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Throughout my life, I’ve lived in quite a few places. South Jersey was my home for the first eighteen years. In case you don’t know, everyone in New Jersey lives near an Exit, that Exit is off either the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. Some folks way up north will quote an exit off I-80 which runs E to W from the George Washington Bridge to the Delaware Water Gap bridge at the Pennsylvania line.
So, after that bit of geography, the better part of my early years was spent close to exits #3 & #5 just off the NJ Tpk. And Exit # 4A off the Garden State Pkwy. Thanks to the United States Marine Corps, while stationed at the Earle Ammunition Depot in Colts Neck, NJ, I also lived a short distance off Exit #8 of NJ Tpk.
After graduation from high school, the Marine Corps moved me about to assignments in South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, DC, New Jersey, Japan, and California.
I married my wife of 54 years while in the Marine Corps and upon discharge we resided in northern Maryland for a year before moving to Connecticut and ultimately a career with the Ct State Police, retiring in 1988.
Upon retirement, the little woman wanted to relocate to the northern Maine coast. As for me, I was looking to travel south to the Gulf Coast of Florida. We wound up compromising and found the Delmarva Peninsula and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
We were Yankees no longer, we now live below the Mason – Dixon line and are Southerners. There is a lot on conjecture as to the exact placement of those markers. Some folks locally say Mardella Springs has an original marker, others will tell you Delmar is the line of demarcation. In either case, we’re about 20 some miles south of that infamous line.
So, for the past 31 years, we’ve lived as Southerners. During that time, we’ve met some characters along the way. For this story, I’m calling the featured character Charlie.
Charlie lived in on a small wooded plot in a small trailer just off the main road that ran from Allen to Trinity, MD. This was not a terribly long stretch of road, only 3 1/2 miles to the old Trinity Church cemetery near our present home. Every Christmas and Easter someone comes by and places plastic flowers on two or three of the grave markers.
It’s been told that Charlie, back in the day, as they say down here, once was a store owner. Some kind of malady occurred in his life that caused him to give up the store and live a life of solitude., thus the trailer in the woods.
Charlie could often be found in the local country store sitting on an old wooden milk carton under a big fan. Charlie would be talking about the past with the store’s proprietor for the better part of a morning or afternoon, especially in the summer. You would always know when Charlie was there, his dog Brownie would be lying outside awaiting his return. Inside the store, lying about somewhere, was the resident Collie, Chief. He was the companion of the store owner and resident historian, who we shall call Butch.
When we first moved to Allen, since named Eden by the Federal Government and Postal people, there was no trash pickup or mail delivery. The post office was part of that general store and the Post Master or Mistress as in this case just happened to be Butch’s mother and he most often referred to as “Mother.” She went by a slew of names depending on who she was referring to her at the time. I always called her “Yes, Ma’am.”
Often while depositing trash at the “Transfer Station” one might run into Charlie. Growing up in New Jersey, we called them “Dumps” and would always make a “Dump Run” when making a deposit. I guess down here I just made a transfer, stuff to be used by someone else, I guess.
At times Charlie could be found conversing with the manager of the Dump, his name was Slim. Slim was there from opening to closing, watching over the three dumpsters, two for household trash, one for metal. There was no recycling back in those days, just household trash and NO construction materials were allowed. You were in big trouble should you transfer building Materials. Those had to go to the big Dump in Salisbury where you were weighed and had to pay a fee.
Often times, Charlie’s dog Brownie could be found in one of the dumpsters, looking for some munchies he was. You always had to examine before making a drop into the bin. There was a rare occasion when Charlie himself could be found in a dumpster. More than once this writer had to hold up the throw of a bag into the bin for fear of injuring a dog, stray cat or Charlie himself.
I would spend a lot of time chatting with Slim and Charlie from time to time. Slim was always up to date on what was biting on the hook in the local waters. With no Barber Shop in town, the Dump would often be a place to keep up with the local goings on, along with the Post Office and General Store of course. That old store made the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
At one point in the past, old Charlie showed up at the Dump with a second dog. This dog was also brown. I asked Charlie what the dog’s name was, Charlie responded, “Brownie II.” How simple and appropriate I thought.
