WC and Chestertown Rotary Raise the Flags for Vets


For the third year in a row this Memorial Day, the Rotary Club of Chestertown will be raising support for a number of local veteran organizations by placing close to 200 American Flags at the intersection of 291 and Washington Avenue. And for the same three years, Washington College’s Rotaract Club members will be there to help them do that.

In a remarkable partnership with students, many of them from as far away places like Florida and Texas, to unite the campus and community to honor local heroes collectively. It also is a rare chance for the Washington College community to work side-by-side with Kent County residents on a common goal.

The Spy was intrigued enough with this extraordinary partnership to talk briefly with three of those Washington College students, as well as Rotary president Andrew Meehan, to understand the particular meaning of the Flags for Heroes project for those that participate.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. To make a donation to the Flags for Heroes project please go here


Hair by George Merrill


Hair grows liberally over my entire body except where it’s supposed to; on top of my head. I began losing my hair in my late teens.

It was a slow process, but inexorable; each brushing or combing would yield unnatural amounts of loose hair. In a manner of speaking, the handwriting was on the comb.

My mother is of Spanish heritage. She had great confidence in olive oil – which she often cooked with or added to salads. She wondered if its legendary properties of healing might alter the course of my falling hair. She convinced me to let her rub some into my scalp. The regimen went on for about a week until my pillow case began looking like my auto mechanic’s shop floor and smelling like the salad that often accompanied dinner. We both acknowledged that the historic therapeutic properties of olive oil did not extend to altering hair loss or promoting its growth. Surrendering to this reality I accepted the fact that my pate was sealed; by the time I was in my late twenties I had little hair left and had prepared myself psychologically that I would suffer the same fate as my grandfather. I was destined to be bald.

Barbers ask extortionist prices for haircuts. I’d have to pay the same as a man with abundant hair. My wife offered to cut mine, free. It takes little time.

The role of hair in shaping our self-image cannot be underestimated. We treat hair growth like a Japanese horticulturist cultivates bonsai trees; we coerce hair, forcing it through all kinds of contortions depending on the winds of popular taste, which often change like weather. All this in the service of getting it to look just so. Sometimes we curl our hair, bob it, get a brush cut and other times straighten and color it. Among the young – both male and female – we see on the same head of hair the complete color spectrum of the rainbow. Consider that only a few years ago, men wore long hair down on their backs, wove pony tails and grew sideburns looking like mutton chops. Now, the style for men is like Telly Savalas, bald as a billiard. Even men with massive hair growth allow themselves to be shorn like sheep. For me, the thought of being bald intentionally seems like the farmer eating his seed corn; imprudently wasting a primary asset.

Kim Jong Un has an interesting cut. If haircuts are personal statements, his suggests a preternatural drive to be the man on top. By the same token, our president grooms in a way that expresses his contrarian nature: most people groom hair from front to back. Characteristically, he does the opposite, from the back, forward.

Hair is implicated in our moods: Being in a foul mood is “Having a bad hair day.” We get so frightened “our hair stands on end” or so creeped out “it makes our hair curl.” We call sticky situations, “hairy.” No greater honor can one woman bestow on another than saying, “I love your hair, dear.”

Religion is ambivalent about whether to display or hide hair. Monks were tonsured, once a sign of humility. Not now so much. In Christian rites, women were exhorted to wear a head cover in church – a gesture of submission I suspect. Men went as they were except, except for Jews, while Catholic bishops wore Miters (oddly, looking like a dunce cap), the priest and cardinal a berretta or Anglicans the Cranmer cap with four corners. All this suggests to me that we have confused values with regard to just who or how our hair should or should not be displayed either for fashion’s sake or even for the greater glory of God.

There’s a code word in my house that’s evoked when it’s apparent I need a haircut; “You’re looking furry.” The other day, during my haircut, my wife commented that my eyebrows seemed to have a life of their own and grew bushy and unruly like the legendary John L. Lewis’s. How odd that hair grew aggressively below my scalp but not on top of it, the way some lawns inexplicably luxuriate in one corner of the yard, but never in the other.

