Two Friends Talking: Resilience


Editor’s Note: Welcome to the Spy’s most recent effort in using the podcast model as one of our many tools in telling stories. While we welcome our readers to watch these broadcasts, they have been created with listening in mind, without significant editing, and to be enjoyed as a long-form presentation.

And that is undoubtedly our intention here as the Spy starts a new series entitled “Two Friends Talking.” Knowing of the joy, humor, and a good bit of wisdom that comes when two close friends sit over coffee and chat about a serious subject, the Spy was eager to find some way to share the remarkably educational moments that come with that exchange. Beyond the hard talk of local politics or neighborhood chatter, these conversations can unexpectedly drift from the mundane to the intellectually-demanding task of understanding the meaning of words like faith, compassion, death, kindness or forgiveness.

While many nationally-broadcast programs bring well-known personalities together for such dialogues, the Spy wanted to bring this kind of exchange to the local level; respectfully listening to, and learning from, the heart-to-heart talks of those in Talbot County known in the community as being both wise and candidly self-aware.

Two of those that truly fit that bill are Amy Haines (founder and owner of Easton’s Out of the Fire) and her friend of many years, Mid-Shore artist and educator, Sue Stockman. And with the Spy’s eternal gratitude, these fearless two have agreed to be part of this experiment.

Once a month, Amy and Sue will randomly select a word out of a large bowl filled with dozens of words that the two agreed in advance on as worthy of a conversation. All of which was to take place one Sunday every month in Amy’s cozy basement.

Beginning each program with the aromatherapeutic benefit of burning a bit of palo santo, Amy and Sue plop down on the sofa with that one word for thirty minutes for thought-provoking, humorous, and sometimes touching moments of reflection.

This month: Resilience (part one)

This video is approximately twenty-five minutes in length.


A Community Unites to Remember John Cassidy


Over 500 residents of the Mid-Shore gathered in front of the Easton YMCA Sunday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of John Joseph Cassidy who is the victim of a horrific crime that took place at the Peachblossom Road branch last Thursday morning.

The service, led by Rabbi Peter Hyman from Temple B’nai Israel, and joined by Talbot County Council President Corey Pack, Father Nash of Saints Peter and Paul, the Rev. Dr. William T. Wallace of Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels, and Pastor Craig Fadel of the Bay Area Community Church in Easton, all spoke of the common need for the greater YMCA family to honor John Cassidy’s life, and to begin the painful but necessary process of healing.

With a moving rendition of Amazing Grace by the Bay Area Community Church members Sarah Weidlewalt & Rachel Pletts, those in attendance wept, hugged, and lit candles to grieve alongside the Cassidy family and take comfort. 

The Spy was there to share some of those moments with our readers.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length

Spy Minute: Tapping with Avalon’s 42nd Street


Who doesn’t love the classic Broadway musical “42nd Street?” Every time its performed, the audience leaves the theater with a smile on their face as they hum their way out of the lobby after protagonist Peggy Sayer has her dream come true in the finale.

At that’s the goal this time as well director Kimberly Stevens’ new production that debuts at the Avalon this weekend with the Avalon Children’s Theatre.

This ultimate show-biz musical is a celebration of Broadway, Times Square, and the people who make the magic of musical theatre. Aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer comes to the big city from Allentown PA, and soon lands her first big job in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. But just before opening night, the leading lady breaks her ankle. The question is – Will Peggy be able to step in at the last minute and become the star of the show?

Chock-full of Broadway standards, including “Go Into Your Dance,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and “Forty-Second Street”, this is definitely a sure bet starting Friday.

The Spy spent a few minutes with Kimberly and a few members of the cast to get a feel of how much fun it can be.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Avalon Box Office at 410-822-7299

42nd Street – Young Performers’ Edition
Performed by the Avalon Children’s Theatre
Friday, May 31 at 7 PM
Saturday, June 1 at 2 PM
Sunday, June 2 at 2 PM
Avalon Theatre
Adults – $20; Students – $10

Publisher’s Note: The Spy, David Montgomery, and the Limits of Free Speech


On Monday of this week, the Spy published David Montgomery’s opinion piece on the recent school shooting in Colorado that took place earlier this month. In his commentary, David contrasted the terrorist motives with the heroism of the students who charged the assailant, one of whom was killed during this courageous act. Within his column, Montgomery expressed concerns that one of the murderers, who had been questioning his gender identity at the time of the crime, was the result of our society “brainwashing teens into gender dysphoria.” It was tortured logic at best.

Nonetheless, it has always been the Spy’s mission to provide a safe harbor for very different perspectives, even those that might be repugnant to this publisher or the vast majority of its readers. It was the my hope that readers would use the comment section to refute or challenge these outrageous views. That didn’t happen. In fact, serious damage was done.

In the spirit of doing no harm, or more harm, I have removed David’s commentary from the Spy. There are limits to free speech and the stigma he has attached to transgender people crossed a line that I wish I had the sensitivity as both an editor, and a gay man myself, to see the damage it presents to all of us that live in a culture that remains hostile to the notion of being different.

In my desire to find a full spectrum of thought for Spy readers, I failed my own test in judgment. I am horrified by this gap of moral direction.

Since I started the Spy started in 2009, it has been unambiguously supportive of gay rights, same-sex marriage, transgender protection, and, more importantly, we have celebrated Chestertown’s long history of diversity. I regret that David’s column has put this commitment into question.

Dave Wheelan
Publisher and Executive Editor

Mid-Shore Arts: Ian Ghent Will Pop Up in St. Michaels over Memorial Day Weekend


It is no secret that the Spy loves pop up stores of every kind. These short term wonders of gorilla commerce consistently offer patrons products that typically are never available on most American main streets, and that is particularly true for visual art.