As time passed, Charlie appeared one day at the Dump, and the elder Brownie was not with him. I asked where the old dog was, and Charlie responded, “dead.” I wondered what happened? I asked Charlie and he replied, “Metalosis.” Not familiar with the term I asked, what is Metalosis? Charlie kinda chuckled and said, “The metal in the bumper of the car that struck him, what done it.
Life, South of the Mason Dixon Line, with the Rooster.
Historical Society Breakfast
In the Village of Allen tucked along Passerdyke Pond and Wicomico Creek, a select crew of dedicated residents keep working hard to bring nourishment and entertainment to our community. On Saturday of this week the residents were provided a Country Breakfast courtesy of the Allen Historical Society. The menu consisted of : Scrambled Eggs, Scrapple, Bacon, Fruit Cocktail, Toast, Coffee, Tea and Juice. All this for $7.00 and an opportunity to ask Santa for that special gift you desire to wake-up to on Christmas morning.
Our daughter and Rooster & Wife get their moments with Mr. and Mrs Claus.
A few of the worker bees who make these events happen.
Thanks Melissa, Frank, John & Aggie.
The village of Allen was developed in the 18th century at the headwaters of Wicomico Creek around the grist mill established by John Adams. He was a son of the Rev. Alexander Adams who was the rector of Stepney Parish from 1704 to 1769. The mill dam formed Passerdyke Pond, still a village landmark, and the spillway or trap gave the settlement its first name. The Trap, later becoming Upper Trappe, to distinguish it from a village of the same name in Worcester County.
The name was not changed to Allen until 1884 when it was named after Joseph S. C. Allen, the first postmaster. In the late 18th century the village had a tavern, a store, and a sawmill in addition to the gristmill. The waterfront of Passerdyke Creek thrived with commerce in the 19th century. The Methodist Church was established in 1829, and by 1860 there was a post office in the village. Several general stores have operated in the village during its history.
Much of the village we see today lies on two colonial land patents, “Monsham” patented by John Christopher in 1683 and “Dashiell’s Lott” patented by Col. George Dashiell in 1721. The latter was a resurvey of the “Bennett’s Adventure” patented in 1665 to Major Richard Bennett, formerly a Governor of the Virginia Colony. (From the Allen Historical Society)
The breakfast was a fund-raising effort for the Historical Society which recently purchased a home in the village that will become the home of Allen’s history. If you stayed home shame on you, you missed a good meal to start your Saturday. You would not have to clean the grease off your stove and you did not support the town you live in. If we live here, we are all part of the history for those who follow. Come out to these events if you missed this one the next time you read a notice on the Village Sign.
We have two churches in Allen, a fire department, the Historical Society and a Lions Club. We’ve had a Church Fall Bazar, Fire Department barbecue chicken, Halloween in the cemetary, the Lions Pit Beef Dinner and Saturday’s breakfast.
Out at the confluence of the creek and the Wicomico River is the Wicomico Yacht Club. This month a year ago the old structure was lost in a fire which started in the heating system. A new structure is under construction and it will be a grand one. There are many events held year round at this facility also to include the entire family.
Many people when they hear the word “Yacht Club,” turn their nose up and think, a snooty uppity place. Not so my friends. The Rooster has been a member for thirty years and my first vessel was a 15 foot canoe, my last a 21 foot Pontoon Boat that was great for the grandkids as well as yours truly. Your grandkids will love the pool also.
If you’re not a member, give it some consideration or contact a member when events are occurring. Crab and Oysters feasts are just two events to bring gastric delight to you.
So, in essence what I’m crowing about is that we may be small, but we have some mighty people who bring joy and sustenance to us.