I’d never given a thought to eyebrows. Surprisingly so since they are one of our most prominent features. Thinking about it, hair growing on the pate is always stationary, except in a strong wind or in those rare instances when something makes your scalp crawl. Consider for a moment how eyebrows’ mobility betrays our emotions. Raised eyebrows are the signature feature of skepticism or surprise. Furrowed brows can indicate anger or anxiety. Drooping brows might signal grief or melancholy. Winking can lower one eyebrow sufficiently to reveal that you’re flirting. In another context, just lowering one brow may signal that no one should believe a word you are saying or that you have no clue as to what’s going on. The Washington elite are often referred to as highbrows, depending, of course, on whose side of the aisle is making the point.

Beware: our eyebrows may reveal our hidden emotions and let the cat out of the bag. And speaking of cats, Greek historian Herodotus wrote once that when the family cat died (in ancient Egypt, not Greece) everyone shaved off their eyebrows as a token of mourning.

Traditionally, for women, eyebrows have been beauty marks. Like hairdos, eyebrow styles have gone in and out of fashion. Egyptian Queen Nefertiti liked extended eyebrows, darkened by paints. In the 15th century, Queen Elizabeth’s day, one’s forehead wasn’t to be cluttered so eyelashes and eyebrows were removed as a beauty statement. Throughout history, eyebrows were variously sported: they were plucked, arched, darkened, painted, lightened, shortened, lengthened or simply removed.

Mention of barbers and hairstylists is in order. Historically, barbers were more diversified in their services, grooming being only one. As a kind of one stop professional, they addressed a wide variety of personal needs including surgery, bloodletting, leaching, cupping, tooth extraction, and enemas. They, cut hair and trimmed beards, too.

A friend of mine, a hairstylist, told me she enjoys close relationships with her clients. The cliché, “only her hairdresser knows” is not frivolous. It’s generally descriptive of the kinds of intimate conversations that often arise between a hair stylist and her clients. I suspect a woman’s hair is more closely tied to her sense of femininity than a man’s is to his masculinity.

Years ago, when I grew sufficient hair to warrant seeing a barber, I’d describe the visits as classic male camaraderie, like a neighborhood bartender; talk of football, baseball, trips, hot cars, taxes, and the like. Pleasant and safely circumstantial.

About my surviving hair I can say only this for sure; I can’t do a thing with it.

Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist. A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio.

Mid-Shore Music: William Thomas and his Ten Years with Tidewater Singers


While William Thomas was professionally trained as an organist when he joined the Talbot County Public Schools District in 1986, his assignment to direct choirs and music theatre at Easton High School led him to a love affair with choral work and the challenges and delights that come with leading large groups of gifted singers.

That passion didn’t go away when he decided to move to Chesapeake College in 2008 to become an associate professor of music. The difficulty came with the realization that the community college did not have an active choral group at that time. He, therefore, reached out to the Tidewater Singers based in Talbot County to rekindle his love affair with cappella and major choral works.

And for the last ten years he has been the Tidewater Singers director, guiding the twenty-five person volunteer choral group through the classic repertoire starting from the 16th Century to the most recent hits from Broadway.

The Spy spent some time with the St. Michaels resident in his classroom at Chesapeake College to talk about this remarkable decade of enjoyment as he describes the joy that comes with using the human voice as its own musical instrument and remarkable fellowship that comes with music.

The Tidewater Singers will be offering their Spring Concert May 11, 12 and 13 this year in both Talbot and Queen Anne’s County with the time of “Love Songs Through the Ages.”

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Tidewater Singers please visit their website here

Food Friday: Cinco de Mayo!


How nice that Cinco de Mayo is on the weekend this year. It is going to be a balmy Saturday, when we can throw open the windows and admire all the new weeds growing in the vegetable garden. Still, weeds are better than hungry bunnies.

