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BY Caitlyn Kirby

February is here! The month of heart-and-heart health. As 2024 moves along, let us take a moment to reflect on health and love. There are some advantageous opportunities to aid in self-appreciation and care through offered instructions and activities at the Emmitsburg 50+ Center.

There’s no better way to begin than to join us for a very important talk we are holding on February 12: Advising individuals on the early signs of heart attack and stroke, as well as why we should call 911 and why we sometimes hesitate. There will also be a question and answer session and a lunch.

Additionally, there are many not-to-be-missed upcoming February events at the Emmitsburg 50+ Center, including a fire rescue on February 15, with provided blood pressure screenings. This opportunity will include a meet-and-greet with the local resident deputy of Frederick County Sheriff’s Department. Please come meet your local heroes and get to know your heart! Following the talk and questions and answers, there will be a Valentine’s Luncheon.

Please also check the schedule online or come in for many of the virtual programs available for nutrition, mental, and heart health for better living. 

The Emmitsburg 50+ Center will also be hosting new and return crafts. In addition, the talented Dorothea Barrick is returning for a Valentine’s Day watercolor-themed instructional painting class. Come socialize and get your creativity on! 

As always, Emmitsburg will maintain its regularly scheduled weekly programs, including video exercise,  open gym, and pickleball. As it is Heart Healthy Month, there’s no better time to get active. Don’t wait another day!

Check the Community Calendar in this issue for February happenings at the Emmitsburg 50+ Center, with dates and times.

For more information about all our programs, visit, call us at 301-600-6350, or stop in at the center between 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. You can also find Emmitsburg 50+ Senior Center on Facebook for more updates.

Birthplace of American Armor

Richard D. L. Fulton

“No tank is to be surrendered or abandoned to the enemy. If you are left alone in the midst of the enemy, keep shooting. If your gun is disabled, use your pistols and squash the enemy with your tracks… You must establish the fact that American Tanks do not surrender.”  —Captain George S. Patton, September 1918

From World War II to Desert Storm to the Ukraine-Russian and Israeli-Hamas wars, armored tanks have been the mainstay of the ground wars and were used en masse to break through enemy positions in supporting infantry maneuvers.

However, that has not always been the case. The “modern” tanks had been initially introduced during World War I, and not everyone in the military was entirely smitten with their creation and introduction into combat.

The first tanks of World War I tended to be cumbersome, unwieldy beasts, and were used initially simply to tear down barbed wire defenses and other obstacles that stood in the way of planned infantry charges.

The Rise of Armored Warfare

According to the History Channel, the first tank was produced by England in 1914 during World War I by the British military. The project was considered so top-secret that workers producing the weapons were told that they were actually intended to be tracked vehicles to be employed in transporting water to the troops on the front… resulting in the armored vehicles being called tanks.

The British tanks made their first appearance at the First Battle of the Somme on September 15, 1916, but it was their performance during the British tank-facilitated breakthrough of German positions during the Battle of Cambrai.

After the British introduced tanks into combat at the Somme, the Germans began to develop their own tanks, but never manufactured them in the numbers they would come to be known for going into World War II. In fact, the Germans only built 20 tanks, according to the Australian War Memorial website.

The French developed their first tanks and sent them into combat in April 1917. Not then known for their tank designs and performances, by the end of the war, of the 800 French tanks sent into battle, only 200 survived the war. Some 308 had been destroyed by enemy fire, and hundreds had been pulled out of service due to mechanical issues, according to

As for the United States, many in the military were dubious of the employment and usefulness of tanks in warfare. noted, “These massive, intimidating, metal hulks debuted to mixed results, as they were prone to mechanical malfunctions and were easily impeded by rough terrain.” However, General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in Europe during World War I after America had entered the fray, was not ready to dismiss the usefulness of the tank as a viable weapon, and “approached the weapon with an open mind.”

Camp Colt

To make a long story short, Pershing gained the pertinent approvals from the military and established the United States Army Tank Corps.

Of the several Tank Corps’ training camps established overseas and in the United States, one of the most noteworthy camps was established on, and adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield and was commanded by future president, 27-year-old Captain Dwight D. Eisenhower. The camp was named after Samuel Colt, the inventor of the Colt revolver.

As an aside, the Gettysburg Battlefield Military Park fell under the authority of the War Department until it was transferred to the National Park Service, via the Department of the Interior, in 1933.

Upon assuming command of Camp Colt, Eisenhower was immediately confronted with a rather unique challenge. The camp had not yet received any tanks, but it did have flat-bed trucks. According to the Army Historical Foundation, “ Initially lacking tanks, Eisenhower had to make-do by training his men to drive on trucks. For machine-gun training, he had machine guns bolted to the beds of trucks…”

The National Park Service noted that “men trained on a variety of car chassis made to look like tanks that were built by two innovative Brooklyn soldiers.”

In March 1918, a thousand trainees (which included 250 officers) arrived at the camp, with more arriving during July and August. The first tank, a Renault FT17, which was a 7.4-ton light tank manned by a crew of two arrived in June. Eisenhower was then faced with having to figure out how to operate the tank himself in order to be able to teach his trainees how to operate it. A second Renault FT17 subsequently arrived.

One of the quirky attributes of the FT17 was described in Dale E. Wilson’s book on WW1 TANKS, entitled Treat ’em Rough! when he wrote: “(FT17) Tank commanders were required to transmit commands to their drivers by kicking them (the commander was seated above the driver in the small tanks). This was the only means of internal communication, as the Renaults lacked a radio intercom system and were too noisy for voice commands to be heard. To get the driver to move forward, the commander kicked him in the back. Similarly, a kick to either shoulder signaled a turn in the direction of the shoulder kicked. The signal to stop was a kick to the driver’s head, while repeated kicks to the head meant the driver should back up…”

The National Park Service described the 192-acre camp as “a bustling installation of barracks, shops, mess halls and offices… horse barns from the infantry camp were converted into barracks to house additional troops.” Ultimately, the camp consisted of nearly 100 wooden structures, as well as a hospital.

The camp encompassed an area of the old battlefield from the Round Tops to the entire location of the housing development now known as Colt Park.

By the end of the war, as many as 10,000 trainees, support personnel, and officers had occupied Camp Colt during its existence.

Pandemic and the Closure of Camp Colt

Camp Colt staff and trainees experienced very few deaths and injuries during its days of existence. However, a hammer blow struck the camp in the form of a pandemic, specifically the Spanish Flu, which by mid-October had infected nearly one-third of the force at the camp at that particular time.

The pandemic began to subside by the end of October, but by the end of the first week of November, some 150 soldiers at Camp Colt had perished from the flu.

According to the National Park Service, Camp Colt officially closed in March 1919, further noting that “by the end of the year, the barracks, shops, offices, and tents were gone with only some of the training trenches and unfilled pits remaining.”

Eisenhower was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the Army for “his exemplary leadership displayed at Camp Colt and during this virus outbreak,” according to

The Army Tank Corps had existed for only a short period of time before the end of world War I, when an armistice was signed between the warring parties on November 11, 1918.

However, they did have an opportunity to establish their battlefield worthiness beginning with the Meuse-Argonne offensive in September 1918 until the end of hostilities.

Oddly enough, interest in maintaining a tank corps seemed to have waned in the wake of the war. The Army Historical Foundation wrote (on their website) that by July 1919, the Army Tank Corps, which had peaked at 20,212 officers and enlisted men in November 1918, “had shrunk to eighty-one officers and 213 enlisted men. By this time the very existence of the Tank Corps had come into question.”

by James Rada, Jr.

January 1924, 100 Years Ago

Injured When Auto Hits Phone Pole

Miss Mary Nagle, of Thurmont, who suffered a fractured collar bone and a severe cut in her right hip last Monday morning, when the automobile in which she was riding left the road and struck a telephone pole along the Lincoln Highway near Abbottstown, Pa., is said to be improving.

Four persons were in the automobile, two men and two women. They were returning to Thurmont about 12:30 a.m., when suddenly the machine, a Hudson coach, left the road and struck a telephone pole. With the exception of Miss Nagle, the occupants of the machine were not badly hurt.

                                – Frederick Daily News, January 10, 1923

2 Suspects Not Hart And Tilson Sheriff Declares

Suspected of being Jack Hart and William F. Tilson, the two convicts who escaped from the Maryland Penitentiary two weeks ago, two men on a “walking tour,” were arrested by Sheriff Albaugh and Deputy Sheriff Crum this morning, near Lewistown. They gave the names of Jos. B. McCrossen and Roy McGlennon, hailing from Ohio and New York, respectively, they said.

The men spent Friday night in the basement of the power house at Thurmont. After they left this morning to walk to Frederick, someone at Thurmont notified Sheriff Albaugh that two men answering the descriptions of Hart and Tilson had spent the night in Thurmont and were walking towards this city.

Sheriff Albaugh and Deputy Crum started out the Thurmont pike in the Sheriff’s automobile. When near Lewistown, they saw the two men and asked them if they wanted a lift.

Before they got in the machine, however, the Sheriff searched them to see whether or not they had any fire arms. They had none.

Upon reaching this city, Sheriff Albaugh, who saw that there was not the slightest resemblance between the two men and Hart and Tilson, told them to come into his office and “warm up.” The two men regarded the whole affair as a huge joke as did the Sheriff and his deputy.

                                – Frederick Daily News, January 26, 1923

January 1949, 75 Years Ago

County May Get Pari-Mutuel Race Betting

The enactment of legislation to permit pari-mutuel betting at harness race meets at the Frederick Fair Grounds was approved by an overwhelming majority at the annual meeting of the life members of the Frederick County Agricultural Society, held in the Court House, Frederick, Saturday.

A resolution offered by Beninmin B. Rosenstock, attorney, and submitted to a secret ballot won by a margin of 127 to 22, it was announced.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, January 14, 1949

Thurmont Mother Honored At Military Fete

An Army Colonel, a Maryland mother of 24 children, 12 of whom are still living, was honored by the United States Army Tuesday evening at a ceremony sponsored by the Mothers of World War II Veterans at the War Memorial Building, Baltimore.

Mrs. Charles H. Clarke, of Thurmont, was presented an Army citation for “faithful public service” covering the period of the war years and since. The citation, sponsored by the Second Army and issued by Lieutenant-General L. T. Gerow, commanding, was presented to Mrs. Clarke by Colonel Arthur L. Shreve, executive of the Maryland-Delaware Military District.

Colonel Shreve, in presenting one of the highest citations available to a civilian citizen, asserted that it was through such voluntary service that the military and civilian population was gaining unity towards securing and guaranteeing a lasting peace.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, January 28, 1949

January 1974, 50 Years Ago

Mother Seton Bicentennial Year Opens With Mass Here

Bicentennial Year, some one thousand ecclesiastical and civic dignitaries, friends and benefactors joined His Eminence, Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, Archbishop of Baltimore, and the Daughters of Charity, in an Eucharistic Celebration, Saturday, January 5, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, January 10, 1974

Canonization Nears For Mother Seton

During her relatively brief life of less than forty-seven years, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton performed varied roles. By turn she was an attentive daughter, devoted wife, solicitous mother, and intrepid foundress. She was an especially devoted daughter of the Holy Roman Church and not only founded the first native American sisterhood, but also initiated the American parochial school system. She sent Sisters to staff St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum, Philadelphia, and she personally cared for the sick and trained her Sisters to do likewise. Sisters who are her spiritual descendants, found today at every level of education, social work, and health care, are but the lengthened shadow of Mother Seton.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, January 10, 1974

January 1999, 25 Years Ago

Christmas Elves Strike Again

A lively crowd showed up at the town garage on Saturday morning after Thanksgiving for the annual Christmas swag making. The group was so full of energy that within 2 hours they had more than 200 swags with red bows ready to be hung on the street lights and poles. Jim Click, Leon Sperling, and Randy Myers hung the swags on Monday.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, January 1999

Fore! With An Eye On The Future

Growth? No growth? Managed development is the position taken by the Holloway Development Corporation which presented concept plans to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Frederick County Planning and Zoning Commission December 9 at Winchester Hall in Frederick.

