Chesapeake Country Carries On
Back to normal.
In the aftermath of a tragedy, this oft-heard phrase doesnt have quite the right ring.
After trauma, the regularity of everyday life becomes both sweet and insignificant. In one moment, we might cling with relief to the absorbing routine of getting ready for the school day, keeping up with the laundry, facing grueling rush-hour traffic.
But perhaps, as we survey the nameless faces in the packed-in cars crawling alongside us, we remember. How our nation stopped in its tracks. And rush-hour, the white load and the breakfast dishes suddenly lose their meaning.
Normal will never be the same again and, though wed like to get back there, we know we wont.
Like the rest of the nation, were carrying on here in Chesapeake Country. Mother Nature comforted us with an early serving of crisp, clear fall, and under her blue skies, a queen was crowned, a candidate threw his hat into the ring, a community got together, hundreds of neighbors gathered in solidarity in the Twin Beaches and star-spangled banners flying all around remind us what it means to live in the land of the brave.
Were carrying on in Chesapeake Country. Heres how.
A Queen is Crowned
photographs by Debbie Wolford
Last week Jillian Locklear was but a contestant, one of 10 lovely, smart and talented young women vying to become a queen. In the heat of competition, as many candidates do, she made a rash promise:
If I am crowned fair queen, my first endeavor will be to master a good hog call.
Now, the new Anne Arundel County Fair Queen, fresh in her role, has one regret.
I didnt make it to the hog-calling event because I was at the pie-eating contest, lamented the St. Marys high school senior.
But I had so much fun at the fair, I didnt miss it too much, she said.
Locklear, a Talent Machine Company veteran who hopes to study musical theater and youth ministry in college, clinched the contest by answering a randomly chosen final question, What is the most important value a person can have?
Locklears winning answer was trust; the value of the week at the fair, however, may have been patriotism.
Most of the events of the 2001 Anne Arundel County Fair which opened just a day after the destruction of the World Trade towers began with a moment of silent prayer or reflection, then the national anthem and God Bless America.
We wanted people to come out and enjoy themselves, said fair organizer Marilyn Holmes. But you cant forget the things that happened this week. National pride is very important right now.
This years crowd topped last years, with over 33,000 full of national and local pride coming out for the rides, contests, and animals.
Meeting the little kids was the best part for me, said Queen Locklear. And I couldnt be too disappointed about the hog-calling because I won fourth place in the pie-eating contest.
It didnt matter that I couldnt hear the speakers from my spot, says Pat Kirby, of North Beach. We were gathering there to make a statement. Just being there in the crowd made me feel better.
Kirby joined some hundreds of neighbors the estimates range from 500 to 2,500 Saturday, September 15 at the unfinished Veterans Park in Chesapeake Beach. Passing their light around, the members of the group raised their candles in memory of those lost last week. Similar vigils united communities across the nation.
News of the gathering spread by word of mouth, e-mail, fliers, cable-access television and a sign posted on the corner of Routes 260 and 261.
I cant even remember where I heard about it, says Kirby. But I just knew I had to be there.
Hundreds felt just the same way. They parked wherever they could and walked in quiet, contemplative groups to the Bayfront park. They listened to the reflections of mayors and ministers, a congressman, a commissioner and a senator. They raised their voices in patriotic and spiritual tunes. In a closing motion of solidarity, all those hundreds raised their candles high in the air.
It was an overwhelming turnout in terms of patriotism and community. It made you proud to be a part of it, said Chesapeake Beach Mayor Gerald Donovan, who saw the sprawling gathering from the front.
From where I was, way in back says Kirby, it was so beautiful, so moving.
Southern Maryland Still Tastes Good
It seemed the best of all possible times, looking out over a sparkling Bay reflecting the skys most optimistic blue, with no more cares in the world than the length of the line between us and our favorite taste of Southern Maryland.
Babies toddled and kids rushed into Kids Court to bounce up to the moon, spin like the stars on the Ferris wheel, fall under the spell of magic, try their hands at winning prizes and look in awe at the tailed and scaly neighbors of Chesapeake Country.
