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Chesapeake Beach matriarch ­celebrates with five generations

     This weekend, Chesapeake Beach’s Mother Christmas celebrates a holiday of a different sort.      Jo Finch, aka Mother Christmas, turns 90 on September 4. Finch, a former town councilwoman, is a mother and grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother and great-great-great-grandmother.       “I think the children have something planned,” she surmises. “Any excuse to have a party; they take after their mother.”

Of Fenders and Gibsons, GE Smith and Eric Clapton

     American music grew up on American guitars.      Mississippi Delta blues rose from the spirituals of African Americans but found a voice on National Resonator guitars built in California. Jazz and swing evolved from Big Bands on Gibson Archtops made in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The lonesome hillbilly folk we know as bluegrass was played on Martin guitars from Nazareth, Pennsylvania. When blues and jazz had a baby, they called it rock and roll and played it on Leo Fender’s Telecaster.

Bob Evans Seafood’s story continues — with a surprise turn

If you were Eliza or Lori Evans, daughters of renowned Maryland waterman and single father Bob Evans, waking in the pitch of night to go crabbing was par for the course. From the age of three or four, the sisters, two years apart, were all but destined to work in the seafood industry.     Their part of the industry is Bob Evans Seafood, the family business since 1972, in Churchton since 1994. With customers from Virginia, D.C., Charles and Calvert counties, it is almost an institution in southern Anne Arundel County.

We asked, and you delivered, with great nuptial photos and wedding day memories.

  Stacie ‘Jaya’ and Ivan Balaguer Married April 9, 2011, in Punta Cana Dominican Republic

Why does the groom always stand on the bride’s right?

It’s usually because that’s where the nearest exit is.     No, just kidding. The groom’s position is a tradition dating back to medieval times. It is also why many European countries drive on, according to us, the wrong side of the road.

Capturing customers with a little of this, a little of that

The name Vintage Stew, colorfully scripted on the brick wall above an empty storefront in Deale, opened four years ago to numerous conversations about whom and what was moving in. Was it a new eatery serving stew?     “Like a big ol’ pot of stew …” says owner Shelley Daniels. But not the kind you eat.     “A mix of ingredients,” adds partner Barry Morrissey.

Today’s organic methods were the only options for gardeners in the early 19th century

We had a storm and terrible rain this week … my garden almost washed away; a dozen tulips were washed out of the ground and carried outside the garden fence. No one has seen such a flood in 10 years.

For Annapolis town crier Squire ­Frederick, ­Independence Day is a joyous occasion

Folks who live and work in Annapolis, used to seeing guys in breeches and plumed tricorn hats, scarcely bat an eye when Town Crier Fred Taylor strolls by.     Tourists and school children are another story. They squeal in delight when meeting “Squire Frederick,” as Taylor’s known hereabouts.     Taylor’s town crier is hard to miss. He stands tall (a head taller than your average guy). His social behavior sets him further apart.

Don Risher decorates the office at Belair ­Engineering like a July 4th float

You’d think it was Christmas and Don Risher of Belair Engineering in Upper Marlboro was Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.     From Memorial Day through summer, he fills his office with red, white and blue. “It’s very patriotic, with lots of Americana,” says Risher, who puts his heart into this decorative commemoration because of his time in the service and camaraderie with service men and women.

Little Coconut, Pineapple and Twix taught these middle-schoolers a big lesson

With their feet gingerly navigating mud and grasses at the water’s edge as they prepare to release three baby northern diamondback terrapins into the wild, these Severn River Middle School students could be almost anywhere along Chesapeake Bay.     Poplar Island, however, is no ordinary locale. The island, like the careful return of the terrapins to their birthplace, is a unique and successful example of environmental stewardship. Visiting there, students are in position to understand our human impact, both positive and negative, on the world around us.