At stake is the development of approximately 1,000 acres that straddle the Mason-Dixon Line north of Emmitsburg. The acreage located in the vicinity of the Steinwehr Exit is bounded by US 15 on the west, Bullfrog Road on the north and Harney Road on the east. Planning for its development has progressed slowly over the past five years. “We have progressed slowly because we are incredibly anxious to be good neighbors and get people’s reactions,” said local Holloway representative Tom Wolf.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, January 1999

The Time Has Come

by Valerie Nusbaum

It’s said that all good things must come to an end. The time has come for me to hang up my pen and paper (or keyboard as it were) and bid adieu to Happily Ever After. It’s been a very enjoyable ride, but I’ve said everything there is to say—some of it twice, I’m sure—and it’s time for me to give you, dear readers, a break. This wasn’t a decision I made quickly or easily, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Last summer, I broached the subject of ending my run and then decided to go out at the end of 2023.

I started writing for The Catoctin Banner in July of 2008, so it’s been over 15 years, and that’s as long as I’ve stayed with any job. Deb Abraham Spalding and I had a conversation in my living room all those years ago, and Deb took a chance on me as a columnist. I remember my very first column was about our neighbor’s dog, Boomer. I compared some of the things Boomer did with some of Randy’s antics. Our neighbor, Nancy King, read the column and promptly ran over to our house with a dog biscuit for Randy! And, so it began.

Thank you, Deb, for taking that chance on me. Your support and encouragement have kept me going when my mind was blank. It’s been my honor and pleasure to work with you and all the staff at The Catoctin Banner, particularly Michele Tester, whose proofreading and editing skills kept me on track more than once. Thank you, Michele. I’ll see you at the beach!

I’ve been very fortunate to have a husband and partner in all things who can laugh at himself. Oh, he laughs at me, too—make no mistake about that. Some of you readers have chastised me for poking fun at the things that happen in our home, but, truthfully, if Randy and I didn’t have a sense of humor about our life, we’d be up the creek. Those of you who know us well know that our life hasn’t been all unicorns and rainbows, especially during the last six or seven years. It’s gotten more and more difficult to find things to laugh about, but I can always count on my husband of 30 years to make me smile or downright guffaw in a very unladylike manner. Thank you, Randy, for that, and for so many other things. Your positive attitude and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds have inspired me and many others to “put our shoulders into it and push.” The fact that you never complain, even when it’s understandable or expected, never ceases to amaze me.

My mom was also a source of inspiration and merriment. She had a good sense of humor, and she put up with a lot from her three children. I’m counting Randy as the third child because Mom often had a better relationship with him than with my brother or me. I’ll never forget the time I came downstairs to start breakfast and found Mom and Randy at the kitchen table discussing something I’d never dream of discussing with my mother! Randy seemed to be trying to make Mom feel sorry for him. After having my mother with me for such a long time (I’m old, remember?), I’ve been struggling to find my way without her this last year.

What will I do next? Who knows? The hubby and I are still fit enough to get out there and do things like travel, so we’ll probably do some of that. We have a whole bucket list of places to see. Are we leaving Thurmont? Nope. You’re stuck with us. We like it here and plan to stay until we can’t. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you around town. I definitely won’t become a contestant on Survivor or any other reality show. Randy, however, has plans to become the next Golden Bachelor if things don’t work out with me.

I’ve made a lot of friends and connections through this column, and most of the feedback has been positive and generous. I’d name names, but I’d be sure to forget someone (unintentionally, of course), and I don’t want any hurt feelings or angry townsfolk. Believe me, I’ve enjoyed your cards, letters, emails, and in-person comments and chats. Well, most of them, anyway. You’ve been gracious and friendly, and your kind comments are the reason I’ve kept writing as long as I have. You’ve been so thoughtful in taking the time to write and in surprising me with all kinds of goodness. Thank you for that.  I’ve always been amazed that anyone wanted to read what I wrote.

After roughly 185 columns, though, it’s time for me to say farewell to this chapter of my life. I’ll miss hearing from you, but I hope you know how much I’ve appreciated it all.

I’m wishing every one of you a very Happy New Year, filled with all good things. As my friend, Madeleine Sherald, used to say, “It’s been real, Camille.” She also said, “It’s been real, and it’s been good, but it ain’t been real good.” That doesn’t apply here. If you’re old enough to remember Lawrence Welk, I’ll say, “Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Weidersehen.” So long!

The British Invade catoctin mountain

by James Rada, Jr.

In the spring of 1941, the U.S. had yet to enter World War II, but other countries had been fighting for two years. Germany showed early dominance in the war, and it hadn’t been going well for the British Royal Navy. It had lost more than 55 ships and 18,000 men. Those who remained were exhausted.

“British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pressed the United States for desperately needed aid,” according to K.C. Clay in the report, “Rest Camp: A Report on the WWII Use of Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area by the Royal Navy.” “Pushing to the edge of US neutrality, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought ways of helping the British.”

During March 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, which allowed the U.S. to aid the Allied nations with food, oil, and material. It was given free of charge, but it could only be given if the help was essential for the defense of the United States.

Under this act, the U.S. was able to justify repairing damaged Royal Navy ships. While the ships were in port, the crews went ashore to recuperate from the stress of combat.

The Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area on Catoctin Mountain was one of seven National Park Service sites that provided rest camps for the Royal Navy sailors. This pre-war U.S. aid to the Allies is largely unknown.

Clay, a National Park Service historian, identified four ships whose crews visited Catoctin Mountain. These were the H.M.S. Southern Prince, H.M.S. Bulolo, H.M.S. Menestheus, and H.M.S. Agamemnon.

During June, 150 sailors stayed at Camp Greentop in two groups of 75 men. Each group stayed for a week, enjoying swimming and other sports activities. Other sailors stayed at the Short Term Lodge, which the National Park Service had acquired after Bessie Darling was killed in the house in 1933. It was a 12-room boarding house with three indoor bathrooms.

“CRDA canceled visitor reservations for the summer of 1941 and configured the house to accommodate the sailors,” Clay wrote.

The largest group consisted of 85 sailors. In all, five groups of sailors stayed there averaging 56 men in each group.

The third site where Royal Navy sailors stayed was Hi-Catoctin. Two groups of sailors stayed there with an average size of 99 men.

As with just about everything that happened on the mountain which was supposed to be a secret, the truth was known to local residents.

“Although the British Ministry of Defense and the US War Department did not publicly acknowledge the presence of the sailors in the U.S., the residents of Frederick County were aware of them and extended invites to multiple social engagements,” Clay wrote. “National Park Service employees also provided social functions such as hot dog roasts and dances. To some of the war weary sailors, the Americans seemed over compensating for not being engaged in the conflict.”

This is not to say the British didn’t appreciate the efforts on their behalf. They repaid the kindness by putting on exhibition cricket and rugby matches for visitors to the park. They taught British songs, dances, and dialects to their hosts.

“Some sailors got on so well with the Americans that they married them,” Clay wrote.

Despite the camaraderie between the Americans and British, the British Admiralty had ordered the sailors not to talk about their assigned ship names, combat engagements, area of operation, and “any information that could possibly be used by the Nazis against them.”

The Nazis had sympathizers among the Americans who might have passed that information on.

Although locals knew of the Royal Navy presence, the U.S. media and the British press did not report on it until the U.S. Navy announced it on September 19, 1941.

After the successful 1941 season, plans were made for 1942, such as adding a telephone booth the sailors could use. However, the second season never happened because the U.S. entered the war and needed to use the facilities for its own purposes. It eventually served as a training camp for OSS agents and a rest camp for U.S. Marines.

Clay wrote that the rest camp story “is about the men who spent two years on alert for Nazi U-boats getting a week respite in the woods far inland from coastal waters. Some men arrived already decorated for valor. Others would go on to perform heroic actions. A few would sacrifice all within weeks of departing the camp.”

In total, more than 21,000 British sailors enjoyed a respite from the war on American soil, although only around 630 of them visited Catoctin.

Picture shows a British sailor relaxing in a cabin on Catoctin Mountain during WWII.

Courtesy of the National Park Service

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Why It Occurs and Things You Can You Do To Help It

by Ana Morlier

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a prevalent condition that persists from early winter to spring, sometimes even starting in fall. While some might label it as “winter blues” or a mood fluctuation, it’s officially recognized in the DSM-5 as a form of depression by the American Psychological Association, underscoring its seriousness. January, coinciding with Earth’s farthest point from the sun (perihelion), often exacerbates symptoms for those with SAD.

Symptoms of SAD include increased duration of sleep, reduced energy levels, withdrawal from social interactions, feelings of sadness, listlessness, or a persistent low mood. It’s crucial to pay close attention if these symptoms persist for multiple days or weeks, or if they start hindering your ability to engage in activities you typically find enjoyable. Seeking assistance from your primary care provider is highly recommended in such cases!

Why does SAD Occur?

Diminished exposure to light disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, heightening the vulnerability to depression by causing a decrease in serotonin levels. The altered rhythm also impacts the regulation and release of melatonin, further influencing sleep patterns and subsequently affecting mood.


Vitamin D is recognized as a valuable remedy for SAD as it is linked to increased serotonin levels, particularly when consumed in enjoyable forms like delicious gummy supplements! Invite fun-gi into your diet by incorporating mushrooms into your meal as a great way to boost your vitamin D intake. Additionally, consider vitamin-fortified milk products.

Seeking guidance from a primary care physician or therapist is also important for managing symptoms. Primary care doctors can offer referrals to other specialists or resources that can assist with treatment. Therapists, specifically, can provide invaluable coping strategies for navigating the challenging times when depression feels most overwhelming. Additionally, free platforms such as Therapist Aid, Buddy Help, and 7 Cups offer support and various resources to help individuals dealing with SAD find assistance and strategies to cope.

A more commonly used strategy is light therapy. Light therapy involves using a specialized light source such as a light box or lamp for around 20 to 30 minutes. It’s particularly beneficial when used upon waking up as it aids in regulating the melatonin cycle. For specialized recommendations and further directions, discuss using light therapy with a doctor or therapist.

Furthermore, fostering self-compassion is vital. Instead of being hard on yourself for not accomplishing major tasks, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. Recognize that regulating mood and overcoming SAD takes time and requires support. Being kind to yourself throughout the process is key to making progress and managing symptoms effectively.

Mindful walks, where you focus on the present moment and your surroundings, can be incredibly soothing and beneficial for managing SAD.

Similarly, engaging in mindful gardening and plants allows for a calming and grounding experience.

Visiting a greenhouse or other gardens not only provides movement but also introduces a change of scenery and routine, offering exposure to natural elements and greenery, which can have a positive impact on mood and well-being. These activities encourage a connection with nature and promote relaxation.

Picking out some indoor plants,  such as Snake Plants, Philodendrons, Pothos, Ivy, Rex Begonias, and Anthurium, will help brighten your home and brighten your mood.

Indoor plants help clear the air of toxins and can also increase humidity levels and help regulate the temperature inside closed spaces, such as a home or office. This helps our brains feel more content and uplifted.

