T-Acadie on Southern Tour #2

Before playing the Frederick, MD dance, we visited the National Arboretum. WOW! The azaleas were in full bloom. 15,000 azalea bushes on one hillside, all different shades of red, fuchsia, salmon, orange, yellow, and white and various combinations. I don't know how many different cultivars there were among them. We only had time to explore the azalea gardens, the perennials, and a little of the herb gardens before we had to head on our way. After a couple of days of feeling out of our element on the roads, we finally adjusted to the heavier and slower rush-hour traffic and arrived in time to find our favorite sub shop - “Luke's Pizza” before we had to be at the hall. Bill was delighted to find that this was a community of exceptional dancers – they could do pretty much anything he could throw at them. Jim Hoyt, the dance organizer, was his usual friendly and helpful self. His son, Matt, has joined him at the sound board and they did their best to give us and the dancers what we all needed in a decidedly sound-unfriendly hall. We missed seeing Boe and Mary Lou, the usual hosts of the apres-dance bash at Boe's music store, because they were out of town, but Jim (Joseph) set us up with friends of his from Phippsburg, ME, as hosts that night. Bridgette and Don summer in Maine and have a beautiful home in Maryland the rest of the year. Bridgette is from France, and has promised to help us this summer in our quest to learn to speak French. It was a real treat to stay there and get to visit with them and meet their son, Thibeault, and his fiance. Because she is from South Africa, Thibeault gave her a calf when he proposed to her. There was a lot of talk about how that calf was going to get raised in suburban Maryland! Hearing about Thibeault's program with young people was even more exciting than the calf, though. He has started a program (called B-More) to bring kids with different cultural backgrounds together through playing sports. There are 15 kids each from groups including Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Hispanic youth, inner-city blacks, and... maybe a few others I'm not remembering. The teams are chosen by counting off so that the cultures are mixed and the kids learn to work together in a safe and fun environment. He has done similar programs with great success in Ireland between Catholic and Protestant youths and in Africa between Tutsi and Zulu youths. More than anything else, it shows the kids and their families that there is another, non-violent path they can follow in spite of their cultural differences and gives them hope that things can change. What a needed program this is in so many places!

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