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Letter from the Editor (All)

The light is thin this time of year. But the sun shines bright enough on its rising and falling arc to gild everything in its path: windows, tree trunks, the marsala leaves of oaks, clouds and the heavens. That arc is brief, however, as we inch toward the darkest day of the year. On winter solstice, December 21, the sun gives us only nine hours and 28 minutes of light.
    Snatch the light while you can, my instincts tell me, so I watch the long dawn. Sitting through the late sunrises of these mornings — 7:20am on the solstice, Sunday — puts me on rush the rest of the short day. Even at solstice, darker mornings are still to come. This winter’s latest sunrise waits on the new year. Sunrise is 7:25am on Sunday, January 4.
    The sun’s long thin rays also light up human memory. Up in the treetops, the light show I saw this pre-solstice morning can’t be much different than a winter illumination seen by our prehistoric ancestors for whom the failing light was the biggest deal on Earth. What kinship that realization gives me, generation by generation in the march through time!
    This drive we feel to ward off the impending dark is nothing new. We who now walk the Earth use electricity as our strategic weapon, plugging in strands of lights all along the spectrum to shout take that! into the darkness.
    The darkest day, winter solstice, marks our turn to the bright side.
    So it’s all in the great weave of things that the celebrations of several great religious traditions converge at this time of year. Each welcomes the return of light; most, specifically the sun.
    America’s widespread Christmas celebration unites many traditions.
    For Christians everywhere, Christmas marks the birth of Christ, son of God. This celebration is the miracle of faith, the union of God with humankind bringing light to the world.
    The Christian tradition gives us Jesus born to Mary in Bethlehem, his birth marked by a brilliant star that marked the path the Three Kings followed to his manger.
    Santa Claus is likely an avatar of the god Odin transmuted into Old Man Winter and Father Christmas, Christianized by association with Saint Nicholas, a Turkish-born Greek Christian whose generosity and preternatural powers spread his reverence throughout Europe, from Russia to England.
    Evergreens are Norse icons as well, trees brought in and decorated to encourage the releafing of deciduous trees and the wreath, perhaps, originating as a circle of evergreen set afire and rolled downhill to lure back the sun.
    Days of parties with feasting, drinking and bonfires enliven every tradition, and on all sides gifts are given.
    Separate but similar is the Jewish celebration of Chanukah, a festival of lights honoring the miraculous endurance of the Temple lamp for eight days when its oil should have lasted only one. Hence the eight branches of the menorah and eight nights of festivities and gifts.
    Jews, Christians, pagans and sun-worshippers: With so many categories of faith, most of us can get into the swing of this season.
    We do at Bay Weekly, where it’s our tradition to illuminate your holidays with stories that turn up the light. This year Dotty Doherty takes her turn as our narrator, traveling to Germany to tell a story about the complex layering of history.
    On the lighter side, first-time contributor Dominic Laiti writes of Christmas trees, which can add their own complexities to our celebrations of comfort and joy.
    Santa Claus gets his story too, recounted by Michelle Steel, who shares her home with the real deal, who many readers of a certain age will recognize.
    More holiday fare is served by sportsman Dennis Doyle and Bay Gardener Dr. Frank Gouin.
    May your celebrations — of whatever — be merry and bright.
    We’ll see you next on December 24 with the Best of the Bay.