Kids kept their innocence, but their parents knew better. They were carrying a heavy burden as they carried on. When the firemans boot and police bucket came their way, they lightened the burden, emptying their pockets of $1,000 for New Yorks finest.
Southern Marylands finest in the realm of taste was a streamlined, if satisfying group. Having lost a chunk of their competition to the chaos of the past week, the remaining contenders bulked up their menus to the pleasure of the crowd of 1,800.
And bulk was the key for some, as the ballots show.
A whole roasted pig by Mr. Cs BBQ of Herrington by the Bay Catering walked off figuratively with the Best Display award. Best Overall was Deales Olde South Catering, who presented their own spicy suckling along with fresh fruit and cheese, and honey baked ham, which garnered the Peoples Choice award. Anne Arundel Community College culinary students deserve extra credit for being named this years Southern Maryland Favorite for their crab, corn and potato chowder. Calypso Bay, in Tracys Landing, got points for creativity, winning Most Unique for their build-your-own-burger table.
On the entertainment stage, emcee John Luskey organized a show with patriotic appeal.
Like everybody in America, were affected, said Luskey. We went ahead and enjoyed our taste of Southern Maryland because if we dont carry on, they win.
So to live music from Orlando Phillips and the Satin Doll Trio, John Luskey added songs to touch tender hearts. His bass player, Anthony Wellington, played his powerful two-handed solo of America the Beautiful. Friend Keyona Taylor joined them on stage to close with God Bless America.
A Candidate Throws His Hat into the Ring
Peter Perry wants to work for your future. He just didnt think it would be so hard to get there from here. Still, he figured hed have a lot of ground to cover in his drive to succeed John Klocko as county councilman for Anne Arundel Countys 7th District. So, even with terrorism casting its long shadow, hed better get at it.
Im starting a year early because I want to come out to your neighborhoods to talk with you, Perry told the gathering of some hundred well-wishers in the sun-dappled woods of his sons home in Harwood. He and his wife Helen, Harwood residents for 23 years, live across the street.
Just which neighborhoods those will be, neither Perry nor anybody else quite knows. Following the 10-year cycle of the Census, the Anne Arundel County Council districts will be redrawn. District 7 will run from the Patuxent River to Chesapeake Bay, largely below the South River. It may or may not still hold Crofton and parts of Crownsville. Either way, its a vast territory.
Perry, an astrophysicist turned tree farmer and community activist, got to know it all, he said, as a citizen planner sitting on the South County Small Area Planning Committee.
In Perrys own neighborhood a rural-suburban region speckled with some heavy industry heavy trucks driving to and from a rubble fill have long been an issue. Citizens were unhappy, Perry remembered, but business needed to exist. Virginia Clagett, then chair of the county council, put the parties together in a room, Perry said. She locked the door and said dont come out until you agree. Delegate Clagett introduced Perry at his September 16 kick-off.
Each community in the sprawling district has its own issue. In a year of twice-monthly meetings with the Small Area Planning Committee, Perry says he got to know the regions diverse ideas, hopes and dreams. And, he says, he got more experience in getting past conflict to consensus.
We had to bring all that together so we can move into the future with something were all happy with, said Perry, who hopes to do more of the same as councilman.
A Community Gets Together
In Annapolis oldest planned subdivision, friends and neighbors gathered as always this time of year for the annual Murray Hill community picnic. Clear skies shone down on the crowd, well over one hundred. Were the devastation in New York and Washington not so fresh in peoples minds and conversations, it might have been like so many picnics from years past.
But the long shadows of September 11 stopped no one from having a good time. Food and drink were plentiful, good company was abundant. There was face painting for the kids, many of whom proudly chose to wear the American flag. Games for the kids, like the three-legged race and sack races, provided fun for the young ones and amusement for the watching adults.
Every year planners of the Murray Hill picnic schedule a rain date. So this years neighborhood picnic could have been postponed, even canceled.
The crowd seemed a little smaller than in previous years, but we came and left early, said Penny Evans who has enjoyed at least 10 past Murray Hill picnics.
