and coffee creamers.             Read nutrition labels and choose foods that do not contain trans fats. Dairy products and meats naturally contain very small amounts of trans fats. You do not need to avoid these foods because they have other important nutrients.

Limit Added Sugars

You should limit the amount of calories you get each day from added sugars. This will help you choose nutrient-rich foods.

Some foods, such as fruit, contain natural sugars. However, added sugars do not occur naturally in foods. They include brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, raw sugar, and sucrose.

Read the labels and choose foods without added sugars. 

Limit Alcohol

Talk to your doctor about how much alcohol you drink. Your doctor may recommend that you reduce the amount of alcohol you drink or that you stop drinking alcohol.

Alcohol can: (1) Add calories to your daily diet and possibly cause you to gain weight; (2) Raise your blood pressure and levels of triglyceride fats in your blood; (3) Contribute to or worsen heart failure in some people, such as some people who have cardiomyopathy; (4) Raise your risk of other diseases such as cancer.

If you do not drink, you should not start. You should not drink if you are pregnant; are under the age of 21; taking certain medicines; or if you have certain medical conditions, including heart failure.

Manage Stress

Research suggests that an emotionally upsetting event, particularly an angry one, can serve as a trigger for a heart attack or angina in some people. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors. Some of the ways people cope with stress—drinking alcohol, using other substances, smoking, or overeating—are not healthy ways to manage stress.

Learning how to manage stress and cope with problems can improve your mental and physical health. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities such as: (1) Talking to a professional counselor; (2) Participating in a stress-management program; (3) Practicing meditation; (4) Being physically active; (5) Trying relaxation techniques; (6) Talking with friends, family, and community or religious support systems.

Get Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can help you lose excess weight, improve physical fitness, lower many heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels, and manage high blood pressure. Physical activity can also lower stress and improve your mental health, as well as lower your risk for other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, and cancer

The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes at a time throughout the week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommends that each week, adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Another way you can begin to increase your activity level is by reducing how long you sit at a given time. Breaking up how long you sit will benefit your overall health.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quit. Smoking can raise your risk of heart disease and heart attack and worsen other heart disease risk factors. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.

If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking.

Talk to your doctor if you vape. There is scientific evidence that nicotine and flavorings found in vaping products can damage your heart and lungs.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Not getting enough sleep or good-quality sleep over time can raise your risk for chronic health problems. The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life.

Sleep helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels, helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full, helps support healthy growth and development, and helps support a healthy immune system.

Over time, not getting enough quality sleep, called sleep deficiency, can raise your risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. Some sleep strategies are to: (1) Spend time outside every day, if possible, and be physically active; (2) Avoid nicotine and caffeine; (3) Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime; (4) Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed; (5) Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day; (6) One hour before you go to bed, shut off all electronic devices and avoid exercise and bright light; (7) Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed; (8) Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

jEanne Angleberger

Welcome to the fresh fruit and vegetable season. So, get your taste buds ready! One of my favorites is fresh blueberries. I consider them a star among fruits!

Research shows that blueberries have been associated with several health benefits, including improved weight management and cognitive protection. Research on the relationship between blueberries and cognitive performance shows that the fruit protects delayed memory, executive function, and psychomotor function in older healthy adults, as well as adults with mild cognitive impairment.

One cup of blueberries has 84 calories. Nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and dietary fiber. The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to control inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blueberries protect against artery hardening, a condition that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Blueberries are plump, sweet, and nutritious. Choose firm and dark purple to blue-black berries. They can be easily frozen. Add fresh ones to salads, cereals, yogurts, or smoothies. Try them today for a satisfying snack instead of a high carbohydrate snack.

So, go get yourself some blueberries! Remember, there are many fresh fruits and vegetables awaiting your consumption. Check out the local orchards for your supply. It’s the best time of the year to enjoy these fresh vegetables and fruits.

Also, I have a new recipe using blueberries. It is “Blueberry and Watermelon Salad with Marinated Feta.” Email your recipe request to for a copy. It sounds delicious!

Blair Garrett

Get your earmuffs ready, it’s cicada season!

Our septdecennial ground-dwelling friends are returning from their 17-year slumber, as they thunderously announce their arrival.

Cicadas are some of the most unique insects in the entire world, and the lore behind them is almost as strange as their life cycles.

For thousands of years, cicadas have been mistaken to be one of the signs of the biblical plague (locusts); but, aside from the temporary tinnitus, cicadas are mostly harmless.

Speaking of ringing in your ears, the buzzing sound of male cicadas can reach between 90 and 100 decibels, which is as loud as a lawn mower at a three-foot range, or a subway speeding through a station.

The brood of cicadas that inhabit our local area are Brood X, which is the largest in the entire country, spanning from New York to Georgia, and as far west as Illinois.

These red-eyed arthropods live over 99 percent of their lives as nymphs underground, feeding on roots of plants and trees until they make their return. Their lives above ground are short-lived at just four to six weeks, but they mate, lay eggs, and produce quite the spectacle during their rare appearances.

The reason why cicadas return all at once is a strategy called predator satiation, which is essentially strength in numbers. Around 1.5 million cicadas per acre will run wild in hotspot states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and Indiana. With such an abundance of cicadas for predators to eat, they fill up and cannot eat the overwhelming number of insects being introduced to their environment, allowing the species to survive.

Even humans have joined in on the feast of the cicadas, with reports that they taste like anything from shrimp to asparagus. Humans have eaten them for centuries, and in modern times, have cooked them in a variety of dishes, including spicy popcorn cicadas, pizzas, and even cookies!

Beware of the cicadas with a white fuzz on their behind, though, as it’s a psychedelic fungus that disrupts their mating behaviors and makes their butts fall off. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

They’re only here for another month or so, folks, so don’t miss our neighbors from down under this season, because they won’t return until 2038!

Courtesy Photo

A fully emerged Brood X cicada on concrete.

by Valerie Nusbaum

Why is it that when we go on vacation, even a short trip, we forget all the rules for healthy eating, throw caution to the wind, and eat as though we’re kids with overactive metabolisms? At least, that’s the way Randy and I behave when we’re away from home.  Maybe you don’t do that. Maybe you have more willpower and common sense.

We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and as part of my mom’s gift, Randy and I took her to Ocean City, Maryland, for a couple of days. Mom is now 89½ (or nearly), and she informed us that this would likely be her last trip to the seashore.  Mom said the exact same thing last time we took her, and we paid as much attention now as we did then.

Since I sell a lot of watercolor prints of Ocean City and all its landmarks, I thought this was a grand opportunity to scout some locations and take photos for future paintings. We had a working vacation of sorts.