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

Many hearts out of hiding

“My heart in hiding. Stirred for a bird, — the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!” wrote poet Gerard Manley Hopkins of a hawk called the windhover.
    In the week since I wrote in Farewell to My Dog Moe, I’ve learned that dogs release many a heart from hiding. Your letters brought me joy, comfort and consolation by introducing me to your dogs, echoing my loss and sharing the stretch to find words for a relationship so intimately wordless. Here is what you’ve said, from far and wide:
    Diana and Jack Alkire, George and Linda Beechner, Soze and Boss: I read your special tribute to Moe aloud at our Friday family dinner. There was not a dry eye in the house. I’m pretty sure even the collie, Boss, teared up. It was a beautiful tribute to a great dog.
    Steve Carr: Moe was indeed a magical beast. There is something about a very large Lab, be they white or black, that captures our heart. I think it is their uncanny resemblance to their bear roots They are truly loving and loyal bears. All roly-poly fur and smiling affection. Moe was a born comedian. He was like a Miro painting or a Calder contraption. He instantly brought a smile. He was whimsical.
    I lost my best friend Baggins — a dog I actually helped deliver in a snowy Davidsonville basement — many, many years ago, and the loss still stings. I have been unable to take that leap of faith ever again.
    Ariel Brumbaugh: I’m sure the house feels empty without him shuffling around. He was a good dog friend to have in Fairhaven, and he will be missed.
    Erin Coik: Moe was always a welcomed surprise to see here at Family Auto and by far the happiest customer to ever walk through our doors.
    Clementine Fujimura: I lost my Mayday this summer and I miss her so much. I remember and continue to love all my dogs, in heaven and here.
    Leigh Glenn: Indeed, he was a magnificent creature and yes, an angel. Because he is an angel you know he’s never really gone and will always be at your side and in your dreams. Dogs certainly are special kinds of angels and you have been fortunate to be blessed by such dogged wings.
    Tom Hall: He was a great dog, wasn’t he? I’m sorry for your loss of such a pal.
    Nini Hamalainen: How fast the time flew by, but even in dog years it was short. Are humans allowed in dog heaven? Shoot, I don’t want to go anywhere else.
    Steve Hammalian: I just read your beautiful editorial on Moe. Having just lost my beautiful English setter Cleo just one month before this resonated deeply with my wife and me. You really depicted the day-to-day life with a dog just wonderfully. Thank you.
    Maureen Hudson and Gracie: My heart is aching for you. I know we all think it about our own dear dogs, but Moe was truly special: such a gentleman, and such a wonderful presence in our community.
    Barbara Malloy: Moe’s story left me tearful. I adopted my yellow Lab Sunshine at the pound when she was four months old. She was to be euthanized in two days. When my husband met Sunshine, it was love at first sight. They were inseparable for 16 happy active years. Kevin was a heart transplant recipient, and Sunshine would spend many naps with him nestled in the crook of his legs. I would tease him saying if anything ever happens to Sunshine, you will be right behind her. That’s exactly what happened. Sunshine passed away in August of 2010, and my dear husband followed two weeks later. Four years have gone by, but I can still hear my Kevin saying to Sunshine, want to go to McDonalds in the truck for a Big Mac? She would twirl and bark with glee. Oh how I miss them.
    Amy Kliegman: I wept as I read of Moe’s passing. He was a sweet boy who I will remember with great fondness. Just seeing his picture makes me smile. Losing a beloved dog is one of the hardest things in life. My heart is heavy for you, as I know you are feeling a great void. I’m sure he has taken a piece of your heart with him, as did Max, and maybe others before him.
    Sue and Steve Kullen: There will never be a boy better than Moe. He had the best life, as you guys made sure of that. He was a city dog, a country boy, loved the boat, subdued fish, loved the Bay and charmed everyone he met. He charted a grand course. He was one lucky dog. We all loved Moe. He will be missed.
    Doug Lashsley: We have never met, but I read your publication very frequently and could not help but send you a note after reading your tribute to Moe. My attention was first drawn to the photo and then the title of the tribute. It is so easy for me to identify with your feelings having owned labs all 63 years of my life, Chesey, Shiloh, Gambo, Swiss … all of them either yellow or chocolate and each with a personality, character and spirit that made it easy to see why they are partners for life. You provided such a simple yet powerful image of Moe and the dignity he achieved with age. I am sorry for your loss but can tell from the article that he gave you 10 lifetimes of pleasure and hope that’s the memory you treasure.
    Farley Peters: Moe was my friend, my boyfriend. He was one of the most social dogs I ever knew; hated to be left alone. He was always seeking out new friends, and you knew you were his when he nuzzled his head between your legs. Then all you had to do was hug him, love him and feed him, a willing task I will now sorely miss.
    Andy Schneider and Kathy Best: These damn dogs just fill our hearts with joy while they’re with us and then rip them out when they pass.
    Michelle Steel: I will miss Moe so much. He was such a dear, sweet friend to me. Rest in peace, Sweet Moe. There will never be another like you.
    Gail Gash Taylor: I have tears streaming down my face. They are not just dogs, cats or my horse companion of 18 years. They become part of our very being.
    Plus condolences from Sandy Anderson; Margie Bednarik; Mick and Cindy Blackistone; Sharon, Mike, Sarah, Mary and Cassie Brewer; Diane Burt; Kathy Gramp and Scott Smith; Juanita and Cliff Foust, Gail Martinez and Jack Brumbaug; Mark McCaig; Bob Melamud; Don Richardson; Kelly Schneider; Luanne Wimp Slayback; Carlos Valencia …

