Winter-Spring 2020 Multi-Session Courses

Birds and Birding on the Eastern Shore: The Dead of Winter is Very Much Alive

With Dr. Wayne Bell

There are more bird species in Maryland in winter than there are in summer. The Eastern Shore boasts a richness of water birds on Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Coast, and unfrozen inland impoundments. Loons, ducks, gannets, gulls, raptors – we've got them all.  Then there are the feeders, alive with sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers. Despite conditions that can be Spartan, the birds can be big, and the little ones can be close. Class sessions will point out field marks and ‘giss’ (general impression, size, and shape) that will help identify the species we see on field trips to representative winter bird habitats. Don your mittens and earmuffs and join us for a birding romp across the Eastern Shore's winter wonderland!


Mondays | Jan 27, Feb 10, Feb 24, March 9 | 2:30-4pm | Easton Waterfowl Building

Field Trips: Feb 3, 22, Mar 1, 15 | Varied sites and times

Great Decisions 2020 Discussion Program

With Paul Carroll

Anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of international relations and participating in active discussion of crucial global issues will find these engaging and insightful conversations of important topics of the day very interesting. The topics for 2020 are Climate Change and the Global Order, India and Pakistan, Red Sea Security, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle, China’s Road into Latin America, The Philippines, and the U.S. Artificial Intelligence and Data. Enrollment limited to 10.


Mondays | Jan 27, Feb 3, 10, 17, 24, Mar 2, 9, 16 | 1-3 pm | Bay Hundred Senior Center at the St. Michaels YMCA

William Faulkner’s Fiction—A Gentle Introduction through Short Stories

With Bev Williams

Examine William Faulkner’s fiction through some of his more accessible short stories:

1st session: “A Rose for Emily”

2nd session: Go Down, Moses. Selections: “Was”, “The Fire and the Hearth”, “Pantaloon in Black”

3rd session: Go Down, Moses selections: “The Old People,” “The Bear”, “Delta Autumn,” “Go Down, Moses”

4th session: “Barn Burning” and “That Evening Sun”


Mondays | Feb 3, 10, 17, 24 | 10-11:30 am | Bay Hundred Senior Center at the St. Michaels YMCA

What We Cannot Know

With Ronald E. Lesher

The known unknowns drive science. For example, 4.9% of the total matter of our universe is known. What makes up the other 95.1%? Is our universe finite or infinite? How can we unify Einstein’s theory of general relativity with quantum physics? But are there things which by their very nature we will never know? Explore the edges of knowledge based on the book “What We Cannot Know” by Marcus Du Sautoy (IASBN 978-0-00-758310-2), a math professor at Oxford University and holder of the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science. 


Tuesdays | Feb 11, 18, 25, Mar 3 | 1:30-3pm | Bay Hundred Senior Center at the St. Michaels YMCA

Airship 103

With Hunter H. Harris 

Presented for ALL as Airship 101, then 5 years later as Airship 102, this course, Airship 103, will touch on some basic airship (blimp) technical points and operational considerations that are unique to this type of aviation. Class #1 will take us on a virtual airship flight from Montreal to Miami with visits along the way to Boston, NYC, and many other places. Class #2 will continue the journey from south Florida to Phoenix with side trips along the entire Mississippi valley. Class #3 wraps up ‘cross country’ as we fly across the high desert and the Continental divide to southern California then up the Pacific Coast to Vancouver BC. Classes will include interesting photos, video, and true, accurate and unmodified stories of adventure from the Airship Captain.


Thursdays | Feb 13, Mar 12, Apr 9 | 10-Noon | Easton Airport Admin Building

True Stories Well Told

With Glory Aiken

Would you like to write about your life, about your family and its unique history, or about the significance of a particular day, a so-called shining moment that you will remember forever? Then please join us as we continue our journey into the art of writing memoir. Class time will be devoted to reading aloud your one-to-two-page submissions to our writer's group each week. We will also discuss opportunities that are currently available to independently publish your work. Enrollment limited to 10.


Tuesdays | Feb 25, Mar 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 |  9:30-11:30am | Bay Hundred Senior Center at the St. Michaels YMCA

Thought for Food: Short Stories

With Nancy Hesser

From Eden’s fateful fruit to Babette’s feast, the food we eat – or dare not – feeds the imagination as well as the body. Creative fiction writers the world over have used food themes as a way to explore the range of human experience while satisfying our appetite for tasty tales. This 6-week course offers no recipes, cookbooks, or dietary guidelines – just a smorgasbord of short stories and discussion topics from a varied menu, including “Cooking Lessons,” “Just What You Knead,” “Fruit, Freshly Filched,” “Watch What you Eat,” “Food Fights,” and “Dessert Cart.”