The Marine Corps has a saying, “The Few, The Proud, The Marines.” Be one of the few and proud of the Village of Allen and support your community. If you can’t work, buy a ticket.
Merry Christmas to all from the Rooster’s Coop to yours.
On Sunday November 12, 2017 roughly nine hundred meals will be served in sit down or take out fashion in the village of Allen Maryland. For those that choose to sit, it’s all you can eat, and eat they have for fifty-eight years. If it’s Take-Out you want, trust me when I say you will not go hungry. The Rooster and family first experienced this epicurean delight twenty-nine years ago. We’ve had friends and relatives plan visits around this event. My father would actually drive from Florida for a few years just for the experience. My daughter will pick up twelve meals for family members today. For me and mine it’s kind of like Meals on Wheels.
Planning for this event which is the main fund-raising venture for the local Lions Club began months ago. Actual preparation is accomplished by Lions and volunteers from the community. A local town crier with help from the internet keeps everyone in the know for what and when is help needed. An example of these shout outs is below.
EMail from the command post – Come for the day or come for an hour – all hands welcome and appreciated at the Allen Community Hall as we head down the home stretch to tomorrow’s 58th Annual Beef Dinner by the Allen Lions Club. We’ll be boiling macaroni and packaging sides for carry-outs today – plenty of work to do , lots of variety, some sit down jobs. Come on down, enjoy the fellowship, and be part of a grand and glorious tradition! (Thanks for those middle of the night messages Melissa.)
Frank Knowles organizes tins of sweet potatoes for the oven and the peelers get rid of the skins.
Earlier in the week the Mrs. and I put in a few hours working with others baking and peeling 13 bushels of Sweet Potatoes. The Mrs. spent another day with our daughter and others making the gravy for the Mac and Cheese. There was a night for Turnip peeling and another for Stewed Tomatoes. Years ago the tomatoes were peeled, but now #10 cans of the slippery critters already peeled seems to work just fine. Ms. Pauline Nichols would certainly have a fit that they are now using tomatoes without skins were she still with us. Peggy Ford now rules over tomatoes with Crystal Judd as her faithful assistant. Carol Hobbs does the Mac & Cheese and Lucy and Lynn Davis have their hand in just about everything.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the dynamic duo of Frank and Susan, ever quiet, always there. And God Bless John Culp for playing Uber to get Ms. Sue Malone there so she could peel the Sweets, eat a biscuit or two and enjoy a hot bowl of soup. There would be an Aggie, Linda, Al, Chuck, Paul, Scott, Peter, King Lion Bruce and so many others, you know who you are, always pitching in here, there and everywhere.
When all of you get home tonight, remove your shoes and finally get to put your feet up, please know your efforts are most appreciated. This meal which brings so many together to prepare creates our own recipe for community greatness.
The fires burned late in the pit the night prior, with close to 1200 pounds of beef cooking down in the pit. When the last dish is cleaned and tables put away, the Village of Allen came together today. Every year for the past 58, a Pit Beef dinner filled many a person.
Bag Ladies of Allen.
The kitchen, a Bee Hive of activity. Cutting, stirring and packing to get the job done.
Multi function stations, fixing sides, doing dishes and passing the food to the drive bys.
When all of you get home tonight and remove your shoes and finally get to put your feet up, please know your efforts are most appreciated. This meal which brings so many together to prepare and break bread together creates our own recipe for community greatness.
I guess it does take a village and our’s is special, thank you Allen.
Our trip north has ended and we are back home after XXXX number of miles. How many miles did you put on that Subaru of yours you might ask. Well, thats why we’re having a contest and the winner will receive a Maryland Flag “T” Shirt.
Six years ago my brother in-law Bobby and I made a cross country trip together to Colorado, we were delivering a car to my granddaughter at the Air Force Academy. I blogged our trip through the Ohio River Valley, the bread belt of Illinois and Kansas and up to the Rockies of Colorado. We had a T Shirt contest for that adventure as well. Our winner was Della Baird of Wilmington, NC and her photo in her winning T Shirt was posted on a later blog. Uncle Bobby is no longer with us, but whenever we go on a trip his spirit for adventure lives.
