A midsummer's reflection of the essence of Baltimore


It's the last week of July with Labor Day six weeks away. There's still time to reflect on Baltimore summers past and present. Try these. . .

To recall there's no finer lunch than a sandwich made of a gorgeously ripe Queen Anne's County tomato, bread, salt and pepper.

To let the mind drift back to a July afternoon spent on the Mountain Speedway at Carlin's Park.

To wonder why a summer day in Baltimore usually includes a hazy, silvery-gray period of absolute yuck.

To get a headache when your Pennsylvania or North Carolina relatives call and inform you they're coming here and please arrange for a visit to the Aquarium and third-base seats for Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

To think there's no finer sight than the light of the Domino Sugars sign over the harbor.

To wish you were anywhere but the Patapsco River drainage basin.

To gasp at a small wedge of watermelon marked up to $2.14 in a supermarket's fruit department.

To marvel at the color of rosy deep red in the neighborhood's crepe myrtle bush.

To swear you'll never attempt parking in the Towsontown Center garage, at least until the Christmas shopping season.

To worry that summer is disappearing fast when you see some early bird Johns Hopkins University students moving into Charles Village rowhouse apartments.

To slip away from the office for a crab lunch on the wharf at Deale in Anne Arundel County.

To sight a gentleman walking down Charles Street in a full-dress cotton seersucker suit.

To remember when teen-agers rarely wore baggy plaid Bermuda shorts and preferred bluejeans.

To question the good sense and sanity of anyone who pays good money for a crab cake sold at a drive-in fast-food shop with plastic walls.

To forget the TV or video movies and take in an old-fashioned summer amateur musical like "Annie" at Columbia, "Iolanthe" at the Young Victorians, "Chicago" at Essex Community College or "Chess" at Towson State.

To praise Governor Schaefer for building a new Kent Narrows Bridge.

To wish you'd never have to read another story about the troubles of the Baltimore County school system and its chief, Stuart Berger.

To curse Baltimore's poorly coordinated traffic lights, especially those on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

To run out of T-shirts because you're changing them two or three times on a sticky day.

To hear the first loud crickets of the summer sawing away under the back porch or deck.

To cringe at the amount of rural land in Harford and Anne Arundel counties that's being chewed up for housing developments.

To seize time to walk about the newly completed sections of the Inner Harbor's walkways near Little Italy.

To become so tolerant of the summertime waterbugs that invade kitchens and baths that you don't even jump back when they dart across a room where you'd just put on a light.

To master the difference between the inner and outer loops of the Baltimore Beltway.

And finally, to indulge in a slice of traditional Baltimore peach cake, maybe from the Woodlea, Catonsville, New System, Simon's, Herman's, Hoehn's, Otterbein's or Bauhof's bakeries.

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