Thursdays | Mar 5, 12, 19, 26, Apr 2, 9 | 1:30-3pm | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Friending Shakespeare

With Suzanne Sanders 

An introduction to Shakespeare full of hints how to enjoy and understand his plays. We’re all told he’s a genius; Suzanne shows how fun and entertaining he is, too. Three sessions of 90 minutes each.


Fridays | Mar 6, 13, 20 | 10-11:30am | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Why Is Life?

With Rich Wagner

We’ll discuss the latest findings and theories about the nature of life and its origins on earth and (possibly) in the universe, including: Is the universe fine-tuned for life? “Where is everybody?”: that is, what are the factors that bear on the probability of life originating here on earth and/or elsewhere? The search for extra-terrestrial life. New planets and their habitability. Which is most unlikely: development of complex single-cell life, or evolution of more complex life-forms? Was/is something like “mind” involved? Life and consciousness. The evolutionary advantages of consciousness. 


Thursdays | Mar 12, 19 | 10:30-Noon | Oxford Community Center, Oxford

Macbeth: The Scottish Play

With Rabbi Peter Hyman and John H. Miller

Theatrical tradition would urge us to call [Macbeth] “The Scottish Play” so that disaster doesn't befall us. But this bad luck tradition only comes into play (no pun intended) when the title is mentioned inside the theater where the performance is to be presented. But erring on the side of prudence is always best. For many of us this play remains a favorite  (perhaps you first read it in high school?) as does the quip “Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are the happiest married couple in Shakespeare.” Let’s contrast this observation with those of many theatergoers who find this play one of the darkest of Shakespeare’s works. We’ll find out “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . .”


Tuesdays | Mar 17, 24, 31, Apr 7, 14 | 10:30-Noon | Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton

The Many Faces of Fascism

With Raymond Vergne 

Although it affected, influenced and dominated the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the XX Century, Fascism is difficult to define accurately and succinctly. This exercise in history will try to identify the major characteristics of Fascism in different countries, some of which existed under Fascist governments and some which did not, and their differences. The roots and origins of Fascism will be explored, as well as its relationship to established religion, its economic systems, its prejudices and its implacable hostility to Communism. The circumstances around which Fascist movements developed will be discussed, whether these were in Europe, Africa, or America. Military operations (World War II) and genocide (the Holocaust) will be brought in peripherally as they relate to Fascist doctrine and ideology. The goal of this exercise is to better understand the phenomenon of Fascism, which so painfully scarred the history of the XX Century.


Wednesdays | Mar 18, 25, Apr 1, 8, 15, 22 | 10-Noon | Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton

Recent Sequels in Literary Fiction

With Margot Miller, PhD

This course will explore Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments” and Elizabeth Strout’s “Olive, Again” as well as what a sequel offers to and demands of the reader. 


“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood, 2019. This sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

takes place 15+ years after Offred/June climbs into the truck in the last scene of “The Handmaid’s Tale” not knowing what her future is to be. For readers who have also seen the HULU series, “The Testaments” also follows the events portrayed there. There are three narratives, Aunt Lydia, June’s daughter Hannah/Agnes, and June’s second daughter, Holly/Nicole (“baby Nicole”), born during the second season of the HULU series and whisked away to Canada at its close. We learn how Lydia adapted to survive in Gilead and what she is secretly doing to undermine Gilead’s goals, and we follow the stories of Hanna/Agnes and Holly/Nicole as they negotiate their status as young females in Gilead. There is a sliver of hope in so far as the book is framed as a course in “Gilead Studies” in some far-future university retrospective.


“Olive, Again,” by Elizabeth Strout, 2019, sequel to “Olive Kitteridge” (winner of the Pulitzer Prize.) “Olive, Again” picks up a few weeks after “Olive Kitteridge” ends and continues for a number of years until Olive comes to terms with the nearness of the end of her life. As with the first novel, there are a series of chapters/stories that come together in the end. Strout is deeply perceptive about what we know about ourselves and others, and what we don’t or can’t.  Her characters are intense and complicated, not always likable, yet we do like them. How can we not? We find ourselves in so many of them. Strout allows the reader to accompany Olive as she faces change in her situation and in herself. She is at once a kind and helpful person and a difficult, sometimes irascible individual, less tolerant in some situations than the reader would expect given her insight and care of strangers and people she used to know, or still knows in a peripheral way.