So, here we go.
You must email the Rooster @ firstname.lastname@example.org no later than midnight on September 30, 2016 with your guess on the # of miles driven on our trip through, CT, RI, MA, NH, ME, NB, PEI, NS and back. The person who comes the closest without going over the actual total mileage is the winner.
Departed Eden/Allen, MD, 21822 on 21 August and drove to Vernon then Tolland, CT. We hung out in CT for six days taking a few side trips to Mystic, CT, Westerly, RI for one and to our daily walking path in Vernon and breakfast there a few times also. We went to Stafford Springs, CT for my State Police Troop “C” reunion also.
Back on the road 28 August we would leave Tolland and head to Bangor, ME. We pretty much drove a direct route to Portland, ME and then the all back roads to Bangor began. We tried to stay parallel to I-95 but we got off the beaten path more than once.
After a nice evening in Bangor, ME we headed out to cross the Canadian border on 29 August at the Calais/St. Stephen crossing and drive to Moncton, NB for the evening. Rt 1 was our road for that trip. We drove around some to see the tide change and have dinner while in Moncton.
On August 30th we arose well rested and after a great breakfast we were off to the home of Lucy Maude Montgomery, the Author of “Anne of Green Gables.” Garmin got us there directly. Now you must do a bit of detective work and locate the site. After some time at Lucy’s homestead we headed to Charlottetown and our hotel. Oops, the rooms not ready. To kill some time we would drive to Brackley Beach and have some great fish and chips. After much it was back to Charlottetown and the hotel right down town.
We arose on the 31st and after some walking about town we drove semi directly to the ferry located at Wood Islands where we would cross to Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax. We would drive directly to Halifax via Garmin and park our car for two days in the garage of the Residence Inn. Our feet would be our transportation for this stop.
We would hop back into the car once again on 2 September and drive via Garmin to Saint John, NB. We did take a side trip to Fundy National Park along the way. More figuring for you readers out there. Once again our feet and a Trolly tour were our transportation while in Saint John for two days.
On Sunday 4 September we departed Saint John, made the border crossing at ST Stephen/Calais once again and followed Garmin’s direction to Bucksport, Me. Once checked into the Bucksport Motor Inn, highly recommend it by the way, we were off on a drive along Route 1 south to Bayside, Belfast and the Young’s Lobster Pound. If ever in Belfast try it out, you will not be sorry, provided you like Lobster that is.
Labor day, September 5 we headed south to Portland, Maine, we ignored Garmin once again and motored along Route 1 south. We saw old haunts along the way, Lincolnville and it’s ferry to Islesboro where we ventured with family for a beachside picnic many years ago. Going through the town of Bath you pass the Bath Iron Works, a neat view as you cross the Kennebec river.
We made a stop in Camden, a must if you ever travel Route 1. Slow down people, get off the Interstate. Entering Camden I had an “Epiphany.” “Wallack” I shouted out as my wife glared at me like I was some crazy man. Ever since heading south from the border I had been trying to remember someone’s name. I’d gone through the alphabet over and over. Have you ever done that? I knew his first name was Mark and when he retired from the CT State Police he had moved to Maine. I had known this man dating back to 1981 when he first applied to the department for a Troopers position. I was working in the Selection Unit back then.
So I remember a name, the man possibly living in Camden from a contact I had back some ten years ago about him retiring to Camden, ME. No address, no phone number and no internet to go searching. “Dang” says I to myself as I ease into a parking spot right in downtown Camden. The little lady want’s to walk the shops, “$$$,” visit the waterfront and just take a nostalgic stroll, we’ve been here numerous times over the past 51 years.
She sees an eclectic souvenir shop and enters. I stroll ahead totally oblivious to her disappearing act which is commonplace. Many times I’m thankful she has her phone with her, “where are you I ask?” On this occasion I recover from the alone feeling quickly and trace her back to the said store. I mean I was a Detective, right?
