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Get your cold on for Duck Dunk in HdG Saturday

By Ron Browning, 410-939-6562; fax 410-939-1833

January 17, 2014

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Brrr dear readers,

The Polar Bear Plunge Havre de Grace-style, the Susquehanna Hose Company Duck Dunk, a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department, will be held Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon at the Havre de Grace Yacht Basin's far launch ramp.

It's not too early to plan for the Havre de Grace Mardi Gras Parade, March 4, 6:30 p.m. Interested in participating? Phone me at the number below.

January is National Soup Month and hot soup is on at Grace Place Serving Center, St. John's Episcopal Church, 114 N. Union Ave., 410-939-2107. Volunteers serve the regular Tuesday luncheon from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Jan. 21, to anyone in need who enters. Mmm, mmm, good!

Mitch Shank informed me about a "Not so surprise birthday party" for 70-year-old Don Osman, the new director at Grace Place, by friends and former students on Jan. 26, 2 to 5 p.m. at the Havre de Grace Activities Center, 351 Lewis Lane. The public is invited. All friends and former students are encouraged to attend. Entertainment will be provided. Cannot attend? Send Don a birthday card, c/o 351 Lewis Lane, Havre de Grace, Md. 21078. For details, phone Mitch, 443-686-1648.

Happy birthday also to: Scott Pontz (Jan. 2); Jeanne Erdley, Dick Kirkendall and Kimberly Andreen (Jan. 3); Ruby Anne Saltzgiver (Jan. 5); Dorothy Cline (Jan. 6); Phyllis Smith (Jan. 7); Gregory Smith (Jan. 13); Richard Walker (Jan. 16); Mark Mathias and Betty Hammerman (Jan. 20); Dick Neff and Garrett Cline (Jan. 22); and Bill Kietzman and my brother, Robert A. Browning (Jan. 24).

Rosie Deal informed me that on Saturday, the American Legion, 501 St. John St., will host bingo from 6 to 10 p.m. Open to the public; refreshments are available, 410-939-0234.

Good Cause presents a snowflake banquet Jan. 31, 6 p.m. at St. Patrick's Church Community Hall, 615 Congress Ave. Look for live entertainment, auction, gourmet dinner and dessert. Tickets are $40, available at http://www.serveagoodcause.org or phone 410-916-7770.

Congratulations to Jyl Lynch, recognized as the 2013 Volunteer of the Year by Good Cause.

It's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20, recognizing his birthday on Jan. 15. This day honors Rev. King's life-long 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 information, go to http://www.mlkday.org.

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

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

Get well wishes are extended to Jane Currier of Currier House B&B.

Will you toast Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, Jan. 19 with three roses and a half empty bottle of French cognac on his gravesite 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 Poe's 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 River 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 N. Union Ave. always receives a warm welcome.

See ya!