For the first time in more than a dozen years, I missed Preakness Week activities. Well, I did make it to one Preakness event, a crab-meat picking contest at the Inner Harbor sponsored by Phillips Harborplace and radio station Variety 104-FM.
Those who know me know I loathe picking crab meat, so this was a labor of love for friends Shirley and Brice Phillips and Variety's general manager Jim Fox.
Soon after The Baltimore Sun's Happy Eater Rob Kasper won the contest by picking more than 7 ounces of crab meat in three minutes compared to my 1 ounce, I was in Union Memorial Hospital with the super-jock of surgeons, Dr. William Howard, removing my appendix.
I was sorry to miss all the neat Preakness parties, especially the Alibi Breakfast with Ken and Elizabeth Loh, who had bought the breakfast with me at a fund-raising event. Plus, I didn't get my black-eyed Susan glass to go with my collection.
Preakness festivities concluded last Sunday at the Green Spring Station, where more than 300 people gathered for the first annual "Tasting at the Station" to benefit one of my favorite groups, the International Visitor's Center of Maryland (IVCM).
Katie Peddy, a longtime IVCM volunteer, chaired the event witthe help of her husband, Tom, of the Foxleigh Development company. Others who made the wine-tasting a success were co-chairs Joe Herbert of Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the Wine Merchant's Joe Ciletti and Harvey Sugarman, Harvey's Restaurant, who supplied the tasty food.
The event was truly international with wines, foods, prizes, music and a Chilean llama, owned by the Peddys, who breed llamas on their Phoenix farm.
Others sipping their way around the Station were Elias Shomali, Signet International Banking; Judy and Tom Brady, BG&E; Robert Neubert, Ernst & Young, and his wife, Joy; Neil Porter, CSX Intermodal and president of IVCM; Suzanne and George Wills, Wills & Associates and IVCM board member; Patrick and Helga Brennan, About Faces; Richard Polan, IVCM volunteer and architect; Matthew Nayden, attorney; and Laurie Schwartz and her husband, Al Copp, who owns Woodhall Winery in Baltimore County.
MA This is an annual event, so mark your calendar for next year.
Hundreds of garden-clubbers descended on Stouffer Harborplace Hotel for the 79th annual meeting of the Garden Club of America.
Pedie Killebrew, Nancy Swindell and Nan Paternotte did a splendid job co-chairing the meeting, which attracted more than 500 members from all over the country. For five days the delegates shared ideas at meetings and were royally entertained by nine host clubs at parties and tours all over Maryland.
One of the most interesting events is the annual plant exchange, to which each of the 189 member clubs brings six plants. Since the plant exchange began in 1973, members have exchanged or propagated more than 26,000 plants.
Another treat was an appearance by the Baltimore Opera Company's general manager Michael Harrison, tenor extraordinaire, who gave a grand rendition of the national anthem to begin the annual meeting.
He was such a success that I hear he's brave enough to sing the national anthem at a future Orioles game, if asked.
Around town: I hear that Eddie Murphy and Della Reese stayed the lovely Peabody Court while in town shooting scenes for the movie "Distinguished Gentleman." Murphy's special requests at the hotel included packages of Ding Dongs, cartons of Snapple Fruit punch, a grand piano and a state-of-the-art stereo system, so he could listen to his soon-to-be-released album . . .
A party of "mature" people picked the Brass Elephant to $H celebrate their 60th class reunion. Among the class of '32 grads from the University of Maryland Medical School having dinner were Dr. Aaron Sollod and Dr. Harry Hull of Baltimore and Dr. John Dumler of Salisbury.