We struck out on a Tuesday morning, picked up Miss Wanda (my mom), and went to Burger King for breakfast. Mom likes the little hash rounds and the croissant sandwich, and we had a coupon for two of those. Randy and I split a sandwich and an order of potatoes, and Mom ate a whole order all by herself. I was feeling sort of virtuous because the only other thing I’d had all morning was half of a granola bar, which I shared with Randy while we were getting ready to leave.

By the time we got to the beach, I was starving (which is my natural state most of the time), so I ate a couple of peanut butter crackers and had three barbecued corn chips when Mom cracked open her bag of snacks. Let it be said that I did NOT pack any snacks.  Only water bottles for me. Mom had an entire bag full of goodies, and I discovered that Randy had not only packed a few snacks for himself, but he’d also put together a few things for me. That’s where the crackers came from, and at that moment, I was too hungry to be upset with him.

With Covid restrictions still in place at that time, we’d planned to either order room service or pick up some takeout food and have our meals sitting on the balconies of our hotel suites. Randy and I got a separate suite for Mom so that she could watch what she wanted on television, and she wouldn’t have to share a bathroom with us. She had her own kitchen and living area, too, so she had lots of surfaces to clutter. Miss Wanda packs a LOT of stuff.

Anyway, it was nearly 4:00 p.m. and a perfect time for an early bird special, so Randy and I dragged our tired selves back down to the car and went in search of dinner.  We ended up with fried chicken, biscuits, red beans and rice, and then a pound of steamed jumbo shrimp from the café downstairs.  I made a grocery run to the local Walmart, too, and picked up some yogurt, salads, iced tea, and ice cream. We had ice cream for dessert after eating all that dinner, but I justified it by saying that I hadn’t really eaten lunch and only half a breakfast.

The next morning, Mom and I had yogurt for breakfast, while Randy had milk and corn flakes.  I’d also bought some mini-muffins and we ate half of those.

Mom stayed in her room while Randy and I went out for a few hours to take some photos and walk on the boardwalk. While he took some shots of the pier, I walked up to Fisher’s and bought two boxes of popcorn—one for Mom and one for Randy. I only sneaked one piece for myself. Randy offered me some more of his and, of course, I ate it. We cheated royally and had a slice of fresh, hot pizza because no one can resist that, right? Then we went back to the hotel for our healthy salad lunches. 

Mom ate at least half of her popcorn. There were a lot of Diet Cokes throughout our stay because those have no calories. At that point, what difference did it make?

My cousin and her husband had given Randy and me a gift card for Outback; but, since we’d been in quarantine, we hadn’t used it. So, it was steaks and coconut shrimp, loaded baked potatoes, and healthy steamed veggies for dinner. More ice cream. Did I mention that Randy had brought a package of Hostess cupcakes for me? He knows I love them, and the darned things had been calling to me all day. I ate one while he had more popcorn. Yes, I was feeling sick at that point.

A big breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and hash browns started off our trip home, followed by a double cheeseburger for lunch.  We dropped Mom off at home, and I refuse to tell you what other things we consumed that evening.  I blamed the over-eating on the salt air and the fact that we’d been housebound for so long. We went wild.

I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning. And the last of those mini-muffins. What?

by James Rada, Jr.

June 1921, 100 Years Ago

Receivers For Auto Co.

Something of a flurry was created in business circles in the county when it became known last Saturday afternoon that receivers had been appointed by the court to take charge of the assets and affairs of the People’s Garage Company of Emmitsburg.                                

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, June 23, 1921

Fingers Mashed

Early Monday morning, the little baby girl of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Shaver accidentally got her right hand in the cloths wringer. Two fingers were injured very badly. At the time of the accident, both Dr. Birely and Dr. Kefauver were out of town and the father took the little child to Emmitsburg to have the wounds dressed.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, June 23, 1921

June 1946, 75 Years Ago

Man Near Exhaustion Saved From Flood Water Sunday

Caught in rising flood waters on the Monocacy River Sunday afternoon on his farm between Creagerstown and Rocky Ridge, Frank Warner, retired Washington plumbing contractor, nearly lost his life, it was learned Tuesday.

He was rescued from a tree, to which he had clung for four hours, when a boat and motor were brought from Thurmont after his son made a frantic search of that section of the County for a boat.

                                          – The Frederick Post, June 5, 1946

President Spends Week-End In County Mountain Retreat

President Harry S. Truman spent the week-end in Frederick County on what was to be a secret jaunt. The secrecy was short lived however, as the Chief Executive was quickly trailed to the annual Alfalfa Club outing on the estate of Joseph H. Himes, near this city, and later to the late President Roosevelt’s wartime retreat, “Shangri-La,” on the Catoctin Recreational Area west of Thurmont.

                                          – The Frederick Post, June 24, 1946

June 1971, 50 Years Ago

Mount Goes Coed This Fall

Mount Saint Mary’s College, an all-male institution since its founding 163 years ago, will go coed on a non-resident basis next September, and on a resident basis in September 1972.

The move was announced after a meeting of the Mount’s Board of Trustees Tuesday.

The announcement by Mount Saint Mary’s College follows by two months the announcement that neighboring Saint Joseph College for women is to close in June 1973.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, June 4, 1971

Dr. J. Dillon Appointed First Lay President of Mt. St. Mary’s College

Dr. John J. Dillon, Jr. has been appointed President of Mount Saint Mary’s College, succeeding Rev. Msgr. Hugh J. Phillips, who has been named President Emeritus.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, June 4, 1971

June 1996, 25 Years Ago

New Streets and Transportation Committee Meets

Members of the newly formed streets and transportation committee met for the first time on April 11. Commissioners Rosario Benvengi convened the meeting and conducted the election of officers. Brian Brotherton was elected president; Jim Hoover, vice president; and Patrick M. Sullivan, Sr., secretary. Other members of the committee are Denise Warthen and Kenneth Howard. The committee will meet the third Wednesday of the month.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, June 1996

Sweeney Sworn In As New Commissioner; Copenhaver Elected President of Town Council

As the first order of business at the May 6 town meeting, Clifford Sweeney was sworn in as the new commissioner. He defeated incumbent Christopher Weaver in the April election. David Copenhaver, “a veteran of Emmitsburg politics” according to Mayor Carr, was elected president of the council. Tom Gingell will continue as treasurer.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, June 1996

T h e Y e a r i s…1 9 02

by James Rada, Jr.

Courtesy Photo of Gravemarker

The Story of the Barefoot Wanderer

Amanda Wisensale handed the lunch pail to her daughter, Ellen, and sent her off to deliver the lunch to William Wisensale. Amanda let her daughter know not to dawdle. Although Ellen was 14 years old, she had mental problems, so Amanda had to be specific with her.

Ellen took her responsibility seriously and set off to the limestone quarry along the Hanover Turnpike, where her father worked. It was June 1902, and Ellen walked barefoot from the family home near Hanover to the quarry along the dirt roads in the area.

