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Are You Going Out Among ’Em?

That’s where the action is; that’s where you’ll see the sights

What did you inherit from your father?    
    Our Father’s Day question makes a readable story, as you’ll find. Can you resist answering it yourself? Digging, for better or worse, into the roots from which you’ve grown?
    When I went digging, I heard my father ask me What’s cooking on Duval Street?
    It was a joke because, at four or five, the biggest action I was likely to find on the main street of the old-fashioned island of Key West was at the five-and-dime store.
    Yet now, all these years later, Gene Martin’s interest in the action remains alive in me. Who knows? It might even be one of the reasons I chose my husband.
    He still hears grandfather H. Ray Fluegel, of Mackinaw, Illinois, asking, Billy, are you going out among ’em?
    Out among ’em was where the action was, our forebearers knew. You saw the sights on Duval Street.
    As reporters, Bill and I spend a lot of time on one incarnation or another of Duval Street, where sights are plenty.
    We’ve seen some sights this past week.
    As soon as last week’s paper was out and I could turn off the lights, Lambrecht and I rendezvoused at Historic London Town and Garden’s Privateer Party. The loot, on this perfect night in June, was hefty. “We think we passed the $30,000 mark,” executive director Donna Ware said of the fundraising. Much of that bounty came from sponsors and big donors, including the 13 caterers and many beverage sellers who not only satisfied the appetites of the throng but also gave money.
    Live and silent auctions swelled the total, and that’s where I — along with a lot of other guests — got into trouble. Desirables ranged from autographed minor-league baseballs and bats to silver oyster forks to an airplane lunch outing to a catered cocktail party at London Town’s William Brown House.
    When spirits are high, it’s hard to stop bidding, especially at a live auction, as auctioneer John Whitman — and the Mermaid Society members who chose the live auction items — knew well.
    In the live auction were two of the mermaids we wrote about in anticipation of the event: (bayweekly.com/articles/good-living/article/mermaids-pirates-privateers-and-you).
    With a bidding card bearing my birth year, how could I help but bid? That’s what I told my husband after I’d won the right to take home Lee Boynton’s mermaid, painted from two live models, a woman and a fish. Kendyl Lawson’s mermaid went for the same price. We buyers were happy, and so was London Town.
    The next night, we got to see Congressman Steny Hoyer dance the Electric Slide in celebration of his birthday. That’s the kind of thing that goes on after the speeches at his annual picnic and fundraiser at Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville. “I’ve been doing the Electric Slide for 25 years,” Hoyer told me. You can watch a video of that online at bayweekly.com.
    On Sunday, we saw Hoyer — Senate President Mike Miller and Gov. Martin O’Malley, too — in shorts at Bernie Fowler’s 25th annual Patuxent River Wade-In. Those were memorable sights. But the real action was between Calvert County Commissioner Jerry Clark and O’Malley:
    Clark to O’Malley and assembled dignitaries:
    Gentlemen if we can’t fix the river with the firepower we have here today, how can we ever fix the Bay? We’re asking you to help us and do what you can … but I’m begging you for this river.
    O’Malley to Clark:
    I accept the spirit of your call to clean up this Patuxent, and I have a call to you and the people of the proud party of Lincoln. … When we do things like ask the people to pay another $2.50 a month in their flush fee so we can clean up the discharge from all of our Democratic and Republican toilets, we’d like some of your members to join us …
    Now I’m looking forward to new sights.
    Hope to see you at Corvettes on the Bay (read Jesse Furgurson’s story on page 8), where I have the fun of making the media award to my favorite car.
    The bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812 gets under way this week, too, with lots to do and the tall sight of ships to see. Events begin on Flag Day and continue for two years. Read 8 Days a Week to catch them as they come, starting this week with Star Spangled Sailabration in Baltimore and The War of 1812 in Anne Arundel County.
    In the words of my father, That’s what’s happening on Duval Street.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com