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Stop by HdG shops for last-minute Valentine's Day

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Happy Valentine's Day today (Feb. 14). Don't forget your sweetie! For last minute sweets, visit Bomboy's Home Made Candies, (322 Market St., 410-939-2924) and Lyon's Pharmacy (328 St. John St., 410-939-4545). Both are embellished with red and pink hearts, chocolates and valentines.

February is International Friendship Month. Our city is linked with Sillamae, Estonia, and Le Havre (de Grace), France, in friendship.

A Valentine's dinner is planned Saturday, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Havre de Grace American Legion Post 47, 501 St. John St., 410-939-0234. The menu includes ribeye steak, crab stuffed prawn, potatoes, vegetables and dessert for $24 per person. A live jazz party is featured in the lounge of the American Legion Post 47, later Saturday eve, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Music will be by Greg Hatza. Reservations must be made in advance.

Time is wasting. Prepare that Mardi Gras parade costume for March 4. Keep me posted at 410-939-6562 or 226 N. Union Ave. See ya at the parade!

February is snack food month. Anyone in need may snack at Grace Place Serving Center at St. John's Episcopal Church, 114 N. Union Ave., 410-939-2107 for its regular Tuesday luncheon from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 18. Volunteers will provide a free, hot meal to those who enter.

Happy February birthday wishes to: Mary McLhinney (Feb. 14); Jim Rudolph and Mira Owens (Feb. 15); Julian Datesman (Feb. 18); Abigail Transparenti (Feb. 21); and Steve Saltzgiver (Feb. 22). Oops! Happy belated birthdays Pat Allingham (Feb. 5); and Amy Weitzel and Katelynn McClaskey (Feb. 11).

Happy anniversary wishes to George and Janine McClaskey (Feb. 2) and George and Cathy Deibel (Feb. 15). Congratulations all!

We were sorry to learn that Joyce Irwin passed away Jan. 16. I worked with Joyce at the Havre de Grace Office of Tourism as volunteers. In 2010, the City of Havre de Grace declared the week of Oct. 18 to 24 be named in her honor for all of her efforts for the community. Deepest regrets to her family and friends.

Happy President's Day, Monday, Feb. 17.

President George Washington's birthday is officially Feb. 22. Slice that cherry pie from Goll's Bakery, 234 N. Washington St., 410-939-4321, and toss a silver dollar across the Susquehanna River in tribute to the "Father of our Country" in celebration.

Heritage Day/Family Day will be celebrated in Canada, our northern neighbor, Feb. 18.

Feb. 20, 1792 is the official date when President Washington created the U.S. Postal Service. Three cheers for our great Havre de Grace postal employees!

Carol Zimmerman phoned about the Havre de Grace Green Team Community Gardens. With the city of Havre de Grace's support, four garden sites are located around our city. You may rent a 10-by-10-foot plot for a $35 fee including water and mulch. Apply for your plat online at hdggreenteam@gmail.com or pick up an application at City Hall, 711 Pennington Ave., 410-939-1800. Questions? Phone 410-939-2770.

The Susquehanna Museum at the Lockhouse speaker series will continue with Camay Calloway Murphy on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in Havre de Grace City Hall. Murphy is the daughter of famed jazz musician Cab Calloway, an educator, playwright, author and arts advocate. Admission to the Ellsworth B. Shank lecture series is free.

Valentine's Day may have you thinking of chocolate and February is National Chocolate Month. Well-known chocoholics of the past include Casanova, Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette, Voltaire, Goethe, Napoleon and Hitler. Chocolate's most avid consumers are the Swiss at 22 pounds per person annually. Americans eat 10 pounds per person annually after the Austrians, Dutch and Norwegians (18); the Swedes, British, Irish, Belgians and Germans (15); the French and Finnish (11). Women eat 22 times more chocolate than men!

To justify your chocolate fetish, tell others that 70 percent of the world's cocoa (2.36 million tons yearly) comes from Ghana (the largest producer), Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, all in West Africa. The cocoa belt in the Americas includes Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Venezuela.

Classified by the great Swedish botanist, Linnaeus as Theobroma cocoa or "Food of the Gods," cacao trees grew wild in the deltas of the Amazon and Aaronic rivers as far back as 4000 BC. Historians assume the Mayans transplanted these evergreens to the Yucatan Peninsula by 600 AD. The Aztecs believed cacao was a gift from the feathered serpent god of light, Quetzalcoatl. Then, Spanish explorers Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortez brought the cacao bean and recipes for using cacahuatl back to Europe. Europeans concocted the drinks and candies we crave.

May your week be filled with chocolate! Keep me in touch at 410-939-6562 or 226 N. Union Ave. See ya!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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