Listen here now, I love the blues, but I never associated it with romance. I mean, it's not make-out music. It's not Barry White. If anything, the blues is about romance-gone-sour, love denied.
So anyway, at the Full Moon Saloon Monday night, hot guitarist Mad Maxx led off the jam and, three chords into the first number, two couples simultaneously started making out. Don't know what it was, but gotta get me some of it.
Seen Saturday at Attman's, happily seated behind a bowl of matzo ball soup: "Damn Yankees" star Jerry Lewis. Seen Saturday on the Bay Bridge, eastbound side, way up, in the middle: A squashed squirrel. Confirmed and reported by Marcia and Robert Herr of Owings Mills. Anyone know anything about this road-kill mystery? Give me a call, 332-6166.
Hey, listen, I'm a collector of late-40s neckwear, owner of nearly 200 splashy numbers with palm trees and Daliesque motifs. I've gone elbow-to-elbow with manic shoppers at vintage clothing sales. So I got a kick out of this report from Frieda Hermann, our Hamilton correspondent:
"That Hopkins Best Dressed Sale is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, and just as crowded. When I took off my sandals to try on a pair of shoes, somebody slipped into them, liked them, and almost walked away with them.
"Then, a woman in the dressing room asked me if i was going to buy the shirt I had on. It was the one I walked in with. At one point, one of those infinitely patient Hopkins volunteer women elbowed her way into the dressing room and shouted, 'Ladies! Ladies! Ladies! This is important! Has anyone seen a purple L. L. Bean skirt? Somebody wore it here and would like to leave!' I don't know if the skirt was recovered."
There's a powerfully moving sight on Route 152 in Fallston, Harford County -- especially so in this back-to-school season of football, turning leaves and soft sunsets.
Right along the grassy roadside where they died is a memorial to Christian Leonard, 18, and Eric Rothgeb, 16, the two friends and student athletes who were struck by a car while walking along the two-lane in June. Crosses, football jerseys, baseball caps, baseballs, rosary beads, a photograph, a poem, even a shrub -- right there in the grass, left by friends and classmates.
I don't find autumn the somber season others do. I associate it with new beginnings -- the new school year, new clothes, new teachers, new challenges. But here in the grassy farmland-cum-suburbia is a reminder of two new beginnings that never were. What a terrible waste of young men.
Returning to say thanks
In July 1993, four months after he survived the horrific boating accident that killed two of his Cleveland Indian teammates, Bobby Ojeda was in a tailspin of depression, sleeplessness, anxiety and anger. Clinicians have a fancy name for that: post-traumatic stress disorder. It means you've been through hell, and the demons won't let go. Ojeda crashed in Baltimore, at Sheppard Pratt. He spent 12 days there, continued outpatient therapy under Dr. James McGee.
This month Ojeda is coming back to say thanks. The retired Indian pitcher will be the keynote speaker at the hospital's annual meeting. "Sheppard Pratt literally saved my life," says Ojeda, who was the lone survivor of the accident that killed teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews during spring training in Florida.
Baltimore has been good for Ojeda. In August 1993, he made his first post-accident appearance at Camden Yards and got a lengthy standing ovation when he stepped to the mound.
An extraordinary woman
Others know Carletha Westbrook a lot better than I do, but I get the impression she is an extraordinary woman -- determined, consistent, strong, loyal, loving. "Hail, rain, sleet couldn't stop her," says her daughter, Jackie Westbrook Forte. "She used to say, 'If the kids are gonna be there, I gotta be there.' "
Carletha Westbrook was a crossing guard for city school children. For close to 40 years, she worked the corner of Fremont Avenue and Winchester Street, holding up traffic for students of William Pinderhughes Elementary.
"She never missed a day, it was very, very rare when she did," says Marian Matthews, another Pinderhughes crossing guard who worked the corner of Carey and Winchester. "Lee -- that's what we called her -- was the most positive person I ever met." Carletha Westbrook retired in June. She's dying of cancer. She's at home in Randallstown now, having left Towson Meridian Multi-Medical Nursing Center. Says Helen Kwan, the social work director there:
"She's really touched anybody who talks to her. She really epitomizes what is human. She has touched so many people's lives. She certainly has affected us here."
Her last day at the nursing center, Carletha Westbrook was talking about her life as a crossing guard. "She was remembering all the noses she wiped, the hands she's warmed, the children she hugged and held," Helen Kwan said, and then started to cry.