We celebrated our one-year delayed (no thanks, Covid-19) 30th anniversary on Saturday, April 23 at the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg, MD, and what craic it was! Members and guests were entertained with an ice-breaker, tasty buffet, beautiful decorations, a "selfies" photo frame area, non-stop variety of activities, songs and poems, two-flavored anniversary cake, recognition of honorees, and, of course, a ceili. The ceili was expertly called by member Marilyn Moore and the lively musicians were Joe DeZarn (fiddle), John Ready (banjo) and Marc Glickman (keyboard). Watch the video produced by Bill and Maddy to re-live highlights of the day.
Toni completed her inaugural semester of teaching the RKIDs. With grace and humor, she led us through thirteen classes, even having to thread us through Covid scares and an unanticipated last-minute room reservation cancellation by the county school system. The last session was creatively choreographed by randomly picking from a bag names of figures from the eleven dances we'd learned, for all to show their steps. Thank you, Toni!
The Book Club also honored one of the great American authors on Saturday, May 14th. They celebrated F. (Francis) Scott Fitzgerald Day, by remembering the man buried just off Route 355 in Rockville. Much to the surprise of almost all attendees, F. Scott was actually buried in 1940 at a different location, then moved to St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery 35 years later.
The day began with a time for Michelle, Marie V., Christine, Maddy, Bill, Jim Ca, Barb, Obie, Jack, Tom, Sonja, Toni, Mary Ann, and Marilyn O. to share what they know about this famous author. Then the adventurers caravanned down Rt. 355 for a visit to the two cemeteries; followed by lunch, of course, at Fontina Grill (Kate M. joined us for this part of the day). Most of the dedicated readers finished the day with a viewing of The Great Gatsby — the 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
Once again, Marie V. put together a lovely evening of fine dining at a local restaurant. Mary Ann, Jim Ca. and Barb, Jean Wd, Marilyn O., Michelle, Bill and Maddy enjoyed the Italian delights at Il Porto in Gaithersburg.
Book Club Meetings
Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, wrote our Book Club selection for April 2022. He is a favorite author and speaker for many RKIDs and this book did not fail us. Everyone seemed to like Fr. Boyle's compassionate words having to do with gang intervention and rehabilitation programs in Tattoos on the Heart. The discussion was emotional and inspirational. Christine, Marilyn O, and perhaps Kathryn, will be attending his lectures at Chautauqua in New York in July. For more information contact any of these enthusiastic supporters of Fr. Boyle and Chautauqua.
The first two videos of the 24-part series entitled, The Celtic World were shown on Wednesday, June 25. RKIDs from far and near showed up – Emmett and Robin from Greensboro, Maryland; Toni from Knoxville, Maryland; Kevin and Liz from Ashburn, and many others from in between. Reaction was very positive. The speaker was delightful and easy to understand; the maps were helpful in our understanding of the geographic distribution of the Celts over time; and the information was enlightening. Everyone is looking forward to our next two videos to be shown on Wednesday, June 8. Join us whenever you can over the summer. More information on the RKIDs website calendar.
Fittingly, the Irish Inn Mates often play at the Irish Inn in Glen Echo. Several of them have performed at Blackthorn ceilis and RKIDs year-end ceilis. Tina Eck, Zan MacLeod, Mitch Fanning, plus a couple of young fiddle players and a Sean Nos dancer were there on Tuesday May 24, as were Marilyn O. and Obie. Marilyn later said "Tina played a beautiful piece to honor the 18 kids who were killed in Texas today. Very moving."
Playing the electronic harpsichord with the NIH Philharmonia orchestra and nattily dressed in a tuxedo, David M. performed "Ancient Airs and Dances" by Ottorino Respighi. The setting was St. Elizabeth's church in Rockville, the date was May 7, and twelve RKIDs attended. The performance was captivating and sonorous. Some of us had not been to a classical concert in a while, and later over drinks at the Lahinch Tavern, said they are motivated to get back into that groove.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Tour
Harriet Tubman, one of Maryland’s most famous historical figures, led more than 70 enslaved people north to freedom in the years prior to the Civil War. Remarkably, she did this perilous escape journey thirteen times over several years, usually moving only at night and often in swamps. She continued her brave work during the Civil War itself, acting as a scout, spy and nurse. Also supporting the women's suffrage movement, at an 1896 convention for that purpose she memorably said “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Her heroism is explained and honored on a 45-stop auto tour that starts on the Eastern Shore and goes into Pennsylvania. The tour has a web site with dramatic narratives and extensive supporting information.
Jim Ca., Barb, Bill, Maddy, Obie, and Marilyn O. recently took three days to drive 433 miles together, covering 35 stops of the Eastern Shore portion of the tour. Several pleasant waterfront meals were on the itinerary, as well as visits to the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Museum, and a Mason-Dixon Line Crownstone boundary marker adjacent to a tree grown from a Wye Oak seedling. They even squeezed in a very pleasant stopover with Emmett and Robin in Greensboro.
Everyone felt more connected to and had a better understanding of Maryland’s history by the end.
What's the favorite city for Jim and Maureen Ke. to visit? It's vibrant San Francisco. Per Jim:
"Well, to start, it was the first stop on our honeymoon! We love its looks, its sense of fun, and its quirks. We’ve visited many times over the years, and have bought a small apartment as a second home (the photo was taken there). There is a serious side, too. Just over the Golden Gate Bridge, there is a hospital called The Marine Mammal Center, which rescues, rehabilitates, and releases back into the wild seals, sea lions, otters, and other marine mammals. We are longtime seal lovers, and have volunteered there for decades. The views from Alamo Square, Twin Peaks, Fort Point, and the Marin Headlands are breathtaking. For fun, think of Ghirardelli chocolate, and sourdough French bread (not both at the same time, of course). And Chinatown during the Harvest Moon Festival. Did we mention Fleet Week, with all the daredevil aerobatics performed by the Blue Angels? And for quirks, seek out the Cable Car Museum, where you see the wheels that drive the cables at work. And ask Jim about Emperor Norton!"