The Mrs. searches the shelves for something to take to Oklahoma to the great grandkids in October and I think, this place must have a phone book. I borrow the book, peruse the “W’s” list of names and no Mark Wallack, “damn” I mutter to myself. No luck I say to the store owner. “Who are you looking for,” he asks. I explain who, and the connection going back thirty-five years ago. “Mach” he exclaims, “I know Mach.” You see, there are no “R’s” in the Maine vocabulary. The man goes into a lengthy explanation of how he knows him and how much a part of the community he is. I get a phone number and address from him, he lives just one mile out of town. We’re out of the store, $58.95 later, and we head up the street to see an old friend.
We find the house, an adorable Cape on a lake, kayak with fishing rod rigged to the side, (every man’s retirement dream) just waiting at the dock. A feisty Aussie Mini Collie, (could be something else, but that’s close enough) is greeting us on the porch. I find out later the dog’s name is Frisbee. I knock, Mach answers, we recognize each other after all these years and it’s Man Hug Time.
We pass an hour’s plus of time, take a few remembrance photos and say good-by. I shall MACH this epiphany in my journal. It was great seeing you old friend.
We continue south, stop and get a Subway, grinder in hand, New England for Hero, Sub, Italian Sandwich, or what ever. We have ourselves a roadside lunch stop in Rockport and continue south to Freeport, home of L. L. Bean. You can not go through Freeport without stopping at the store, I think it’s a law or something. I have my picture taken in front of the customary boot, spend a few dollars and we’re off again.
We will spend the night in Portland, take a side trip to Windham to have dinner with old friends, Gilbert’s Chowder House was the venue for this last taste test. This time a Bread Bowl of Fish Chowder. Great to see you Shirley and Ray. Shirley and my sister Donna were best of friends, having first met as student nurses back in 1963. Shirley was part of the family at my sisters bedside when she died on July 1st. Thank you Shirley for all you have meant for so many years. The few, the proud, the Pie Maker. Too short a visit, we will make it longer next time. Back to the hotel on Mall Road in Portland for a good nights sleep prior to leaving for Tolland, CT the next AM.
Garmin would be happy with us on Tuesday, September 6. No U-turns were suggested as we cruised the speedy interstates the entire way. We did continue past Tolland to Vernon Pizza for a great Grinder, Capiccola for me, Pastrami for herself.
We lay over one night with the son and family, say good-night and are out the door by 0500 the next morning. Our last day on the road was an easy one, Garmin is not needed at all, I drove this route for the first time 57 years ago. I’ve varied the route countless times, often going far out of the way just to do something different. I’ll keep Garmin on in case a detour is needed at some point but not for directions.
Here you go, last bit of mileage to calculate, Tolland, CT via I-84 to I-684 Brewster, NY to I-287, to Garden State Parkway in NJ. NJ Turnpike, cross into Delaware ( She wore a Yellow Ribbon by the way) Rt. 1 south to Dover, DE to Rt.13 to 21810.
OK you readers out there, get calculating, googling or what ever. Make your best guess and submit it by September 30, 2016 by 2400 hours to email@example.com
If you win and want the shirt, please state size and your mailing address. I shall not flood you with junk mail, only a “T” shirt.
Just a little FYI, we got four new hens last night, 15 weeks old and our first egg this afternoon. Six hens now and one very happy Rooster named Casper. The girls are Mary, Hillary, Donna, Linda, Bobbie and Marie. Hillary by the way is a liar. Always spending time in the layer box, squawking like she just laid an egg and no egg to be found. Liar, Liar, pants on fire.
I grew up during those youthful years until, I’m guessing age fourteen, a Methodist. At one point I even sang in the choir, I still look back and chuckle at this.