Tuesdays | Mar 31, Apr 7 | 1-2:30pm | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Composing a Spiritual Life as Elders

With George Merrill

This course explores the vital role spiritual awareness plays in our lives particularly as we grow older. Like breathing, the dynamics of spirituality exert powerful forces in directing daily life often out of our awareness. Spiritual experiences can be hard to define. Many who have had significant ones find them difficult to articulate. The course is structured to help participants identify spiritual experiences and find ways to express them. Our sessions will increase individual awareness of spirituality as a sustaining force particularly in the second half of life. This stage in our human experience presents unique challenges. It demands the kinds of coping skills and ways of thinking about self and others that differ widely from those that served us in the first half of our lives. Participants will identify and discuss specific spiritual phenomena such as hope, meaning and purpose, trust, transcendence, kindness, music, and several concepts of the holy. We will be exploring these phenomena as they find expression in traditional religion and are understood outside of sectarian boundaries. Enrollment limited to 10. 


Mondays | Apr 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11 | 10:30-Noon | Bay Hundred Senior Center, Easton

Who is Bob Random; Why Is He Saying Those Things about Delmarva!?

With Phil Hesser

A mystery man who called himself “Bob Random” wrote “Gleanings from the Country” for the 1845 Baltimore Sun, wryly and sometimes critically describing politics, travel, religion, and other things near and dear to Delmarva – and beyond. Who was this guy and why did he have it in for Delmarva? The group will read all of Bob’s “Gleanings,” and will work together to unmask this mysterious figure and to sort out “where he was coming from” to say those outrageous things that he did. Don’t miss this chance to help solve the mystery and follow in Bob Random’s footsteps, as he chronicles Delmarva, the Western Shore, and a nation grappling with historic change.


Thursdays | Apr 16, 23, 30, May 7 | 1:30-3pm, Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Life Reimagined: You are Not Too Old & it is Not Too Late

With Dodie Theune

You are not too old, and it is not too late to reimagine your life and explore how to live life fully by doing what you were meant to do and being the person you were meant to be. Each of us has unique and special talents and abilities. Living a purposeful life is embracing who we are and gauging how we can fully express our values and passions in a purposeful way. During the final session, everyone will create a structure for fulfillment – A Personal Life Plan. Join us and have the rest of your life be the best of your life. Enrollment limited to 10.


Tuesdays | May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2 | 10:30-Noon | Bay Hundred Senior Center at the St. Michaels YMCA

My Dearest Friend: The Letters of Abigail and John Adams

With John H. Miller

The extensive correspondence between John Adams and his wife Abigail chronicles in intimate detail the uncertainty, dangers, and sheer “messiness” of the early years leading up to the 1776 Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, and later the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. Those who are fascinated by American history and enjoy literature will explore this remarkable couple’s role in the early years of our nation through a close examination of a writing style quite different from the emails and tweets that we are accustomed to today.


Thursdays |  May 7, 14, 21, 28 | 1:30-3pm | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Introduction to The Federalist Papers and the Ratification Debate

With Charlie Yonkers

This is a history course. It aims at introducing or refreshing our basic understanding of the background and issues at the time of the constitutional convention in the summer of 1787 and during the ratification debate on the Constitution in 1787-88. The reading are limited to a couple of examples of the controversies and debating styles of those times. The references will be to:


  1. The Federalist Essay 1 (by Hamilton, October 27, 1787) and Essays 10 & 51 (Madison, November 22, 1787 and February 6, 1788) in support of ratification of the proposed constitution, and
  2. Two Anti-Federalist arguments in opposition, “John DeWitt” (Essay I and II, October 22 and 27, 1787) and two speeches by Patrick Henry (June 5 and 7, 1788).


Tuesdays | May 5, 19 | 1:30-3pm | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Settlement of the Eastern Shore (first of a series)

With Catherine Wilson 

This is to be the beginning of a series lasting several semesters. The year is 1699 and Elizabeth James was fourteen when her parents left England and landed at St. Mary’s, Maryland. Course leader, Catherine Wilson, in the persona of Elizabeth, will weave a tale of the adventure, peril, and excitement that faced these early settlers as they made the perilous journey across the Atlantic, then journeyed by boat and by foot to settle in what is now Kent County, Maryland. 


This two-part course will be the first in a series about the settlement of the Maryland’s eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the mid to late 17th century. Using John Speed and F. Lamb’s 1676 map of the Chesapeake Bay, this first course will focus on the settlement of Kennard Point between Still Pond Creek and Churn Creek.


Wednesdays | May 6, 13, 1:30-3pm | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton

Winter-Spring 2020 Single-Session Courses

Easton Airport 101 – The Aviation Gateway to the Eastern Shore

With Micah Risher

This course will delve into the fascinating operation of one of Talbot County’s greatest assets, the Easton Airport! The Airport has been a self-sustaining economic engine since 1993. Since that time, Easton Airport has grown into one of the busiest airports in the State of Maryland. Come discover how the Airport is positioned for smart, well planned improvements that will keep Talbot County at the leading edge of aviation safety.