William was hauling a load of limestone in a wagon when his daughter reached the quarry. Missing him, but knowing he would want his lunch, the girl followed where she thought the wagon had gone along the turnpike.

As the time grew later, Amanda realized her daughter hadn’t returned home. Assuming Ellen had gotten distracted and was playing, Amanda found one of her other children and sent him to the quarry to fetch his sister and make sure William had his lunch.

No one at the quarry had seen Ellen, and the boy hadn’t seen her on his way there. When William heard this, he stopped work for the day. He returned home to talk with his wife and then started searching for his daughter.

“He followed her to Littlestown, and from there, two miles out the Taneytown road, where all trace of her was lost. A number of people noticed her as she went through Westminster,” the Emmitsburg Chronicle reported.

Meanwhile, Ellen kept walking. “The road was rough and she was barefooted, and the sharp gravel cut her feet,” the Washington Post reported. “Still, she had set out to find her father, and she did not wish him to go hungry a minute longer than necessary; so, she trudged along, looking to the right and left, but seeing nothing of him.”

Ellen reached Westminster around 9:00 p.m. Joseph U. Smith saw the young girl walk past his office. He walked outside to see why the youngster was out so late. “She appeared bewildered and could not tell who she was or where she was going,” the Emmitsburg Chronicle reported.

He took her into his office and started gently questioning her. Smith noticed Ellen was carrying a basket full of food. He asked her why she hadn’t eaten it.

“This is papa’s dinner,” she answered.

He eventually learned she was from Hanover and what her father’s name was. Smith called Hanover and was connected with William Wisensale.

“How the child managed to get from the Taneytown road to the Littlestown turnpike is a mystery,” the Chronicle reported. “She trudged the whole distance without shoes, and the bottom of her feet were full of blisters.”

When William reached Westminster, 18 miles away from Littlestown, he thanked Smith profusely. He explained that his daughter had been “suffering mentally for several years,” the Chronicle reported.

Because of Ellen’s diminished capacity, she could never live on her own. She lived with her parents until they grew too old to care for her. She was admitted to the Adams County Home in 1917 and remained there for another 11 years.

She died there on October 20, 1928. The cause of her death was listed as dropsy, an old term for edema. This is a swelling of soft tissue because of water accumulation. Although any soft tissue could swell, it’s likely she died from congestive heart failure brought on by the edema.

Her funeral was held in one of her brothers’ homes in Hanover, and she was interred with her parents at Christ Church Cemetery near Littlestown.

by Ana Morlier, The Crazy Plant Lady

Fruiting Shade Trees

Happy June, everyone! I know that I will really start celebrating the month after this crazy school year ends. Crops are thriving. Vacations are beginning. However, one drawback to this awesome month is the beginning of the HEAT. To think that I hovered near any available heat source like a mayfly only a couple of months ago makes me laugh, then sweat. I will soon cling to fans and turn the house into an arctic tundra.

Being a gardener, we can only stay in cool areas for so long—the plants need tending to! One can definitely take preventative measures against the upcoming summer heat by drinking plenty of (cold) water, taking breaks, and wearing a hat. If you have a pool to cool off with, even better! However, not all of us are lucky enough to have the right conditions for a pool (we have too much wildlife eager to destroy the watery refuge). I present to you a solution that will yield produce and give you relief from the heat: shade trees! And, not just any shade trees: FRUITING shade trees! I was pretty surprised that fruit trees could check off both requirements, which made a great combination.

Apple trees are some of the best shade trees. Ap-peal-ing options include:

Early harvest apple (as the name suggests, some yield fruit as early as June! Even if it’s not early, you can enjoy the juicy, tart apple at the end of September at the latest).

Red Delicious Apple (a pretty famous apple variety—great for applesauce; harvest in fall).

Yellow Delicious Apple (IMPORTANT to cross with other tree varieties such as red delicious or red Jonathan; great for pies!).

These apple varieties grow pretty quickly—an added bonus.

Here are some other fruits that apri-caught my eye:

Apricot trees are surprisingly tolerant of cold. They are also self-fertile, but it’s a pretty good idea to plant another variety of apricot nearby (more produce).

The early golden apricot can produce fruit as early as July or August. The fruit is great for fresh eating, baking, canning, or drying.

The Moorpark Apricot is pretty much the same, except for the fact that the fruits ripen at different times. To make up for this fact, it has beautiful white-pink flowers that bloom in spring—a little late, I know, but I couldn’t leave out this fact!

Still not pear-y happy with apricots or apples? Pear-haps you should try pears!

Bartlett pear trees are rumored to be pretty easy to grow, producing fruit in late summer. They also have blooms in spring.

The Harvest Queen pear is even more pear-fect because it yields produce earlier than that of the Bartlett pears and is resistant to blight! Another variety of pear tree is needed in order for it to produce fruit.

I hope these shady (not sketchy) trees become the apple of your eye and provide you with a cool haven with lots of tasty produce!

*Credit to Arbor Day Foundation, Specialty Produce, Davey Tree Expert Company, North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox, Shari’s Berries, Punopedia, Punstoppable, Best Puns.

My own Liberty apple tree (one of two). Even though it wasn’t mentioned in the article, I wanted to illustrate how fast a young sap could grow! In the fall, it was half the size and close to death. Liberty apple is one of the best disease-resistant varieties and is great for eating fresh and baking. Liberty ripens in mid-to-late September and stores well until January.

by denise valentine

Hello, everyone. It seems that with the restrictions now being lifted concerning the COVID pandemic, there may be more picnics and gatherings this summer, as people finally begin to venture out and try to get back to normal activities.

It’s all happening just in time for those wonderful pot-luck picnics. They are my favorite because I love to sample all the goodies that everyone brings. There is usually at least one recipe that I have never had. I have a particular interest in salads of all kinds. I was looking through some of my cookbooks to find a fruit salad of some kind to make.

I find some of the best recipes in my collection of “paperbacks” from churches and other organization-fundraiser cookbooks. The recipe I am sharing this month comes from the Peace and Plenty Cookbook by St. John’s Lutheran Church in Thurmont and was submitted by Jean Myers. I hope you enjoy it.

Lazy Day Salad


1 large can of crushed pineapple (do not drain)                       

1 large can of fruit cocktail, drained

2 small cans of mandarin oranges, drained

1 large pkg. of vanilla instant pudding            

1 (8 oz.) container of Cool Whip


Mix all ingredients together and chill.

by Buck Reed

Cooking With Mushrooms or Fungi

Good food that is not prepared well is not well served. Caviar, venison, and mushrooms are great examples of foods that more than prove this point. If you have ever been served the first two, then it is more than a good chance they were prepared and served properly. But I would wager that you have never had perfectly cooked mushrooms.