The last thing we want to do is stop our plans, Evans said. I remember as a child in World War II, people were terrified. But nobody stopped doing things like getting together and entertaining. Because if we sit at home and cower on our couches, then theyve won.
In years past, the Murray Hill picnic has drawn local politicians out canvassing for votes. This year was no different, as mayoral candidates Herbert McMillan and Ellen Moyer worked the crowd. Delegate Virginia Clagett, whose district is farther south, made an appearance as well, dressed in a sharp green blazer.
If the world had changed after the attacks of September 11, the folks of Murray Hill were making sure that traditions of fun, family and camaraderie remained the same.
The Renaissance Continues
Even those who retreated to the past did their best to be modern heroes this weekend. For every ticket sold last weekend, the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville handed over $1 to the Pentagon Survivors Fund.
Plenty played that role.
The festival was exceedingly crowded this weekend, said Carolyn Spedden of the Renaissance Festival.
Perhaps people needed some relief from the stresses of the 21st century. Perhaps they just wanted to get far away from the television and radio. Whatever the reason, they flocked to steak-on-a-stick, 16th century sunshine and the pleasures of the Scottish celebration, which included cabor-tossing and Celtic music and dance.
At the festival, said Spedden, We tried to keep things as normal as possible, to give people the diversion that they wanted and needed.
The Star-Spangled Banner Still Waves
In Honor of Our Fallen Heroes by Chrissy Miller
Every home but two are flying the red, white and blue. Thats the vista Bill Burton has seen since September 11 along his block of Park Road in Pasadena. Hes not alone. Throughout Chesapeake Country this week, flags telegraphed our solidarity under attack.
Red, white and blue are this seasons colors, with flag jewelry a fashion extra.
On flag poles, habitual patriots lower their star-spangled banners to half staff. Flags drop from balconies and barn sides. On some roadways, like Route 256 from Tracys Landing into Deale, a flag, large or small, waves on every lamppost. Miniatures fly, often at half staff, from truck and auto antennae.
On the water, sailboats run flags up their masts, where they can be seen for seeming miles in Septembers clear air. Powerboats fly their flags from their transoms. In Herring Bay, a flag flies on a swim platform.
Everybodys a patriot. Even the Union Jack and the Confederate flag have been sighted flying at sympathetic half staff.
Calvert County artist Chrissy Millers In Honor of Our Fallen Heroes will fly at Annmarie Gardens Artsfest this weekend, where she hopes to raise $20,000 for The New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief and The New York State Fraternal Order of Police funds. Prints will be sold at Artsfest for $100 each in limited edition of 200 signed and numbered prints. Annmarie Garden will raise the total by donating an additional 15 percent of all Artsfest sales to the relief funds.
In Virginia, Gov. Jim Gilmores stubborn insistence on escalating car-tax rebates is drying up funds to help restore the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay. Because of the $300 million diversion for car-tax roll back, no new money will be flowing into the states Water Quality Improvement Fund this fiscal year
In New York, hip-hop star Sean P. Diddy Combs has a reputation as a gun-toting tough guy. But instead of battling rival gangstas, Combs was pinched recently for assaulting the environment. He paid a $350 fine for cutting down bushes around his $2.5 million estate in East Hampton and agreed to plant 500 new bushes and natural grasses
In Alaska, you can understand why natives in the Yupik Eskimo village became worried when salmon drying in a smokehouse started to glow; the nearby Bering Sea is said to have nuclear contamination. But rather than radiation, the fishy glow came from phosphorescent marine bacteria
Our Creature Feature comes from Cincinnati, where the tragic events of late drowned out news of what is being called the most important zoo birth in recent history that of a Sumatran rhino.
There are just 300 or so of these rhinos in the world, and the last one born in captivity was in 1889 in India. But after five miscarriages, Emi, an 11-year-old Sumatran on loan from Indonesia, gave birth last week after intensive hormone therapy.
Oh yea, the fathers name is Ipuh, and hes said to be pleased, too.