My biological parents separated when I was two and divorced by the time I was about five. Both my parents lived in the same town and I was shared back and forth for a number of years prior to age eight or nine when my father moved from South Jersey (Exit 3 of the Turnpike area) to Connecticut. Everybody in Jersey lives off an exit of one highway or another. At one time I lived off Exit 4 of the Garden State Parkway. One of the best years of my youth was spent in Wildwood Crest, more stories for an other day. My mother and I would live for a number of years after the separation with my great grandparents in a second floor apartment.
Living next door was the man my mother would ultimately marry when I turned ten years old. That man lived with his mother and father and they were Methodist. Oh were they Methodist. Ultimately my newly wed mother would have two daughters and they were raised Methodist also. One sister sang and directed their choir for a time.
Every Sunday until age fourteen it would be, get on the church bus and go off to Sunday School. Sometimes, especially when I was in the choir, I would do church also and there was always a coffee and, after the service. No playing football on Sunday, no card playing ever and a whole bunch of rules I thought, “Really?” Did I mention no Alcohol or smoking either.
I can remember getting 35 cents for the collection when the dish was passed. I also remember getting off the bus on occasion in my teens, going in one door of the multi purpose room and out the other and playing hooky more than once. My mother has passed away so I’ll not be damned for telling that story. My self and a neighbor friend would go to a local corner store, buy a soda and candy and head to a local vacant lot where the Catholics were always playing a football game. They mostly went to church on Saturday evening. It was difficult explaining the grass stains at times. I’m sure I’ll atone for these transgressions at a later date.
I would rebel around age fourteen or fifteen, start going to a Lutheran church, my paternal side of the family’s house of worship and ultimately become a Catholic when I married my wife over fifty years ago. I went through that educational process while I was in the Marine Corps. I remain a Catholic to this day.
Today in our little village on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Methodists prevail. Our Methodist Women’s group are always cooking up a storm, feeding this group or that, having Teas and just plain bringing comfort food to the people of the village. God bless those Methodists.
My wife and I recently took a trip to Connecticut to visit our son and his family and my step-sister and her husband. We spent 20 years as next door neighbors to my step-sister. We lived in a tight-knit community on a Cul De Sac and had a great batch of neighbors.
We got to see one of those neighbors while at my sisters. Her name is Judy, a life long Methodist and her husband Stan is a retired Methodist minister. I asked he if she had ever heard Garrison Keillor’s Public Radio piece on Methodist’s. She said no she hadn’t so I located it on the internet and read it to all in attendance.
I feel it is a classic and would like to share it with you now.
We make fun of Methodists for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed, and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese.
But nobody sings like them. If you were to ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Methodist-less place, to sing along on the chorus of “Michael Row the Boat Ashore,” they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Methodists, they’d smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road!
Many Methodists are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person’s rib cage.
It’s natural for Methodists to sing in harmony. We are too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you’re singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it’s an emotionally fulfilling moment. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.
I do believe this: People, these Methodists, who love to sing in four-part harmony are the sort of people you can call up when you’re in deep distress.
*If you’re dying, they will comfort you.
*If you are lonely, they’ll talk to you.
*And if you are hungry, they’ll give you tuna salad.
*Methodists believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.
*Methodists like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.
*Methodists believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don’t notify them that they are there.
*Methodists usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their away of suffering for their sins.
*Methodists believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.
*Methodists think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.
*Methodists drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.
*Methodists feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.
*Methodists are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at the church.
*Methodists still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna casserole adds too much color.
*Methodists believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.
+ You know you are a Methodist when: it’s 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service.
+ You hear something funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can.
+ Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.
+ When you watch a Star Wars movie and they say, “May the Force be with you,” and you respond, “and also with you.”
+ And lastly, it takes ten minutes to say good-bye!
Lake Wobegon is a fictional town in the U.S. state of Minnesota, said to have been the boyhood home of Garrison Keillor, who reports the News from Lake Wobegon on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. Its location is believed to be north of St. Cloud and is claimed to be the town of Holdingford.
Thanks for stopping by.