Currently viewing the tag: "Bill Blakeslee"

20150307_100136James Rada, Jr.

The Thurmont Food Bank did what it does best at the grand opening of its new home on March 7…it fed people.

Food trays of hot and cold foods were spread throughout the Thurmont’s former Town Office, as dozens of people crowded the building to see how it had changed now that it is home to the Thurmont Food Bank.

The biggest change is in the office area that once held the cubicles of Thurmont Town staff. The room is now lined with freezers, refrigerators, and deep shelves. Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, who manages the food bank for the Thurmont Ministerium, estimated that there is now about fifty percent more storage space.

“The nice thing with having more freezer space is that I can buy ahead when things go on sale, say turkeys, or when it’s hunting season and there’s deer meat offered,” said Joyner-Giffin.

The new freezers were purchased with a grant that former Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee helped the food bank staff obtain.

The Thurmont Food Bank is currently serving about 310 families, comprised of about 1,200 people, in the Thurmont area.

“This new location gives us the ability to serve more, should we have to,” Joyner-Giffin said.

As the ribbon was cut, officially opening the new food bank, Joyner-Giffin gave Mayor John Kinnaird a dollar bill, representing the food bank’s first year’s rent to the Town of Thurmont. Carol Robertson, President of Colorfest, Inc., also gave Joyner-Giffin a check for $500 to help pay the utilities on the building for a couple months.

Many of the people attending the grand opening were volunteers who help fill the orders and serve the food bank clients. Joe Bailey has been helping out at the Thurmont Food Bank for four years.

“I’m passing it forward,” Bailey said. “I want to give back to the people in the community, because helping others is what God tells us we should be doing.”

St. John’s Lutheran Church had been the previous home for the food bank, but after several years there, it outgrew the space. The new location for the Thurmont Food Bank is at 10 Frederick Road. Although the Thurmont Public Works Department still uses the back offices in the building, all of the front offices, including the commissioners’ former meeting room, is part of the food bank.

Hours at the new location are now: Tuesday, 5:00-7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Donations of non-perishable food items can be dropped off any time; please place them in the shopping cart in the entryway of the food bank. Both perishable and non-perishable foods can be delivered during food bank hours or on Tuesday mornings from 11:00 a.m.-noon. Please check to be sure all items are not spoiled or expired before donating them.

The food bank is always looking for volunteers to help out. If you would like to help, you can call the food bank at 240-288-1865 or visit

You Asked For It

by Valerie Nusbaum

In last month’s column, I asked you to send me your questions and I promised I’d do my best to answer them. You held up your end of the bargain, so here goes. Several of you sent in questions asking for my help, but you asked to remain anonymous. I can’t say that I blame you. I completely understand that you wouldn’t want your friends and family to know that you’re desperate enough to come to me for advice.

I’ve selected some questions about relationships and love, at least the ones that could be printed in a family-friendly publication.

Dear Valerie:

The lady in my life has told me that she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day.  She told me the same thing at Christmas, and I gave her what she asked for. She didn’t speak to me for two whole weeks. Should I get her a gift this time, or should I honor her request?

Signed, Not Bill Blakeslee


Dear Not Bill:

The fact that you even have to ask that question tells me that gifts are the least of your problems. At the very least, buy her flowers and chocolates, but after your gaffe at Christmas you’d be wise to spring for jewelry—the good stuff.

Commit this to memory: When a woman tells a man that she doesn’t want a gift, SHE DOESN’T MEAN IT.  It’s a test. Do not fail the test a second time. No man gets a third chance.

—Good luck, Valerie


Dear Valerie:

I was wondering if you and Randy argue a lot.  My husband and I do, and sometimes I worry that we’re abnormal.

—Signed, Combative in Crisis


Dear Combative:

Don’t worry.  You and your husband are not abnormal at all (unless you bite his head off for saying “Good morning”).  It’s healthy to air your differences.  I’m always suspicious of a couple who profess that they never argue.

Randy and I agree on most of the major life issues, but we bicker about the small stuff all the time. His driving makes me crazy and my worrying and nagging gets on his nerves. Mostly, I worry and nag him about his driving.

Just remember to treat your spouse with respect, and remind him to do the same for you. If you need to yell at him for leaving the seat up, go ahead and do it. Or better yet, get even. 

—Hang in there, Valerie


Dear Mrs. Nusbaum:

How can I get my man to lose a few pounds without hurting his feelings?

—Signed, Too Big For His



Dear T.B.:

You said that he needs to lose a “few” pounds, so I’m assuming that he isn’t going to be taking up sumo wrestling any time soon.  Also, you didn’t mention if your man is having health issues that could be due to his weight. I’d suggest that you have him see his doctor for a check-up. That may involve tricking him into going, but it’s necessary. If your guy has health issues, the doctor may take care of the diet issue for you. 

If the doctor gives your man a clean bill of health, then it’s up to you. Get rid of all the junk food and sweets. Cook healthy meals, and suggest that the two of you take walks together or invest in a treadmill. If he’s doing the cooking, you might want to get more involved so that you know what you’re both eating. I’m a firm believer that anyone who likes to eat should also know how to prepare food.

On the other hand, if your guy is quick to tell you when you gain a few pounds or you look less than perfect, ignore my previous advice. Call him “Porky” and tell him his super model days are over.

