Dottie Fritz points to the old black iron pump that decorates her side yard on Uniontown Road. It's all that's left of the childhood home she remembers that was destroyed in a 1976 fire that also claimed the Uniontown Church of God, where her father had been pastor.
One of the riches of living in a country town is meeting neighbors like Mrs. Fritz who have lived here their whole lives. They &L; remember how things were "back then."
Sitting in the warmth of her Uniontown living room, with its display of family photos and the furniture her brother had made, a visitor mentally travels back in time as she describes old-fashioned Halloween pranks, the great snowfalls, extravagant Christmas pageants at the Church of God, sleigh rides on Uniontown Road, and caroling at 5:30 Christmas morning.
"I want to tell you," she says of those brisk mornings, "that really made you step around!"
Mrs. Fritz may not be the early-bird caroler she was years ago, but she's still singing duets with her long-time friend Elizabeth Corbin at Uniontown Bible Church.
She also tends to her extensive flower beds and vegetable gardens, writes poetry, and shares personal histories of Uniontown with neighbors and friends.
No matter what the topic, from sharing farm chores with a neighbor to caring for a sick child, Mrs. Fritz's stories carry a common theme: People pulled together and cared about each other.
It's an idea worth remembering on this Thanksgiving Day.
* Over the river and through the woods . . . school children everywhere probably think of a setting like Northwest Carroll county when they sing the familiar winter tune. With a rolling countryside dotted with cows and old farmhouses, church steeples that pierce the sky, elderberry bushes framing the roadside, and craft and antique shops scattered everywhere, it's a postcard come to life.
* ZTC Encountering the unexpected imparts a special charm to Northwest Carroll. A personal favorite is the chimes that ring from St. Paul's United Methodist Church in New Windsor each day at noon and 5 p.m. Two hymns, followed by the striking of the hour, distract a person from everyday worries and pressures.
* A local institution, 100-year-old Uniontown Elementary School, will close its doors to students in June, when the kids and teachers there prepare to enter a brand new school on Mayberry Road next fall. It's a sad day for the community, but parents at the school are making the best of it by organizing a retrospective celebration to be held this spring.
They need help. If you can put them in touch with any former May Day queens for the old-fashioned Maypole dance or alumni who graduated prior to the 1960s to share stories with the present generation of Uniontown kids, or if you have old photos to lend, call Rachelle Hurwitz at 876-2484.
* Taneytown's Community Chorus will present its twelfth annual Advent concert at 3 p.m. Dec. 6 at Grace United Church of Christ on West Baltimore Street. The 35-voice ecumenical choir will perform 20 sacred music selections.
Choir members come from as far away as New Jersey, as well as from all over Carroll County, to perform with the group. They have been rehearsing since September, so the concert will be as good as any you'll hear this season. Chorus member Ann Hull said, "It adds to the peace, joy and love of the season for anyone who's a music lover."