At the most recent Taneytown Business Breakfast, State Senator and historian Joe Getty, R-Baltimore and Carroll County, delighted an audience of almost 100 with insights on the local perspective of President Abraham Lincoln, Taneytown and the Battle of Gettysburg.
"My great-great-uncle, Nathan Haines Baile, was born in New Windsor in 1846," Getty explained. "During his career, he was a cashier at the New Windsor Bank and later became the bank president. In the 1920s, Baile wrote a recollection of his life in a journal that included recollections of the history of New Windsor and the Wakefield Valley.
"Baile was 14 years old at the start of the Civil War. In his journal, he records one of the five highlights of his life as: 'I was present at Gettysburg when Abraham Lincoln delivered his memorable address of which not much notice was taken at the time.' "
Getty went on to note, "It took a generation or more of time passing before the American public truly appreciated Lincoln's crafting of the words in the Gettysburg Address."
At this point, there was a buzz of agreement throughout the room as folks finished their breakfast and murmured approval of Getty's remarks.
The English author, essayist and biographer, Samuel Johnson once said: "There are two types of knowledge. One is knowing a thing. The other is knowing where to find it."
Well, where to find it is at the Taneytown business breakfast. If you have ever attended, you know you may arrive to find a few strangers in the room, but you never leave without making new friends, connections and learning some new way to charge ahead into the day and make a difference in our community.
Audrey Cimino of the Community Foundation of Carroll County could not agree more. "Oh my, - without a doubt, this is the best business breakfast in the area," said Cimino as she juggled her breakfast in one hand, handed-out literature in the other hand and fielded questions from folks right and left including Kevin McLeod, the Program Director at Silver Oak Academy, and Steve Wantz, the past president of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association.
Cimino was then distracted by another question about the foundation's upcoming Philanthropist of the Year awards breakfast on October 16.
There were a number of Silver Oak Academy students at the breakfast.
McLeod explained, "We take every opportunity to expose our students to positive community experiences it enhances their social skills and expands their cultural awareness."
Although breakfast doesn't begin until 7:30 a.m., local business leaders from all over the central Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania area begin to gather at the Thunderhead Bowling Center long before o'dark thirty.
"We've now been doing this for over 14 years. 14 years, can you believe it?" said Nancy McCormick, the peripatetic one-woman whirlwind Taneytown economic development director, as people squeezed by her to find a table in a small area near the kitchen positioned precariously near the bowling lanes.
The breakfast event is well-accepted as the premier place to meet and break bread with business and community leaders from all over central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Of course there is a history and tradition of getting together over breakfast in Taneytown.
An historic account recalls that on "June 30, 1791, President George Washington recorded his impression of Taneytown after an overnight stay at "A-dam Good Tavern" and had a dinner of "mush and milk." He noted in his diary: "I set off this morning a little after four o'clock in the prosecution of my journey towards Philadelphia— lodged in Tawnytown. Tawnytown is but a small place with only the street through which the road passes; the buildings are principally of wood."
Today, in a routine choreographed by Norman Rockwell, the first item of business, besides eating a great breakfast, after introductions are made by Taneytown Mayor Jim McCarron; is to have the microphone passed around the room so everyone in attendance had an opportunity to present a short commercial for their business or promote an upcoming community event. It looks like a secular community communion of sorts.
McCarron was joined by members of the city council, Diane Foster, Angelo Zambetti and council newcomer, Joe Vigliotti.
"As a Taneytown Council member, I attend the Taneytown Business Breakfast regularly," said Foster. "It's important that people know that the Mayor and Council support and appreciate our business partners. Every second Friday of every month people from a myriad of backgrounds and professions meet, greet, and make connections at the Taneytown Business Breakfast. Only in a small town with a 'Nancy McCormick' could such a gathering be such a success."
Also attending were Md. St. Sen. David Brinkley, R-Carroll and Frederick Counties, and Delegate Justin Ready, R-Carroll County.
Although Getty spoke for over 45 minutes, no one left early to get to work. Everyone sat listening to every word.
Ready was excited to learn more about Carroll County history from Getty. "Taneytown has a rich history, especially with the Battle of Gettysburg. And it was good to learn more about that history. Taneytown has a lot for which to be proud," said Ready.
Brinkley said, "This is a great monthly meeting. It shows incredible healthy community spirit. And Joe's (Getty) talk on our heritage is always inspiring and makes me proud of who we are as a community."
McCormick started the business breakfast in 1997 with four folks. On September 13, I alone ate more than those four folks and left with new friends and information I could use that day, this week and next year.
The great American humorist Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Taneytown is certainly on the right track and along as McCormick and business breakfast are around; the only thing that is going to get run over is anything that gets in their way.
When he is not mixing together another helping of history with his scrambled eggs and toast, Kevin E. Dayhoff may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org