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

November 12, 2005 – November 29, 2014

Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
    I never expected the guardian angel of grade school prayer to be corporeal. Certainly not a dog.
    The stiff fur of a yellow Labrador retriever covered 125 pounds of vibrant muscle. His chest, where the fur whirled in vortex, was broad and deep. Foot pods were thick and black, indifferent to ice and stone. Lower legs were strong with bone, springy with tendon. Lips black as pods fluttered in elastic opposition to podal density. Quivering whiskers rose from black pores. Ears were soft as silk purses, eyes big, brown and soulful — an angelic giveaway.
    Moe was pure creature, the far end of the spectrum from pure spirit. Yet he did guardian angel to a T.
    By my side? Twenty-four/seven.
    Moe was my dictionary for the words dogged and hounded.
    I have been dogged. I have been hounded. You do not need to hear the trumpet bay of beagles, bassets and blue ticks to experience hounding. A dog who is yours has no need to track you like a fugitive. He has you. Moe hounded with big brown eyes, deep breath and proximity.
    I came to morning not at the alarm clock’s siren summons but at Moe’s silent hounding, head on the side of my bed.
    Dog presence softly told the hours of my day: time to eat … time for a walk … time to play in creaturely abandon … time to be creaturely companions.
    Waking time, breakfast time, waiting time. Moe was a study in patience. He waited through all the diversions that stood between one place and the next.
    “Come on,” I’d say, “we’re going now.” Still he’d lie, giant head between shapely paws, until key in hand I opened the door. Only then would he rise, joint by joint until the whole dog stood, stretched nose to tail and trotted into whatever came next.
    For about 1,700 of Moe’s days, what came next was getting into the car, which for Moe was the lifelong effort of a hundred-year-old dog. My car is  small coupe, so he squeezed into the back seat like yarn threading a small-eyed needle.
    I calculate that he and I drove 100,000 miles together in my little Audi TT. Nine years of Moe time is clocked in its fabric, leather seats worn raw, dog hair woven into carpet, drool stains marking seat back and window ledge. You might have seen us together. He made, I’m told, a memorable sight, with his big head out the window. Parked, I’d often open the hatch to give him air. Resting his head on the seat back, he’d put on the look of the world’s saddest dog as he awaited my return.
    Moe was my assistant at four Bay Weekly offices, one in Deale and three in Annapolis. (He also had a Washington, D.C., office, where he assisted husband Bill, but that is their story.) At work, his job was not demanding. Mostly, he’d lie on his cushion under my desk, waiting for lunch, for biscuit, for walk, for the ride home, for whatever tedium and pleasure those hours would bring.
    The best of the pleasures were wild romps through the woods with holy terrier Nipper, also dead this dog-bereft year.
    Ever this day be at my side … Yes, Moe was.
    Moe’s presence was mostly insinuative. But it could be intrusive. He could sound a clarion bark that shook pictures off the walls, deer out of brush and souls out of their hiding place.
    As my guard, he was potentially formidable. I never locked my car when Moe was in it, and seldom closed the windows. Who would enter a confined space occupied by a 125-pound likely growling creature with inch-long canine teeth?
    I stepped out of the office into secluded lots at all hours, for Moe stood between me and whatever might lurk in the shadows. I slept through the midnight creaks of an empty house fearless of all intruders but ghosts. Moe guarded our house — and all inside — with authority.
    But Moe was more than a guard dog. He gave us the light and guidance I was taught to expect from my guardian angel, even one appearing in such unexpected form.
    To whom God’s love commits us here …
    If those words mean what they say, do they not promise the constancy of God’s love in day-in, day-out presence that is, if not intrusive, perhaps dogged?
    If God’s love is immanent in all creation, it may not be so far a leap of faith to find divine outreach in a dog.
    Some force for which I can find no better explanation emanated from Moe. The very sight of that big dog broke down the barrier of conventions that separate us from one another. Beautiful women kissed this dog as if they were princesses and he their frog. D.C. suits fell to their tailored knees to embrace him. Old men buried their fingers in his fur and wept for their lost dogs. Dog lovers were the biggest but not the only hearts open to Moe. Friends or strangers, loners and gregarians, people fell for Moe.
    “He’s just a dog,” Bill or I would say.
    But many people saw more in him.
    “He’s a magnificent creature,” a last-days friend pronounced. For even as brain cancer advanced, Moe kept his magic.
    For the nine years that were Moe’s eternal present, I felt that magic every day, so it needed no words.
    On Moe’s death, it found words.
    All the days he was at our side, our lives were lighted, guarded, ruled (dog walk is the unbreakable rule) and guided.
    Just a dog opened our hearts.

