Exploring Cemeteries and Learning New Recipes As Pandemic Restrictions Continue

 

Week # 8 during the Coronavirus Pandemic in Annapolis, Maryland USA

Waiting for the world to once again become “puddle-wonderful”

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We are now at the two month point in our “stay at home” orders and I sense everyone else’s restlessness each time I take a walk. Just the volume of walkers in itself is an indication of just how many people want to get out of the house. They are looking for somewhere to go, something to see.  In my corner house, I look out the windows facing the streets and see so many people walking by —pushing baby strollers, walkers, tricycles , wagons as well as those holding on to leashes attached to dogs in all shapes and sizes —on what has turned out to be a very cold May day. It feels more like the approach of winter then late spring.

Back during the first month, when my husband Peter and I were taking more walks downtown, replicating our habit of walking there in the morning to buy a cup of coffee even after the coffee shops near City Dock had closed, we had a regular route we’d take.  Now at week #8 we are avoiding the waterfront.  Too many people at Susan Campbell Park, sitting on the benches and looking at docked boats and the Severn River make it difficult to practice social distancing.

Week #2, I recall writing in this blog that one of the other regulars we’d see, who resides in Eastport asked, “Do you have any recommendations for new streets we should walk on? We’ve walked on just about every street.”  Now, six weeks later, I am the person looking for new streets to stroll.

The United States Naval Academy campus is closed to visitors. Previous springs and summers, we’d take long leisurely walks there along the sea wall and by the fields heading towards West Annapolis. To vary our routine, we’ve walked around the State House and Maryland Avenue and threaded in and out of the streets of the historic district as well as crossed the bridge into Eastport. Last week it was time to shift directions.

We decided to walk up West Street out of town towards Parole. This took us to three cemeteries. One hundred years ago, cemeteries were the sites of family outings and picnics. Weekly visits were made to the graves of relatives and friends. It was an opportunity to check on the family plot, talk to the dead, bring fresh flowers or plant a shrub. At the rate we are going in the United States with so many people dying from Covid-19, graveyards may once again become frequent gathering places. The style of the headstones, the inscriptions and the flowers planted, often tell little stories of their own.

We first visited Annapolis National Cemetery which contains the buried remains of many of the soldiers from the Civil War as well as veterans from World War I and World War II. The headstones are neatly lined up in rows. Rectangular and white they cover most of the grass covered lawns.

Located right beside Annapolis National Cemetery is Brewer’s Cemetery, the first African American Cemetery in Annapolis which was established in 1884. George H. Phelps Jr. ( 1926-2015)  was one of many community leaders instrumental in restoring and maintaining this historic cemetery. Research continues to this day  to document the history of all the individual buried here. https://historybrewerhill.wixsite.com/1884.

On the opposite side of West Street is St. Mary’s Cemetery with a center driveway that goes to Spa Road. Two large trees in the middle, create an arch that frames the green landscape that on one side backs up to a carwash. It’s challenging to see what was meant to be a peaceful resting place in the midst of urban sprawl.  I try to imagine the vista when these three cemeteries were first established in the rural outskirts of the city,  a time when you either walked or traveled by horse.

This week in Maryland, the horse stables are re-opening along with golf courses and boating recreation.  Also re-opening is the opportunity for elective surgery. Doctor’s offices are soliciting patients, sending emails and text messages notifying us they are open for business.

Last night I wish I’d taken a photograph of the wild salmon we had for dinner. With my husband Peter and I both involved in the cooking operations, we have truly perfected our salmon preparation. We start with a large wild salmon frozen fillet. These are more reasonably priced than the ones at the fish counter. Make sure you are buying wild not farm raised.   Defrost the frozen salmon by running cold water over the fillet. Next, put it on a pan coated with olive oil with the skin face up  and slide it under the broiler set at high.  When the skin crackles and turns brown, we peel the skin off to give to our dog. Then we liberally apply a blend of spices (Peruvian Blend is good) mixed with a teaspoon of sugar before flipping the fish over and putting spices on the other side. Broil a few minutes on the other side and the fish is done! Last night we also laid out sliced potato, onion, and red pepper with the fish and that cooked ( and was flipped) at the same time. This is a very easy dinner served with salad. The leftover fish is wonderful on top of a green salad for lunch or dinner.

The Pandemic stay at home orders mean there is plenty of time for reading. Most of my newspaper reading is done online, but last month I decided to splurge and purchase a subscription to a Sunday newspaper—The New York Times. What a treat.  With so many articles to read in the Sunday edition– it lasts all week, when I want to hold a newspaper or magazine in my hands rather than read at my computer or on my smart phone.

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As we move into mid-May, I continue to live one day and one week at a time.  I remind myself to focus on doing the best I can under the circumstances, and make lists of what I want to accomplish, dutifully checking tasks off as they get done.  I am thankful to have both shelter and food, while many people in our country and around the world go without. Besides helping your community and neighbors, here’s a call out to get creative and have some fun.

For Mother’s Day  I post a favorite poem I once choreographed a modern dance to by  E. E. Cummings.

[in Just-]

 

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

         the

                  goat-footed

balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee

 

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Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Storynews. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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