For your edification, Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration of the victory of Mexico over France in 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. It is not their Independence Day. There is much food, for which we are truly happy. Here is a quick, informative video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJmlUljRWDw

Bon Appétit is quick to point out that there are many recipes for Mexican foods which are not tacos, but I am sure you can enjoy as many tacos as you wish. Because we are all about food, travel and celebrations. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/21-recipes-for-mexican-foods-that-aren-t-tacos-to-celebrate-cinco-de-mayo

There will be no mariachi bands marching through our house on Cinco de Mayo, but there will be tacos, and maybe some good Mexican beer. And I have to confess that I came to the taco party late. When I was growing up our spices were limited to Christmas nutmeg, cinnamon for cinnamon toast, black pepper and baking powder. Garlic was an exotic commodity. Red pepper was on the tables at Italian restaurants. I doubt if my mother was acquainted with cumin. We never had Mexican food. My mother’s idea of adventurous ethnic cooking was preparing corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day. And so my indoctrination came from my peers, as do so many seminal youthful experiences

The first tacos I had were at my friend Sheila’s older sister’s place. Margo was sophisticated and so grown up. We adored her and the string of characters who wandered through her tiny beach house. She made tacos regularly, and we mooched often. I learned how to shred the cheese and the lettuce and chop the onions that went on top of the taco meat, which we browned in a frying pan and then covered with a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix and a cup of water. I thought it couldn’t get any better than that.

Sheila and I graduated to platters of nachos and tacos at the Viva Zapata restaurant. (I think we were actually more attracted to the cheap pitchers of sangria, which we drank, sitting outside in dappled shade under leafy trees, enjoying languid summer vacations.) And then we wandered into Mama Vicky’s Old Acapulco Restaurant, with its dodgy sanitation, and her exquisitely flaming jalapeños on the lard-infused refried beans. Ah, youth.

A more sophisticated approach might be following these ideas from World Food and Wine: https://world-food-and-wine.com/cinco-de-mayo-food

With winter barely behind us, let’s get ready for summer, with these ears of corn. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/3-ingredient-grilled-mexican-street-corn-elote

The good folks at Food52, never at a loss for recipes and great ideas, has a page of fantastic drinks, salsas, and guacs: https://food52.com/collections/407031-cinco-de-mayo

We will carve up the season’s first watermelon so we can enjoy the sweet goodness of Merrill Stubbs’ Watermelon Paloma. Yumsters. https://food52.com/recipes/23479-watermelon-paloma

Enjoy yourself. May is truly here.

“It’s spring fever…. You don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
– Mark Twain

Mid-Shore Authors: The Unexpected Environmentalist J.I. Rodale with Andrew Case


It’s pretty clear that J.I. Rodale did not set off in life to be what we now call an “environmentalist.” The godfather of the “natural food” lifestyle, founder of Prevention magazine, and advocate of organic farming, Rodale saw himself first and foremost as a publisher.

That’s one of the many takeaways from Washington College professor Andrew Case’s new book, “The Organic Profit:
Rodale and the Making of Marketplace Environmentalism,” (University of Washington Press) which chronicles Rodale’s unique role in building a marketplace for organic products and supplements.

Nonetheless, Rodale began a movement that eventually led to the popularity of organic products, the awareness of the dangers of pesticides, and the importance for taking care of one’s own body and what it consumes. All which encompass the fundamentals of our current environmental movement in this country.

All of this proved to be irresistible to Case whose scholarship has focused on the history of environmentalism and consumer culture. He began to document Rodale’s rise after World War II, the rapid success of the Rodale Press, and a family business that has left a permanent legacy in the annals of the American environmental history.

The Spy sat down with the author at Cromwell Hall on Washington College’s campus to talk about the overarching themes found in Organic Profit and the fascinating profile of one of America’s great entrepreneurs.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. Please go here for more information on “The Organic Profit:
Rodale and the Making of Marketplace Environmentalism.”


Amelia Markosian: The Fun Teacher Becomes Teacher of the Year


Amelia Markosian, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, with pictures of planets behind her.   Photo by Jane Jewell

Amelia Markosian, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, has been teaching science at Kent County Middle School for six years. But her connection to Kent County goes back well before that.

Her parents used to summer in Gregg Neck on the Sassafras River when she was in grade school. She remembers making friends in the neighborhood, visiting the Tea Party Festival, even working on schooner Sultana before its launch. But she returned for good seven years ago, with her teaching certificate in hand, and she soon found work as a long-term substitute at Galena Elementary School. A year later, a job at KCMS opened up – and the rest is history.

Amelia Markosian, on left, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, with her 6th-grade science class.       Photo by Jane Jewell

The Chestertown Spy visited Markosian for one of her classes Thursday, April 26 – a sixth-grade class with a focus on astronomy. The students were learning about the Moon – its phases, its distance from the Earth, and other basic facts about our closest celestial neighbor.