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

That’s what all these Odd Fellows are up to

There are worse things to keep bumping into, like the doorframe that bruises your toe. The good works of civic organizations were my run-in. They cornered me at every turn, surrounding me, until I had no alternative. This week’s feature story — Get Involved: Local Civic Groups Help Make the World a Better Place — is the result of those confrontations.
    Lions, Moose and Elks: What are all these Odd Fellows up to? That was my question.
    Odd Fellows really exist; we could find trace but no specifics on one branch of the British fraternal organization in Chesapeake Country. Wish we could tell you more.
    What we do know is that theirs is the kind of name these organizations gave themselves back in their early days, when fellowship and good times were more the point than good works. Hence the Elks — the oldest by our reckoning, dating back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era — began as the Jolly Corks.
    Kiwanis we were able to trace to a different origin, though the choice of a Native American word remains a mystery. As do the animal names, Lions, Moose and Elks. Certainly those animals are big stately models, with distinguishing male features of antlers or mane. Both elk and moose have North American ranges. How and why those totems were chosen we long to know. If you know, tell us.
    Interesting too is the coincident founding of so many of these civic organizations, just about a century ago. With the exception of the Elks (1868), Knights of Columbus (1882) and Moose (1888), all were founded between 1905 and 1928, with five in the century’s second decade. Put it down, I think, to one more phenomenon rising from the developing American social conscience of those years, the same that gave us conservation, women voters and prohibition, which began as a campaign for family integrity.
    More interesting than the long histories and odd names of these civic organizations are the human hours committed to good works here at home and in the wider world.
    I keep bumping into good works. Here are ­outreaches going on right now, each one needing you to reach its charitable goal:
    • Severn River Lions Club Fruit Sale: Order by Dec. 6 for fresh Florida navel oranges and ruby red grapefruit plus Georgia Elliot pecans. Pickup Saturday Dec. 13 at Severna Park High School (9am-1pm) Order: www.severnriverlions.org/fruit.htm.
    • South Arundel Lions Citrus Sale: Order by Dec. 8 for fresh Florida navel oranges and ruby red grapefruit plus locally made sausage and Virginia sweet potatoes. Pickup Saturday Dec. 20 at K-Mart parking lot, Edgewater. Order: 410-703-3773.
    • Rotary Club of South Anne Arundel County Lights of Kindness: Admire and vote on Christmas trees sponsored and decorated by local businesses and displayed at Homestead Gardens Dec. 4-7. Sponsor a tree to support a charity of your choice: Anthony Clark: 443-822-1606.

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

Give thanks and get ready

It’s a good thing the winter holidays start with a feast. You’re going to need all your energy to keep up with the oncoming season.
    Thanksgiving, only a week hence, is a command performance throughout America. Anticipation and anxiety pair as we prepare for the communal feasting demanded by our native holiday.
    Have we the time, energy and skill to manage a multi-course menu? Or had we better eat out or carry in? The Bay Weekly family spans the options, with some cooking … others going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house … some dining out … and others carrying out grocery-store feasts of turkey, ham and roast beef — each with its side dishes and desserts.
    Even more complex, can we manage the dynamics of our families?
    Who’s coming to dinner? Ask that innocent question, and you’ll hear stories that make you classify your own family in the ranks of the nearly sane.
    I’ve celebrated a whole lot of Thanksgivings. Most have approached with their fair share of trepidation and doubt. A few lived up to my worst fears. There was the Thanksgiving when … I could tell you that story, but you could tell me your own, just as traumatic.
    Yet I look forward to this year’s feast with hope, encouraged by the wisdom of writer Caiti Sullivan, whose Thanksgivings are far fewer than mine.
    “The food on the Thanksgiving table is a bounty to share while celebrating family, friends and the joys of life,” she writes in this week’s feature story, Loving Your Leftovers. “Preparing the feast is a labor of love among us.”
    That’s just what Thanksgiving is about. What better way there than affirming her words in our hearts?
    As well as a good attitude, Caiti brings us six recipes for transforming Thanksgiving leftovers into a continuing feast.
    Leftovers, after all, are one of the few certainties we who cook the Thanksgiving feast can depend on. With all that’s going on, we can’t be sure the turkey will be moist, the gravy lump-free, the guests timely or Uncle Max sober. But there will be leftovers. To that end, I buy a 20-plus-pound turkey for eight or 10 people, and I collect a tall stack of carryout containers. My family and my guests have read Caiti’s recipes, and we’re all eager to eat them.