Thursday | Jan 30 | 10-Noon | Easton Airport Admin. Building

Maritime Raiding, Irregular Warfare, and the Early American Navy

With Commander Benjamin Armstrong, U.S. Navy

Two centuries before the daring exploits of Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders captured the public imagination, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps were already engaged in similarly perilous missions: raiding pirate camps, attacking enemy ships in the dark of night, and striking enemy facilities and resources on shore. Even John Paul Jones, father of the American Navy, saw such irregular operations as critical to naval warfare. With Jones’s own experience as a starting point, Benjamin Armstrong sets out to take irregular naval warfare out of the shadow of the blue-water battles that dominate naval history. This book, the first historical study of its kind, makes a compelling case for raiding and irregular naval warfare as key elements in the story of American sea power.


Thursday | Feb 27 | 12:30-2pm | Prager Family Auditorium, Easton

Italian Bread and Marinara Sauce Making

With Sal Simoncini 

Directions for and demonstration of baking Italian bread will be presented. We’ll all enjoy the bread at the end of the class. Also, instructions for making a marinara sauce that has been prepared beforehand will be offered to class participants as they dip their bread.  Wine will accompany this culinary treat.


Tuesday | Mar 3 | 11am-1pm | Oxford Community Center, Oxford

Five Hundred Years of Fake News: From False Facts and Fictitious Fallacies to Forgotten Foibles and

With Steve Goldman

In view of the extensive rhetoric in the press today about "fake news," participants in this course will take a visual guided tour of the past 500 years to see for themselves if "fake news" is a new phenomenon or if it is just "business as usual."


Wednesday | Mar 18 | 1-3pm | Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton

Exploring of Wetlands and Meadows of Pickering Creek

With Mark Scallion

Over the last fifteen years Pickering Creek Audubon Center has created over 100 acres of wetland and meadow habitat in partnership with Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage. Enjoy a walk around these vibrant habitats while learning about the history of the land and the methods and reasons for converting it into the marvelous habitat it is today.  Expect to see spring waterfowl and wading birds, winter resident birds, and raptors.  We'll tour about two miles of trails on foot across flat but uneven ground. Delightful views of the wetlands from two viewing platforms will be enjoyed along the way.


Thursday | Mar 19 | 9-11am | Pickering Creek

Conversation: What’s Good and Bad About Talbot County

With Bruce Jones 

Discuss how does Talbot County compares with other counties within Maryland with regards to education, rates of crime, housing availability, social services, transportation infrastructure, etc.? How does it compare against other counties within the US and Europe?


Tuesday | Mar 24 | 1:30-3pm | Bay Hundred Senior Center at the St. Michaels YMCA

230 Years of U.S. Presidential Elections: George Washington to Donald Trump, 1788-2018

With Steve Goldman 

With public interest in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election of 2020 being quite high, participants in this course will be treated to a virtual magic carpet ride through the past 230 years to see the facts, foibles, and fallacies of 230 years of U.S. Presidential elections.


Wednesday | Mar 25 | 1-3pm | Temple B’Nai Israel, Easton

Italian Wine and Cheese Tasting

With Emily Chandler 

Explore Italy through its wines and cheeses in a guided tasting at Piazza Italian Market. Owner Emily has selected six Italian wines and six cheeses from different areas of Italy that reflect the local culture and cuisine. In this class, you will learn how to appreciate the cheese and wine pairings and their nuances. You'll also learn a bit about Italian geography. Each participant will take home a handout about the pairings.


Wednesday | April 1 | 3-4:30pm | Piazza Italian Market, Easton

Survival Skills to Protect Seniors from Dangerous Computer Viruses and Malware

With Jason Lee

Most of us have had to deal with a computer virus or malware on our mobile phones. It wasn’t fun. In fact, it’s infuriatingly time consuming to remedy. In a small class setting, Jason and his staff will provide personalized instruction. This is NOT a lecture but rather a 90-minute how-to session, so bring either your mobile device (aka smart phone), or your tablet, or your laptop computer. You will learn important virus/malware preventative take-away skills. 3 separate sessions with 5 students each


Choose 1 only: Saturday | Apr 18, 25, or May 2 | 9:30-11am | Jason’s Computers, 9321 Centerville Road

How to Read Tarot Cards

With Suzanne Sanders 

Learn how to use Tarot cards for serious guidance or lighthearted entertainment. The steps are simple; cards will be provided for use in class. One 2-hour session. Enrollment limited to 12. 


Monday | May 4 | 1-3pm | Brooklets Place Senior Center, Easton