Whatever works, Valerie


I am compelled to remind you all that following my advice could be hazardous to your health and your relationships. I am neither qualified nor certified to counsel you.  I’m simply offering my opinion, which could change at any time. I’m menopausal. If my advice doesn’t work, I really don’t want to hear about it.

Some of you also sent in general questions, and I’d like to address a couple of those as well.

Shirley Greene asked me if Randy and I share the same middle name. Yes, Shirley, we do, and we both dislike it. Randy has forbidden me from using that name in print, but I can tell you that he’s named after a blue grass song. 

Jamie (no last name) wrote me the following:  “I was driving past your house the other day, and I noticed Randy standing on your porch roof. Why was he doing that? Do you think it was really a good idea?”

Several answers come to mind, Jamie: (1) He was being punished for not buying me something; (2) He was hiding from me; (3) He goes up there to think.

The truth is that he was washing the outsides of the windows. I’m pleased to report that the only casualty that day was the bottle of window cleaner. Yes, I am a lucky woman. I married a man who does windows.

I’ll answer the rest of your questions another time. My thanks to all of you who helped out with this month’s column. 

by Valerie Nusbaum

The First Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when we all start making plans for the holidays.   We have to decide who’s going to prepare and host Thanksgiving dinner, and what the menu will be. There’s usually a lot of stress and some squabbling involved, and sometimes even the guest list is an issue. This got me thinking about what the very first Thanksgiving celebration must have been like.  I shudder to imagine how much thought and preparation went into that dinner.


…traveling back to 1621

It was autumn in 1621.  The Pilgrims had arrived in Plimoth (Plymouth) the previous year on The Mayflower, and they had been busy making a new home for themselves.  There were seven newly-constructed houses and a meeting hall, along with several storage buildings for food. The harvest was in and it was bountiful. At least one-third of the settlers, a Puritan sect, had left England to seek freedom from religious persecution, so it was thought that a time of prayer and feasting was in order. Cable hadn’t been installed in the colony yet.  Comcast has always been slow.  If you can’t watch football on Thanksgiving, you might as well eat, right?

Captain Miles Standish called Governor William Bradford to suggest that members of the Wampanoag tribe be invited to join the feasting. The colonists understood that their survival was largely due to help received from the Wampanoags, and the tribe had the only football. If they couldn’t watch football, at least they could play. Of course, there’s that whole thing about what the English call “football,” but beggars can’t be choosers.

The women, led by Priscilla Alden, gathered to discuss the menu and plan the day’s activities. Since the Wampanoag tribe would be traveling from many miles away, lodging would need to be arranged.  The colonists had only managed to build seven houses in ten months, and there were at least ten people living in each house. So it was decided that after the tribe walked for two days from their village, they could build their own shelters. Did I mention that the natives had the only tools? None of the colonists had thought to bring a hammer from England, and the Home Depot was just too far away.

Mrs. Alden, who was a sultry redhead not unlike Peggy Stitely, was none too happy about being saddled with entertaining so many people. She had relatives already staying in her home—some of them in-laws—and she and John were newlyweds. When John had informed Priscilla that she would be doing Thanksgiving dinner for several hundred people, her reaction was much as yours or mine would be.

“Thou wants me to do what?” she exclaimed.  “Art thou crazy?  What is WRONG with thee?”

But, after promising her that he’d go to Jared, John managed to convince Priscilla that she was the right woman for the job.

The ladies decided that they would serve roasted ducks and geese, and they promptly dispatched a hunting party to the forest to shoot the fowl. Another party was dispatched to go to the Wampanoag village and beg them to bring along some venison, because the women all doubted that their husbands would do much more than drink ale and lie about the one that got away. It is doubtful that turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving, although at that time the term “turkey” referred to any kind of wild fowl or several of the husbands.

There wasn’t any flour for bread, so corn would be ground into samp, or porridge, for some carbs.  It would be fried and on a stick because that’s where that whole concept began. There would be seafood, cabbage, onions, more corn, and squash. Games would be played, and there would be singing, dancing, and prayers. It was expected that the feasting would go on for several days, or until fighting broke out, as is the case with most Thanksgiving celebrations. Someone would have to travel to Walmart to lay in a supply of Beano and Tums.

The Wampanoag tribe arrived several days later, led by Massasoit (Great Leader). They quickly set up their tents, and proudly presented the Pilgrims with several fresh deer carcasses. The Pilgrim women grumbled about having to cook more food. Priscilla, who sounded exactly like Joanna Lumley from Absolutely Fabulous, went so far as to ask Massasoit if he had remembered the charcoal. He smiled and nodded his head, because he thought all the English sounded like their mouths were full of marbles.

A lot of head nodding, smiling, and hand gestures were seen around the table that day. There was the traditional loosening of breeches and loincloths, which presented some problems for the game of touch football that followed the meal. Mrs. Alden and the other ladies particularly enjoyed watching a young warrior called Chippendale, but that’s a story for another day.

Interestingly, there was no Thanksgiving feast the following year.

Bill Blakeslee, who happens to be a very good cook, told me that he plans to invite nearly half of Thurmont to his home for dinner on Thanksgiving. If you haven’t gotten your invitation yet, be sure to remind Bill about it.