Christmas Is Coming
    Then, before you’ve worked your way through the leftovers, begins the countdown toward Christmas. It’s a season worth savoring whatever your faith.
    The fun starts Thursday, Nov. 20, when you can Trot for a Turkey through Watkins Park’s Winter Festival of Lights or walk your dog through Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park.
    In this issue, Bay Weekly keeps you up with the fun in Season’s Bounty: Your Essential Guide to Holiday Happenings. Illuminations, Shops and Sales, Santa Sightings, Holidays at the Theater, Skate Your Way into the Holidays and a day-by-day calendar — plus dozens of advertisers offering wondrous things — stuff its 48 pages with seasonal opportunity for you, the kids, family, friends and visitors. Open it up today and fill your calendar from ours.
    Without Season’s Bounty, you won’t know what you’re missing.

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

Bay Weekly reports on how restoration is working

If native oysters rebound in the Chesapeake, it will be a miracle. But not a mystery. A clear chain of cause and effect will have led the way.
    First came the will, then the way.
    Over 30 years — even a century, it could be argued — plenty was going on to restore Chesapeake oysters. For all that was tried, nothing worked — or worked on a big enough scale to fight off the forces working against the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica.
    Hopes were high, results scarce.
    Yet will was gathering.
    Five years ago, an Oyster Advisory Commission convened by Gov. Martin O’Malley got to the bottom of the problem: The few oysters left couldn’t support themselves and an oyster economy. Bad news.
    Yet that bad news may be turning into good news.
    Maryland decided to go all out for oysters, with money and resources. The state’s Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan laid out a 10-point strategy.
    In Washington, at about the same time, President Barack Obama made Chesapeake restoration an executive priority. The feds laid down the standards and promised funding. States had to come up with the plans.
    That was 2009 and 2010.
    Now Maryland’s Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan is firing on all cylinders. Federal agencies, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, big independent players like Chesapeake Bay Foundation, civic groups and lots of everyday people — from waterfront homeowners to school kids — are all traveling down the restoration road.
    For the past two years, the General Assembly has topped DNR’s $2 million annual appropriation with almost $8 million for oyster restoration in two tributaries, Harris Creek and the Little Choptank River. That’s the starting point. Ten tributaries restored by 2025 is the latest Chesapeake Bay Agreement goal.
    At least two federal agencies, NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers, do their own big spending to restore oysters in the Bay. The Corps’ annual budget, for ­example, is roundly $2 million.
    That’s some of the investment on three of the points of the 10-point plan:
1. Focus on targeted restoration strategies to achieve ecological and economic goals
2. Expand the sanctuary program
5. Rehabilitate oyster bar habitat
    Four years in, there’s plenty to report in terms of work done — and some successes achieved.
    Will it work to restore native oysters?
    “It is working on a small scale right now,” says DNR’s Eric Weissberger. “Will we see take-off on a larger scale, reaching a tipping point where it takes off on its own? It’s way too early to tell.”
    Starting next year, a new Republican governor will set his own course. A look back at Robert Ehrlich’s four years, 2001 through 2004 — when planting alien Asian oysters in the Bay seemed the last, best solution — reminds us just how different that could be.
    Will we keep it up?
    First comes the will, then the way.
    Read on for the first Bay Weekly report on what we’re doing to restore oysters and how it’s working.
    Writer Bob Melamud starts from the bottom up with shell, reporting on oyster recycling and revisiting the Harris Creek Oyster Sanctuary.