Seasonal affective disorder warrants serious consideration. During winter, prioritizing self-care is essential, particularly amidst holiday-related anxieties. Experiment with the approaches above, document what resonates with you in a journal, and remember that progress takes time. Take care of yourself during this frosty season!

*Credit to Credit to National Day Calendar, John Hopkins Medicine, Sarah Vanbuskirk or Verywell Mind, Bethany Juby of Healthline, and ChatGPT for spell check.

by Buck Reed

A Crawfish Tale

During the 1600s, two very distinct people immigrated to the Americas from France. One went to New Orleans, where they found industry and prosperity. The first generation to be born here were dubbed the Creoles. The second group went to Acadia in Canada to look for their fortune. Instead, they found hardship and persecution from the British who settled there. Eventually, they picked up and moved to New Orleans; but unlike their Creole cousins, they were very poor and could only afford the swamp lands around the city. Being from Acadia, these people were called the Cajuns.

A very distinct difference can be found in the way these two groups ate. The Creole would need six chickens to prepare a meal for one, whereas, a Cajun could feed six people with one chicken. In fact, it is said that a Cajun can pull up to a puddle on the side of the roadway and find a meal for his family within. Now at this point, most of my readers might expect me to list off several indigenous ingredients or the delicious dishes they might make. But not today. Instead, I would like to share a Cajun fairy tale.

While the Cajuns lived in Acadia, their life was harsh. They might well have perished had it not been for a very important friendship they made with the lobster. At the time, lobsters were plentiful and being the friendly sort were happy to be a major food source for their Cajun friends.

Time went by, and even with their deep friendship with the land and animals living there, life proved too harsh for the Cajuns. So, it was decided they would relocate to New Orleans in hopes of a better life.

Now, leaving the British who never really cared for them might be easy, but telling their friends was difficult, especially their very good friends, the lobsters. The lobsters were hurt and sad to hear this news. In fact, they were so distraught that a very large number of them made up their minds that they would follow their friends down south to live with them.

As the Cajuns migrated south on ships and such, the lobsters started their trek by walking along the east coast and around Florida into the gulf, and eventually into the swamps of Louisiana. Yet, this trip proved to be very difficult for the lobsters and it took a toll on them. As they traveled, they became weaker and weaker and smaller and smaller.

When the lobsters finally made it to New Orleans with their friends, they were the tiny Mud Bugs that feed the Cajuns today. And being a thoughtful people, anytime the Cajuns have a celebration, they have a crawfish boil where their friends are always guests of honor. It is best to read this story with a Cajun accent, as this was how it was told to me.

Specialist-4 Richard Sanders

“Chopper Down” Rescue Service in Vietnam

by Richard D. L. Fulton

Helicopters played a major role in the Vietnam War, notably in support of ground operations and in airlifting combat casualties, but this placed many of them at the risk of taking enemy fire themselves.

Richard Sanders, Sabillasville, was born in 1947 in the Waynesboro Hospital, the son of parents Lester and Hilda Sanders of Sabillasville. His father, Lestor, worked as a pipe cutter in a pipe factory, according to the 1950 United States Federal Census, while his mother was listed as a housewife.

Sanders attended Thurmont High School, graduating in 1965, and attended Penn State Mont Alto, graduating in 1968 with an “accelerated” associate degree in engineering technology.

The course was “accelerated” as the result of Sanders having been serving in the Pennsylvania Army Reserve since 1966 with the 357th Transportation Company based in Hagerstown. Facing activation with his unit as the Vietnam War continued to drag on, Penn State Mont Alto staff and professors accelerated the final courses and final exams needed to satisfy the requirements of earning the associate degree.

Following the May 1968 activation of the 357th Transportation Company, Sanders, as a helicopter crew chief, and the 357th Transportation Company (classified as Aircraft Maintenance Direct Support) were assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia for advance training before being shipped overseas to Vietnam. The advance elements of the 357th arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base on September 27, 1968 followed by the main body on October 11.

The 357th Transportation Company was assigned to the 520th Transportation Battalion, with a portion of the 357th designated as the 20th Transportation Company, which was then based at Cu Chi. Sanders was then with the 20th Transportation Company because of the re-designation. The primary helicopter of the transportation units was the “Huey.”

As to the duties of Sanders and the 20th Transportation Company, they were to repair battle-damaged helicopters and render them serviceable. 

He said repair work restoring downed helicopters was accomplished by the men in shifts, but if one or more of the workers was making substantive progress on one of the wrecks, they might not cease work on the craft until it was fully functional again.

“If you started working on one (damaged helicopter), you worked on it until it could get back into the air again,” Sanders said.

It would seem that such a job would not entail much of a risk, but the base had come under attack several times. In February 1969, a small force of the Viet Cong attacked Cu Chi and damaged and destroyed 11 aircraft, according to The base was again attacked on August 15, resulting in the 20th Transportation Company having sustained a number of wounded.

Another of Sanders’ duties was to serve on recovery helicopters as needed to bring back downed choppers, which often entailed flying into active combat zones, Sanders explained, noting, “Everyone took turns flying (on recovery missions).”

Sanders said the recovery operations included utilizing heavy-lift helicopters, such as the dual-propellered Boeing CH-47 Chinook and the CH54 “flying cranes” (for jobs too big for the Chinooks to handle).  Recovery of a downed aircraft usually included strapping the damaged craft to the recovery helicopter and air-lifting the wreck back to the base of operations for repairs (if the helicopter was salvageable).

Encounters with the enemy were not uncommon. Sanders said when the enemy began shooting at the rescue helicopters, the crew just quickly adopted a “spray and pray” strategy:  “We just opened fire and shot the hell back.”

However, Sanders was seriously wounded when a Vietcong round made a direct hit on a recovery helicopter in which he was riding. The rescue helicopter had just been rigged to a downed helicopter and was about to lift it when the round had struck.

Sanders said he didn’t know if he was hit by shrapnel or metal fragments from his helicopter, “but I caught it right in the (buttocks)…”  He said the injury “looked like a checkerboard” on his behind. He was transported back to the States for hospitalization, and then released, thereby ending his career in the Army.

By the end of the war, Sanders had received the Purple Heart for his wounding, along with the unit citations awarded to all the members of the 357th Transportation Company, including the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Army Commendation Medal.

Sanders went on to work for Landis Tool Company (Waynesboro) for 55 years, having retired in 2020. Upon his return to the States, he had also earned two master’s degrees while in England (while employed by Landis Tool).

Richard Sanders in Vietnam.


Causes, Symptoms & Natural Support Strategies

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Cataracts are a common eye condition that typically develops after the age of 55. More than 25 million people, or nearly 20 percent, of Americans aged 40 or over have cataracts in one or both eyes. Cataracts develop and progress in stages, and may be increased by a variety of dietary, lifestyle, and health factors, including nutrient deficiencies, smoking, environmental toxicity, and diabetes.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is an eye condition that is characterized by a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eyes. The lens of your eyes refracts light rays to help you to see. If your eyes are healthy, the lens is clear, and the image you see is clear as well. However, if you have cataracts, it may feel like you are looking through a foggy window or dusty windshield. Things may seem hazy, blurry, or less colorful. Driving, reading, or seeing people’s faces may become difficult.

Cataracts tend to develop slowly. At first, they may not disturb your vision much, but with time, they become a problem. In the early stages, eyeglasses and stronger lighting may do the trick, but eventually, cataract surgery may become necessary.

Stages of Cataracts

Cataracts progress through different stages. Symptoms worsen as the cataract increases in each stage. The four stages of cataracts include:

Early Cataract

This stage is the beginning of cataract development. Your lenses are still clear. For the most part, you may see very well; however, you may notice that your ability to change focus from near to far or vice versa has started to decrease. You may notice some cloudiness or blurring. You may feel a bit of an eye strain, and the lights may start to bother you.

Immature Cataract

In this stage, you will notice more cloudiness or an opaque vision as proteins have started to cloud your lens. Your eye doctor may recommend anti-glare glasses and to avoid bright sunlight or too much light that may bother you. In most cases, it takes several years to progress to this stage.

Mature Cataract

This is a more serious stage, where things may start to turn opaque, white, milky, or amber. You will likely notice serious vision changes as cataracts have started to spread to the edges of your lens. Mature cataracts may interfere with your daily activities and quality of life. At this stage, your eye doctor may recommend cataract-removal surgery.

Hypermature Cataract

This is the most serious stage, where the cataract is already very dense, seriously impairing your vision and interfering with your life. It may increase the risk of inflammation, pressure within the eye, and glaucoma.

Major Symptoms of Cataracts

The major symptoms of cataracts include:

Cloudy, fuzzy, or blurry vision;

    Deteriorating night vision;

    Noticing a glare from bright sunlight, headlights, or lamps;

    Seeing a halo around lights;

    Noticing that colors seem faded or not being able to notice changes in color brightness;

    Double or multiple vision; and

    A frequent need to change your prescription for glasses or contacts.

These symptoms may not be present at the early stage of cataract, which is mainly characterized by slight blurriness or difficulty changing focus from near to far. Existing symptoms progress and new symptoms develop at each stage. By the time you develop mature cataracts, you will notice significant blurriness and vision changes. It is important that you understand these symptoms, so you can catch cataracts or other vision problems early.

Possible Causes of Cataracts

Cataracts are often caused and worsened by certain dietary, lifestyle, and health factors. Understanding these potential root causes of cataracts may help you to reduce your risk of the disease or delay its progression.

Poor Diet & Lifestyle

An anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense and mineral-rich diet; regular exercise; stress management; reducing chemical exposure; and other healthy lifestyle choices are all critical for maintaining health and preventing disease.

A 10-year study on over 2,400 older adults supported this finding that antioxidants may reduce the risk of cataracts. Another study on the dietary habits and eye health of 1,600 adults has found that a diet high in carbohydrates may increase the risk of cataracts. Further research discovered that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, may delay the development of cataracts.

Eating a poor diet loaded with refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, refined oil, processed foods, and junk food, while not eating enough greens, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and clean protein, puts your body at risk of inflammation. One study on 30,000 women, aged 49 and over, has found a link between having enough antioxidants in one’s diet and cataracts.

Chronic stress, a sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep, and exposure to chemicals may also increase your risk of chronic inflammation. Cigarette smoke contains 4,700 chemicals and is incredibly toxic to your body; it increases oxidation and inflammation in your body, and may increase your risk of cataracts.

Chronic Inflammation & Cataracts

Chronic inflammation may develop because of chronic poor dietary and lifestyle habits, too much stress, and chemical exposure.

Chronic inflammation puts too much stress on your eyes, may compromise your vision, and may increase your chance of cataracts or accelerate the progress of the condition.

Hypertension & Cataracts

Hypertension puts extra strain on your arteries, as well as your heart, and puts your body at risk of health issues in the future.

Hypertension may put too much pressure on your heart and cause damage to your retina, swelling of the macula, black eye, and cataracts.

Diabetes & Cataracts

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects about 30 million people, or over 9 percent of the population in the United States. It affects your body’s ability to use or produce insulin effectively to control your glucose levels.

The problem with untreated diabetes is that too much glucose in your blood for a long time can affect many parts of your body and your overall health.

Research has found that cataracts are one of the main complications of diabetes, as well as the leading cause of blindness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90 percent of vision loss due to diabetes can be prevented with the help of early detection and annual eye exams.

Too Much Screen Time on


Technology has its benefits; however, too much screen time can be damaging. It is important that you protect your eyes and only use technology when necessary.

Sunlight has a variety of lights, including blue. Blue light has more energy and shorter wavelengths and is more harmful to your eyes.

