This year, we celebrated Valentine's Day on Sunday, Feb. 13, at an Italian restaurant to honor the good saint. We chose Il Giardino at the Golden Triangle in Ellicott City.
The restaurant was pleasantly crowded; a young couple, the woman decked out for the holiday in a bright red dress, were seated in the far corner of the room.
We had just eaten our salad when the man in the corner stood up, unfolded his napkin with a snap, and taking the hand of the lady in red, knelt to propose marriage.
A sudden hush fell over the restaurant as diners attempted to be discreet while glancing at the timeless scene. He took a velvet box from his jacket and produced a ring, and when he slipped it on her finger and they hugged, the room, a little misty-eyed, spontaneously broke into applause.
After the excitement died down, we could hear the couple planning their wedding and honeymoon over their dessert.
The happy bridegroom-to-be is Stephen Jones of Owings Mills, who works at Westinghouse near BWI. Kristin Albert of Reisterstown, who works at T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills, will be his bride. They met almost two years ago at the Baltimore Tall Club, which still plays a large role in their lives -- she's nearly 6 feet 2, and he's 6 feet 6.
They plan to be married on April 29, 1995, at the Chapel on the Hill at Kristin's alma mater, Western Maryland College. For a honeymoon, they're considering the Caribbean.
This young couple made the day special for a room full of Valentine celebrants. They'd make a wonderful addition to our community. Let's hope that they move to Elkridge or Ellicott City after the wedding.
You may remember Valerie McGuire. She's the mother and child care provider in Hunt Country Estates who was on the community association's roads committee when state officials announced that the new Route 100 would tear through her community, taking several homes with it.
Valerie had worked for 11 years as a draftswoman for a civil engineering firm so, although she had no formal training, she was no stranger to maps.
One evening, she sat down at her kitchen table and designed the "Lazy S" alternative, which avoided destruction of her neighborhood and of the surrounding wetland.
It began as other roads committee members, Lori and Charlie Lease, Rob Gardener and Susan Gray, were agonizing over Route 100.
Susan suggested that the community design an alternative to the one planned by the state. Of the two designs proposed, Valerie's looked more feasible.
But the work was just beginning: Hours of letter writing, phoning and testifying came after that evening at the kitchen table.
The work paid off. Her design was finally accepted, and Hunt Valley Estates will not be seriously affected by the new roadway.
The state government works in strange ways, one being that although it initially balked at Valerie's idea, now it is lauding her creation.
Valerie has received two awards, one from Gov. William Donald Schaefer and another, sponsored by state Sen. Thomas Yeager, D-13, praising her hard work, creativity and exemplary volunteer service.
Tomorrow at 7:45 p.m., County Executive Charles I. Ecker and the County Council will second the motion, presenting Valerie with a joint resolution recognizing her effort with a plaque and public ceremony.
What does Valerie take away from the experience?
For one thing, she is glad that she was able to make a significant contribution while working full time as a child care provider.
In addition, although "it opened her eyes to the way government works," she believes that if "someone takes their citizenship seriously, wonderful things can result. Now, everyone should know that we can fight City Hall."
The Learning Disabilities Association of Howard County will hold its monthly meeting tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Howard High School's Media Center.
This month, Dr. Susan Anpell, a psychologist in private practice, will speak on a topic which may be of interest to a great many parents: ways they can obtain needed services for their handicapped children.
The talk will directed to the general public, and all are welcome to attend.
Cindy Mellendick, organizer of Centennial High School's Bull and Oyster Roast on Saturday , wants you to know that there are a few tickets left if you want to come enjoy the company, food and dancing.
Call her at 461-5454 for ticket information.
Mount Hebron High School guidance department is looking to the community for help in conducting junior interviews, which take place March 17-18.
As a requirement of graduation, every student must be interviewed for approximately 20 minutes. Because each student in the 11th grade needs a 20-minute slot, this is a massive undertaking.
The guidance office will need about 60 people. Staffing usually includes community businesspeople and parents with a background in interviewing.
Volunteers will conduct interviews in three-hour time slots, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can help the school for three hours, call the guidance office at 313-2883.
FISH of Howard County thanks the county for its generosity in providing 10,000 items in this fall's food drive. Even so, this drive was somewhat below those of previous years.
Emory Methodist Church on Church Road in Ellicott City does its part by designating a monthly "FISH Sunday," when church members bring food to refill pantries.
The church's support is much appreciated.
If your school, church or organization would like to sponsor a spring food drive, give FISH a call at (410) 377-1827 and talk with one of the volunteers.
Donated food will be distributed to FISH pantries, which are used to help those in emergency situations.
Elkridge Branch of the Howard County Library will offer "Twist and Shout" from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday.
Register for this program of music and movement activities for 2- and 3-year-olds by calling the library at 313-5085.