At least one Eastern Shore resident is happy that Gov. William Donald Schaefer has apologized to her region for likening it to an outdoor toilet, but she still plans to watch him carefully.
"Apology accepted, but we will still watch him and how he treats us," Lollo Pennewell said last night.
Pennewell was one of several dozen Shore residents who rode in a convoy of trucks and cars to Annapolis yesterday to demonstrate their ire with the governor.
In an unusual gesture, a contrite Schaefer made a surprise visit to the House of Delegates last night to apologize for his off-color remark about the Shore.
"How's that s---house of an Eastern Shore?" Schaefer asked a Lower Shore delegate in passing during a formal State House ceremony more than a week ago. He had steadfastly refused to apologize for the remark, saying it was merely a joke similar to ones Shore lawmakers have made about Baltimore.
"I do this in all honesty," Schaefer told a surprised and hushed House last night. "I made a terrible mistake. I said something entirely in jest and it was taken out of context. And I'm sorry."
"The governor needs the Eastern Shore and the Eastern Shore needs the governor. . . . It's time for the governor to say he made a mistake and I did," Schaefer said.
After his brief remarks, Schaefer embraced House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Eastern Shore, and briskly walked out a side door to the applause of the House members.
Afterward, Mitchell said he had no advance notice of Schaefer's intentions. He met the governor in the hallway before the session began and invited him in, Mitchell said.
"The governor is not one to apologize easily. I appreciate him coming in and doing that," said Mitchell.
Another Eastern Shore Democrat, Del. Samuel Q. Johnson 3rd, said, "I really give him a lot of credit and hope we can get down to business now."
Johnson said his constituents "were saying they wanted an apology and that's what it sounded like to me."
Earlier yesterday, a band of angry Eastern Shore residents -- with wooden outhouses in their pickup trucks, bags of manure in their hands and talk of secession on their lips -- descended upon the State House, demanding that Schaefer be held accountable for his remark.