Mushrooms are classified as fungi, which means they are not exactly a vegetable, but they are not animal either. The largest organism in the history of the world is credited to a honey mushroom in Malheur National Forest in Oregon and has roots that spread over some 2,600 acres. It is thought to be 8,500 years old, and yes, they are edible.

First, forget the canned or jarred mushrooms. Nutritionally speaking, canned mushrooms are on par with fresh but are extremely high in sodium. Also, the canned variety are woefully lacking in flavor. Do yourself and your tastebuds a favor and stick with fresh mushrooms. They are a bit more work but well worth it.

Common button mushrooms are an excellent inexpensive choice; however, do not overlook the exotic varieties. These mushrooms are readily available and can add a punch of flavor to your dishes. Plus, with a few exceptions, they can all be prepared and cooked the same as the button mushrooms.

To prepare mushrooms for cooking, rinse them quickly but thoroughly under cold water. Make sure to dry them before cutting them into desired pieces. Most mushrooms will need to have their stems removed before cooking. Use the stems to flavor stocks or broths.

At this point, cooking the mushrooms can get tricky but is easily manageable. The goal is to get them well-browned before they release their liquid. We do not want them boiling in their own liquid; instead, we want them to become brown tidbits of earthy flavor that were steamed in their own liquid. Cook the mushrooms separately from the rest of the dish. Cook them in a hot pan with plenty of oil and do not overcrowd the pan. As they release their liquid, your mushrooms will soak up the oil in the pan. About halfway through, you may need to add more oil or, even better, butter to the pan as your mushrooms finish cooking. Finally—this is the most important part—do not stir your mushrooms once you put them in the hot pan. Let them sit and cook until they are well-browned on one side. If you watch them, you will see them get golden around the edges, or you can pick up an individual piece with a set of tongs and peek at it. If it is brown, you can start to stir; if not, put it back.

Once cooked, set the mushrooms aside and continue with the rest of your recipe. You can also cook the mushrooms a day or two ahead and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. It is no doubt a bit more work, but it will improve any dish that calls for mushrooms.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Program at CTC

Finally, it’s June! The temperatures have stabilized (heavy jackets and pants are a thing of the past), school has let out, and summer begins! But that’s not the only reason we’ve been waiting for June. It’s time to roll out the delicious summer dishes! Dinner tables are no longer weighed down by soups and stews laden with hearty vegetables; instead, light and airy summer dishes grace dinnertime with crisp vegetables and delicious handhelds.

This being a summer article, it would be expected that I write about the traditional types of handheld foods: burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and the like. But the handheld I’m writing about today isn’t necessarily an all-American sandwich. Today, I’m writing about spanakopita!

Spanakopita is a Greek handheld that is essentially phyllo-dough stuffed with feta cheese and spinach. While it doesn’t seem to be something that pleases a crowd, it has great potential to outdo the average burger on the grill.

What makes it so great? Many things: it’s vegetarian friendly, it is easy to grab from any tray (due to the pastry shell), it can be served as a side dish or an appetizer, and it adds elegance to any cookout. Plus, you no longer need to depend on Greek restaurants to make this delicious food; you can easily buy cheap phyllo dough and harvest spinach from your garden.

Though this process is time-intensive, spanakopita brings elegance and culture to the table.  The technique is simple. The hardest thing is managing the paper-thin phyllo dough, which is fragile (but adds delicious crispiness to the dish). Don’t fret if you rip a sheet! Solutions are offered in the notes. I have ripped countless sheets accidentally when making this for the first time. To avoid ripping, make sure the phyllo dough is completely thawed out if frozen, and handle the layers very gently. It is also essential to cover unused sheets of phyllo dough with paper towels to ensure the thin sheets don’t dry out and become stiff.

Despite all that goes into making spanakopita, the payoff to this delicious handheld is worth it. Elegance, culture, and deliciousness are all wrapped in a sleek triangle of crisp, delicate layers of phyllo dough. Enjoy!



2 ½ tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. spinach, washed and drained

1 bunch scallions, chopped (use both white and green parts) (regular onions work also)

½ tbsp. parsley

½ tsp. salt and pepper

¼ lb. feta cheese, crumbled

½ c. (1 stick) lightly salted butter, melted

½ lb. phyllo dough sheets


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Start a medium pan on medium-low heat. Chop scallions and rinse spinach.

Once the pan is hot, oil the pan and add scallions. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until the scallions are soft. Take out of the pan and set aside.

Add spinach and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Place on a bed of paper towels and squeeze out liquid. Let cool for 2-3 minutes.

In the bowl, combine scallions, feta, spinach, salt, pepper, and parsley and mix well. Place in fridge.

Melt butter.

On a clean workspace (this can include on a sheet pan or on a counter), unroll phyllo dough gently. Cut into 3×11-inch strips and stack. Cover whatever stacks that aren’t being used with a wet paper towel to ensure that it doesn’t dry out (the wet paper towels may need replacing as you work the phyllo dough).

Gently peel apart layers of phyllo.

Gently lay down a sheet of phyllo on the open work surface. Brush with butter.

Add another layer of phyllo dough on top of the first, so it covers the first sheet, and brush with butter.

Lay a final layer of phyllo dough on top of the first two sheets.

Get out spanakopita filling from the refrigerator. Spoon a small amount 1 inch away from the left edge of the pastry.

Fold the dough over the filling so that it creates a triangle. Brush the rest of the sheet with butter and continue folding so that the spanakopita resembles a triangle (Food Network likens the folding to that of folding a flag).

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a wet paper towel. Repeat until filling runs out.

Take off wet paper towels and brush with butter. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Tools Needed

Knife • cutting board • medium pan • plate w/ a bed of paper towels • medium bowl • 1 large sheet pan • parchment paper • wet paper towels • pastry brush • small bowl • spoon • spatula


It’s okay if the pastry sheet rips; you can still use both parts. Sandwich the broken layer between two unbroken layers to utilize the sheets.

The phyllo dough is incredibly fragile. If frozen, make sure the dough is completely defrosted before using.

Have too many unusable/ ripped phyllo sheets? Make crackers! Simply use the same layering technique mentioned above (layer, brush with butter, layer) except with smaller squares and more sheets. Season however you like (everything bagel seasoning is a popular flavor), both between layers and on top. Bake until golden brown.

*With credit to Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Food Network.

Symptoms & Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer starts when cells in the prostate begin to grow out of control. The prostate gland is a small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid. The size of the prostate can change as a man ages. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men. Sometimes prostate cancer is referred to as a silent disease because in the earlier stages—sometimes lasting for years—the tumor in the prostate gland is not big enough to cause any pain or prostate cancer symptoms.