That is why we were excited to hear that New York City-based artist, Ian Ghent, decided to showcase his work in St. Michaels using that format at the end of May. Ghent, a successful advertising creative director by day, uses oil and watercolor to capture the essence of urban life, with a particular emphasis on people and animals that evoke both insight and humor through his portrait work.

The Spy was able to connect with Ian via Skype the other day to talk about his work and methods.

Ian Ghent
314A Talbot Street
St. Michaels
May 25, 26, and 27  from 9:30 – 6:00

Mid-Shore Aviation: Helping Students See the Big Blue Sky of Aviation Careers


One of the most underreported challenges facing American aviation these days is the high demand for jobs in the fields of air traffic control, aviation maintenance, piloting, drone operators, and flight paramedics. In a world that has been pushing vocations like truck driving, EMS technicians, or master welders, the field of aviation tends to get far less attention, but its need for a trained workforce has never been greater.

That’s the point of view of Easton Airport’s newly appointed manager Micah Risher.

Risher, whose own path was dramatically changed when the Trappe native was introduced to the field of aviation as a teenager at the Mid-Shore’s popular airport, has made it a top priority to develop education programs that inform and excite young people about careers that are both high-paying and can be close to home. That is why this year the airport announced the establishment of its own Aviation Careers Education (ACE) program to expose high school students to these high demand, good-paying career opportunities.

Through the use of lessons in flight planning, aviation history, and the physics of flight as well as field trips to aviation-related sites, Easton Airport’s ACE seeks to stimulate student interests that can lead to a secure career down the road.

The Spy caught up with Misah at a recently converted hangar which has now become the new AEC Center at the airport to understand more.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Easton Airport please go here

At the Academy: Curator Scott Shields on the AAM Diebenkorn Exhibition


It is actually quite accurate to suggest that the Academy Art Museum has a blockbuster exhibition going on with its current exhibition of the early work of California artist Richard Diebenkorn.

While the small but mighty Academy has a history of pleasantly surprising visitors with powerhouse shows with the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, and James Turrell over the years; with Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 it has set a new high point for the Delmarva peninsula as the only venue on the East Coast to show this remarkable collection the artist’s early work.

In partnership with the Diebenkorn Foundation and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, the AAM has worked with Scott Shields, the exhibition’s curator, to document the extraordinary artistic journey of one of America’s greatest modern art masters.

The Spy sat down with Scott at the Tidewater Inn a few Sundays ago to understand more how Diebenkorn’s early work demonstrates his unique progression before 1955 which marked his rise to the forefront of American modernism.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 please go here

Mid-Shore Arts: The Tred Avon Players and their Laughing Stock


In the canon of theater repertoire, nothing can be more challenging or more humorous for actors than portraying actors in a play. Able to use a lifetime of knowing fellow actors as a reference for character development, or tapping into their own thespian id,  actors tend to flock to these productions.

So it no surprise that the Tred Avon Players quickly filled thirteen roles for their upcoming production of Laughing Stock written by Charles Morey.

Laughing Stock is a hilarious backstage farce and genuinely affectionate look into the world of the theatre. When The Playhouse, a rustic New England summer theatre, schedules a repertory season of Dracula, Hamlet and Charley’s Aunt, comic mayhem ensues. We follow the well-intentioned but over-matched company from outrageous auditions to ego-driven rehearsals through opening nights gone disastrously awry to the elation of a great play well told and the comic and nostalgic season close.

The cast includes C J Barnes as Tyler; Val Cavalheri as Daisy; Missy Doyle as Susannah, Alex Greenlee as Jack; Tyler Henry as Henry; Ben Lee as Braun;  Kyla Lynch as Karma; Brian McGunigle as Richfield; Bob O’Boyle as Vernon; John “Perk” Perkinson as Craig; Jackie Royer as Mary; Lynn Sanchez as Sarah, and Rob Sanchez as Gordon.

The Spy caught up with four of the cast members yesterday afternoon.

This video is approximately three minutes in length.

Performances dates are May 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Performance times are Thursday, Friday, & Saturday at 7:30 pm with Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Tickets are $22 for adults, and $11 for students (fees included). May 2 is Half Price Preview Thursday. For tickets go to or call 410-226-0061. The Oxford Community Center is located at 200 Oxford Rd. Oxford, MD 21654. Tred Avon Players are sponsored in part by revenues from the Talbot County Arts Council, which is funded by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.


Kids Grieve Too: Talbot Kids Grief Camp with Becky DeMattia


When Chestertown’s Becky DeMattia, Talbot Hospice’s bereavement coordinator, talks about providing support for children who grieve, it might seem odd at first to hear her talk about interjecting fun as part of that effort. But as you begin to understand that kids work through bereavement very differently from adults,  it becomes much more clear how important a camp environment might be for a child struggling with the loss of a parent or another loved one.

As Becky tells us in our Spy interview, this is the reason that Talbot Hospice has just started Talbot Kids Grief Camp. This special children’s bereavement camp is designed for any youth, ages 6-12, who have experienced that kind of loss. This two-day camp will be held May 18-19, 2019, at the Talbot County Agricultural Center, and there is space for 35 participants. Each child attends the camp at no cost, to learn how to cope with the complex feelings of grief.

The goal is to provide an opportunity for children to process their losses in a healthy, peer supported environment via a curriculum of activities and therapeutic practices designed to teach children about themselves, and the grief they are experiencing. Together campers will discover ways to cope, realize they are a valuable member of the group and work together to overcome challenges ahead. The camp will also provide grief education, support, and resources to parents and families and help strengthen the family unit as they process the loss together.

We spent some time with Becky at the Hospice office in Easton last week.

For more information about Talbot Kids Grief Camp please contact Becky DeMattia at 410-822-6681 or


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