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

It takes good eyes to encompass a world of wonders

Could there be more out there than meets the eye?    
    It may be so, just like it was impossible to predict the forces that led to this week’s wave election.
    On faith or evidence, the world is full of believers in forces unseen, seldom seen and selectively seen.
    Believers in God and gods live in a universe populated by alternative species. Classified with military precision, their supernatural numbers range from the Supreme Being, or Beings, down to flitting sprites and cute little cherubim and putti. As with mortal armies, there are legions of both good guys and bad guys. Devils have their own hierarchy, and names, just as angels do.
    Divine beings above and below are recognized by faith, though lucky — or not so lucky — mortals among us may be selected for encounters. Who knows when the devil might appear with a bargain we had best refuse? Is he or she waiting in the wings for the presidential election two years hence?
    Far better to meet Mary mother of God updating her appearances at Guadalupe and Fatima.
    Other kinds of beings — who knows who or what — animate searchers of the sky to amplify their sight and hearing, even travel into space in hopes of alien encounters.
    Ghost hunters, as we wrote last week, are just as determined if not quite so technologically sophisticated as pollsters.
    Artists and writers give as much attention to these parallel universes — plus worlds of giants, dwarfs and leprechauns — as to our plain old ordinary one. Who knows what such fantasticists really see — and what we don’t see.
    Worlds out of sight are close at hand as well as distant in space and place. Ordinary Earth is layered with life beyond plain sight. Has every bird in the Amazon forest been seen and classified? Every life form in the deep, dark sea? Every bacteria and virus longing to infect us?
    There’s way more to the world of the small than meets the eye. As numerous as angels in the heavens or stars in the sky are life forms that we’d never see without wonder glasses that magnify our eyesight so we can peer into their secret minuscule worlds. Cells are multiplying, atoms spinning all around us.
    Even the leaves on the trees are shaking with surprises. Summer’s green fades, revealing yellow, orange, red and purple that were there, invisibly, all along.
    What else in plain sight are we missing?
    Election Day plus one holds other orders of revelation. Pollsters have devised multi-million-dollar methodologies in the political science of reading human preference. Yet how we vote remains a morning-after surprise.
    (Good thing, for how many would run if pollsters certified the winner on Day One?)
    The news of November 5 is that True Blue Maryland has a Republican governor. Throughout the state and Chesapeake Country, dark horses have won and favorites lost.
    In such a world of wonders, why shouldn’t there be more fish in the sea? In our great Chesapeake Bay, is Chessie impossible? I haven’t seen the creature that goes by that name, but many have. This week, when the impossible comes to be, we offer you four decades of testimony from Chessie sighters, brought up to date by Chris Gardner’s most recent sighting this August.
    In additional homage to what we may not see, our story is told by the ghost of Bill Burton.

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

Meet ghosts, Volvo ocean racers and a 1,900-mile runner in this week’s paper

If ghosts do haunt historic places, they may view ghost hunters of Melissa Barba’s ilk with the same distaste long-time celebrities feel for paparazzi. Two or three centuries into the job of haunting, a new generation comes hunting with intrusive paraphernalia: flashlights, cameras, camcorders and voice recorders. So, if you follow Barba’s instructions in this week’s feature, “If There Be Spirits, Now’s the Time to Find Them,” don’t be surprised if the ghosts of Point Lookout, William Paca House and Jefferson Patterson Park are uncooperative if not downright irritable.
    Haunted as historic places may be, you don’t need to go far — in time or place — to find ghosts. They’re rising up from the earth, clinging to trees and shrubbery, blowing in the wind. Visit most any neighborhood in Chesapeake Country or across America, and you find them. Expressive celebrants of the holy day and holiday of Halloween have hung ghosts, skeletons and the popular roll of dead or undead characters in their yards and driveways.
    This year, a neighbor on Fairhaven Road has bedecked a long drive and front yard with gauzy orange bows as well as white plastic bag ghosts à la friendly Casper. Morning and night, it calls to me. I have driven in for a closer look.
    For I appreciate such efforts, in every form. Even huge spiders, giant illuminated pumpkins and inflated Frankensteins are okay by me this time of year.
    ’Tis, afterall, the season.
    As Mother Nature’s children fall and flee our world, human natures long to pierce the mystery. Ghosts seem to be calling to us from the nether world. Or is it we calling them?
    Whoever’s calling who, the meeting of the worlds of the living and dead is a celebrated tradition this time of year. Its timing is rooted in sky as well as earth, balanced on a nice celestial ellipsis midway between the autumnal equinox, Sept. 22, and winter solstice, Dec. 21.
    The celebration goes by many names. Samhain was the sacred festival of Celts and Druids. Hallowe’en, our festival, is the evening, or e’en, of the Nov. 1 Christian feast All Saints Day, honoring the good souls who’ve gone to heaven. November 2, the following day, is All Souls Day, honoring the not-so-good dead earning their way into heaven. In Mexico, the same day is the celebrated Day of the Dead, which has icons scarier than ours, including calaveras, effigies of human skulls often made of sugar.
    The Day of the Dead, I’m told, is ideally feted in cemeteries where your living and dead families get together for a high-spirited reunion.
    My most recent family are buried in Illinois and St. Louis, and earlier generations I don’t know where, so my Day of the Dead celebrating won’t take me to their resting places this year. In plenty of fine Chesapeake County cemeteries, historic St. James Parish in Lothian for one, I could meet up with old friends. Other dear ones lie not so far away in Arlington National Cemetery.
    But if ghosts are real, do I need to travel to find them? Won’t any so motivated find me? Maybe our own ghosts are the spirits that give us goose bumps this time of year.