Different sources of blue light include computer monitors, tablet screens, smartphones, fluorescent light, LED light, and flat screen LED televisions. Spending too much time on the screens of your devices is incredibly tiring for your eyes.

Research has shown that blue light may also have long-term negative effects, including premature aging of your eyes.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies are one of the main factors behind premature aging, age-related disease, macular degeneration, and cataracts. There are several specific nutrients that have been linked to cataracts and other eye conditions listed below.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the most critical vitamins when it comes to your eye health. Research has linked vitamin A and β-carotene to the reduction of eye issues and cataracts.

Vitamin D

Research has found that vitamin D may help to lower the risk of age-related nuclear cataracts and dry-eye syndrome, which is often a factor in the development of cataracts.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats found in fish, seafood, algae, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds. They are incredibly anti-inflammatory, and may help to prevent a variety of health issues.

The omega 3 fats that are most beneficial are the long-chain EPA and DHA, which are found in fish and seafood. A prospective study on 71,083 women has found that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids helped to lower the risk of cataract extraction by 12 percent.


 Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids and are some of the most common nutrients known for eye health. They are both full of anti-inflammatory properties and may help to prevent cataracts.


Flavonoids are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables and are also critical for your health and well-being. A population-based case-control study (249 cases and 66 controls) has found that the intake of flavonoids, in particular, quercetin, may reduce the risk of age-related cataracts.


Zinc is essential for reducing the risk of inflammation and age-related diseases. It may also be critical to your eye health. One rat study has found that a zinc-enriched diet for six weeks helped to reduce the progression and maturation of diabetes-induced cataract.

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

Cataract vector illustration diagram, anatomical scheme. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, which leads to a decrease in vision.


by James Rada, Jr.

December 1923, 100 Years Ago

Infant Drowns in Creek Near Home

The funeral of Charles Hewitt, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hewitt, of Thurmont, who was drowned Saturday afternoon when he fell into a small stream near his home, will be held this afternoon.

The child, who was aged one year, four months and 22 days, while playing about on Saturday afternoon, wandered away and it is supposed that he he fell into a small stream near his home. The child was found by his mother.

                                – Frederick Daily News, December 24, 1923

Dr. Kefauver Leaves Thurmont

After having served many of the citizens of Thurmont and the surrounding community for 32 years Dr. E. C. Kefauver has given up the practice of medicine there to take up his new duties as county health officer of Frederick county. The doctor and his family will leave on January 1, and take up their residence in Frederick. Dr. Kefauver’s successor is Dr. Levin M. Irving, of Chicago, who will occupy the office in the Masonic Building, Thurmont.

                                – Frederick Daily News, December 22, 1923

December 1948, 75 Years Ago

Local Girl Takes Sisterhood Vows

At a ceremony Saturday morning at 9 o’clock in the Chapel of the Monastery of the Visitation, Frederick, in the presence of a number of relatives and friends, Sister Mary Angela Saffer, formerly known as Margaret Mary Saffer, pronounced her perpetual vows which made her a permanent member of the Order of the Visitation.

Sister Angela is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Saffer, of Emmitsburg. Rev. James M. Hogan, pastor of St. John’s Church, performed the ceremony as delegate for His Excellency, Most Rev. Lawrence J. Shehan D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore. Present also for the occasion were Rev. Roger K. Wooden, of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Thurmont, and Rev. Charles Stouter, C.M., Emmitsburg. Rev. Fr. Hogan preached the sermon preceding the ceremony.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, December 10, 1948

Thurmont Baby Show Proves Interesting Affair

Twenty four children of preschool age were entered in the Healthy Baby Show held in the Firemen’s Room of the Town Hall at Thurmont last Wednesday at 1:30 o’clock. Ten babies ranging in age from two months to one year, and fourteen from one year six years, were in the group. Under the direction of the County Health Nurse, Mrs. Susan Ward, and sponsored by the Thurmont Grange and the Guardian Hose Company, the show was held to promote more interest in the health clinic which the Grange is sponsoring.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, December 20, 1948

December 1973, 50 Years Ago

Kiddies’ Treat To Be Held Saturday at 2

This Saturday, December 22, at 2 p.m., Santa Claus will visit Emmitsburg in front of the VFW Home and bring candy and oranges to all local children. Parents are urged to have their children attend. The party is sponsored this year by the Francis X. Elder Post 121 American Legion, and VFW Post 6658 of Emmitsburg.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, December 20, 1973

Libraries Offer Audio Cassettes

A new and exciting thing is happening at the Public Libraries in Frederick County. Any registered Frederick County Public Library borrower in good standing may sign up to borrow Audio Cassettes of music, plays, information and instruction. Applicants must sign a separate card for cassettes registration. An interesting selection of cassettes is being offered… In case you do not have a cassette player, there will be a player in each library. You may not borrow the cassette player. It is assumed that you will have one in your possession either your own or a borrowed one. We anticipate the starting of this program in early January.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, December 27, 1973

December 1998, 25 Years Ago

New After-School Program to Begin in January

Emmitsburg officials, working since June with the Frederick County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, have developed a comprehensive after-school youth program which will include homework assistance, supervised recreation, and social skill development.

“We now have a youth program!” said Mayor Carr. “Under Deborah Spaulding (sic), a county parks and recreation employee, Emmitsburg’s youth program will start in January, 1999.”

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, December 1998

Community Service

The Town of Emmitsburg would like to thank Mr. Don Briggs (Coach) and the Mount Saint Mary’s rugby team for their recent community service efforts. On Saturday, November 7, 1998, Coach Briggs and the rugby team volunteered their services to paint many of the curbs for the Town’s no-parking zones. This kind of interest and community service demonstrate just what an asset Coach Briggs and these young men are to their team, Mt. St. Mary’s, and our community.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, December 1998

‘Twas The Week Before Christmas

by Valerie & Randy Nusbaum

‘Twas the week before Christmas at the Nusbaum estate.

I hate to admit it but things weren’t looking great.

The stockings were waiting to be hung and filled,

the gingerbread house we still needed to build.

Randy was huddled in pain in the bed.

He’d fallen and suffered a bump on his head.

There’s a trophy he covets. He’s determined to win

that darned lighting contest. He’s entered again.

Our neighbor, Big Bob,  put a sleigh on his roof

with Santa and reindeer as if we needed proof.

Bob had been champion for the last seven years

and Randy was bound that he’d have Bob in tears.

My hubby’d amassed a huge yard display

and he added a new piece almost every day.

He’d lit up our trees, our fence, and our house.

I’d feared for our cars, so crazed was my spouse.

And now my poor Randy was out of commission

while I worried and wondered how I’d keep up tradition.

My cards had been sent. At least that was done.

But no presents were purchased, not even one.

I needed to shop for both gifts and food.

Could I leave Randy alone? Would he come unglued?

I called on the neighbors, first Steve and then Brooke

to keep tabs on Randy while I planned what to cook.

I went to the store; didn’t have too much luck.

I couldn’t find turkey so I settled for duck.

The presents I grabbed were tacky and dumb.

I came out of the store with shoe laces and gum.

Feeling downhearted, I dragged myself home

to find Randy much better. He’d dressed like a gnome.

Wait! He wasn’t a gnome. My guy was an elf

and I started to giggle in spite of myself.

That’s when I noticed the tree had been trimmed.

It glowed like a beacon when the lights were all dimmed.

I next spied some cookies, all pretty and sweet!

Oh, who in the world had brought such a treat?

A truly miraculous thing to behold—

The house was bedecked all in silver and gold.

How in the world did you manage all this?

I cried out to Randy. I felt so much bliss.

My mate said he woke and found the house was complete;

The cookies, the stockings, and a turkey to eat.

There were presents all wrapped waiting under the tree.

I couldn’t imagine who’d done this for me.

The jingle of sleigh bells had us heading outside

where our yard was all lighted. It filled us with pride.

The rooftop was sparkling like stars in the sky.

My hubby was beaming, a tear in his eye.

Randy leaned over and picked up his prize.

He’d won that darned trophy, nearly double his size.

We stood there not daring to think it was true

that Santa had been here; his reindeer, too.

Big Bob wandered over; a frown on his face,

Clearly not happy. He’d won second place.

Not one to gloat, Randy still had to grin

At the reindeer memento Big Bob had stepped in.

As you can see, I had some help with this month’s column. We took some license here and there, but it’s the best we could do. As always, Randy is the world’s best helper. I also should point out that since I work for the Banner, Randy is exempt from the real decorating contest. At least I tell him he’s exempt, and it keeps him off the roof. 

Special holiday greetings go out to Grace Borell, who wrote me such a nice note. Grace, you made my day and your photography is beautiful. Thank you for thinking of me. Thanks, too, to our neighbor and friend, Barb, for the lovely basket decorating our front porch the whole fall season. It’s true that people really do masquerade as elves and visit when we least expect it. I also must send greetings to Jan because, well, you know where I live. And to Ruthie Simmel—it’s always a pleasure and thanks for the treats! Randy and I are wishing each and every one of you (even the ones of you who tell me I remind them of a drill sergeant) a peaceful, happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

The Woodpecker vs. Fort Ritchie

Sitting atop South Mountain, Fort Ritchie helped save the world from the Nazis during World War II. However, the camp didn’t fare as well against woodpeckers.

Fort Ritchie’s history dates back to 1889 when the Buena Vista Ice Company of Philadelphia purchased 400 acres on South Mountain. The company developed the land and built lakes where it planned to cut ice from to ship to the surrounding cities for use as the refrigeration source in ice boxes. The first lake was built in 1901 and named Lake Royer. Buena Vista shipped out the ice on the Western Maryland Railroad, which ran through the area.

Business continued until the demand for ice dropped off due to the development of electric refrigeration, and the Buena Vista Ice Company eventually closed.

In 1926, the Maryland National Guard was looking for a location for a summer training camp. It chose the Buena Vista Ice Company property. Not only was the location isolated enough for the National Guard’s training needs, it was located along the railroad, so it could be easily accessed and communications could be maintained using the telegraph line that already ran through the area.

The Maryland National Guard used the site from 1926 to 1942. On June 19, 1942, the U.S. Army took over the site for its Military Intelligence Training Center. During World War II, 19,600 intelligence troops trained at the camp.

Despite the vast knowledge and intelligence training of these soldiers, woodpeckers managed to sabotage the camp, even if the interference lasted a short time.

In 1948, newspapers in Maryland and Pennsylvania ran stories about how woodpeckers were frustrating Col. Leland T. Reckford, the fort commander, with their attacks on power line poles.

“One woodpecker was so diligent in his attack on a pole that the first hard gust of wind the other day sent it crashing to the ground,” the Hagerstown Morning Herald reported on November 9, 1948.

The 2,200-volt power line came down with the pole, causing outages in the area, including the camp.

“There are plenty of trees in the surrounding mountains, if the woodpeckers simply must release their emotions by pecking, camp officials point out,” according to the Morning Herald.

Woodpeckers peck for three reasons, according to It uncovers insects, insect eggs, and larvae, which the woodpeckers eat. They drill holes in dead or dying trees to create nests. The hammering also serves as a type of communication to mark territory.

“This is why you might see a flicker pounding on a metal power pole or your house siding–to make the loudest sound he can, not to look for food or drill a hole, but to make a statement,” according to the website.

Given the damage to the power line pole, it seems likely the woodpeckers used it create a nesting area, but instead, compromised the strength of the pole.

The newspapers don’t note how the camp solved its woodpecker problem, but it wasn’t mentioned again, nor were there any articles talking about additional falling power line poles.

Fort Ritchie closed in 1998 under the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

An old postcard view of Barrick Avenue at Fort Richie.

