Well, despite her best efforts "Mother Nature" couldn't derail the Back Alley Tour and Tea this past weekend. While the numbers are still being tallied, there is no need to wait to conclude that the annual Shepherdstown Men's Club engagement of the community was an unqualified success. The many out of town visitors and local residents that I observed from my vantage point on the tour route were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Even the rain didn't dampen their spirits. I overheard numerous nostalgic discussions about " my grandmother's flowers, or the garden we had when I was a kid."
We like to think that these things just spontaneously happen. The truth is, it took countless hours of hard work by a huge number of earnest volunteers who added their special touch along the way. Such things as: (a) the elegant tea party with smiling teenagers serving " sweets and savories" teased with infinite care from half the kitchens in the Eastern Panhandle, washed down with specially brewed tea from the beautiful porcelain cups faithfully provided each year by the Shelley A. Marshall Foundation; (b) fifteen families and organizations providing the tour venues, in effect being, "at home" for all visitors hospitably opening their doors and gardens with attendant docents helpfully answering questions; (c) diversion of the Town Run to cascade over the 40-ft wheel of the Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill to provide not only the sight, but also the sounds of this early commercial venture that literally put Shepherdstown on the map, and when the rain came, opening the Mill house itself to make sure that each visitor had a memorable experience; (d) town residents and neighbors stopping to patiently give directions and adding their own "two cents worth" on what people should look for; (e) the many silent but essential enablers including sponsors and Shepherdstown merchants who provided funding, help with publicity, and encouragement, (f) even a U.S. Marine who took charge of the routes, parking and logistics to keep everything shipshape, (g) the Friday Painters adding their touch sharing their paintings created in our area this past year and finally: (g) Pam Berry at the Sweet Shop who set aside her own business interests to provide credit card services for ticket sales.
There are of course, many more who deserve recognition. The Chronicle would have to put out a special edition if I named them all, but you get the point. Although this was a Men's Club event, it was decidedly a community effort and a wonderful weekend. I know that my bees and little dog "cookie" appreciated the outing in the Urban Garden as well. Hopefully everyone who participated takes great pride in what they accomplished.
Thanks again, see you next year!
President, Shepherdstown Men's Club