    Ghosts are not the whole story, even this time of year. In this week’s paper, you’ll encounter superhuman and well as supernatural phenomena.
    The Volvo Ocean Race, now nearly three-quarters of the 6,500 nautical miles from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa, returns to this week’s paper, introduced by Steve Carr, who’s chronicled three earlier races in our pages.
    Here, too, you’ll meet near-superhuman Al DeCesaris, the Annapolitan who biked cross country last year and is now running the whole East Coast to help find a cure for his niece and other kids suffering Sturge-Weber syndrome.
    Read on for these and all your favorite Bay Weekly features.

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

Why your vote matters

To a lot of us, Election Day means no more than Push-the-Peanut Day.
    A record low of 21 percent of Marylanders voted in June’s Primary Election. General Elections about double that percent.
    That indifference I don’t quite get, for I love to vote. Election Day is as patriotic a date to me as the Fourth of July. True, punching my ballot, even for the candidates I most believe in, isn’t as much fun as parades and fireworks. But I feel pretty special exercising the right won for me not only by spunky rebels in britches but also by long-skirted Suffragettes. My grandmother marched so I can vote.
    Patriotism is one reason I vote — but not the only one.
    I vote because the people we elect have huge influence over our lives, for better or worse, and I’d prefer it be for the better. From statewide candidates like governor to local ones like North Beach mayor and city council, they’ll be making and enforcing the rules we have to live by.
    For that reason, Election Day amounts to more than peanuts for all of us.
    We give particular power to the people we elect to the General Assembly. They infiltrate our lives in all sorts of ways, even putting their hands in our pockets as they dictate the taxes we pay. In turn, we depend on them to give us value for those taxes.
    Interestingly, for most of us who live in this part of Chesapeake County, delegates are also the people we can hold most accountable to represent us. It’s a simple fact of numbers. Anne Arundel County’s half a million citizens are represented by only seven council people. (Annapolitans and citizens of tiny Highland Beach do better; incorporated as towns, they elect mayors and councils). Delegates, on the other hand, are broadly accountable to only about 40,000 of us. Given the number of citizens who develop the relationship, it can be pretty intimate.
    That same close relationship holds in Calvert, though that county’s form of government also gives its 91,000 citizens five commissioners to represent countywide interests. Citizens of the towns of Chesapeake Beach and North Beach have local representation, as well.
    In this week’s issue, you’ll be meeting many of the people seeking control over and responsibility for your life.
    We reached out to Anne Arundel and Calvert’s applicants for top state jobs — senator and delegate — in the General Assembly. Twenty-eight replied.
    We asked one question: How do you use the Bay, and what will you do to keep this great resource alive and well?
    Our readers, we told them, value the Chesapeake as our environmental, cultural and economic heart — and they vote their values.
    Candidates who answered our question seem to agree. From tax-overboard tea partiers to tax-and-spend liberals, they professed dedication to the Chesapeake and its restoration. Over Bay Weekly’s 21 years, Bay restoration has risen to orthodoxy.
    Over the years, the General Assembly has voted Bay values in hundreds of ways huge and small, by reducing the polluting flow of nutrients, both nitrogen and phosphate, from our sinks and toilets, water purification plants and septic systems, farm fields and yards, roof tops, roads and parking lots. That work takes money, and they’ve often made hard decision on where the money will come from.
    Will the people we elect this time do even more, as Bay restoration demands? They all say so, and they all sound good. So how can you foresee the actions that will follow the words?
    Look for specifics, and be wary of candidates who suggest that Bay problems are somebody else’s fault. Bay restoration is a job for which we each have first-person-singular responsibility.
    This feature gives you grounds to judge the Bay bona fides of job seekers whose prospects depend on you — and more.
    You’ll also meet these candidates as people seeking your trust. It’s harder to tar all politicians as scoundrels — harder to use that I-don’t-vote excuse — when you get closer to them as individuals.
    Read on, and I promise you will.
    I’m looking forward to November 4, when I’ll wear my i voted sticker as proudly as others wear their American flag lapel pins.
    I hope you’ll join me at the polls on Election Day.
    Or, if it’s more convenient, vote early. Early voting runs eight days, from Thursday, October 23 through Thursday, October 30, both weekdays and weekends, from 10am until 8pm. (Find early voting at www.elections.state.md.us/voting/early_voting_sites.html.)