“Helping You Find Plants That Work”

Behind Mistletoe

Everything You Did and Didn’t Need to Know About This Christmas Plant

In Greek, Roman, and Celtic Druid history, mistletoe acted as a panacea- to cure poisons, illness, pain, and more. The most common folklore traced to this tradition comes from Norse Mythology. Baldur (Odin’s son) was condemned by a prophecy to die. Not wanting any harm to come to her son, Frigg ventured about the entire Earth, ensuring all plants and animals agreed to keep her son safe. As with most stories- she forgot one plant. Obsessed with love and beauty, Frigg neglected mistletoe- as it was bland and undesirable. Loki used this oversight and fashioned the plant into a lethal arrow to defeat Baldur, and he did. However, the Gods resurrected Baldur, and Frigg, elated that her son had come back from the dead, declared that she would kiss anyone who passed under the mistletoe and made the plant a symbol of love- not to be forgotten lest it force anyone into bad luck, akin to how she ignored the plant (later interpreted to be that of vitality and fertility).

This evergreen plant seems like a low-maintenance project. After all, you primarily need to take care of the host tree it is attached to and provide full sun to part shade conditions. Like a telemarketer, it is parasitic and will only grow and obtain nutrients and water from the host tree. Keep mistletoe roots and vines in check to prevent further takeover of other trees. The largest it should grow is 3 feet by 3 feet. Some host trees that mistletoe prefers  (and that you can sacrifice) include maple, poplar, aspen, walnut, elm, and oak. While it is commonly used in tradition, it is quite toxic to all organisms, so make sure no one puts it in their salad! It also produces alluring-looking berries, but don’t be tempted! Also, please try to grow it inside (especially the dwarf variety), as it is very invasive. Trash after use (don’t compost!). Finally, since it is such an invasive plant, bugs leave the plant alone!

Some species that you can look for (that won’t be as damaging) include American mistletoe, European mistletoe, and Big Leaf mistletoe. To propagate, you will need mistletoe berries (will be white), gloves, and a host tree. Smash the berries, and press into the bark a little higher than the base of the tree. That’s it! However, it will take a year for the seeds to take. If you want to get rid of some unwanted growth, there are two options you can employ. Begin by cutting away the growth you don’t want. Then apply black plastic on the infested area or use herbicides.

If you (understandably) don’t want anything to do with mistletoe anymore, may this article serve as a basis to know what to look for if you see your trees suffering from an unknown parasite. So enjoy a moment of romance with the knowledge that you didn’t cause your son’s downfall because you ignored this plant.

A ball of mistletoe complete with berries!

*Credit to Gemma Johnstone from The Spruce, Even Andrews of HISTORY, and Rob Dunn of Smithsonian Magazine.

by Maxine Troxell

While looking for a recipe to include in the December Banner issue, I came across my aunt Eileen’s gingerbread recipe. This recipe was included in one of my mother’s handwritten recipe books. She had a lot of her relatives’ recipes included, and most are handwritten. It’s interesting to see how some of these recipes back then are written. Sometimes, you would see ‘a pinch of this or a pinch of that’. OK, but what’s a pinch? This recipe said to bake in a moderate oven, so I am assuming 350 degrees. I am so glad my mom took the time to write all of these recipes. I find it interesting to see how people cooked and baked back then. She has a lot of unique recipes. I hope you enjoy this one.

Aunt Eileen’s Gingerbread


½ cup shortening

2 tablespoons sugar

1 beaten egg

1 cup molasses

2¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup boiling water        


Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl and set aside.

Cream shorting and sugar until fluffy.

Add beaten egg and molasses; mix until smooth.

Alternate the sifted dry ingredients with the boiling water.

Beat until smooth. Pour batter into a 9-inch greased square pan.

Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 45 minutes.

by Buck Reed


The origins of salsa are straight forward. The sauce has its start dating back to the time of the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas who made a cold sauce with tomatoes peppers and herbs to eat with their daily meals and snacks. The dance gets its start in Cuba in the 40’s. We will be discussing the sauce.

Salsa is primarily made with:

Tomatoes – Either fresh or canned are acceptable choices. You can chop them up and even puree them or a combination of both if you choose. Tomato or V8 juice can be added to give it an extra kick. Also if you prefer Tomatillos can be used if you want a different flavor. And, since there are no rules you can do a combination of the two….no one is going to jail.

Peppers – again fresh or canned is acceptable and every pepper on the Scoville Table is acceptable. Deciding what peppers you use and whether you decide to add the seeds or not will decide how hot your salsa will be. Roasting your peppers can also add a nice flavor to your salsa.

Onions – fresh onions or a short sauté of chopped onions will work with your dish. Scallions will work if you are not keeping your salsa too long.

Other ingredients – Fruits work well in salsa and can add a nice finish to most dishes. Topping the list might be Mango or Pineapple but again no rules here, you should feel free to experiment. Also, vegetables such as Cucumber, Radish, Celery or most any you can imagine (I am thinking chopped Olives or Artichokes here}.

Flavoring your salsa is fairly easy. Naturally you can add hot sauce to add heat or lemon juice to add a tang to your finished salsa. Herbs and spices might include the old standbys of Cumin, Chile Powder, Oregano and Cilantro, but you might want to consider a good Cajun Spice or even Old Bay.

One of the best parts about salsa is you can make it ahead of time for when you are having guests over. Naturally, like most foods salsa can go bad and should be kept refrigerated in a covered container. If you have a product that looks and smells bad bear in mind it should look and smell fresh.

Getting rid of it before it goes bad is fairly easy, as salsa is incredibly versatile. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box here.

Almost any sandwich could and does benefit from a spread of salsa on it. One of my favorites is on an egg sandwich any time of the day. Also left over pot roast can be Barbacoa-ized with an addition of salsa and served on bread.

A fast and easy enchiladas sauce can be made with V8 juice and salsa. Just roll your tortillas with whatever leftover you have and you got dinner in the oven.

Try making a breakfast burrito with pancakes. Just roll up with cheese  and salsa and if you are careful you got breakfast on the go, Another idea is waffle nachos. Chop up your hot waffles and cover with salsa and whatever else you have to make nachos. Forget the maple syrup.

Grilled seafood, steak, and chicken can always be paired with fresh salsa to bring a little zing to your dishes from the flame gods

Whether you make it yourself or use the store-bought jarred stuff, you really shouldn’t have a problem using up salsa. It’s so good!

Ira H. Buhrman

“Lost at Sea”

by Richard D. L. Fulton

Ira Harrison Buhrman was born on November 10, 1887, in Foxville (Frederick County), to parents Harvey Meade Buhrman, a farmer, and Theresa Need Buhrman. Buhrman had eight brothers and sisters (two apparently having died at birth).

Buhrman resided in Foxville until his death and was, at one point, employed as a laborer in a local lumber mill. 

The (Frederick) News reported on February 10, 1942, that Buhrman had enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in July 1918, and served one enlistment in Hawaii. The newspaper reported that he became a member of the 13th Regiment, which was then employed in Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. 

He subsequently was attached to Company D of the 15th Separate Battalion until the signing of the Armistice in November 1918.  Buhrman remained with the Marine Corps at Marine Base Quantico until discharged. It was reported that, after having been discharged from the Marine Corps, he was involved in the construction of Camp Ritchie (perhaps due to his former employment in the lumber industry).

The (Frederick) News also reported that Buhrman was an award-winning marksman, having been awarded a number of medals for sharpshooting and marksmanship while serving in the Marine Corps.

By the time World War II broke out, Buhrman, at 53 years of age, was too old to serve, so he opted to sign up with the Merchant Marines (officially known as the United States Merchant Navy), and, thus, on October 8, 1941, ended up as a member of the crew of the fuel tanker India Arrow, owned by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. 

He served as a ship’s wiper, which entailed cleaning the engine compartment and machinery, as well as other jobs that were assigned by the ship’s engineers.

On February 4, 1942, the India Arrow was making its way from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Carteret, New Jersey, with a load of 88,369 gallons of diesel fuel. The ship was unarmed and unescorted.

The India Arrow was struck by a torpedo fired by a German submarine (subsequently identified as the German submarine U-103) when the tanker was only about 20 miles southeast of Cape May. reported that the German submarine “then surfaced and fired seven shells from her deck gun (at the stricken tanker) at two-minute intervals, from a distance of 250 yards into the bow section, which remained above water as the stern was sinking.”

The Frederick Post reported on February 11, 1942, that Buhrman may have been in the engine room when the tanker was hit by the torpedo ”just aft of the engine room,” further noting that only two or three of the occupants in the engine room had escaped that portion of the ship. Buhrman was initially listed as missing.

The vast majority of officers and the crew of the India Arrow had actually survived the attack, except for two that were killed outright, when the submarine shelled the ship. However, 18 of the officers and crew drowned when their lifeboat sank. Ultimately, as the result, eight officers and twenty of the crew were lost in the attack on the India Arrow, while only one officer and eleven of the crew survived.

Between January and August in 1942, German submarines sank more than a dozen ships off the New Jersey Coast, and even more off the coasts of other Mid-Atlantic states, according to

The (Frederick) News reported that Buhrman was the first Frederick County resident to have been killed in World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Merchant Marine Medal and the Combat Bar with Star. The Combat Bar was awarded to Merchant Marines who were onboard a ship that was attacked by an enemy. A star was added if the recipient was also forced to abandon the ship (or was killed in the attack).

Buhrman was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars as the result of his service during WWI.  According to, in the wake of his mother’s death in 1947, “his name was added to her headstone in Mount Bethel Cemetery in Garfield as a memorial, since his remains were never recovered.

Ira H. Buhrman Source: and Wings Across America

India Arrow

Source: City of Little Rock, LR Parks & Recreation

Anyone who might know a Veteran or is a Veteran, who would like to share their experiences in the military for publication in The Catoctin Banner, is invited to contact the columnist at Thank you.

Upon Combs’ death from congestive heart failure (according to The Washington Post) at age 92, his memorial service was held at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home in Emmitsburg. He was interred in the Emmitsburg Memorial Cemetery.

What Is Calcium & Why   Do We Need It?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Calcium is a mineral your body needs to build and maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body.

Almost all calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth, giving them structure and hardness.

Your body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between your brain and every part of your body. It also helps blood vessels move blood throughout your body and helps release hormones that affect many functions in your body.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.

What Foods Provide Calcium?

Calcium is found in many foods. You can get the recommended amounts of calcium by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

    Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the main food sources of calcium for most people in the United States.

    Canned sardines and salmon with bones contain calcium.

    Certain vegetables such as kale, broccoli, Bok choy, collard greens, dandelion greens, arugula, watercress, spinach, okra, scallions, leeks, zucchini, cucumber, Brussels sprouts, celery, green beans, lettuce, squash, and onions also contain calcium.

    Calcium is added to some beverages, including milk substitutes such as soy and almond beverages, as well as some brands of tofu and ready-to-eat cereals. To find out whether these foods have calcium added, check the product labels.

    Most grains (such as bread, pasta, and unfortified cereal) do not have high amounts of calcium.

Types of Calcium Dietary Supplements

The two main forms of calcium in dietary supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate is absorbed best when taken with food.

Calcium citrate is absorbed well on an empty stomach or a full stomach. People with low levels of stomach acid—a condition most common in older people—absorb calcium citrate more easily than calcium carbonate.

Other forms of calcium in supplements and fortified foods include calcium sulfate, calcium ascorbate, calcium microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, calcium gluconate, calcium lactate, and calcium phosphate.