When a man does develop prostate cancer the early warning signs can be:

     A man can start having difficulty with normal urination, to include the feeling of a burning or painful sensation, having trouble starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine, weak urinary stream, experiencing dribbling or leaking of urine, more frequent need/urge to urinate, excessive urination at night, or urinary retention (not being able to urinate).

     He may have erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation or a decrease in fluid when ejaculating.

     He may have blood in the urine or semen.

     A man may develop pressure or pain in the groin and rectum.

     He may also have pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed; others, like a person’s age, cannot be changed.

However, having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that a man will get the disease. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.

The following describes several factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer.

Age: Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.

Race/ethnicity: Men of African descent are an estimated 73 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with white men. In addition, when it does develop in these men, they tend to be younger. Asian men who live in Asia have the lowest risk, but their risk increases if they adopt a “modern Western lifestyle.”

Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Still, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it.

   Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. (The risk is higher for men who have a brother with the disease than for those who have a father with it.) The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young when they got the cancer. 

Obesity or being overweight:    Certain studies have found that obese men have a greater risk for developing aggressive prostate cancers (but not slow-developing types). They are also more likely to have a difficult time recovering from surgery, and they have a greater risk of dying from prostate cancer.

Other dietary/lifestyle factors: A man is more likely to develop prostate cancer if he smokes or uses drugs and if he has poor dietary habits, especially eating a highly processed diet that includes refined or trans fats, lots of added sugar, and processed carbohydrates.

There also seems to be an association between a lack of vegetables in the diet (especially cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower and broccoli) and a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

A lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle, along with low vitamin D levels, puts a man at higher risk. In addition, due to little sunlight exposure, men who live north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia or Utah in the U.S.) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States.

Excessive calcium intake, particularly from supplements, can put a man at higher risk, along with exposure to certain toxic chemicals.

In addition, tall height in a man, especially those who are tall and obese develop prostate cancer more commonly.

Reduce Chances of Getting Prostate Cancer

The following are ways to mitigate your chances of getting prostate cancer:

(1) Eat a Healthy Diet and Manage Your Weight. Many studies have evidence that lifestyle changes, especially diet modifications, can decrease the chances that you will develop prostate cancer, as well as reduce cancer recurrence and help slow the progression of cancer. A healthy, unprocessed food diet is also important for preventing obesity.

Avoid all trans-fatty acids (found in many fried foods, fast food, highly processed foods, and margarine).

Try to eat about 2.5 cups or more of veggies every day as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Try to include a variety of veggies in your diet, especially leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, which have recently been connected to cancer prevention.

Eat wild-caught fish, which provide omega-3 fatty acids.

Eat foods high in zinc and selenium, which support prostate health.

(2) Get enough exercise. Studies suggest that people who are more physically active have better protection against developing many types of cancer, as well as overall improvements in health and better protection against obesity. Getting daily exercise has numerous benefits, both for your mind and body. Exercise helps reduce inflammation, improve circulation, support the immune system, and can help you control your weight. It can also improve feelings of well-being and reduce stress, depression, or anxiety.

(3) Treat other health conditions and check your medications. Many of the same lifestyle habits that lead to conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and depression can also increase your cancer risk. These are also associated with worsened sexual function, including contributing to erectile dysfunction. Work on overcoming health challenges through diet and lifestyle changes as much as possible. Recovery from serious diseases, including cancer, is easier if you’re metabolically healthy and not battling other health problems.

If you’re taking any medications, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about how they may contribute to negative side effects. For example, some medications, such as SSRIs (used to treat depression), beta-blockers (used for high blood pressure), and medications used for insomnia and anxiety, can affect your prostate. These may have a negative impact on sexual dysfunction because they can cause decreased libido, impairment in arousal, erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and delayed or absent orgasm.

(4) Do not supplement with calcium. Taking high doses of calcium may increase your risk, so talk to your doctor about whether calcium supplements are needed. It is suggested that you avoid taking more than 1,500 milligrams of calcium from supplements per day, although calcium from food sources (like leafy greens and fermented dairy) is unlikely to be a problem.

(5) Do not smoke and modify your drinking of alcohol. If you currently smoke, get help with quitting. Talk to your doctor about useful interventions, speak with a therapist, or start an online program that specializes in smoking cessation. Drink alcohol only in moderation and avoid use of recreational drugs.

(6) Get quality sleep and manage stress. Find ways to relax; connect with others and wind down. If your job is a major source of stress on a daily basis, consider what you can do to change your situation. Take up hobbies, stay active, and join groups in your community to connect with others. Studies have found that people with more social support tend to live longer, happier lives.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

*Content Source:;

jEanne Angleberger

Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life

Did you know the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is updated every five years? These guidelines are designed to help us stay healthier throughout our lifespan. And, it is a reminder that it’s never too late to eat healthfully!

The recommendations are from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. It provides information to help promote good health and prevent chronic disease.

There is now new guidance for infancy and early childhood. It is exciting to have some helpful guidelines during pregnancy, lactation, and the first 24 months of a newborn’s life.

The “Changing Needs of Older Adults” is another topic available for ages 60 and up. It highlights some of the unique nutritional needs we experience after age 60.

A new “85/15 rule” and “nutrient density” is aimed to get 85 percent of your calories from nutrient-dense foods and beverages and only 15 percent from unhealthy foods. These nutrient-dense foods are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, lean protein, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Nutrient-dense foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, with minimal added sugars, fats, and oils. Make the choice to eat grilled chicken instead of chicken nuggets or choose to eat oatmeal instead of an oatmeal cookie.

Nutrition is not a cookbook science. It is, and can be, designed for an individual’s health needs. You can digest these new guidelines at

It is one of the best references. Be sure to take a look and learn how you can stay healthier as you age.

by Teresa Kempisty

Hello to all my senior friends and volunteers. While the center remains closed at this time, the COVID numbers are moving in the right direction to be able to open in some way sooner than later. It may have to be a partial opening, with some restrictions. It will all depend on Frederick County Health Dept. Guidelines at that time. We are being cautious for the safety of our seniors and volunteers (most of whom are seniors), and we appreciate your patience and understanding. When we do open, we will announce it on our website, in The Catoctin Banner, on Thurmont’s Channel 99, Thurmont’s radio station, on our sign, and on our voicemail recording.

I hope to bring a smile to your face by admitting that I forgot to mention Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and grandmas in the May issue! I can’t believe I did that. I am so sorry; my memory has seriously suffered since being closed for COVID. I hope you ladies had a wonderful day doing whatever you wanted to do. Now before I forget, I want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day! Hope you have a wonderful day. I know my dad will want to go fishing and be with family…hmmmm, that’s exactly what I did for Mother’s Day, except we had to postpone it a few days until the weather was better. Enjoy whatever you do!

