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Being briefly hobbled opens the heart to understanding


It was an "Aha!" experience, the kind where you say to yourself, "So that's what they're talking about, that's what they meant."

I was disabled for a week. No, I was "differently hobbled" for a week -- in other words, I could not walk or put any weight on my foot, because of a temporary heel spur.

Great, thought I, a week of pampering myself, of eating chocolates in bed surrounded by cheap novels, of getting to those projects I never have time for, such as sewing new drapes and ironing the lace tablecloths. (I fancy myself Martha Stewart in my madder moments; who does she fancy herself in her maddest moments?)

But I forgot a few of the details: a 2-year-old, a household that runs like a well-oiled brick careening to disaster, and the fact that if you cannot put weight on your foot, you cannot operate most machinery.

That meant no sewing drapes, no driving to the library for lurid novels, no baking mounds of bread, since I couldn't stand to knead the dough. I've never felt so useless in my life.

Everything was a production: taking a shower, answering the phone, gathering the paperwork for bills and taxes. A trip to the filing cabinet was a carefully considered venture, pitting my ability to hop against my pain threshold if I walked.

My world shrunk to what I could reach with my arms and a long ruler. I sat for long periods. I have never felt so disabled and so old. So this is what it can be like to the "less-abled."

Had my condition lasted longer, I'm sure we'd have made arrangements to minimize my discomfort: a knee-operated sewing machine, more phone extensions, a wheelchair, ramps, an adjustable sewing table, a hand-operated car.

But each of those solutions requires a decision to alter your lifestyle, and an investment in new items. I can see now how easy it is, unless you're careful, to drift into both physical disability and into a shrunken world, where all you affect is all you can reach.


It's that time of year again, with football season finally over, when youths' fancies turn lightly to thoughts of baseball and other spring activities.

The Savage Boys' and Girls' Club recently elected new officers for the coming year. Joe McKenna, a five-year member and former vice president, assumes the duties of Savage club president this term.

Elected along with him on Jan. 24 were Gary Lane, vice president; Erin Holmes, recording secretary; Patti Kidwell, corresponding secretary; Lucille Sherman, treasurer; and Ray Curley, equipment supervisor. The club has about 600 members drawn from the Savage, North Laurel and Scaggsville areas.

Right now, it is basketball season, so every Thursday and Friday evening, and all day Saturday you can find members of the 29 basketball teams playing in four different leagues at Hammond Middle School.

In the Instructional League, for boys and girls 7 to 10 years old: Coach Wilkinson's team 10, Coach Johnson's team 8, Coach Newcomb's team 5 and Coach Magner's team 4 lead at 2-0. The season began Jan. 6.

In the Juniors League: Coach Strohl's White team and Coach Regan's Blue team are undefeated. In last week's games, Chris Trigger, Curtis Gore, Karyn Brownlie and Chris Bodenner led the White team to victory over Coach Loisel's Gold team by 49-16. Nathan Haeth, Ryan Loisel, Jay Morgan and Daniel Rusk of the Gold team had great performances in that game.

Coach Regan's Blue team beat Coach Riley's Orange team in an exciting match that went to the final buzzer, with a score of 27-24. The Orange team was led by Shannon Riley and by Clayton Floyd, who scored a sizzling 21 of his team's 24 points. The winning Blue team was led by John Brown, Ryan Leakan, David Smith and Daniel Roberts.

Coach Johnsen's Green team, led by Matt Troup, Joe Zowd and P. C. Johnsen, defeated Coach Jordan's Black team, 28-23. The Black team was led by Justin Kevan, Brian Boone and Paul Thompson.

Coach Malczewski's Red team also won, 28-23, over Coach Stewart's Blue team. Scott Malczewski, Sarah Walker and Michael Ostrander led the Reds, while Michael Frankos, Christopher Kincills and Brad Stewart led the Blue team.

So far, the basketball season is shaping up to be an exciting one. Commissioner of Basketball Steve Conrad assures us that everyone is welcome to see the games. They are held at Hammond Middle School at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The Savage Boys' and Girls' Club is registering children for the forthcoming baseball, softball and soccer seasons.

Registration will be taken at Hammond Middle School during the basketball games today from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on the following days: Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Feb. 17 and Feb. 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Feb. 19 and Feb. 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Registration also will take place at Grace Christian Church, on Baltimore Street at Cemetery Lane in Savage, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 12 and Feb. 26.


Ever wanted to wield extraordinary power? To have your word be law? To stare down armed, bat-wielding villains and make them go away? This is your chance.

Joe McKenna needs a few more baseball and softball umpires for the spring games at Savage Park. There's a concession stand run by volunteers (McKenna could use a few more of those, too) so you don't have to bring your own drinks. Umpiring on spring afternoons: What could be more pleasant?


Christopher Forney, the assistant branch manager of the Savage Library, is leaving our area to pursue his Ph.D. While he's doing that, who's going to help me find out which president had goiters?

Mr. Forney was most often seen behind the reference desk, answering just such tricky questions. Of course I wish him well in lTC his academic pursuits, but with regret. Goodbye Christopher, and thanks for all your patience with my odd questions.


The Savage Branch of the Howard County Library again invites the pajama-footed set to a half-hour Bedtime Storytime, from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15.

Just show up at the library that night -- there's no registration for this program. Preschoolers are welcome in their PJ's.

The Savage branch also is offering another edition of "You and Me, Babe," the library's program for 1-year-olds and a parent, Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and at 11 a.m.

Registration is required for this program.

Call 880-5978 or come in person to register.

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