Markosian grew up in Willow Grove, a Philadelphia suburb, graduating from Upper Moreland High School and continuing her education at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. At the time, McDaniel didn’t offer an education major, so she majored in art with a minor in education – and enough extra credits to qualify for her teaching certificate. After teaching six months at a private school in Pennsylvania, she decided to try her luck in Maryland. She and her husband, Igor Markosian, were high school sweethearts. They now live in Chestertown and Igor commutes to his job in Middletown, Delaware.

You don’t have to watch Markosian at work for long to see why she was chosen Teacher of the Year. She is full of energy, easily engaging her students in discussion, and it’s obvious that she enjoys science. Speaking to the class about the space program and plans for a manned journey to Mars, she radiated enthusiasm. “It’ll be a really big thing,” she said, comparing it to the first manned lunar expedition. “I can’t wait to see the pictures!” She emphasized that the Mars visit would take place in the students’ lifetimes.

The students asked what the next step after Mars would be. “The moons of Jupiter,” she said, but cautioned that it was well in the future.

The students watched a video – “Earth’s Orbit Song” – that presented a wealth of facts about the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon, with a catchy rhythm and bright illustrations. Markosian drew attention to two facts from the video – the fact that the orbits of the celestial bodies are elliptical, and the distance from the Earth to the Moon is large enough for all the other planets in the Solar System to fit between the Earth and the Moon–that’s a long distance!

While much of the class involved the students working with iPads and other high-tech educational tools, Markosian was quick to use lower-tech instructional methods. At one point, she held her hand near her face to illustrate the relative positions of the Earth and Moon. At another point, she sat with several students at a table with bright lights to simulate the Sun, and small rubber balls representing the Earth and Moon. By changing the positions of the rubber balls, the students could see not only the phases of the Moon but the geometry of eclipses. “This is so cool!” said one student.

Kent County Middle School – Mrs. Markosian’s 6th-grade science class Photo by Jane Jewell

That sentiment is one Markosian shares. Asked why she chose science teaching as a career, she said she had taught every subject while substituting at Galena and realized “science was the most fun. I want to be one of the fun teachers,” the ones the students talk about when they get home.

She spoke enthusiastically about her own scientific interests – notably a teachers’ workshop  with NASA at Wallops Island, where she rubbed elbows with space scientists and got to see a launch from “about 300 feet away.” Kent County’s school system, she said, has been wonderful about providing educational opportunities for their teachers. She also told of visiting an active volcano – a cultural tour of Hawaii’s Kilauea, with a Hawaiian tribal chief as her guide. The volcano is a sacred spot in the Hawaiian religion, and visits are strictly regulated, she said.

In addition to her science classes, Markosian also coaches cheerleading and takes part in the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program, in which students are rewarded for good behavior. She also works with the Lamont Company to give the students experience in testing water. In another class, she taught the basics of forensics – showing the students the elements of fingerprints and toothprints to identify “suspects.” The toothprint specimens are collected using candy – which adds to the students’ interest, not surprisingly.

Markosian is taking courses toward her Master’s degree at Wilmington University in Delaware, with an eventual aim of getting certified as a school administrator. That’s a ways in the future, though – for now, she’s thoroughly enjoying her role as “the fun teacher” at Kent County Middle School.

Amelia Markosian, Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, with pictures of planets behind her.   Photo by Jane Jewell

Feeling Good by George Merrill


I read recently in The Week magazine about 18-year-old Evoni Williams. She works as a waitress in a LaMarque, Texas Waffle House Restaurant. An elderly man came in and ordered breakfast. His hands were not agile enough to cut the ham. He asked Evoni if she could cut it for him. She cheerfully cut the ham. Unknown to both, the incident was being filmed by a nearby customer. He uploaded it on Facebook. It went viral. It so impressed LaMarque’s mayor that he established a day in Williams’ honor. Texas Southern University’s President, Austin A. Lane, issued her a scholarship check for $16,000.

“I was raised to help,” Williams said.

Why did a customer record it and when it was circulated, struck a chord nationally?