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

Temptation awaits at the Boat Show

We Americans love progress. We love to see how technology is surpassing all past inventions to create a new, better and brighter future. Even more than seeing it, we love hands-on exploration. Invite us to put our best foot forward and step right in, and here we come.
    No wonder we’re drawn like magnets by the U.S. Boat Shows — which for two weeks every October transform Annapolis into a world’s fair of marine technology.
    We not only see what’s new but touch it. We not only touch it but step aboard. We not only step aboard but sink into the cushions, inspect the engine, open the cupboards and even measure the comfort of the head. These boat shows are full sensory experiences.
    To the Sailboat Show last week or the Powerboat Show this Thursday through Sunday, we go hungry.
    With everything new under the sun before us, what we’ve already got pales. The millionaire owner of the Hinckley Talaria 43 will be eying the 52-foot upgrade this week.
    Every one of us who exchanges $18 for the wristband that allows passage into this expo will be in the same no-longer-quite-satisfactory boat. We’ll be checking out the next step up. Exhibitors feed our desire, typically offering a range of models in every brand so we can dream bigger.
    The fisherman committed to Parkers will find six models, ranging from 18 feet to 33. Not to be outdone, Grady White offers five fishing boats, from 23 to 33 feet. Prefer Sea Hunts? Six boats are coming to the show, from 19 to 25 feet.
    The stages of temptation are even worse for yachters: Beneteaus from 44 to 51 feet; Jeanneaus from 40 to 58 feet; Princess yachts from 46 to 72.
    Speed lovers will find eight Formulas, from 38 to 48 feet. Tug lovers who want to cruise through life’s waters encounter just as much temptation. From a 33-plus-foot Nordic starter tug, you can upgrade your cruising home to 39 or even 44 feet.
    Is a Nordic still your love boat? With brands strung out on floating docks for easy comparison, you’ll see the Nordic stacks up to American Tug and the Rangers. Maybe you’ll fall in love all over again.
    This show lures us to better as well as bigger. Bayliners are fine; SeaRays finer. Wouldn’t a Back Cove be more commodious than your Albin? Wouldn’t a Saber be better still?
    If you count covetousness a sin, the confessional had better be your next stop after the U.S. Boat Show.
    I’ll be sinning in all these occasions. But what I’m really looking for is the boat that calls me out of my ­pretty-good present into a bigger, better, bright future that’s beyond my imagining.
    A couple of years back, the Eco Trawler 33 nearly reeled me in; husband Bill had to take the checkbook out of my hand and lead me away.
    That boat’s back. Will I feel the same this year? I can’t wait to see.
    A rational decision-maker like Bob Melamud, who previews the Powerboat Show for you in this week’s paper, can enter these gates alone. He knows what he wants — luckily for him it isn’t a boat — and what he’s willing to pay.
    Me? I don’t dare go alone. If you’re impulsive, you had better not either.
    No matter who you are, I bet you leave the show with at least one wonder of technology, one hallmark of progress.
    Maybe you won’t be cruising home when the show ends Sunday in the boat of your dreams. But just maybe this weekend you’ll buy that smart fish finder that’s sure to improve your catch. Or the perfect mop you’ve been seeking all these years. Or the boat wax guaranteed to shine through a whole season.
    If you walk out empty handed, I want to know how you did it. If you don’t, I want to know what you bought. Send me your boat show experiences at editor@bayweekly.com.

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