Easter treats, budding trees and other sights of spring


Some random thoughts while waiting for spring to arrive . . .

* The lights are burning late into the night at Rheb's candy factory on Wilkens Avenue as workers meet the demand for Easter delicacies. For the past three weeks, customers have been lining up for their bunnies and eggs.

What's the most popular egg? Rheb's sherbet egg, which despite its name has nothing to do with a frozen fruit dessert. A sherbet egg is vanilla and chocolate butter cream, mixed like a marble cake.

The other day, I dropped by the small but busy retail shop and noticed that the retirees who are customers have turned their visits into a science. They stop by St. Agnes Hospital for their medical appointments then cross Wilkens Avenue to satisfy a craving for good chocolate. One gentleman ordered his truffles while clutching a set of X-rays.

* The Bradford pear trees the city planted in such great numbers in the 1970s are all in heavy bud. Even though these trees don't stand up well to wet snows, their week of bloom in the spring is spectacular. The 2200 block of N. Charles St. is lined with these spring delights.

The deep rose of the flowering quince alongside the Fifth Regiment Armory on Howard Street isn't bad either.

Druid Hill Park's Conservatory, the old palm house, has its seasonal show ready. It's guaranteed to raise any sagging spirit. And the magnolias across from the Walters Art Gallery, in the 600 block of Washington Place, are all bursting with pink, a delicious contrast with the tree's twisty gray bark.

* The other day, the color of hot orange-yellow, like sunshine, warmed those who happened to see a train speeding along the tracks of the old B&O; Railroad overpass at Kirk Avenue near 25th Street. Every car pulled by the locomotive was painted a brilliant navel or Valencia or Temple orange. All contained Tropicana oranges destined for a processing plant outside Jersey City, N.J.

* Spring is a season of rebirth. Coming back into its own is the old Greyhound bus station at Howard and Centre streets, which is being converted into offices after several years of vacancy. The exterior has been cleaned and the windows restored. It's a pleasure to see anything positive happening on Howard Street, which is under siege by construction of the light-rail line.

* You surely know it's spring in Baltimore when talk turns to Mount Vernon Place's venerable Flower Mart, which hits a ripe old 75 May 1. And the yellow posters for the Smith College Book Sale, April 5-7, Towson Armory, are on display. The local alumnae of the college have gathered 50,000 books over the years.

Shad roe has returned to local restaurant menus. Saturday morning shoppers descend on the Waverly Farmers Market at Barclay and 32nd streets. Early asparagus is a big seller at the Belvedere Square market.

And, now that spring training is here, thoughts turn to Memorial Stadium. I don't want to believe this is baseball's last year on 33rd Street.

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