Today, we long to feel good about something; almost anything will do. Cultural malaise is the prevailing mood these days as anxiety about declining personal safety and rising national insecurity increases. I hunger for feel-good stories. Where is Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World” when we need him?

I also yearn for laughter.

Humor is important. Physicians will tell you that humor aids the body’s healing process. It works better if you don’t take humor seriously. You’d think psychiatrists would feel the same about humor cheering our minds, but they’re mostly suspicious of anything that might suggest erotic preoccupations, and as we all know, the best jokes are typically about sex. Psychiatrists urge patients to analyze their jokes. That takes all the fun out of them.

Where then can I go today for the solace that feel-good stories generate or the relief that humor offers? I’ve put this question to myself of late as I sometimes get irritable and feel humorless.

I took careful stock of the media sources I depend on for information, the way I might examine my diet to see if I’m getting proper nutrition. I looked particularly for humor. My reading material leans heavily on the sources our President dismisses as fake news – by which he means the media and all journalism except the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

I looked over the Guardian and The Post. I read The New York Times, and The New Yorker, regularly. The Week presented me good synopses of various points of view; Harpers can be informative although heady and even inscrutable at times. A full-page section in Harper’s called ‘Findings’ presents, for unknown reasons, bewildering one line factoids like: “The moose of Isle Royale are shrinking.”

Mother Jones is a flaming liberal rag with well-researched articles; Sojourners is a thoughtful ecumenical Christian voice. Once I read a copy of Bloomberg Business Week. Then I understood why my father prophesied that I’d be a disaster running a business. I receive L.L. Bean and Land’s End Catalogues and of course, read the Talbot Spy.

I don’t read my sources cover to cover. Taking a critical look at my sources of information, I noticed that humor is as scarce as feel-good stories are. I could see I had to intentionally ferret them out.

I looked carefully at a couple of old magazines and found some humor.

In The New Yorker, Jack Handy wrote a column, “The Mysteries of Humor:” I liked this one: “If a tree falls in the forest, on top of an old man with a walking stick, does he make a sound?” Handy doesn’t try explaining it.

In the magazine, The Week, I saw this sly but informative piece about D.C.- “A Massachusetts lawmaker is calling for the ‘The General Hooker Entrance’ sign to be removed from a doorway in the State House because it is offensive to women.”

Perhaps Harper’s observation of the shrinking moose is meant to be humorous, but it needs some serious explanation which if offered would do it even greater harm.

I was satisfied that humor indeed exists in my reading repertoire. I’d just have to work a little harder to find it.

Finding feel-good articles was another story. They seem to become scarcer as government dysfunction increases. Then on March 24, I read in both The Post and The New York Times the coverage of the hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and victims worldwide, some in D.C., all marching for sane gun reform. As is often the case, feel-good things just show up when you need them most.

I felt good about the demonstrations, the way I had when Pope Francis came to the States and talked about the responsibility that we, who are privileged, have to the poor and disenfranchised. His aura of goodness and gentleness of spirit uplifted many of us who were feeling discouraged about the way of our world. Pope Francis offered us an old vision, but offered it in a way that made it seem new and fresh, filled with hope and vitality. Sadly, the momentum soon began to wane and then there was the election of 2016. Then goodness in any genre foundered.

I saw the same kind of inspired grace abounding in the young people’s demonstrations as I did in Francis’s vision, but with this encouraging difference.

Pope Francis is an aging man. He witnessed to the truth, but somehow it didn’t gain traction. The young people who are demonstrating now represent the next generation. As they grow into adulthood, they will know from their own experience the cost of violence and how precious life is.

They’ll also have learned to distinguish between public servants that serve the people and politicians who serve themselves. Best of all, with that knowledge, the youth will vote.

In that sense, the wave of the future may well be shaped not by the elders, but by youth. It is not now, as in days of old, when wisdom was passed down generationally. The young are amassing a body of understanding that disturbs them. They are, even as they speak out, being trivialized and scorned as tools of liberals, anti-American puppets, enemies of the second amendment, naive kids who know nothing. I think the children are undertaking the tough work of truth-telling so badly needed today.

But watch out, who knows? When these young people are old enough to vote, we may witness a marvelous transformation in America; a conscience will return to Congress.

