Coming up dear readers,

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 21, recognizing his birthday on Jan. 15. This day honors Rev. King's lifelong commitment to equality and unity. Schools and many offices will be closed. A recent addition to this federal holiday, the Day of Service, encourages citizens to follow his words "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve." For more info, go to http://www.mlkday.org.

Birthday cake and ice cream was the dessert fare at the celebrations of: Scott Pentz (Jan. 2); Dick Kirkendall, Jeanne Erdley, Kim Andreen (Jan. 3); Ruby Anne Saltzgiver (Jan. 5); Dorothy Cline (Jan. 6); Phyllis Smith (Jan. 7); Gregory Smith (Jan. 13); Richard Walker (Jan. 16), and presumably will be for Gov. Martin O'Malley (Jan. 18); Betty Hammerman, Mark Mathias (Jan. 20); Dick Neff, Garrett Cline (Jan. 22); Bill Kietzman (Jan. 24).

Down South, they will celebrate Robert E. Lee's birthday Jan. 19.


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Cold enough? If not, join the Polar Bear Plunge, Havre de Grace style, the Susquehanna Hose Company Duck Dunk, a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department will be held Jan. 19 (Saturday), 9 a.m. to noon at the Havre de Grace Yacht Basin's far launch ramp.

January is National Soup Month and soup's on at Grace Place Serving Center, St. John's Episcopal Church, 114 North Union Avenue, 410-939-2107. Volunteers serve the regular Tuesday luncheon from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., January 22, to anyone in need who enters. Mmm, mmm, good!

Wedding anniversary wishes to David and Karole Rimel (Jan. 24).

It's not too early to plan for the Havre de Grace Mardi Gras Parade, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. If you are interested in participating, please phone me at 410-939-6562.

Will you toast Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, Jan. 19 with three roses and a half empty bottle of French Cognac on his grave site at Westminster Church in Baltimore?

Jeff Jerome, curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore tells of the mysterious toaster who once left the gifts on Poe's grave.

Bob Magee clued me about a mysterious connection between Edgar Allan Poe and Havre de Grace just days before his death, Oct. 7, 1849 on a Baltimore street.

There are many theories on the death of the famous Baltimore poet. Most people know that he died poor. The death of Virginia Clemm, his wife, by tuberculosis on Jan. 30, 1847 sent him into a period of abject poverty and despondency in abnormal mental condition (probably depression), aggravated by alcoholic excesses.

From R.H. Stoddard's memoir of Poe, "Life of Poe," from The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, New York: A.C. Armstrong and Sons, 1884, I p. 195; Stoddard states about Poe's whereabouts the day before his death, "It was believed at the time by his relatives in Baltimore, that he drank with a friend while waiting between trains, in consequence of which he took a wrong train, and proceeded as far as Havre de Grace, whence he was brought back to Baltimore by the conductor of the Philadelphia train in a state bordering on delirium".

The train Poe incorrectly boarded was the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad out of President and Pratt Streets Station that stopped in Havre de Grace before crossing the Susquehanna via ferryboat; there was no bridge. This ferry docked near the President Hotel on St. Clair Street, now Seneca Cannery Antiques at Pennington Avenue. Thank goodness for the helpful PWB Railroad conductor who redirected Poe back to Baltimore.

So whether Poe died from alcoholism or other diseases, it appears that the famous poet visited, although very briefly, Havre de Grace just prior to this death. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Jan. 19, 1809.

Happy winter trails to you, too, though not quite like Poe's. Please let me know about your travels and winter adventures at 410-939-6562. A note or a visit at 226 North Union Avenue always receives a warm welcome.

See ya!