Volume XVII, Issue 23 # June 4 - June 1, 2009

Letter from the Editor

Jacks and Jills of Many Skills

Which is what we’ll need to thrive tomorrow

Graduations, weddings, birthdays, retirements, roasts and awards ceremonies: This spring, I’m enjoying celebrations of all those milestones in the lives of friends and family.

People tell their stories at events of those sorts, or endure the telling of their stories by significantly proud others. Moved by the spirit or by empty moments (like the 45 minutes we waited for one of last weekend’s brides to emerge perfectly ready), guests join in. So I get home not only tired and happy but also knowing quite a bit about the lives of the people with whom I’ve celebrated.

Friends and neighbors: Don’t worry. I’m saving the titillating stuff for my novel.

Today I’m reporting that the layers of your talents are as many as Maryland’s state dessert, the Smith Island cake.

I started gathering these observations at Anne Arundel County’s Scholarships for Scholars awards ceremony in May. These high school seniors — winners of scholarships worth $2,000 to $5,000 — didn’t just have good grades, though that they certainly did. They also excelled at some, often many, other activities: music, drama, sports, writing, chess or computer wizardry. They also did good for others and were always kind to dogs and cats. Of course the girls were all beautiful and the boys handsome. In sum, they were a perfect reproach to my frittered teen years.

Over the course of this season of passages, I’ve added older folks to my growing roll of the multitalented. There’s the reporter with the trumpet, whose wedding playing set the party dancing. The real estate leasing agent who’s a potter. The environmental planner who can and does build just about anything. The chef who’s a painter and drummer. The CEO who sails the world’s oceans. The list goes on and on.

Somehow, in years short or long, many of the citizens of Chesapeake Country have become masters of not just one but two or three trades.

So I’m taking new stock of my grandson playing baseball or my granddaughter playing soccer. The games kids play for fun, I tell myself, could be pathways they follow through life to first, second or third careers. That’s easier to believe now that a professional soccer player is about to become my husband’s great-niece-in-law. That’s her career No. 1.

Young, old or in the middle, we’re living in a world where our ability to prosper is directly proportional to the height of our cake of skills.

Suddenly our economy is transforming, and citizens of nations throughout the world are as well educated, ambitious and hardworking as we are.

In past editorials, I’ve meant that message for graduates. This year, I’m preaching to us all.

P.S. Twenty questions was a lot, wasn’t it?

Despite my daunting list in last week’s Letter, many readers have told me how, when and where they read Bay Weekly — as well as what they read, the most important of the questions.

Your answer to even one question helps us keep Bay Weekly the paper you want to read. I’m eager to hear what you have to say.

Need a review? www.bayweekly.com/year09/issue_23/edit.html.

       Sandra Olivetti Martin
     editor and publisher