Now that’s no joke, but it’s a wonderfully feel-good story.

Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist.  A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio.

Cafeteria Man After Seven Years: Director Richard Chisolm Looks Back


As anyone who has checked out the long list of documentaries available on Itunes or Netflix streaming services these days can attest, the shelf life of these feature productions can be very short indeed.

In most cases, either because a topic has become outdated, or the general public has just lost interest in the subject matter, the contemporary “doc” filmmaker can only expect one or two years of relevancy for his or her film subject before it finds itself buried, sometimes forever, in the dustbin of movie achieves.

That is what makes the seven-year-old Cafeteria Man, which will have a public screening on May 11 at St. Michaels High School by the Chesapeake Film Festival, so unique.

Years after it made its premiere in 2011, both the film and its subject of school food, remains remarkably pertinent as communities around the country have continued to use this dramatic story of one man trying to improve the quality and nutritional value of food served in the Baltimore School District to start local conversations about bringing locally grown produce and fruit into public schools.

The Spy sat down with Director Richard Chisolm last week on Kent Island to talk about the film, its longevity, and how the need to improve our children’s diets continues to have universal appeal.

This video is approximately minutes in length Tickets can be purchased online here or at the door.

Food Friday: Tra La, It’s May!


Well actually, it’s almost May. And it is going to be a beautiful weekend. It’s time to revel in flowers and blooming trees, emergent allergies and impromptu al fresco meals. We had turkey sandwiches on the back porch the other day, and it is surprising how festive it feels to chomp down on rye bread in the sunshine, instead of in the kitchen. Even eating off paper plates felt like an adventure – which probably says that we need to get out more. And so we shall with May Day arriving on Tuesday.

We will not be swinging from May poles, but we might indulge in another May Day tradition – filling baskets with May flowers. I can remember weaving construction paper May Day baskets when I was in elementary school: the paper strips were flimsy and diabolically difficult to control. I’d fill the clumsy basket with violets and daffodils gleaned from my mother’s garden. And while she valued the gesture, she did not appreciate me stripping the flowers from their natural settings.

And instead of streaking in the Washington College time-honored tradition, I think we will invite a few repressed, button-down kind of friends in for brunch on Sunday. Bunch is easier than dinner, and it still leaves time for a nap late in the afternoon, curled up with Laura Lippman’s newest novel, “Sunburn”. And it is an opportunity to drink Prosecco in the form of mimosas. Deelish. It is also a good time to practice recipes for Mother’s Day – which is two weeks away – in case you forgot… https://cookieandkate.com/2017/best-mimosa-recipe/

We will have some fabulous blueberry muffins, as endorsed by Slate Magazine Editor Julia Turner on a recent podcast of the Slate Culture Gabfest. Ms. Turner is a whiz at indefatigable research. She leaves no blueberry unturned. Be sure to add a significant slather of excellent butter. Calories don’t count in May. https://smittenkitchen.com/2010/08/perfect-blueberry-muffins/


Sausage rolls are perfect brunch finger food. You can have either the million step method and prepare your own puff pastry from scratch, and grind up the sausage, or emulate the genius folks at Food52, and you can use prepared puff pastry as found in your grocery store’s frozen food section: https://food52.com/recipes/34729-mini-sausage-rolls

Or you can be like Martha; there is alway this. But don’t forget, reading Laura Lippman is more important (and ultimately more rewarding) than inserting beautifully browned and caramelized onions into a tiny hot dog any day. https://www.marthastewart.com/317893/pigs-in-a-blanket

You can have lots of different dipping sauces if you want to dress things up. Elegant French mustards, Tzatziki sauce, remoulade, catsup.

I think cake is the perfect food, and pound cake is the ideal brunch dessert. I like to put out little bowls of fresh berries and whipped cream, because I have never seen the sense of cooking fruit, except in blueberry muffins. You do what makes you happy. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lemon-pound-cake-with-berries-and-whipped-cream

And now everyone can collapse into the Adirondack chairs scattered around the back yard, drinking more mimosas, admiring the burgeoning flowers on your tomato plants and the dancing blossoms on the dogwood trees. It is finally spring, and after our naps, we may have the strength to celebrate properly.

“Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear”
-Alan Jay Lerner