Calcium is absorbed best when you take 500 mg or less at one time. If you take 1,000 mg/day of calcium from supplements, for example, it is better to take a smaller dose twice a day than to take it all at once.

Calcium supplements might cause gas, bloating, and constipation in some people. If you have any of these symptoms, try spreading out the calcium dose throughout the day, taking the supplement with meals, or switching the form of calcium you take.

Do You Get Enough Calcium?

Many people in the United States get less than recommended amounts of calcium from food and supplements, especially: Children and teens (ages 4 to 18 years); people who are Black or Asian; and adults aged 50 and older and living in poverty.

Certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough calcium, including:

Postmenopausal women. The body absorbs and retains less calcium after menopause. Over time, this can lead to fragile bones.

People who don’t eat dairy products. Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, but people with lactose intolerance, people with milk allergies, and vegans (people who don’t consume any animal products) must find other sources of calcium. Options include lactose-free or reduced-lactose dairy products; canned fish with bones; certain vegetables, and milk substitutes such as soy and almond beverages, tofu, and ready-to-eat cereals; and dietary supplements that contain calcium.

What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Calcium?

Getting too little calcium can cause several conditions, including the following:

     Osteoporosis, which causes weak, fragile bones and increases the risk of falls and fractures (broken bones).

     Rickets, a disease in children that causes soft, weak bones.

     Fatigue due to your cells being undernourished.

     Poor oral health due to the teeth being more susceptible to decay and loosening and possibly even periodontal disease.

Muscle pain and spasms. Calcium is needed to help our muscles function properly. Specifically, it helps them to contract and relax.

     Numbness and tingling in the fingers. Calcium plays a vital role in many parts of the central nervous system. If we are deficient, we may see those nerves impacted, particularly in our extremities (hands, finger, feet and toes).

     Abnormal heart rhythm could be a sign of severe calcium deficiency.

What Are Some Effects of Calcium On Health?

Scientists are studying calcium to understand how it affects health. Here are several examples of what this research has shown.

After about age 30, bones slowly lose calcium. In middle age, bone loss speeds up and can lead to weak, fragile bones (osteoporosis) and broken bones. Although bone loss is more common in women, it can affect men too.

The health of your bones is measured with a bone mineral density test, which will tell whether your bones are healthy and strong or weak and thin. Some studies have found that calcium supplements with vitamin D may increase bone mineral density in older adults.

   Some research shows that people who have high intakes of calcium from food and supplements have a lower risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. Some studies have shown that men with high intakes of calcium from dairy foods have an increased risk of prostate cancer. For other types of cancer, calcium does not appear to affect the risk of getting cancer or dying of cancer.

Preeclampsia is a serious complication of late pregnancy. Symptoms include high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. Calcium supplements might reduce the risk of preeclampsia in some pregnant women who consume too little calcium.

Metabolic syndrome is a serious medical condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the following:

A large waistline;

High blood levels of fat (triglycerides);

Low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol);

     High blood pressure;

     High blood sugar levels;

Some research suggests that a higher intake of calcium might help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome in women but not men.

Does Calcium Interact With Medications or Other Dietary Supplements?

   Calcium dietary supplements can interact or interfere with certain medicines, and some medicines can lower calcium levels in your body.

Tell your healthcare provider about any dietary supplements and prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines you take. They can tell you if the dietary supplements might interact with your medicines, or if the medicines might interfere with how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down nutrients such as calcium.

Calcium and Healthy Eating

People should get most of their nutrients from food and beverages, according to the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other components that benefit health. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements are useful when it is not possible to meet needs for one or more nutrients.

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. Check out the website at

Source: Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).

by James Rada, Jr.

November 1923, 100 Years Ago

Thurmont Conference

The second of the series of conferences being held by the Frederick County C. E. Union will be held tonight at Thurmont, beginning at 7:30 o’clock. Following will be the program: Hymn, invocation; “Christian Endeavor, the Church’s Tool Chest,” Rev. Wm. R. Glen, Frederick; “An Ideal Prayer Meeting,” Frank Witter, Frederick; “An Ideal Business Meeting,” Vernon Coblentz, Middletown; music; “I Am My Brother’s Keeper” Ruth Krieg, Adamstown; “Nature, a Constant Reminder of Friendship of Christ,” Rev. John S. Adam, Westminster; “Friends of Christ,” Carroll M. Wright.

                                – Frederick Daily News, November 23, 1923

Purely Personal

Mr. Sanford L. Shaffer and family of Thurmont, moved last week to their new home: the property on the east side of Church street, owned by Dr. M. A. Birely.

                                – Frederick Daily News, November 12, 1923

November 1948, 75 Years Ago

Rabbits Scarce But Hunters Are Not Dismayed

While the United States is waging a cold war with the Russians it was a red-hot war that was begun Monday for the rabbits in Frederick County. The eager nimrods laid down a barrage that virtually shook rabbitland to its foundation.

One casualty was listed. He was Kenneth Carty, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Carty, near Catoctin Furnace, had the calf of one leg shattered and his foot peppered with shot when a new shotgun discharged as he was hunting with companions. His condition was reported favorable at the Frederick Hospital Thursday night.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, November 4, 1948

Prisoner Sentenced For Hallowe’en Vandalism, Walks Out of Jail; Returned Again

Less than an hour after he walked out of the Frederick jail, where he is serving a 90-day sentence, Ray Irvin Fraley, 22, of Thurmont, was back in custody Thursday afternoon. Fraley, sentenced last Saturday by Magistrate William J. Stoner in Thurmont, for malicious destruction of property in connection with a Hallowe’en prank, was serving as a trusty at the jail. He changed clothing in a lavatory and walked away about 2 o’clock.

State and Frederick City police were immediately notified as soon as Fraley’s disappearance was discovered. He was picked up about 3 o’clock in a Frederick bowling alley. He offered no resistance and was returned to the jail by Deputy R. Paul Buhrman.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, November 11, 1948

November 1973, 50 Years Ago

Fire Levels Historic Home; Bridge Knocked Out By Fireman Responding

An Emmitsburg fireman was injured when his van overturned while he was responding to a fire alarm at 9 Sunday evening. The fire leveled a large home, a former show place on the Crystal Fountain Road, two miles west of Emmitsburg.

Roger Harner, 24, Emmitsburg R2, was taken to the Warner Hospital, Gettysburg, in the Emmitsburg VFW ambulance after his van turned over on its roof and became wedged in the iron railing of an old wooden bridge on the Annandale Road, a half mile west of Emmitsburg, shortly after the fire alarm was sounded. He was treated at the hospital for injuries to his right eye, lip and chin.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, November 1, 1973

Hoisted Flag Shows Progress Of School

The red checkered flag flying on top of the new school building indicated completion of the structural steel on the building. The last piece was put in place last Friday, according to Robert Brown, Construction Superintendent. The exterior masonry work is 90% complete; curb and gutters, paving, fine grading, and seeding are almost complete.

Placement of cement board on the sloped roofs should be completed this week and the roof dried in with heavy tar paper next week. The plumbers have heat and water lines well under way. Assuming favorable weather, the steel decking will be placed on the flat roof sections next week and work is expected to start on the heating ducts.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, November 29, 1973

November 1998, 25 Years Ago

Overall a Good Start for the Mason-Dixon Line Fall Festival

The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) met October 20th to discuss the success of the Mason-Dixon Line Fall Festival which they sponsored the first weekend in October this year as part of the county’s 250th anniversary celebration. The organization agreed that they would like it to become an annual event.

According to festival co-chairman Hope Mahoney, “There were some problems, mix-ups, and some things that really worked well. Of course, nobody could do anything about the weather. Overall, I think we have a basic structure in place that will help us plan for a program next year.”

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, November 1998

CASS Welcomes New Area Director

The Catoctin-Aires Majorette, Color Guard, and Drum Corps has captured the Maryland State Advanced C.A.M.A. Grand Championship Title for 1998. The award is presented to the advanced whole corps with the best overall placements for the areas of baton twirlers, color guard, and percussion units. In a clean sweep victory, the Catoctin-Aires Corps won first place in each of those areas. In addition, the corps’ color guard was awarded the Bob Setera Memorial High General Effect Trophy for its spectacular presentation of music as portrayed in movies. The corps was also named the Maryland title winners for Advanced Best Tiny Tot unit, and Advanced Best Complementary Unit for auxiliary sections with in the corps. The Juvenile Pom  Team championship title was also won by the Catoctin-Aires’ Juvenile Porn Team. The corps beginner branch twirling corps, Catoctin-Ettes, placed second in the Tiny Tot division for beginner tot sections.

Claiming victory in the dance-twirl competition, the corps’ elite dance twirl branch, under the name of Rampage, won advanced Sr. Dance-Twirl Team championship title, the Advanced Juvenile Dance-Twirl Team championship title and the Advanced Tiny TOT Dance-Twirl Team title. Placing second in the senior porn team division was the Rampage Senior Porn team. The corps also sponsors a Senior Percussion Ensemble, labeled X.R.A.; who placed second in that respective division.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, November 1998

Across the Miles

by Valerie Nusbaum

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us once again, I’m reminiscing about years past and feeling blessed to have such wonderful memories. I’m sure you are, too. These are just some of the highlights of my Thanksgivings with Randy.

For our first Thanksgiving together, I had the bright idea to host the meal at our house. No small feat since we didn’t yet have a dining room table and there were eight of us. We borrowed folding tables and extended them from our small dining room into the living room. Cousin Linda had given us a lovely non-stick roaster for a wedding gift, and we were anxious to try it out. I used my mom’s tried-and-true method for a juicy turkey and started the bird in the oven at 400 degrees at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday. At midnight, I turned the oven temperature down to 200 degrees and planned to slow roast the turkey overnight. At 1:00 a.m., the bird was falling-off-the-bone done. You can imagine how the rest of the meal went.

We visited my brother and his family in Rutland, Vermont, in 1997.  Because of our work schedules, we drove to New York on Wednesday night. After getting up before dawn on Thursday and driving for hours, we needed a pit stop but couldn’t find anything open—not even a gas station. Finally, we saw some cars at a Friendly’s, so we rushed inside.  The young woman at the takeout window looked us over and informed us that the restaurant would be closing at noon. My watch showed 11:52 a.m. Randy said, “We’d like two Diet Cokes to go. Where is your restroom?” When she opened her mouth to protest, Randy looked her in the eye calmly said, “This is happening.” It did.

For many years, while our parents were with us, Randy and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We made it a point to include anyone we knew who didn’t have plans. Some years, there were five or six of us. Some years, there were twelve. We found Mary’s slippers in the fridge, inside a bag with fresh sausage. Bill made a loaf of homemade bread and left the paddle in the loaf. Pat enjoyed making a turkey picture by tracing her hand on paper.  Dale, Randy, and Bill fought over the oysters. Andrew got sick and gave it to the rest of us. The Johnsons came for dessert. There were pilgrim costumes and feathers, hand towels folded into turkeys, acorns made from kisses, and the list goes on.

In 2001, Randy and I were on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, and we made Thanksgiving dinner reservations at The Bonfire. My mom had plans to dine with her next-door neighbor, so I knew she’d be taken care of; but when I spoke to Mom on Tuesday of that week, she told me that her plans had been canceled. I couldn’t leave Mom all alone (Randy’s parents were with his brother and the kids, so they were okay), so on Wednesday, we drove four hours back to Brunswick to pick up Mom and her luggage, then drove back to Ocean City that night. We changed our dinner reservation from two to three and had a lovely time sitting by the fireplace, watching football and feasting on five kinds of stuffing and various turkey parts. Afterward, we rode the train through the Festival of Lights and had hot chocolate with Santa. 