We are so thankful to the Community Foundation of Frederick County for receiving an Impact Grant to purchase three new lift chairs for our sitting area near the puzzle table. These will be able to be disinfected and are spaced appropriately. The two dark brown chairs are medium-sized chairs and the reddish-brown chair is a large size chair. See (above) the photo of the Birthday Quackers in the chairs.  We look forward to the day when you can use them. 

As far as we know, at this time, our Roy Rogers fundraiser is still drive-thru only, but guidelines are changing quickly, so check Channel 99 or call the center at 301-271-7911. The next fundraiser will be Thursday, June 10, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Please mention the Thurmont Senior Center when you order.  Thank you.

Our Christmas Raffle will start in June this year and will be a little different than in past years. Instead of a quilt, Carol will have put together a “Thurmont Treasures Collection” of hand-crafted items made by Thurmont seniors for first prize. Second prize will be $100 and third prize will be $50. She will be selling them around town at different locations and at the center once we reopen. They are six for $5.00 or $1.00 each. You can also call 301-271-7911 if you want to purchase any, and we will make sure we get them to you.

It is unknown at this time if we will be having a Christmas party or not, but we will still draw the winners on the first Saturday in December which is December 4, 2021. 

Take care, everyone, and enjoy the warmer weather that June will bring.

Photo by Kim Clever

“Thank you, Community Foundation of Frederick County for the Impact Grant to update our common seating area.”

by Amy Whitney, Branch Administrator, Thurmont Regional Library/Emmitsburg Branch Library

June 1 marks the beginning of our annual Summer Reading Challenge for all ages, birth to adult. This year’s theme, “Rediscover the Magic,” encourages individuals and families to explore community destinations, earn points by reading for enjoyment, and complete fun activities. All activities can be accomplished digitally at home and at a safe social distance! Summer Challenge Community Destinations are places throughout Frederick County that are supporting our Summer Challenge Program. While the public may not be able to visit like in years past, points can still be logged after visiting the participating businesses in person or online.

Summer Challenge Partners are community members and local businesses who have teamed up with FCPL to enrich our Summer Challenge. Summer Challenge Partners present and host programs (either recorded at their location or virtually) and are Summer Challenge Destinations throughout the county. Visit our website to register at starting June 1 or stop by the drive-thru window for more information.

Due to the popularity of our Smart Start Kits for preschool children, we’ve added more options in response to demand. Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) partnered with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians to expand the library’s Smart Start Kits to include STEAM-based learning and Social Emotional games and tools to promote exploration, relationship skills, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and responsible decision-making.

“Over the past year, we’ve heard from many of our customers that their youngest children need new screen-free activities, so we created these kits in response to that need,” said Deb Spurrier, Children’s Services Supervisor at Thurmont Regional Library. “Our current kits have had a constant waitlist, and thanks to the support of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, we now have a broader selection of STEAM-focused tools that provide high-quality early educational experiences for young children.”

Smart Start Kits are tailor-made for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and provide all necessary tools for an afternoon of activities. Examples of activities include Magnetic vs. Non-Magnetic, Makey-Makey technology, Computer Engineering, SmartArt and Fraction Fun.

In addition, the Thurmont Regional Library is set to have rotating StoryPaths all summer long on the Library Trail to encourage families to get out and move and learn together. Activity sheets and an art station tie the story to hands-on learning for kids. We hope you have a fun-filled summer, and we look forward to seeing you all very soon! Call us for all your information needs at 301-600-7200 or visit us online at

Courtesy Photo

Kids love learning with Smart Start Kits from the library.

by dave ammenheuser

Stories of What It’s Like Returning Home After 25 Years

Trains, planes, and automobiles.

Pigs, angels, and Longaberger baskets.

Civil War artifacts, presidential campaign buttons, and vintage radios.

My parents, both of whom died in the last four months of 2020, were not hoarders.

But they were certainly collectors.

Clearing their 50-year old Thurmont-area home has been sometimes entertaining, often informative, and frequently surprising.

As the executor of their estate, one of my most difficult tasks has been finding a future home for their belongings. Which items do I donate to charity? Which items should be sold on Facebook Marketplace? And what should be held back to be sold at a big yard sale over Memorial Day weekend?

Choosing which items fit into which category has consumed many hours over the past few months. Selling items online has been quite the learning experience. It has also provided the extra benefit of meeting friends, neighbors, and former Catoctin classmates whom I haven’t seen in decades.

Those reunions have been awesome.

But there have been some excruciating painful and disappointing moments, too.

I’ve learned that no-shows are a common occurrence when selling online. Person X tells you over social media that they desperately need the item you are selling. Person X then pleads with you to hold the cherished item until the next day.  Person X promises to meet you at a specific time. Then Person X doesn’t show up. It’s happened. Many times.

Those episodes don’t keep me awake at night. I did lose sleep when someone openly questioned me on social media why I was selling my late father’s Harley-Davidson leather vest. He criticized me, saying I was selling my father’s “beloved prized possessions” only for the money they would bring.

It was hurtful and couldn’t have been further from the truth. Since my brothers and I do not ride motorcycles, it was my decision that his leather vest should be worn by a biker as they ride their hogs around the region. To me, a piece of my father would still be worn by someone who would appreciate it. To me, it was better that the vest be worn by someone riding a Harley across our community’s roads than gathering dust in a closet for 25 years.

It’s the same reason I chose to distribute my mother’s beloved pig collection. My mother, who was raised on a Carroll County farm in the 1950s, had a passion for pigs. Her father raised them when she was a child. As an adult, she owned hundreds of them. Ceramic ones. Wooden ones. Stuffed animals. Piggy banks. Cookie jars. I sold dozens to neighbors and friends who knew my mother. I sold hundreds to a young collector near Detour. I’m saving many more to give to those who attend an upcoming Celebration of Life event for my parents.

I’ve sold Civil War muskets, Lionel trains, and vintage toys; vintage cars, gazing balls and Hallmark ornaments. It makes me happy to know that parts of my parents’ lives now reside in Emmitsburg and in Blue Ridge Summit, in Creagerstown and in Woodsboro, in Sabillasville, and all of the communities in between.

Yet, there’s so many more of my parents’ memories to share. So, if you knew my parents, John and Liz, please stop by our yard sale over the Saturday and Sunday of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, May 29-30, at 12710 Creagerstown Road. Obviously, if you didn’t know them, you’re welcome to stop by, too!

John Ammenheuser’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle vest.

A small portion of Liz Ammenheuser’s pig collection.

Crossing the Country One Stop At A Time

By james rada, Jr.

In 2019, my family and I took our biggest vacation to date. We traveled more than 5,800 miles through 15 states, with 52 stops in 15 days. Yes, the driving was long and tiring, but the sites we saw were well worth it. This was the trip of a lifetime.

