November 26, 2010

RECORD-REVIEW "Talk of the Town"


It’s a blissful Thanksgiving morning in Pound Ridge. The sugar maples are glistening amidst fields kissed by winter’s frost. So what’s all the racket out there? Crows. No doubt about it, these feathery creatures are far from birdbrains. They are top of the ranking as the most intelligent species of birds and have 250 distinctive crow calls. Their sophisticated language skills range from a loud talk for the general community to a quieter twill for within the family. They are monogamous and mate for a lifetime (which could be as long as 20 years), mourn their deceased, and rear their young for as long as five years. Crows need to be close to each other, especially to their parents, and have complex cognitive behaviors. Their resourcefulness comes from their intelligence: some have memorized garbage truck routes, the better to feast on debris. Others drop nuts in the road and wait for passing cars to crack them open. And still others have demonstrated the ability to recognize individual human faces and find them in a crowd. So don’t shoo them away. Honor them as one of the world’s most intelligent creatures right up there with whales, dolphins, apes and elephants. And obviously they are smarter than turkeys or we would be eating crow for Thanksgiving.

Save the date for the Pound Ridge Community Church Holiday Fair and Cookie Walk on Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You are guaranteed to find wonderful holiday gifts, many of which are lovingly handcrafted. This year you’ll find a few unusual items like decoupage one-of-a-kind Pound Ridge trays, antique quilt shopping bags and birch-bark Santas. You won’t want to miss Ebie Wood’s scrumptious jams and jellies made from berries from Martha’s Vineyard. They are always beautifully wrapped and make perfect off-the-shelf hostess gifts throughout the year. There will be different vendors at the fair, including items made by women from Afghanistan. One of John Hufnagel’s beautiful paintings is this year’s raffle. And while you might be stuffed with pecan and pumpkin pies when reading this, by mid-December you’ll be ready (I promise) for the delectable selection of homemade holiday cookies that you can purchase by the pound. While you’re at the Church, be sure to bring any gently used blankets you may no longer need for The Bed Roll project. A dedicated group of women from PRCC are in need of twin and full-size blankets to continue making bedrolls for the homeless in NYC. For more information on the holiday bazaar or The Bedroll Project, please call 764-9000.

Did you just come down from upstairs? Did you leave the lights on? The Sustainability Task Force of Pound Ridge will host a meeting open to the public on Monday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Town House to introduce a $280,000 grant received by the Town of Pound Ridge from the New York State Energy Research and Design Authority (NYSERDA). The grant will be shared by six towns in the area to collect data on energy efficiency throughout the community. Based on this data, the grant will also provide for development of a plan for improving energy efficiency throughout Pound Ridge. Leo Wiegman, mayor of Croton-on-Hudson, which was the lead community for the grant, will be guest speaker to explain the grant and answer questions. “We welcome representatives from other community groups in Pound Ridge, as well as home owners who are interested in energy efficiency in their homes, the environment and the activities of the Pound Ridge Sustainability Task Force,” said Chairman John Maddocks. For more info, please contact John at In the meantime, go back upstairs and shut off all of those lights if you’re not in the rooms. As my mother would say, “Don’t waste energy.”

Happy Birthday to Lisl Steiner who turned 83 or 84 … the exact number doesn’t matter because who’s counting? Not only is her creativity and originality celebrated here in Pound Ridge, but Austria is bringing out a stamp of Lisl’s photograph of Friedrich Gulda, a renowned pianist and one of her close friends. The stamp is coming out on the 27th of January, by coincidence the day he died in 2000, and also coincidentally, on the birthday of the composer he most admired, Mozart. Lisl’s photograph was taken in 1949 at Gulda’s first public concert at the Colon Opera House in Buenos Aires. You can see this remarkable image at

If you’re hosting guests this weekend, you might want to leave the Record-Review open to page six as we discuss what makes the perfect Thanksgiving weekend guest. Don’t freak out if Pound Ridge doesn’t have a Starbucks (we like it this way.) Make your own bed in the morning. Offer to help wash the dishes but don’t be offended when your host/ess repeatedly tells you, “That’s fine. Stay where you are and enjoy yourself.” (They just might want to be responsible for breaking their own Limoges china.) Don’t overstay your visit (Remember the Ben Franklin saying: “Guests and fish smell after three days.”) Write (not email or text) a handwritten thank you note. As we celebrate this simple holiday of giving thanks for our many blessings, I am grateful to my beloved pets (Willis the Corgi and Augie the Cat), and for family and friends gathered at our table.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our “Talk of the Town” readers.

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