In 2008, we again visited my brother who had moved to Bozeman, Montana. Dinner was hosted by friends of theirs at their horse ranch, and we were all seated around a huge dining table. It was so gracious of them to include us. My sister-in-law was responsible for the pumpkin pies, which I found amusing since she rarely uses her kitchen. She gave it a go, though. Randy and I took some hostess gifts and treats for the kids. Our host, Chuck, asked us to go around the table and tell what dish our family always ate that wasn’t featured on their table. Silly me. I didn’t realize the correct answer was: “Why nothing.  Everything is here.” I mentioned that our families ate sauerkraut with a turkey dinner, probably going back to the Dutch/German settlers in our area. There was dead silence at the table.  Kind of reminded me of the time Randy had the gall to show my cousin, Craig, a photo of a trout he’d caught on another trip to Montana. That did not go over well, either.

Twice, we ate out at the Epic Buffet at Charles Town Races. We missed having leftovers.

For Thanksgiving 2021, we thought it would be brilliant to be vendors at the Holiday Fair in Ocean City. We got takeout dinners from Cracker Barrel. Not great and not even real turkey. With setup on Wednesday and working Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it was an exhausting but enjoyable time. Michele Tester even came to visit!

Last year, we traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for Thanksgiving and stayed at Hershey Farms. The breakfast buffet was included with our stay, so that made three buffets in two days. I kid you not. What does one do after eating all that food, you ask?  Well, we went to Green Dragon on Black Friday and stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables. And Long Johns.

We’re doing the Ocean City Holiday Fair again this year and taking dinner with us, so I know the turkey will be real.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, Randy and I hope you have a happy, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving!

Where the White Frogs Frolic

In 1932, Charles Clyde (C.C.) Moler was shopping at Lilypons goldfish nurseries in Frederick County when something in the water caught his eye. The water rippled with activity from the thousands of goldfish in the ponds that been drained to a low level for harvesting. C.C. saw flashes of orange from the goldfish and greenish brown from tadpoles that shared the ponds, but he saw something else, too.

An occasional flash of white caught his eye. He looked closer and saw it was a tadpole. Lilypons raised tadpoles as well as goldfish. Tadpoles acted as scavengers in a goldfish aquarium, eating any food the fish didn’t and helping keep the tank clean.

C.C. pointed out the white tadpoles and had a worker fish them out. He found three. Each one was white with pink eyes. They were albino, a rare congenital defect that causes the loss of any pigmentation.

When asked about an albino frog in the New York Museum of History’s collection at the time, herpetologist Dr. Raymond Ditmars called it, “rarer than human quintuplets.” C.C. had hit a biological lottery jackpot.

“At that time, the museum’s specimen was thought to be the only one in existence and, although widespread publicity brought to light several others, the white frog still holds his rank as one of the rarest forms of albinism,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

Moler surprised Lilypons workers when he told them how rare albino frogs were. They had first noticed albino tadpoles in their ponds the previous year. “No special thought was given to their unusual appearance and, after passing through the regular grading process, a few were shipped out with the normal tadpoles. Several dealers complained that they had received tadpoles which were apparently sick, but no one realized that a rare find had been passed by so casually,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

Moler had Lilypons try to trace the albino tadpoles that had been shipped out. Of the ones they found, “only one had lived to frogdom, and that was dead and resting in alcohol,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

With the news of the rare find, other goldfish farmers in Frederick County started watching the tadpoles they harvested from their ponds. No other ponds yielded the rare albino frogs.

Moler kept the three he found and returned home to Hagerstown. Two of the tadpoles died, but one matured to an albino male bullfrog.

Moler worked as an electrical engineer for Potomac Edison, but caring for the albino frog became his hobby.

He returned to Lilypons the following year during their harvest and found more white tadpoles that he purchased. With a year’s experience, he was better able to care for them. Their tanks were temperature-controlled to be no lower than sixty-five degrees. Moler fed them only live food—primarily earthworms—because frogs won’t eat anything that doesn’t move.

One of these tadpoles matured to a female of the same species as the male.

“Today, they dwell happily together, the world’s first pair of albino frogs, and it is hoped that they will be the Adam and Eve of a new race,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

They were believed to be the only breeding pair of albino bullfrogs in the world.

Experts gave Moler a 50-50 chance of being able to breed them, but he beat the odds, and the Hagerstown Morning Herald reported in 1937 that he had “several hundred Albino tadpoles as a reward.” Of these, he hoped to get as many as 200 to grow to adulthood, but only twenty-three did.

C.C. was so pleased with his success that he presented a pair of albino frogs to the New York Museum of Natural History as a gift. In accepting the gift, Museum Director Dr. G. Kingsley Noble said, “You have already made a very important contribution to science in successfully rearing these delicate creatures.”

The New York Times called Moler, “the world’s only collector and breeder of Albino frogs.”

With his collection of albino frogs growing, Moler purchased a farm near Wagner’s Crossroad on Beaver Creek, along the new Dual Highway. He had three screened outdoor pools built on the property. He then purchased three abandoned Hagerstown and Frederick Railway trolley cars and placed one next to each pool.

C.C. converted one trolley into a massive heated aquarium, where the tadpoles could stay in the winter. Other tadpoles were left in the pools, where they disappeared into the mud at the bottom. Moler wanted to see if the albino frogs could survive the winter as well as regular frogs.

The farm soon became a tourist attraction, advertising itself as having the only white frog colony in the world.

The sign in front of C. C. Moler’s white frog farm.

Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress

by Maxine Troxell

I love soups and chilis all year long, especially in the fall. This tasty chili twist is perfect for a cold day! If you’re a fan of spaghetti and chili, then you’ll love this recipe.  This recipe came from the Inglenook Granddaughter’s cookbook that was published years ago. It did not list spaghetti as one of the ingredients (I added the spaghetti). If you are not a fan of spaghetti in your chili, then you can omit it.

Chili Con Carne


1 lb. ground beef      

¼ tsp. salt     

1 tsp. minced garlic

½ cup chopped onion

24 oz. tomato sauce (3, 8oz. cans)

1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. sugar     

1 tbsp. chili powder       

2 cans kidney beans (15.5 oz.)

2 cups water

4 oz. spaghetti noodles 


In a large pan, brown ground beef and onion. Drain excess fat.

Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, 2 cups water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, minced garlic, chili powder, and kidney beans.

Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.

At the end of the chili cook time, break the pasta into thirds. Cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain and add it to the chili.

by Buck Reed

Rocking Ramen

It is a well-known fact that every ancient civilization made some form of alcoholic beverage—let’s call it beer, if they were going to advance that culture (I will make the case in a future article!). No one person in these societies is credited with inventing this beverage. Every single one of them considered it a gift from a higher being, or God. So, let’s start with the ingredients that make the flavors of beer, and maybe in this series, we can prove God exists.

Water is the bulk of what makes beer. For the most part, if you can drink the water, you can make beer with it. There are slight differences in the water from place to place, but mostly this is a matter of the minerals you might find in different regions. These minerals, or lack of them, can influence the beer’s flavor, but for the most part, they are slight.

Grains are the next-largest ingredient used for beer. Mostly barley is used to make beer, and this grain is malted. The malting process involves laying the grains out and wetting them down so that they germinate. Once they go through this process, they are cooked in a kiln to create color and flavor for our beer. These malted grains are cooked to color, which is measured in Lovibond (an older, yet still common, method for measuring the color of beer that was developed in 1885 by Joseph Williams Lovibond). The higher the number of this scale, the darker the grain will be. When used to make beer, these grains add color, body, mouthfeel, and flavor to the beer.

Hops are a fast-growing herb that comes in many varieties and adds bitterness to our beers. The bitterness is measured in Alpha Acid units, with the lower numbers representing less bitterness; as the number increases, so does the bittering properties of the hop. Hops are also regional, so the hops used in an English ale would be different from an ale made in Belgium. Hops add flavor, help keep the beer sanitary, and also add head retention to our beers.

Yeast is a single-celled organism that converts the sugars in our beer into alcohol. These yeasts are traditionally regional and contribute distinct flavors to our various beers. Some yeasts like Scottish will add a flowery flavor to our beer, whereas, a German wheat beer will have a banana flavor. A good brewer will manipulate these yeasts to lessen or increase these flavors.

Other ingredients include specialty grains, like rye or flaked oats, to add their own distinct properties to beers. Also, flavorings like herbs and spices, as well as fruits and vegetables, are added to create unique flavors. Ingredients like peanut butter or Captain Crunch can be added to flavors in beers as well. Although, this writer will say that is not my thing, but insists you be you.

Sergeant George Frailey Combs

Navigating Bombers Over Europe

by Richard D. L. Fulton

George F. Combs was born January 11, 1922, to parents Cooley and Clara Rowe Combs. He grew up in Emmitsburg and had two brothers, Samuel and Thomas.

Combs’ military registration card, filled in when he was 20, described him as being 5’7” and as having blue eyes and blonde hair, with a “ruddy” complexion.

Combs was married for 60 years to Doris Peppler Combs, 50 years of which was spent living  in Alexandria, Virginia, according to Combs’ obituary, published at the time of Combs’ death in 2014 by The Frederick News-Post, among others.

He attended Mount Saint Mary’s University and graduated with honors in 1942. Also in 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps.  The United States Air Force did not yet exist in 1942 and would not be created until 1947.

Combs’ obituary stated that, following his graduation from navigation school, he was assigned to the 8th Air Force based in England.  The 8th Air Force was initially designated as being the VIII BC (Bomber Command) in 1942, and was subsequently designated as the 8th Air Force during the reorganization of 1944, according to the Official United States Air Force Website (

Combs and the then-designated VIII BC were initially assigned to Daws Hill in England, and subsequently, headquartered in High Wycombe in Wycombe Abbey (a school for girls). 

While stationed in England, Combs “became a lead navigator, guiding formations of B-17 bombers on missions over occupied Europe,” according to his obituary. 

For his service with the 8th Air Force, Combs was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and four Battle Stars. 

According to the Air Force website (, from May 1942 to July 1945, “the Eighth planned and precisely executed America’s daylight strategic bombing campaign against Nazi-occupied Europe, and in doing so, the organization compiled an impressive war record.”

However, the website further noted that the successes of the 8th Air Force, which had included engaging in over 440,000 bomber sorties, during which, the planes dropped 697,000 tons of bombs, did not come without a price: 

“The Eighth suffered about half of the U.S. Army Air Force’s casualties (47,483 out of 115,332), including more than 26,000 dead. The Eighth’s brave men earned 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. The Eighth’s combat record also shows 566 aces (261 fighter pilots, with 31 having 15 or more victories, and 305 enlisted gunners).”

Combs attended Dickinson Law School, after having been discharged from the service, and graduated in 1948 with a law degree, subsequently becoming a member of the Maryland Bar Association.

He also spent his entire career with the United States Government Federal Trade Commission, according to his obituary, “he worked as a staff attorney and as a confidential advisor to several commissioners.”  It was noted that Combs had also prepared the drafts of over a hundred Commission adjudicative opinions. According to The Washington Post, Combs also received the Federal Trade Commission’s Distinguished Service Award for his career contributions.

His obituary also noted that his most significant achievement “was his work on the opinion which resulted in the licensing of the patent on the antibiotic Tetracycline, saving consumers millions of dollars.”

Sergeant George Frailey Combs (Obituary photograph)

Anyone who might know a Veteran or is a Veteran, who would like to share their experiences in the military for publication in The Catoctin Banner, is invited to contact the columnist at Thank you.