We had planned out the major stops we wanted to see along our trip west to Yellowstone, but the fun part was using travel sites on the internet while we were driving to find some quick stops along the way that would break up the long stretches on the road.

Since it would probably take too much space to hit all the stops we made, I’ll tell you about some of my favorites.

Indiana Dunes National Park

My wife picked this one out. I had never heard of it. It only became a national park earlier in 2019. It runs along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. I wasn’t too impressed at first, then I saw this large sand dune that had covered a large portion of a visitor parking lot. The ranger told us that the sand dunes are actually moving about four feet a year away from the lake.

We crossed over the dune to the lake. It was like being at the ocean. I couldn’t see the opposite shore and there were waves. The only difference was it wasn’t saltwater. It was freshwater.

Badlands National Park

This park wasn’t even on our radar. I’m not sure why, but when we saw signs on the interstate for it as we were driving along, we decided to check it out. I felt like the car must have launched into space and landed on a different planet. That is how different the terrain made me feel with all its canyons and outcroppings of rock. There was even a lightning storm while we were there to add to the extraterrestrial feel. I seem to remember a ranger saying that the park used to be the bottom of a prehistoric ocean.

Devil’s Tower

This was a fun, short stop in Wyoming. The striking thing about Devil’s Tower is that it just suddenly sticks up from the ground. The ground around it is flat, and then there is suddenly this flat-topped monolith of stone. My wife and I walked the trail around the base.

I found it interesting that people were allowed to climb it. Devil’s Tower is so huge, you can’t see those people unless you are close to the tower or looking at it with binoculars. We must have seen at least a dozen people on the sides. By the way, there is no trail to the top. You have to climb 867 feet up if you want to get up there.

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is an American icon, located in South Dakota. It was smaller than I imagined but still very impressive. We walked the trail that allows you to get relatively close to the monument, at least close enough to see some of the drill holes and chisel marks.

I kept wanting to go on the other side of the monument to see if there was some hidden entrance to an underground city there, like in National Treasure II.

I was much more impressed with Mount Rushmore than I was with the Crazy Horse Monument. The monument still isn’t finished after 73 years. You also can’t get very close to it unless you pay a lot for a special tour. I did like the museum of Native American life there, though.

Yellowstone National Park

This was my favorite stop. I would have loved to have spent more time there. It is an immense park of 2.2 million acres. Buffalo walked next to our car. In one of the visitor center areas, rangers were out keeping people away from the elk that walked into the tourist area and laid down under a shady tree. I got to see Old Faithful erupt and another geyser that wasn’t as regular but was taller than Old Faithful. I hiked to the Grand Prismatic Springs, salt flats, and different waterfalls. It was an absolutely gorgeous park.

However, when I go back, I will stay at one of the resorts in the park. We stayed in a hotel in Cody, Wyoming, which looked close to the park. However, it was an hour drive from our hotel to the park’s border, and then another hour drive from the border to the park’s loop road! That was four hours of driving each day, and that meant less time that we got to spend in the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

We made a short stop outside Rocky Mountain National Park to visit the hotel that was featured in the movie The Shining. As if that wasn’t spooky enough, the hotel has its own ghost stories that could make its own movie.

The impressive thing about this park was how high it is. We went to a visitor center and hiked up to a spot that was more than 12,500 feet above sea level. I had a bit of a scare here. I could not catch my breath. It wasn’t the hike. I’d been hiking parks all during the trip. The thin air at this elevation affected me. Yet, even after reaching the peak and resting for 15 minutes, I couldn’t catch my breath until we were back down in the parking lot.

The sites were nice, but after Yellowstone, it was a letdown. I was surprised to see lots of snow on the ground in the middle of July.

St. Louis Arch

On the way home, we stopped to see the St. Louis Arch. The underground visitors center was nice to walk through. However, the ride to the top of the arch was a curious mix of technologies since you have to rise in a diagonal direction.

After our visit to the top of the arch, we stumbled on a place called the City Museum. It was located in an old shoe factory. It is four stories tall and contains a mix of exhibits and fun things for kids to do, like a four-story-tall sliding board and various multi-level mazes. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the noise. You had to stand right next to someone to hear them talking.

Short Stops

Some of the short stops we made that I really enjoyed were Matchstick Marvels, Field of Dreams, Sioux Falls, and the Corn Palace. Matchstick Marvels was amazing. The sculptor uses hundreds of thousands matchsticks to create highly detailed models. The Corn Palace uses around 600,000 ears of corns to create murals, both inside and out of the building.

Field of Dreams is the actual baseball field that was built for the movie. It is out in the middle of nowhere and still attracts professional baseball players who come to play games on the field. The movie’s line, “If you build it, they will come” actually came true. I bought a baseball and played catch with my wife on the field.

Sioux Falls was a letdown, but that was because it was raining. We got to the falls and made a mad dash to the observation platform to get pictures. Then, we ran back to the car to try to dry off.

Other Stops

I’ve mentioned a few of the many places we stopped. Some I haven’t mentioned include the Wizard of Oz Museum, Effigy Mounds National Park, New River Gorge, Exhibition Coal Mine, Monticello, Mammoth Caves, and Kentucky Horse Park.

They were all nice, but Yellowstone set the bar high for me. I still enjoyed exploring these places, in particular Exhibition Mine, because I do a lot of writing about coal mining.

I loved this trip. We got to see so much. I would like to do a similar trip through the south and southwest at some point.

by James Rada, Jr.

May 1921, 100 Years Ago

Alleged Holdup Man Caught

Charged with being one of four men who held up the Republican Club in Baltimore City several weeks ago, Ernest Myers of Baltimore, was arrested two weeks ago at the home of his aunt, Mrs. J. L. Whisner, near Mt. St. Mary’s, this county, by Detectives Porter and Quirk of Baltimore, and Deputy Sheriff Roscoe Mackley of the Sheriff’s office, Frederick. The arrest was made on the day the man charged with burglary at Hanover was being chased through the mountains west of Thurmont, and when it became known that an arrest was made in this section, many persons thought it was the supposed burglar that was caught.                                     

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, May 12, 1921

Mosquitoes By The Millions

With the warm wave of Sunday and Monday last came a swarm of millions of mosquitoes in the vicinity. Sitting on porches meant to be in agony. The air was full of them during the evening hours and to walk through the grass or shake a bush mean about the same as disturbing a hornet’s nest. The cool weather Tuesday gave some relief.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, May 26, 1921

May 1946, 75 Years Ago

Convention of Fireman Is Set

The annual convention of the Frederick County Volunteer Firemen’s Association will be held at Thurmont on August 1 and 2. This was decided at the quarterly session held on Thursday night at Independent Hall, this city, with 11 of 13 companies of the County Association represented.

