West Friendship: Nostalgia sets in driving past the ruined Forest Diner

It felt like full circle on June 16 as we drove by the semi-demolished remains of the Forest Diner on Route 40.

A bittersweet sight to see, still standing within the crushed shiny silver body of the Silk City Diner, the eerily and perfectly attached red vinyl stools. Those deco seats were warmed by the bodies of a lot of Howard County customers over the years.

My husband and I made a lot of friends at the diner. Folks like the late great Bob Harless, a gentleman and farmer beyond compare. Regulars like Diane Berwager, Charlie Morar, "Doc" Stewart Myers and Bettie Heckman.

All of those county fixtures have passed on now. I can still recall Tootsie Boone with her fabulous red nail polish, doling out pie and cake orders, or Dorothy Asbury maneuvering several plates of hotcakes to Sunday morning diners.

The diner was an exclusive club that, as regulars, we felt privileged to be a part of. It was a special thing for our family when Barbara Day would not allow anyone but our young son Josh to play the very first Christmas carol on the jukebox in the late 1970's.

Suddenly, poof, it's gone. Much like the Enchanted Forest gingerbread men who watched over the diner from across the street. Such nostalgia.

It eased the melancholy of losing the Forest Diner, to move on that same afternoon to the Visitors Center in historic Ellicott City, where a sense of preservation remains strong.

A late Saturday, yet there, busy as ever, was Ellicott City Restoration Foundation president Ed Lilley welcoming visitors to enjoy the new surroundings of the office, which was the former Main Street Ellicott City Post Office.

Tourism is hosting a 40-year anniversary exhibit on Tropical Storm Agnes. Part of the exhibit includes a film produced by local photographer and videographer Bob Miller. The film is just about 15 minutes but remarkable is all the footage which Miller filmed in a two-day period in 1972.

Ravaged areas of Marriottsville, Sykesville, Woodstock and, of course, Main Street in Ellicott City are part of the program. The program will still be open for visitors this weekend at the tourism office at 8267 Main St.

While you are there, you might notice the wonderful attention to preservation which has taken place at the center. Howard County deserves a round of applause for recognizing the importance of historically significant parts of this county.

Mike Beavan used to wow them at Glenelg High School when he picked up his drumsticks. He first became enamored with the world of music as an elementary school kid. Later, under the tutelage of Barry Enzman at Glenelg High, Beavan mastered the drums.

Now, after 30 years of professional drumming with bands near and far, as part of the pit orchestra at Toby's Dinner Theater in Columbia and at gigs from east to west, Beavan is delighted to be playing in Howard County again.

Mike's band Bad Moo" will perform at Players Bar and Grille in the Waverly Woods shopping center on June 29. Come out and give him the old home town hello.

Put away the frying pan. No cooking tonight. Instead come out to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at 2892 Route 97 between Union Chapel Road and the Glenwood post office. Dinner, which is generously donated by Smokin' Hot Bar and Grille, will be served from 6 to 8 p.m.

Proceeds from the dinner, which is $9 per person or $30 for the entire family, will benefit 30 parishioners who are participating in a mission trip to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky this summer.

Organizer Lynne Quinn says it's a dine-in or carry-out affair. All are welcome. Questions? Call Lynne at 410-442-5445.

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