Upon Combs’ death from congestive heart failure (according to The Washington Post) at age 92, his memorial service was held at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home in Emmitsburg. He was interred in the Emmitsburg Memorial Cemetery.

What Is Osteoporosis?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Osteoporosis occurs when too much bone mass is lost, and changes occur in the structure of bone tissue. Certain risk factors may lead to the development of osteoporosis or increase the likelihood that you will develop the disease.

Many people with osteoporosis have several risk factors, but others who develop osteoporosis may not have any specific risk factors. There are some risk factors that you cannot change, and others that you may be able to change.

By understanding the risk factors, you may be able to prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

Factors That May Increase Your Risk

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are a woman. Women tend to have lower peak bone mass and smaller bones than men. However, men are still at risk, especially after the age of 70.

As you age, bone loss happens more quickly, and new bone growth is slower. Over time, your bones can weaken and your risk for osteoporosis increases.

Slender, thin-boned women and men are at greater risk to develop osteoporosis because they have less bone to lose compared to larger boned women and men.

White and Asian women are at highest risk. African American and Mexican American women have a lower risk. White men are at higher risk than African American and Mexican American men.

Changes to hormones and low levels of certain hormones can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. For example, low estrogen levels in women after menopause. Men with conditions that cause low testosterone are at risk for osteoporosis, however, the gradual decrease of testosterone with aging is not a major reason for loss of bone.

Diet may also be a reason. Beginning in childhood and into old age, a diet low in calcium and vitamin D can increase your risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Also, excessive dieting or poor protein intake may increase your risk for bone loss and osteoporosis.

Long-term use of certain medications may make you more likely to develop bone loss and osteoporosis, such as glucocorticoids and adrenocorticotropic hormone, which treat various conditions, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Antiepileptic medicines, which treat seizures and other neurological disorders. Cancer medications, which use hormones to treat breast and prostate cancer. Proton pump inhibitors, which lower stomach acid. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which treat depression and anxiety. Thiazolidinediones, which treats type II diabetes.

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to bone loss include low levels of physical activity and prolonged periods of inactivity can contribute to increased rate of bone loss. They also leave you in poor physical condition, which can increase your risk of falling and breaking a bone.

Chronic heavy drinking of alcohol is a significant risk factor for osteoporosis.

Natural Strategies to Help Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis

The following are safe and effective natural strategies to reduce the risk of fracture, support healthy bone mineral density, bone strength and structural integrity.

An Anti-Inflammatory Healing Diet   

Foods to avoid would be foods associated with inflammation in the bones, so it is critical to avoid highly inflammatory foods which include refined sugars and grains, and any foods that are easily metabolized into sugar (high glycemic foods). These foods upregulate inflammation and create extra acidity in the tissues.

It is best to avoid sodas. In addition to sugar, most sodas have a high phosphoric acid content which can remove calcium from the bones. Drinks and foods with high levels of caffeine can also interfere with calcium absorption.

Meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals, farmed fish, processed foods and highly processed vegetable oils, such as canola, peanut, cottonseed, soy and safflower, promote inflammation and should be eliminated.

Foods to Include

The foods you should be eating on an anti-inflammatory, healing diet are whole, unprocessed foods. Choose grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught meats and fish. Eat lower carbohydrate, low glycemic, colorful vegetables and fruits for their abundant antioxidants and phytonutrients. Plentiful amounts of herbs are also helpful to use on a healing diet.

Healthy fats are also an important part of a healing diet. Healthy fats are found in coconut, olives, avocados, and their oils and in grass-fed butter and ghee. Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in wild caught salmon and grass-fed beef and dairy are fats with many bone health benefits.

Foods to Boost Bone Density

Along with a healing diet, you can include foods that can boost bone density. Raw cultured dairy, such as kefir, yogurt, and raw cheese, contain calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K, and phosphorus, all of which help build strong bones.

Sea vegetables and green leafy vegetables also contain vitamins and minerals that are critical for bone formation and bone strength. Foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as wild-caught salmon and sardines, walnuts, and certain seeds, help reduce inflammation.

Weight-Bearing Exercise

Exercise is critical for both maintaining bone health and preventing fractures.

Weight-bearing exercise has been shown to have positive effects on bone loss by increasing bone formation and decreasing bone reabsorption. Weight-bearing exercise is any exercise that requires your bones and muscles to support your body weight.

Examples are weight lifting, running, walking, dancing, and tennis. It is important to do weight-bearing exercises at least 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes per time.

Incorporating balance exercises, such as Tai Chi, into your exercise regimen is important for reducing the overall risk of falling and being injured.


Calcium is a major building block of bone tissue. In fact, 99 percent of our body’s calcium stores are housed in our bones. Consuming optimal amounts of calcium from food or supplementation is critical to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

Calcium is best obtained from foods in your diet. Dairy products (preferably raw, grass-fed, organic dairy products) are the most readily available sources of calcium. Dairy products also contain protein and other micronutrients important for bone health. Other calcium-rich foods include fish with soft, edible bones (such as sardines), green vegetables (broccoli, curly kale and Bok choy), and nuts (Brazil nuts and almonds).

Zinc and Magnesium

Both zinc and magnesium are important for bone health and for supporting the immune system.

Zinc is a mineral required for bone tissue renewal and mineralization. Foods high in zinc include pasture-raised chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef and dairy, spinach, and wild-caught salmon. Nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and watermelon seeds are also high in zinc.

Magnesium is a crucial nutrient that supports over 300 physiological processes or functions in the body. It is referred to as the “master mineral” and plays an important role in forming bone. Magnesium is critical to all aspects of vitamin D and calcium metabolism.

The top food sources of magnesium are leafy greens such as Swiss chard and spinach, sea vegetables, sprouts, and avocados. Grass-fed dairy and wild-caught fish are rich in magnesium. Pumpkin seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, and coffee are also good sources of magnesium.

Vitamins D and K2

Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 work synergistically to promote bone health and reduce the incidences of fractures.  These nutrients work together to help guide calcium into the bone tissue and prevent it from accumulating in places such as the arteries.

There are numerous animal-based food sources of vitamin D3. Whole food sources of vitamin D are much healthier options than foods fortified with vitamin D. The best dietary sources of vitamin D are wild-caught salmon and fatty fish, cod liver oil, grass-fed butter and raw cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, and beef liver.

Vitamin K2 is an important nutrient that plays a role in many bone metabolisms. Getting enough vitamin K in your diet is key to maintaining healthy bones and protecting against fractures.

Vitamin K2 is needed to form a bone-building protein called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is a necessary protein for maintaining calcium homeostasis in bone tissue. It works with osteoblast cells to build healthy bone tissue. When we are deficient in vitamin K2, osteocalcin production is inhibited which reduces calcium flow into bone tissue. This can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Foods rich in vitamin K2 are meat, dairy, fermented foods, and natto. Vitamin K2 is also produced by the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

The combination of vitamins D3 and K2 enhances osteocalcin accumulation in bone cells greater than either nutrient alone. Increased osteocalcin formation significantly improves bone mineral density.

Stress Reduction

There is a relationship between stress and osteoporosis. Increased stress hormones wreak havoc on the body, including the bones.

Stress induces physiological changes leading to osteoporosis. Stress also induces behaviors that may lead to osteoporosis such as distorted eating patterns, drinking alcohol, lack of exercise, and poor sleep habits.

It is critical to take steps to reduce stress and lower elevated cortisol levels daily.

Other powerful techniques are grounding, deep breathing exercises, sunlight exposure, and Epsom salt baths. Practice these stress reduction strategies daily to reduce stress and protect your bones from the effects of stress.


Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates circadian rhythm. As we age, our melatonin levels decrease, which may lead to imbalanced bone remodeling.

Recent studies have shown that melatonin may have a positive effect on the skeleton. Melatonin was shown to increase bone mineral density after one year of treatment in a study of postmenopausal women with osteopenia. Melatonin can be taken as a supplement; however, it is possible to promote your body’s own ability to make it as necessary. The best way to support your own production is to try and control your light exposure to match sunrise and sunset.

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

Source: Natural Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases;

by James Rada, Jr.

October 1923, 100 Years Ago

New Lunch Room

Henry Weiss, proprietor of the New Thurmont Hotel, has secured the rooms in the Osler Building at Thurmont, formerly occupied by Wisotzkey Bros., in which, he will open a lunch room. He will still continue in the hotel business at the New Thurmont Hotel.

                                – Frederick Daily News, October 27, 1923

Purely Personal

Rev. J. L. Green, of Thurmont, left on Monday for Niagara Falls. He went by way of Harrisburg, where he joined friends who accompanied him. He will be gone about a week.

                                – Frederick Daily News, October 27, 1923

October 1948, 75 Years Ago

Seek Money Needed For School Work

A movement directed at the passage of a legislative act doubling the so-called “incentive fund” for new school construction was reported today to be gaining momentum as the County Commissioners gave further consideration to the proposed contract for additions to Thurmont High School.

Both the commissioners and members of the Board of Education were reported favorable toward the incentive fund increase plan and it was said that some State officials had exhibited an interest. Efforts will be made to enlist the aid of local legislators as well as representatives from other counties in the passage of such a measure.

                                – Frederick News, October 6, 1948

Deer Slayers Are Fined In State

Two men were fined $125 each today for shooting a deer out of season.

Leo B. Lewis of Emmitsburg and Sherman O. Lewis of Graceham pleaded guilty to charges of having a dead deer in their possession out of season and having loaded rifles in their automobile.

Magistrate William J. Stoner fined each $100 on the first count and $25 for the rifle charge. Both paid their fines.

                                – Cumberland News, October 15, 1948

October 1973, 50 Years Ago

Purchase Of Land For Park Completed

The Town of Emmitsburg completed purchase of a tract of land Monday estimated to be between 56 and 70 acres from Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Owens and Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Sanders. The tract lies west of Lincoln Avenue extended or the new school property, extending to the Frailey property and runs from South Alley to Tom’s Creek. It will be annexed and developed as a town park and used for recreational purposes. Purchase price was $79,500.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, October 25, 1973

Health Congress Attended By Over One Hundred At Provincial House Here

The first Health Congress of the Southeast Province of the Daughters of Charity was held at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Emmitsburg, October 19-20. The mood among the 115 Sisters who gathered was serious yet buoyant. To them the inalienable “right to life” guaranteed by the Constitution is indeed a self-evident truth. Facing daily pressure from the “new morality,” they seemed glad to come together for a mutual reaffirmation of the Christian and patriotic principles which guide their delivery of care.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, October 25, 1973

October 1998, 25 Years Ago

Skatepark Needs Community Support

… You may have noticed the ramps (skaters call them quarter pipes) set up in the parking lot of the Antique Mall in town. During the evening, between 5:00 and 9:00 P.M., area youngsters and I enjoy the thrill of gliding over asphalt and wood as we challenge gravity. Despite my slightly overweight, thirty-something condition (and the accompanying physical limitations), I have found great joy in skating with people half my age (and younger). In the process, I have learned that some of our local youngsters are great people – they are friendly, caring, funny, and generally respectful. The “skatepark,” as we call it, has become an important part of life for area youngsters.

We are currently at a crossroads – the skatepark needs your help. There needs to be more adult supervision at the skatepark. While the skaters are generally well behaved, it makes sense to have responsible adults around to ensure that youngsters are safe, that misbehavior is kept to a minimum, and to send the message that we (adults) are interested in their lives and committed to their well being.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, October 1998

CASS Welcomes New Area Director

On October 5, Bill Derbyshire, the new coordinator of the Community Agency School Services will take his office in the Emmitsburg Community Center. He is replacing Debbie Swiderski who gave birth to her baby girl in early September. 

            – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, October 1998