The convention will coincide with the annual carnival of the Guardian Hose Company, of Thurmont, which is scheduled for July 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 2, and 3. Invitation to hold the County Association’s 1946 convention there this year was officially extended by D. Sayler Weybright, who is also president of the county group and who presided at last night’s meeting. Feature of the convention will be the parade on August 2.

                                          – The Frederick Post, May 3, 1946

Cadets Triumph In Field Meet

Frederick High School, with a total of 33 points including five first, Thursday won the first annual Boys and Girls Week, field and track meet, sponsored by the local Rotary and Jaycees clubs.

Only Thurmont High School was represented from outside the City. Marks set yesterday at Bjorlee Field will hold as records until next year, or until surpassed.

                                          – The Frederick Post, May 10, 1946

May 1971, 50 Years Ago

Bronze Star Medal Awarded Local Sailor

Thomas W. Humerick, Gunners Mate Second Class, United States Navy, son of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Humerick, West Main Street, Emmitsburg, was recently presented with the Bronze Star Medal “for meritorious service while serving in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam from August 1969 to June 1970.”

“Petty Officer Humerick, while serving as a crew member on a river patrol boat participated in two hundred sixty combat patrols, engaging the enemy in eleven fire fights. Humerick, while acting as boat gunner on October 4, 1969 on a five boat patrol on a small canal off the Ong Doc River, maintained a heavy volume of fire which aided the patrol in clearing the canal when coming upon an intense enemy attack.”

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, May 14, 1971

Wildflower Festival At Catoctin Mt. Park

At Catoctin Mountain Park, a recreation area of the National Park System near Thurmont, Md., final arrangements are being made for the season’s first great influx of visitors. The occasion is the 8th Annual Catoctin Mountain Spring Wildflower Festival, May 14, 15, and 16.

Park Superintendent Frank Mentzer reports, “recent April showers and warm May days are bringing the bloom out in profusion. We are bracing for an all-time high in Wildflower Weekend attendance.”

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, May 14, 1971

May 1996, 25 Years Ago

Commissioners OK Water Plant Upgrade

Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to proceed with improvements to the town’s water supply system at a public workshop held April 29. The plan as proposed by the Smith Engineering Report calls for making use of ground water and existing supply wells, in conjunction with surface water from Rainbow Lake.

The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, May 1996

Citizens’ Petition Over Road Use Discussed

At the April town meeting, commissioners heard from a delegation of concerned citizens from Northgate who oppose a connecting road between their subdivision and the adjoining Emmit Ridge II subdivision under construction. Developers have been using Provincial Parkway and cutting through Northgate subdivision since they do not have an entrance yet to Emmit Ridge II.

The Northgate Homeowners Association went on record as opposing the connecting road when they presented a petition to the Planning and Zoning Committee in March. The foremost concern was for the safety of the children who have to cross the road to get to the playground. It was felt that the connecting road will adversely affect the quality of life, decrease property values, and destroy the uniqueness of Northgate with increased noise, traffic, and litter.

The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, May 1996

T h e O t h e r S h o e

by Valerie Nusbaum

It was my intention to write this column about our experiences with getting a COVID vaccine, but since that was, collectively, pretty much a non-event, I can sum it up with a few words. Easy peasy and no big deal. Seriously, my mom got her first and second doses in January and February, and her arm didn’t even get sore. Mom had very minimal side effects, and she’s 89 years old, as she keeps reminding us.

I got my first dose a week and a half ago and came away with an arm that was red, swollen, hot, and sore for about two days, but I had absolutely no more symptoms other than my usual litany of sniffles and aches and pains.

Randy, trouper that he is, got his first shot last week and had only a little soreness in his arm. The second doses may bring a different scenario for Randy and me, but so be it. We got our appointments easily, and none of us had any wait time at the vaccination sites. Shoot, I did my vaccine at my doctor’s office, and I was the only person there. I was even able to do my required 15-minute wait in my vehicle in the parking lot. Every single one of the healthcare workers who helped us did so pleasantly and efficiently. I continue to be impressed with the way the medical personnel is handling this viral situation.

So, the vaccinations have gone well. Our Easter was lovely and possibly the best one in quite a few years. Randy had a birthday, and it was a good one. He won $1.00 on a scratch-off ticket, and he caught a trout his first time out fishing with his new license. My business has been going well with a lot of five-star reviews coming in, and sales surpassing even last year. I did a quick and easy new acrylic painting last week and had orders for it just a few hours after the paint was dry. Mom has been having some good days and feeling more like her old self. Did I mention that she’s 89? Just ask her. She’ll tell you all about it. Randy and I have been getting good reports from our doctors, too, and I was finally able to get new glasses. Things have been on a smooth roll for us. Why, then, do I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Admittedly, I’m superstitious. I get suspicious when things are seemingly too nice, and I expect the tides to turn. I’m almost afraid to allow myself to enjoy the good times because I know with certainty that the bad times are just around the corner again. Am I the only person who feels this way? I doubt it.

It freaks me out a little bit to think that we might be getting near the end of this pandemic nightmare and that we might just be able to start living our lives in a more normal fashion again. What will go wrong next, I wonder?

We got up on Easter Sunday morning, and our neighbor texted Randy asking if we had hidden eggs on his front lawn. It wasn’t us, and then we discovered that some bunny had hidden eggs for us, too, and also some other neighbors on our street. What a nice surprise! Ancient though we are, Randy and I got a kick out of gathering up our eggs, and we were tickled to find little surprises tucked inside. Many thanks to whoever was thoughtful and generous enough to do that for a bunch of cranky, old people. Randy and I also were surprised with a lovely Easter/spring centerpiece left on our front porch, but I know which bunny did that. Thank you, Barb!

Even our kitchen remodel project went well, and that was a major undertaking. Oh, I’m not saying that Randy didn’t curse a little, and I made a few messes, but we wound up with a whole lot more storage, new custom cabinetry, and some beautiful bench seating, not to mention one-of-a-kind hand-painted wood tiles and built-in shelves. I’m really starting to sweat over so much that’s gone right. The wrong is going to be phenomenal when it comes.

Last Christmas, Randy gave me a leather-bound journal, and I decided to use it to record daily entries of just three things that made me happy each day. Maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the reason things seem to be going better. Maybe, I’ve forced myself to focus more on the positives rather than the negatives. It’s true that some days, it’s easier than others to come up with three good things that happened.

One day, the best thing that happened was that I went to bed early. Looking back, I do see that I still got frustrated, felt unwell, and had worries. I got hurt and scared and terrible things did happen. Somehow, though, lately I’ve been able to really see how much good there is in our daily life.

I’m not Pollyanna, but I will continue to enjoy and celebrate every good thing that happens because I know bad things are coming. I just won’t spend as much time worrying about them, or maybe I will. I’m human, after all.